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Win the Battle Against Cravings

Posted on 13th November, by Aaron Shelley in Articles. Comments Off

Win the Battle Against Cravings

Why is it that so many women crave chocolate during their period, and men claim they can’t imagine watching sports without beer and salty nachos? Don’t even get me started on young children who won’t hesitate to embarrass their poor parents in shopping malls screaming for candy or ice cream. Oh right – I used to be one of those kids.

All joking aside, maybe this sounds all too familiar and you’re wondering why you catch yourself saying “yes” to foods that you should be saying “no” to. It’s always amazed me how food cravings manage to play with the rational human mind. Even those who are seriously invested in making healthier choices often give in to their cravings for unhealthy treats.

If you’re tired of feeling at war with your body, it’s time to make peace with it. Listen to your body as it communicates with you. It may be asking for a vitamin or mineral that you’re deficient in, or it may just be seeking comfort. Either way, isn’t it time to get your cravings under control?

Up until a few years ago, movie night for my wife always included her favorite fuzzy blankie, a decadent chocolate brownie, a big bowl of buttery popcorn, and a can of diet soda. For me, it was a beer and popcorn. Thank goodness she married me! Actually for my sake, I’m thankful she married me. But that’s another story. In this story, she is happy I taught her the importance of quality nutrition. After years of helping people battling food cravings and dealing with them myself, I understand the constant struggle that affects so many people every day.

Many people blame the underlying cause of their cravings on Candida. Some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners blame common symptoms such as fatigue, headache and poor memory on intestinal overgrowth of the fungus-like organism Candida albicans, or yeast syndrome. To cure the syndrome, they recommend a candida cleanse diet, which includes no sugar, white flour, yeast and cheese, on the theory that these foods promote candida overgrowth.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much evidence to support the diagnosis of yeast syndrome. Consequently many conventional practitioners doubt its validity. And there are no clinical trials that document the efficacy of a candida cleanse diet for treating any recognized medical condition.

Not surprisingly, many people note improvement in various symptoms when following this diet. If you stop eating sugar and white flour, you’ll generally wind up cutting out most processed foods, which tend to be high in calorie content and low in nutritive value. Within a few weeks of replacing processed foods with fresh ones and white flour with whole grains, you may start to feel better in general. That, rather than stopping the growth of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract, is the main benefit of a candida cleanse diet. So, regardless, there appears to be at least some merit to this type of cleanse.

Are you ready to identify the underlying cause of your cravings? Isn’t it time to re-train your taste buds? Believe me, movie night doesn’t become less enjoyable munching on kale chips. In fact, it’s even better!

Unfortunately, most people don’t use food as their medicine to prevent and treat disease. With our fast-paced society, most people barely think about what they’re putting into their bodies. Giving in to food cravings is way too easy, and chances are you aren’t craving spinach, apples, or vegan butternut squash soup. Most of the foods that people crave don’t do much more than provide the body with immediate satisfaction, and a distended belly.

So let’s identify five simple ways to combat these cravings.

  • Try a Candida detox? Why not?! Sugary treats tend to be the most common cravings out there. Has it ever occurred to you that yeast may be what’s driving your intense desire for sweets? If you struggle with carb cravings, a simple blood test may be your answer. If it is bogus science, the cleanse will likely do you good anyway.

The IgG food sensitivity test offered at many clinics tests for food allergens, along with Candida Albicans – a yeast found naturally in the body. When yeast multiplies out of control, they cry and scream throughout the day for sugar. Hence your unbearable urge to calm them down by feeding them. The only solution is to starve them off with a cleanse.

  • Keep healthy snacks on you at all times. Put them in your car, at your desk, and in your gym bag. Always leave the house with almonds, apples, or homemade protein bars, and never skip breakfast. I know you’ve heard this before, but if you struggle with cravings, you’ve got to start making better food choices when it comes to snacking – and especially breakfast.

An ideal breakfast that’s high in protein and good fats is essential. My favorite? One hardboiled egg, half an avocado with one tablespoon of olive oil, a handful of walnuts, and green tea. Processed, packaged foods are the enemy – not satisfying and fulfilling good fats, so don’t be afraid of healthy fats.

  • Eat at least every two to six hours. Always ensure your meals/snacks consist of a quality source of protein. Eating clean requires more effort on your part – waking up a little bit earlier may be necessary in order to pack the right foods for your day. Although it may initially seem like a lot of work, doing so will prevent you from doing the head bob dance at 3 pm. Say bye-bye to your afternoon latté and oatmeal cookie, because you just may not crave them anymore.
  • Stay well hydrated. Most people don’t drink enough water. As a result, they feel thirsty, but commonly mistaken being thirsty for hunger. Sip plenty of lemon water and yerba mate tea throughout the day. This powerful South American tea suppresses appetite, helps balance blood glucose levels and boosts metabolism.
  • Listen to your body! Your cravings may be a simple signal from your body letting you know which nutrient, vitamin, or mineral it needs more of. An iron deficiency may be the reason why you’re craving red meat. Check out the chart below for more information to help you understand your specific food cravings.

If you’re snacking late at night, reaching for unhealthy treats for comfort, or feeling incomplete without dessert at the end of your meal, perhaps there’s something else going on. Emotional eating is a common problem in today’s society, but you may also want to consider a possible neurochemical or hormonal imbalance.

A Naturopathic Doctor can help you identify the root cause of your cravings and prepare an appropriate treatment plan for you. This may include eliminating food intolerances, stimulating the appetite-suppressing auricular acupuncture point, or taking a combination of the following supplements: chromium, 5-HTP, L-carnitine, or B vitamins.

The following chart has been referenced in many different sources and is commonly used by Naturopathic Doctors in practice. I’m sure it will help you understand the complex world of food cravings. Enjoy!

If you crave this…


What you really need is…  And here are healthy foods that have it:
Chocolate Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Sweets Chromium Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken
  Carbon Fresh fruits
  Phosphorus Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains
  Sulfur Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables, kale, cabbage
  Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
Bread, toast Nitrogen High protein foods: fish, meat, nuts, beans
Oily snacks, fatty foods Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Coffee or tea Phosphorous  Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes
  Sulfur Egg yolks, red peppers, muscle protein, garlic, onion, cruciferous vegetables
  NaCl (salt) Sea salt, apple cider vinegar (on salad)
  Iron Meat, fish and poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries

Alcohol, recreational drugs

Protein Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, nuts
  Avenin Granola, oatmeal
  Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
  Glutamine Supplement glutamine powder for withdrawal, raw cabbage juice
  Potassium Sun-dried black olives, potato peel broth, seaweed, bitter greens

Chewing ice

Iron Meat, fish, poultry, seaweed, greens, black cherries
Burned food  


Fresh fruits

Soda and other carbonated drinks

Calcium Mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame
Salty foods Chloride Raw goat milk, fish, unrefined sea salt
Acid foods Magnesium Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits
Preference for liquids rather than solids Water Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Preference for solids rather than liquids Water You’ve been so dehydrated for so long that you’ve lost your thirst. Flavor water with lemon or lime. You need 8 to 10 glasses per day.
Cool drinks Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
Pre-menstrual cravings Zinc Red meats (especially organ meats), seafood, leafy vegetables, root vegetables

General overeating




Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches

  Tryptophan Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach
  Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green, red fruits and vegetables

Lack of appetite

Vitamin B1 Nuts, seeds, beans, liver and other organ meats
  Vitamin B3 Tuna, halibut, beef, chicken, turkey, pork, seeds and legumes
  Manganese Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pineapple, blueberries
  Chloride Raw goat milk, unrefined sea salt
Tobacco Silicon Nuts, seeds; avoid refined starches
  Tyrosine Vitamin C supplements or orange, green and red fruits and vegetables


  • Lectures, Cheryl M. Deroin, NMD, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, Spring 2003 (healthy food recommendations)
  • Benard Jenson, PhD, The Chemistry of Man B. Jensen Publisher, 1983 (deficiencies linked to specific cravings and some food recommendations)


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