Top 3 Ways to Eliminate Food Cravings & Munchies
"Munchies" and "cravings" are terms we hear and accept far too often. These are issues worth examining. Lack of discipline is not the reason these things are prevalent in our society. Munchies are different than hunger and far from a random occurrence. They mean something and it's time to start addressing the real cause of these issues. Grocery Stores commit entire aisles to providing us with a plethora of options which food companies have lead us to believe will satisfy these cravings. It is time to hear what these food cravings are really telling us. There are specific reasons why so many Americans unsuccessfully struggle to avoid reaching for that bag of potato chips, the granola bar, trail mix, candy, chewing gum or their favorite snack at some point during their day. Most people will crave food despite admitting they are not hungry, Let's look at the real reasons for our hard to ignore cravings.
Top 3+ Ways to Get Rid of Food Cravings:
- Supplement with highly absorbable minerals, including Salt!
- Avoid Sugar & High Glycemic, Starchy Foods
- Focus on Consuming the Most Nutrient Dense Foods
- Practice Mindful Eating Techniques that Diminish Emotional Eating
Is it Lack of Discipline that Forces Us to Crave Snack Foods?
Discipline is not what's missing, it's minerals. Look around, even some of the most hard working, successful, health conscious and disciplined people cannot avoid food cravings and munchy habits. People that have managed to be successful in virtually every other aspect of their lives still struggle to control their eating habits, to not overeat and to avoid constant snacking throughout the day.
#1. Supplement With Minerals
Cribbing, in Horses and in Humans
Cribbing is a well-known phenomenon in the horse and livestock communities. Cribbing is most often displayed when horses chew and gnaw on things like wooden fences, fence posts, plastic buckets and other non-typical food sources. So what do farmers and horse owners do to avoid their horses from chewing their fences apart? It's a relatively simple solution. They provide a salt lick block and a mineral lick block in the pasture for the animals to lick and consume until they are satisfied.
The urge to chew on wood that animals develop is not a weird tick or misbehavior, and neither are food cravings or munchies in humans. These animals are craving minerals they are deficient in. Wood happens to be rich in minerals which is what leads to the cravings for wood fences; this also is why fertilizing your garden with wood ashes leads to healthy produce. Minerals are essential for every process in the body of humans and animals. Horses, livestock and humans will continue to crave food long after their caloric needs are met; it is not until our nutrient needs are met that we will be fully satisfied and be able to effortlessly walk away from both the dinner table and those snacky junk foods that you wish you could say no to.
Why Do We Need to Supplement Minerals?
Did our ancestors that hunted and gathered have to supplement? Of course not. Our neanderthal ancestors, along with roughly 8000 years of human existence, did not have to supplement minerals because they ate foods packed with nutrients from soils that had never been over farmed or sprayed with soil damaging herbicides, pesticides or fungicides(that being said, they still could have benefited from supplementing!) Our soils are now low in minerals from non-organic, non-sustainable farming practices. Our ancestors ate a massive amount of vegetables, fruits and meats which were far more nutrient dense then those same foods we buy today. For most of human history people not only consumed the meat of the animal but also the bones, tendons, ligaments and organs. These parts of the animals are not typically consumed today, at least in western diets, but they are the most mineral and nutrient dense parts of the animal.
Many of us have food cravings, which we now know to be a sign of mineral deficiency. We simply aren't getting enough minerals from our food sources. Many of us fail to consume adequate amounts of nutrient dense foods which help replenish minerals. Instead, we consume grains, starchy foods, sugary drinks, processed meats and foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. Our vegetables and our animal products are only as nutrient dense as the soil they come from. Even an undeniably healthy food like broccoli or spinach can lack the adequate minerals we need because of our current farming practices. Clearly, our livestock can only be as vitamin and nutrient dense as the foods they consume which are also typically very low in vitamins and minerals. It is clear that even someone that maintains a completely organic, whole foods diet, focusing on the most nutrient dense foods available, can still benefit from supplementing minerals. Click HERE and HERE for a couple of the best plant derived, colloidal mineral supplements available.
Salt is Not the Enemy
Salt has gotten a bad rap in society, as many believe it contributes to heart problems. Our sodium levels are not the issue. Our diet of high processed foods often leads to an imbalance of sodium, potassium and magnesium which are the three major electrolytes responsible for regulating important cell processes. If your diet is high in processed foods, you will likely have too much sodium in your body. While cutting out processed foods is a great idea, cutting back salt isn't. Once you start supplementing minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc, your body will naturally regulate sodium levels. When buying and consuming salt make sure to look for the natural, unprocessed options like sea salt, cetlic salt or this Himalayan Pink Salt that I recently bought from Thrivemarket.com which is another cool site that you can find tons of useful info, recipies and healthy food options.
If you eat a clean diet of vegetables and meats you should add natural salt to your meals without hesitation. Salt is an essential mineral in the body and just like horses and livestock that are deficient in salt, we get strong food cravings for anything salty or crunchy. My personal morning routine often starts with a half teaspoon of natural himalayan, sea, or celtic salt and lemon water. Salt is also an essential nutrient for proper food digestion as your body needs it to create stomach acid. If you are a regular exerciser and sweat frequently, you should consider supplementing salt before or after your workouts. Salt is one of the major nutrients lost in sweat and if you do not replace this important nutrient, you will likely experience the side effects from fatigue or cramps to strong food cravings. Salt can raise blood pressure in useful ways. Often lightheadedness and general fatigue can be supported by taking a half teaspoon of salt with some water.
#2. Avoid Sugar and Starchy Foods
Sugar and starchy foods spike blood sugar which leads to the well-known crash in energy and a continuous craving for more sugar and more starchy carbohydrates. When blood sugar goes too high too fast your body responds with the excretion of the hormone insulin which has the job of clearing the sugar out of the blood. Often times the body will over correct for this high amount of sugar by releasing too much insulin and dropping blood glucose levels too low. This leads us feeling sluggish and in need of something to eat that will bring those blood glucose levels back up. It is a vicious cycle that you should be mindful to avoid. The less sweets you eat, the less you will crave.
#3. Consume Nutrient Dense Foods
Most people can distinguish between hunger and cravings. The urge to continue eating or grab for a crunchy, salty snack is often present for people even though they are not hungry. These cravings are again, from a lack of nutrients, not calories. To avoid consuming too many calories and too few of nutrients we need to focus on eating foods with high Nutrient/Calorie ratios. So take a donut or a bowl of pasta for example, neither has any significant amount of vitamins or minerals yet both of them are extremely high in calories. Not only that but they will leave you with a sugar crash that leaves you wanting more food in just a couple of hours. In your meals and your snacks focus on the highest nutrient foods. These are foods like organic broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, lettuce, beats, broccoli rob, carrots, berries, bell peppers and most other garden vegetables. Though natural meats and fats do not have quite as high of a nutrient/calorie ratio, they will also leave you feeling full and satisfied for a significant amount of time. Just make sure your meals come with healthy portions of raw, steamed or lightly cooked veggies. Add natural salt and grass fed butter without feeling guilty as both are extremely healthy nutrients that are great to consumer as long as your diet limits sugars and starchy foods.
#4. Mindful Eating Habits
The high stress demands of life often lead to emotional eating habits. These habits provide little stress release at best. Here are few simple tricks that help maintain a present and aware mindset while eating.
Consciously and intentionally focus on each bite of food you consume. Experience the food, taste it, enjoy it. Don't rush, sit down, turn the TV off, put your phone on silent. Do not multitask during meals or snacks. Make meals and snacks specific events with a beginning and end. What we are trying to avoid is the overdrive mode that leads to one mindless handful of food after another. Most everyone has had one (or tons) of these mindless eating experiences, you know, when you ate the entire bag of trail mix or rushed through a meal without really noticing any of it. Put your fork or spoon down in between bites and take time to clear your pallet before reaching for another mouth full. Take a few deep breaths before and during the meal to ensure your mind is present and enjoying the meal. Praying or meditating briefly before the meal has been an ancient tradition that has allowed people to enjoy meals more fully, yet we have gotten away from this habit. Get back to these traditions of intentionally making time to enjoy the food you eat.
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