The four best ways!
- Studies have shown that glutamine helps sugar cravings disappear quickly. Keep some l-glutamine capsules with you, open one up and let it dissolve under your tongue. That should give your brain more of what it is really after and the craving should disappear!
- Eat more real food. Lots of real food! Sometimes you have a craving for salty foods when your body is in fact looking for missing minerals. Address real hunger and the craving should pass.
- Sometimes we think we are craving something when it is actually just a bad habit we need to fix – like mindlessly snacking on salted popcorn while watching a movie. Limiting your feeding window to 8-12 hours with no food 3 hours before bed takes effort at first but once it is a habit, you won’t go looking for evening snacks.
- When you have a craving, try figure out what is bringing it up for you, be mindful and ride out the feeling. The feeling only lasts on average 5 minutes and it should pass if you just give it time.
What if these things don’t work?
When the cravings seem to have more hold over you and trying to control them seems impossible, knowing more about where they come from may be the missing bit of information you need to take back control.
We are naturally designed to get pleasure from food and sex. This is in our design to ensure our survival. There is a natural dopamine release, to encourage us to continue with these two activities.
The food industry learnt how to artificially stimulate this pleasure, multiplying the dopamine release immensely and causing food addictions. This dopamine release is the same reason why people become addicted to drugs.
How did the food industry do it? They have the salt, oil and sugar ratio all figured out. It isn’t your fault that you can’t only eat one chip! They have been carefully and specifically made this way. To drive you to eat more and more. Why, sales of course!
Are your cravings actually addictions?
We need to realise that in this day and age, most of us are dealing with food addictions, often presenting as cravings. People don’t realise they are dealing with an addiction until they try to stop eating these foods. The same is true for smokers. I have known many smokers over the years who had the belief that they could stop whenever they wanted to and are horribly surprised when they try and fail over and over again.
Addictions can be super difficult for some people to break. I think this is partly down to personality. I personally have a very addictive personality so I need to be extra careful with what I consume. Your relationship with food is another big factor. What needs are you filling when you eat? Are you bored, lonely, hurting? Using the dopamine release to fix other areas you aren’t ready to deal with…
Concentrated and artificial substances create a much higher dopamine release than the levels released with natural whole foods.
Just like an alcoholic can’t just drink on weekends, some people just can’t have a few chips or one bite of chocolate. Alcoholics will quickly agree to only drink on weekends but this often leaves them worse off. Sometimes it is just better to stop the habit altogether.
How addictive is your personality?
Can you have one block of chocolate and then put the rest away? If so, the 4 tips above will be all you need. If you aren’t that lucky and food seems to have more control over you, then reducing and finally eliminating salt, sugar and oil from your diet is what will bring you success in this area.
Eating a whole-food plant-based diet will give your body the exact amount of salt, sugar and oil that it needs to regain balance.
If you need more help in this area, I recommend you consider reading the book “The Pleasure Trap” by Dr Alan Goldhamer.