Change Your Tastes; Not All Cravings Are Bad!
When a client begins with me, she (or he) fills out a short health history form. The form asks about cravings and addictions. So far, I can recall only one person leaving that line blank. Most people list things like chocolate, coffee, and sweet or salty foods. Sometimes these cravings are pretty innocuous, really. The problem comes when a person is ruled by them, or when their cravings are really created by a serious imbalance or deficiency.
To be clear, just because you want something does not mean you have an addiction or even a craving. My roots are southern and mid-western, so I used to hear folks say they had a “hankerin” for a certain food. Like watermelon on a hot day, such a desire can turn out very well!
When my husband and I were first together, he and I had a discussion that went something like this: “I just don’t understand how an inanimate object, like a brownie, can control a human being.” Then my answer/question, “Haven’t you ever wanted something so intensely that you couldn’t control your response?” Scott, “No.” Some people are just that healthy! Some of us, however, really have to face the fact that we are controlled by a brownie.
Sugar addiction is actually a serious problem in our country; it is leading to ever-increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and other “lifestyle diseases.” My friend, Julie, and I give a “Sugar Blues” lecture all about addressing this issue. There are whole books and even movies on this topic. Dr.Robert Lustig is a well-known authority. Click here to read one of his articles; click here to see his movie, “The Bitter Truth.”
What I really want you to take away from me today is that it is possible to escape the clutches of sugar addiction! Some people can quit sugar cold turkey; most cannot. My friend, Carrie, quit sugar for a month because she thought she might be consuming an unhealthy amount. She wanted to see if she could do it, and if it would make a difference in how she felt. She told me that after the month ended, she resumed adding honey to her tea, but only needed a tiny bit. Her taste for sweetness had shifted; she no longer needed as much to be satisfied with the taste of her tea.
Sometimes people can benefit from taking nutritional supplements, like chromium picolinate, until their cravings for sugar are under control. Adding good sources of protein at every meal and snack can also help. To really figure out a great strategy based on your individual needs, I recommend that you see a health coach or someone like Master Herbalist Julie Formby. Of course, adding supplements or herbs to a diet full of processed junk foods is not going to help you. What can help is adding in more vegetables (especially green ones!) and plant foods. High quality animal products, in moderate amounts, can be great for some people. Drinking more water is something nearly all of my clients benefit from.
Over time, and sometimes a surprisingly short time, your tastes can change significantly for the better.
My daughter, who is 16, reports that she now craves green smoothies. I personally crave things like sunflower seeds and yams (and those green smoothies, too!) I still crave chocolate once in a while, but good dark chocolate. Usually, when I crave something that I know is good for my body, I simply eat it! It’s probably something my body needs.