Previously, celebrity chef and certified nutritionist Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN explained why we should embrace our cravings. Cravings aren’t the bad guys, and when we tune into them, they can be “helpful, friendly communicators” about our well-being.
She’s back to dive into what our cravings can tell us.
It might mean that you have an unmet emotional need.
People often eat food with the goal to shift their mood. From comfort foods to energizing foods, eating is one way people can exhibit some kind of control over how they feel. If you find that your cravings are tied to specific emotions, your cravings can present a beautiful opportunity to explore your relationship with those feelings.
Do you like to eat Oreos when you feel sad? That’s a great insight, and if you want to, eat the Oreos.
I do encourage that instead of using food as a tool to push the emotion away, you take the craving as an invitation to explore how you feel, how you respond to that emotion, and ways you can process how you’re feeling. It’s possible that eating your favorite indulgence helps you process the emotion, and it might also make sense to explore other activities such as therapy, mindfulness, and breathwork.
Restricting calories can trigger a panic response in your brain.
The most common root cause of cravings that I see in my work comes from people who are trying to restrict their calories. So many people believe that in order to look good, they must lose weight and to do so, they must restrict their calories. If this is how you feel (and I can’t stress enough how common this is), I encourage you to take steps to shift your mindset around food.
Remind yourself that eating is a way of loving and nourishing your body, fueling it to do what it needs to support you through your day.
When you restrict your calories, it can trigger a panic response in your brain. This can lead to binging and overeating. I am not a fan of calorie counting, but instead, I encourage my clients to fill their plate with wholesome, nourishing food and cultivate mindfulness around what and why they are eating.
If you crave food, eat it.
When you eat the foods that you crave, begin to notice how you feel. Do you feel satisfied? Do you feel like you need more food? Did the meal or snack make you feel light and energized or heavy and lethargic? Once you begin to conversate with your cravings, you will begin to learn how to better nourish your body.
If you have a craving for a specific food, you may be in need of its nutrients.
An example of this is someone who might be a little dehydrated after a hot day or long workout expressing a strong craving for salty foods (because sodium is an important electrolyte that supports hydration). In a case like this, you will definitely want to eat a little bit of that food—or another food that contains the same nutrient—to satisfy the craving.
A connection between vitamin deficiencies and cravings can be difficult to suss out on your own, so I usually advise that people get their vitamin levels checked by their doctor.
Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, combines her expertise as a celebrity chef and certified nutritionist to serve her A-list clientele. Her passion for integrative health and holistic nutrition led her to create Culinary Alchemy®, a method of functional and spiritual nutrition that integrates how food affects our bodies on a physiological and energetic level. Her work approach to nutrition, wellness, and longevity from a holistic approach optimizes and heals the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of her clients. Follow her Instagram, @chefserenapoon.
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