I also get asked some of the funniest questions too. For example, "Isabel, do you eat normal food like other people?"
Me: "Actually I’m an alien from a different planet and we eat only special food I cannot discuss with you."
Okay, okay, I promise, I am not rude. The truth is I am normal...very, very normal, and the "normal" foods I eat are often surprising to most people.
One question I do get often (and the answer shocks people every time) is:
"Isabel, what do you do when you have cravings?"
Well, the truth is, I don’t really get cravings anymore. Does that confirm I’m an alien? Probably.
But in all seriousness, I really believe when you do your best to cover all of your nutritional bases, most, if not, all cravings will greatly subside.
Let’s go through some of the most common ones right now.
Now who doesn’t just love chocolate? I often joke with people that even an old gym sock might taste good if you dipped it in some chocolate (eww, Isabel, you’re so gross). And hey, a little chocolatey goodness is good for you from time to time (minus the sock). What gets people in trouble is eating tons of chocolate every day. I have even heard some people say they just can’t make it through the day without it.
If you find yourself in a similar situation with chocolate or any particular SWEET treat, you may have a nutrient deficiency that is the root cause of the problem.
Chocolate cravings have been closely linked to magnesium deficiency. Try eating some extra spinach, broccoli, or some nuts, such as almonds and cashews, to boost your magnesium levels. You need even more magnesium during your menstrual cycle, which explains why cravings can be pretty crazy during that time. Some studies have even shown chocolate cravings to be a deficiency in vitamin B6. Add in some potatoes or bananas to your meal plans for an extra B6 boost.
I never quite understood people’s fascination with potato chips, but once people start crunching, they just can’t stop! If your cravings are more on the side of SALTY, you may be deficient in just that...SALT. And I’m not talking about refined table salt (which is what is added to almost all potato chips). The good salt you need is unrefined Sea Salt. My favorite varieties are Himalayan sea salt, Celtic Sea Salt, and Redmond’s Real Salt. If you’ve ever found yourself at the bottom of the potato chip bag, still craving more, you don’t need more chips, you need more good, healthy unrefined sea salt.
But it may not be as simple as just adding in some salt. In animal studies, researchers have found that a lack of potassium, calcium, and iron causes test subjects to devour table salt. To increase your potassium levels, reach for some coconut water or bananas. For increased calcium, go for some canned salmon or sardines with bones. And for more iron, reach for the red meat and organic egg yolks.
Breads and Pasta
Well maybe this craving just has to do with you wanting to be Italian...I’m kidding of course! Most cravings for foods that are high in carbs are due to blood sugar imbalances. Craving carbs means you need more protein to balance out your blood sugar levels. I know grabbing a chicken drumstick is not exactly what you’re looking for when your tummy is telling you "bagel, bagel, bagel," but you will find yourself much more satisfied and full and NOT craving even more later in the day.
Craving carbs may also mean you are low in energy-providing B vitamins. Although there are some foods that are higher in certain B vitamins than others, B vitamins are widely distributed throughout the food supply, so if you're eating a varied, balanced diet that includes foods from all food groups, you're most likely getting as many vitamins as you need. Make sure to include green leafy vegetables, a variety of natural protein sources, and a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables to cover all of your B vitamins.
Remember that cravings can be greatly caused by 1 or more nutrient deficiency in your body, whether that is a macro-nutrient (protein, carb, or fat) or a micro-nutrient (vitamins and minerals).
To cover all of your nutritional bases, follow the varied and delicious meal plans included in Beyond Diet and for that extra insurance, include my favorite greens drinks into your regimen every morning.
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