Aspiring paranormal romance author Scarlett West is in the process of creating a vampire series set in Europe and the United States. Learn more about Scarlett and follow her writing journey at her website.
Carbs: Five Reasons We Crave Them
Wait! Before you think I’m a carb extremist who will tell you not to eat them, let me share a little about myself. I eat well to feel well and like to eat a balanced diet.
I believe carbohydrates, including some junk food, have a place on our plates. My mom always warned me not to follow fad diets, but rather try to eat all the colors of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and the like.
Carbohydrates are yummy and emotionally satisfying. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but sometimes they can take up too much room in our diet and contribute to health problems. I will give examples of why we crave them and how to get back to balance.
I am not suggesting we eliminate them completely, unless we have valid health reasons why we might need to do so.
Allergies and Sensitivities
We often crave foods we are allergic or sensitive to. For example, many people have a sensitivity to gluten or wheat and not know it. Nutritionists sometimes ask what we crave the most. Pasta, bread, cookies, and foods like that might be on the list. It’s odd how the body functions, but we may be allergic or have sensitivity to the very food we gobble up the most.
What’s the difference? An allergy is when our body has a real attack to something we eat, like hives, anaphylaxis, and swelling. A sensitivity could include various kinds of digestive disturbances or nasal congestion.
So how do we find out if we have a sensitivity/allergy? The cheapest way is to do an elimination diet preferably with the help of a nutritionist or other person guiding you. Another way is to do allergy testing through a Naturopath or doctor. Professionals who know about nutrition and food are the best kinds of people to help with a problem like this.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
Sometimes, the reason we want those carbs is because we lack certain vitamins and minerals in our body. If we round out our diet and make sure we include them, our carb interest may diminish.
Examples of nutrients we may lack: chromium is a mineral that can be taken as a supplement to lower food cravings. We can also include it in our diets by eating fresh fruit, green beans, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cheese.
Other vitamins and minerals we may need are calcium, nitrogen, and B-vitamins. We find those three in milk products, leafy greens, brown rice, fish, black beans, lentils, salmon, and bell peppers.
Eating the rainbow is important!
Say what? We have bacteria, good and bad, different kinds of yeasts, and viruses floating around our body all the time. One of the main places these life forms hang out is in our gut. Candida is a form of yeast that becomes overgrown like a crazy patch of weeds, but in the body.
How do we know we have it and what can we do about it?
Symptoms can include regular fungal infections on the skin and throughout the body, digestive problems, difficulty focusing, depression/mood swings, and guess what else? Always craving carbs and sweets because Candida feeds off those to reproduce. And because our immune system is mostly housed in our gut area it is important to get hold of something like this so we don’t develop more severe problems later.
To rid our bodies of Candida we can reduce/eliminate sugar and carbs from our diet for a month, take probiotics, Pau D’Arco teas/tinctures, and/or caprylic acid. Usually those herbal remedies come in capsules.
Yes, those grand old hormones that follow us around our entire life might affect our hankerings. PMS and menopause are times when women can feel more of a need to eat those carbs, but unfortunately, they can also make our problems worse. Make a sad face.
I don’t feel qualified enough to talk about how to solve these issues except to make one suggestion. Sometimes women don’t find a solution with medical treatments. My personal experience, and those of women I know, is that herbal treatments can be very effective for balancing hormones. You would need to find a qualified herbalist to help with these issues, but I wanted to point it out in case some readers had never thought of this before.
Feeling Stressed and Tired
For some of us, this is the story of our life, to be stressed and never rested enough. In the long run, this can take a toll on our bodies and emotions. We reach for carbohydrate filled foods because they lift our moods, including serotonin, one of the “happy chemicals” in our brains.
Taking time for self-care is important, including sleep and balanced foods. Also, if we are going through something, caring for our emotions and finding solutions to our problems can be helpful. If there is no solution, at least doing something positive and loving for ourselves can make a difference.
Other Brief Tips:
Eat protein first thing in the morning. Even if we don’t have a big appetite, a small, protein rich yogurt, a hard-boiled egg, or another item can help. This sets us up for the whole day so we crave carbs less later on.
Keep healthy snacks on hand. Veggies and fruits dipped in almond, cashew, or peanut butter; bags of nuts or other trail mix; cheese sticks; or other goodies can make a difference. Maintaining even blood sugar levels during the day is important so we don’t have energy crashes and sudden urges to eat foods that aren’t so great.
Indulge. Yes, I believe it is good to eat something junky and enjoy it. I don’t want to beat myself up for eating junk food.
And like anything else, all we can do is our best. Also, with all of these suggestions, please follow your own discretion and do what’s best for your health plan. I’m only sharing information that I find helpful.