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

10 Natural Cold and Flu-Fighting Tips

 

If you’re like us, you want to avoid getting the cold, flu or anything in-between as much as cold fighting juicepossible! Especially if you’re dealing with cancer, getting even a minor cold can be absolutely exhausting. And, if you’re in treatment with low blood counts and a compromised immune-system, the fear of catching something is even more prevalent. Then, there are those of us with kids – isn’t if awful when they get sick?! – or working a busy full-time job and we just don’t have time to get sick, do we?

Fortunately, there are many natural ways to help your body fight and heal from disease, from the common cold to cancer. Whether you combine these with conventional medicine practices or not, know that you’ll be helping your body our big time when you implement some of these tips. Getting the right food into your body, getting enough rest, keeping stress at bay and getting fresh air all play a large role in staying well.

Take a look at some of our tips for preventing illness and helping your body to heal from it. These can be done on a regular basis AND when a cold or other illness strikes. Do you have a great natural cold remedy? Please share in the comments below!

  1. Get plenty of rest whenever possible. Lack of sleep breaks down the immune system.
  2. Drink plenty of water to hydrate and flush toxins and unwanted germs out of the body.
  3. Try the teas in our book to hydrate and nourish your body, or create your own! One we love – simmer pieces of ginger root and turmeric root in water for 30 minutes. Pour through a tea filter into your cup and add a teaspoon of honey.
  4. Include plenty of onions, garlic and scallions in your cooking. Studies have shown these foods from the allium family help in fighting colds and cancer.
  5. Drink your juice! Raw juice, that is. Get a dose of nutrients, flush toxins out and help rebuild and balance your blood’s pH balance. Try juicing once daily – first thing in the morning, if you can. No juicer? Try blending veggies and fruit with water at high speed and pouring through a mesh strainer (but we recommend the juicer!).
  6. Try our Cold-Busting Juice – 1 apple, 1/2 large lemon, 2 large kale leaves, 1/2 to 1 inch ginger root. Wash, chop and add to your juicer. Makes 8 to 10 ounces of juice.
  7. Get some astragalus root in capsule form or the root itself, and add it to tea, like the one we mentioned in #4. This herb helps to stimulate the immune system. Find it in health food stores.
  8. Reduce sugar in your diet. It breaks down the immune system.
  9. Eat lots of veggies, especially leafy greens, like kale, spinach and collards.
  10. Get some Vitamin C. You can try taking a supplement, or up your dose of Vitamin C-rich foods. Try these 7 Foods with More Vitamin C than an Orange from the Huffington Post.

 

Baking Better

For years, anytime we baked we used either a mix from a box or if we did make it from scratch, we used refined,highly processed sugar and flour. Cakes, cookies, brownies, banana bread – it was always a sinful treat because the ingredients really were harmful to our health. But, how delicious it all tasted!

Now, we’ve definitely transitioned (notice we said “transitioned” – it happened in small steps) far away from boxed mixes and into healthier baked goods. It doesn’t need to be a huge overhaul you suddenly make in your baking. Instead, by adding in or replacing certain ingredients, you can come up with a much healthier treat that still tastes incredible. And now, we actually prefer sweet treats this way – the other stuff just doesn’t take very good anymore. As we start eating better, our taste buds change too!

Here are a few simple tips for beginning to bake better without sacrificing the yummy-ness.

  1. Stop using refined, bleached, white flour. Replace with whole wheat, spelt or any flour that hasn’t been stripped of all nutrient value. Or use half organic white flour and half of a better flour. Try garbanzo bean, coconut, almond and brown rice flours. They are heavier, but retain more nutrients. Try mixing one of those with whole wheat or white.
  2. Use organic eggs or eggs from a farm you know has happy chickens that have free range outdoors. The fresher you can get them, the better. Not only is this so much better for you, but it improves the taste. Your purchase of those happy eggs also supports healthy and humane farming practices. Look for “pastured.” Or try using flax eggs instead.
  3. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. This will help you avoid ingesting pesticides, GM (genetically modified) foods and supports sustainable farming.
  4. Avoid refined sweeteners. Swap refined white sugar for Stevia, pure maple syrup, honey or brown rice syrup.
  5. Sneak in your whole foods. Add nuts, seeds and raisins. Puree banana, squash, beets, pumpkin, beans, even spinach and bake it into your dish. Some of these foods can also help to sweeten.

Have fun with your baking and know that when you start making little changes like these on a regular basis, you’re making a big difference in your health.