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Cravings: Causes and Cures

written by Ella Magers July 30, 2020
Cravings: Causes and Cures

Let’s talk about food cravings.  What are some of the foods you crave? If you’re curious about why you have cravings, and how to cure them, this is for you!

You may have heard me share my former struggles with foods like peanut butter and granola. We make plenty of jokes about my granola addiction, so feel free to make fun of me.

Everyone Has Cravings

Every person experiences cravings differently, but often cravings are for processed “junk” foods because they are high in sugar, salt, and fat — all of which are highly addictive. The desire for these foods that don’t nourish our bodies can be so intense and seem uncontrollable to the point that your “hunger” might not be satisfied until you consume that particular food.

Cravings are not actually caused by the stomach or the taste buds but the regions of the brain that are responsible for memory, pleasure, and reward — a powerful combination of forces! We remember how these foods make us feel, and we want to replicate the pleasure experience.

Our brains are so efficient at steering us to what is going to make us feel good.

Unfortunately, this often overrides the centers of our brain that control our logic and reasoning. So it’s easy to see how food cravings present a major roadblock to forming new, healthier nutritional habits.

A couple of causes for the brain’s reaction that produces the cravings are very intimately connected.  First is an imbalance of hormones such as leptin and serotonin. Commonly craved foods release endorphins after eating, which mirrors addiction in many ways. The brain knows how to make the body feel good, so it signals the craving to get the flow of endorphins but after the flow, comes the crash.

As temporary as the relief is, junk food can fulfill the need for relief from negative emotions very quickly.

Strategies for Curing Cravings

When it comes to overcoming or curing cravings for unhealthy foods, we give a number of helpful tips and strategies.

The mindset strategies we cover in this episode are an extension of our Self-Empowerment Coaching System (Episode 4).

One such strategy is as follows… When you feel like eating, give yourself a little test, and ask yourself, “Would I eat kale right now (or any nutrient-dense plant food you like, but don’t feel addicted to)?”  If the answer is yes, go right ahead and eat kale.  If the answer is no, then you probably are not hungry and may be wanting to eat out of habit and/or to suppress emotions.

If eating to suppress emotions is any part of that answer, then it is time to take a step back and suspend your judgment. Look at yourself and your situation with compassion and curiosity, and then ask yourself some questions.

  • “What’s bothering me?” or “What’s really stressing me out?”
  • “What can I do about it?”
  • “Why am I NOT doing something about it?”

If you commit to facing the stress and underlying emotions first, you can usually bust through the craving.

In other words, you are really facing your stuff, rather than stuffing your face!

What is the Craving Telling You?

It’s really important to explore what’s underneath that has you looking for comfort, pleasure, and a reward that is momentary, and actually deal with the root issue rather than making a self-sabotaging choice.

By giving in to a craving rather than dealing with the fuel behind it, you find yourself then dealing with guilt, sadness, or stress about the craving and the rest of the muck that you were escaping from in the first place.

Remember this… It’s rarely about the food!

We encourage you to join our uniquely powerful and compassionate Empowered Vegan Life group on Facebook for more coaching and support around this topic!

We’d love to hear about your experience and how helpful you found it to be (or not to be)!

Email [email protected]. I read and reply to every email myself because your feedback is so incredibly valuable… This is for YOU!

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