8 Causes of Cravings

 

The body is amazing. It knows when to go to sleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, maintain 98.6 degrees and tighten the eyes when the cupcakelight gets bright. It knows the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat. Your lungs are always breathing. The body is a super-computer, and it never makes mistakes.

 

Look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

 

The eight primary causes of cravings are:

 

1. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.

 

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.

 

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.

 

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

 

5. Seasonal. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets, etc.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.

 

7. Hormonal. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

 

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

 

Looking for ways to reduce your cravings and get your body back on track? Try the 14 Day Cleanse here!

 

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition

Gorgeous Goji Smoothie

 

This smoothie is a simple one to make, and tastes so delish! Smoothies are generally a great option for people undergoing chemotherapy for gorgeous goji smoothie1cancer, since experiencing nausea, mouth and throat sores are common side effects. Smoothies allow you to consume some nutrient-rich calories, they go down pretty easily, and they don’t take much time to make. Whether facing cancer, or not, this is an easy recipe that will help boost energy, support the immune system and aid in weight loss. For more smoothie recipes like this one, be sure to join our FREE 7 Day Smoothie Challenge! It starts Monday, December 8th!

Goji berries are full of antioxidants, those handy little cancer-fighters. Antioxidants minimize free radical damage that injures cells and damages DNA, causing cells to grow abnormally (which can lead to what we know as cancer in the body). Gojis are also a great source of Vitamin A, which is not only important for good vision, but also healthy cell growth and a strong immune system. Some preliminary studies using goji berry juice have found benefits in mental well-being and calmness, athletic performance, happiness, quality of sleep, and feelings of good health.

If you take warfarin (a blood thinner), you may want to avoid goji berries in large amounts or in supplement form: There may be some possible drug interactions with gojis. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure drugs. If you have concerns, check with your doctor, but enjoying goji berries in moderate amounts (even a few times per week) is not likely to be a problem. And that’s a good thing, because you won’t want to miss out on this healthy, yummy treat!

Gorgeous Goji Smoothie

12 ounces cold water

1/4 cup dried goji berries

1 large very banana, preferably frozen

1 cup strawberries, frozen

2 tablespoons hempseeds

Add water and gojis to a blender and let sit for 5 minutes to soften berries. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. If the banana is not frozen, add a few cubes of ice and blend. Serve and enjoy.

Using Real Food for Natural Face Masks

Real food face mask 1

When you visit the spa in an attempt to make your skin look better, one of the most common treatments you’ll get is a facial that uses a face mask. While face masks at spas are often highly effective, visiting a spa on a weekly basis may not be in your schedule, and often harsh ingredients and chemicals are used.

However, you can make your own natural face masks at home – using ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. Homemade natural face masks are also relatively easy to make, and it is easy to double or even triple the recipe to share!

Oatmeal Face Mask

You’ve probably heard that oatmeal is good for soothing flaky itchy skin related to sunburn or other irritations, but oatmeal is also an ideal ingredient for a facial mask for people with dry or dull skin because it’s moisturizing and nourishing to the skin and pores without being oily.

Prepare an oatmeal face mask by combining 1/4 cup oat flour with 1 tablespoon heavy cream. [We at The Kicking Kitchen would also suggest substituting coconut oil or nut milk for the heavy cream.] Stir the mixture to make a thick paste and gently spread it over your face while standing over the sink.

Let the mixture rest on your skin for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. If you have very dry skin, following an oatmeal mask with a night cream or moisturizer can make an ideal evening treatment.

Avocado face maskAvocado Mask

In many parts of the United States, avocados are available pretty much year round. While the antioxidants, vitamin A and healthy fat content is good for your body when you eat it, it’s also a great ingredient for use in a topical face mask for the same reasons, and you’ll notice that your skin feels tighter and your pores look smaller after using an avocado mask.

To make an avocado face mask, combine 1/2 avocado with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl. Mash the avocado and olive oil together with the back of a teaspoon to fully combine them.

Use the mask by gently spreading the mixture over your face with a towel around your neck to keep the mask from getting messy. Let it stay on your face for about 15 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Honey Mask

Honey is antibacterial and has long been used in natural remedies for pimples and blackheads. However, honey can also be used in a face mask to help soothe inflamed skin and to restore natural moisture content to the skin.

You can make a honey face mask by simply warming a small amount of honey in the microwave or on the stovetop before gently rubbing it over your face. Just make sure it isn’t too hot before you put it on your skin! Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes before thoroughly washing it off.

You can also add a small amount of another moisturizing ingredient like heavy cream for a mask that isn’t quite as sticky if you wish.

Taking a trip spa for a facial is a great way to get your skin looking its best, but for many busy people, it just isn’t in the cards on a weekly basis. For others, a spa visit is a bit too expensive to add into the monthly budget. These things should not hold you back from having the healthiest skin possible! When you just don’t have time to visit the spa or a visit seems too expensive, make your own face mask and reap the benefits of well-maintained skin – even in the comfort of your own home.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles and has contributed to many health and beauty blogs. She loves treating herself and her daughter to a spa day and loves recreating her favorite treatments at home. Find more beauty tips and tricks on her Pinterest.

Photos: Creative Commons

Green Juicing

 

Join Annette in her kitchen as she shares her favorite, go-to Green Juice with you. 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

The 7-Day Breakfast Experiment

 

Every day our bodies give us different signs or symptoms of balance or imbalance – a headache, stomach ache, acne, etc. Rather than trying to hide these symptoms by popping a pill, it’s worth trying to understand why you’re feeling these things in the first place. Even our emotions and mental clarity is worth some investigation. Feeling light and happy? It may be due to your diet! Have a headache often? Perhaps you’re missing some nutrient-rich sustainable foods in your diet, or are getting too many processed foods, or both. When we get these signs, it’s our job to figure out what is going on.

THe 7-Day BReakfast Experiment from The Kicking Kitchen

Photo: SteveLegato.com

The more you can tune in to your body, doing your best to figure out what is “off,” the healthier and happier you’ll be. This can definitely take some practice!

As a way of tuning into your body and learning to listen to its messages, explore eating a different breakfast every day for a week. Write down what you eat and how you feel – the good and the bad – both right after eating and again two hours later. Sit quietly after you eat and reflect. Note how your energy level, your moods and your physical symptoms are affected by the food in your body. Then, you can make changes in these choices to improve your diet and health. 

Below are some various suggestions for each day of breakfast. You may wish to substitute other options for your experiment.  

 

Day 1:  Eggs

Day 2:  Scrambled tofu with tamari soy sauce

Day 3:  Oatmeal or any grain product

Day 4:  Boxed breakfast cereal

Day 5:  Muffin and coffee

Day 6:  Fresh fruit

Day 7: Fresh vegetables

 

What I ate                                 How I feel right after eating                   Two hours later

 

Day 1 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………..……………

Day 2 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Day 3 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………………………

Day 4 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………………………

Day 5…………………………………………………………………………………………….…….………………………..….

Day 6 …………………………………………………………………………………………….……..…………………………

Day 7 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….………………………….

You may discover from this exercise that you are unusually sensitive to certain foods or that certain foods just don’t sit well with you, especially the highly processed food choices. A food sensitivity or allergy, or feeling tired, unhappy, unfocused, having aches and pains, may be your body’s way of telling you to start eating foods more appropriate for your current life goals.

 

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition.

 

8 Causes of Cravings

The body is amazing. It knows when to go to sleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, maintain 98.6 degrees and tighten the eyes when the light gets bright. It knows the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat. Your lungs are always breathing. The body is a super-computer, and it never makes mistakes.

Look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

8 Causes of Cravings, The Kicking Kitchen

Is this your photo? We’d like to give you credit. Please let us know!

1. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat or salty foods (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

5. Seasonal. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets, etc.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.

7. Hormonal. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition.

7 Tips for Emotional Eaters

 

Does this sound familiar? You’ve worked a long day, picked up the kids and a few 7 Tips for Emotional Eating from The Kicking Kitchen, thekickingkitchen.comgroceries, and finally arrive home at six o’clock to a pile of laundry and several bills to pay – and you still need to get dinner started. All you want is to find some comfort in a mentally and emotionally exhausting day. That’s when curling up in a blanket on the couch with the carton of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer starts looking like the perfect end to a horrible day. It will probably make your life better, even just for a few moments.

Have you ever been in this type of situation? Um, yeah – every day! We know, we’ve been there too. Haven’t we all?

Consider this: “Our relationship to food is a perfect reflection of our relationship to life itself.” This statement was made by Geneen Roth, author of New York Times bestseller, When Food is Love, and it says a lot about how people often eat and think about food.

People often turn to food not because they are hungry, but because they don’t know what else to do when feeling bored, sad, angry, guilty, stressed or unfulfilled. Food is an easy target for unbalanced or resisted emotions. Emotional eating means eating when you’re not hungry or not eating when you are hungry. Unfortunately, one’s daily diet doesn’t work when built on guilt, punishment or shame, and this is commonly the result of emotional eating.

Think about the way you eat. Roth believes that how we eat is the way we live – it’s how we spend our time, love, energy and money. Do you sneak your food when no one is looking? Do you eat on the run? Do you sit down in front of the television and hardly notice what you are putting in your mouth? Next time you eat, be aware of your surroundings, your emotions and the food you are consuming.

Roth recommends these guidelines for eating. Try them out and discover how your relationship with food and your life changes.

1. Eat when you are hungry.
2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety producing conversations and music.
4. Eat only what your body wants.
5. Eat until you are satisfied (and we recommend eating slowly to recognize this).
6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

Do you sometimes eat for emotional reasons?