When Covid hit in March, 2020, my business as a Health Coach and Holistic Nurse Practitioner floundered. As we were all sheltering in place in a time of great uncertainty, many of us felt highly stressed.
So, to maintain my sanity and feel that I was still contributing to my community, in April of 2020, I started delivering groceries to seniors with chronic conditions, who should not have been out in public shopping.
I was stunned to see the amount of “junk food” I was delivering to people with health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes: chips and dips, bacon, pizza, ice cream and sugar-laden cereals.
For 20+ years, my career has been focused on good nutrition to prevent, arrest and reverse chronic disease, and now I was delivering harmful, unhealthy food straight to their house!!
But why do we crave these fattening foods–even if we know that they’re probably not the
best thing for us to be eating??
Partly, it’s the way our brains are wired. The “old” part of our brain craves sugar and high-fat foods as a survival mechanism: 3,000 years ago, food was scarce and we had to scavenge for it. But now, with large supermarkets and fast food places on every corner, there are so many convenient temptations all around us. And, in 2021, our brain still works the same way–urging us to eat these foods.
Another factor is the biochemistry of how sugary and processed foods affect us. These foods–I like to call them food-like substances– give the brain a dopamine boost (dopamine is a feel good neurotransmitter). We feel better instantly. And, the more of these foods we eat, the more we crave them.
The food industry has capitalized on this and created processed foods that are not only delicious, but “hyper-palatable,” that is to say, they are super addicting. Food scientists are paid tens of thousands of dollars to create foods that we crave and therefore want to buy more and more of.
Remember that every bite you eat affects your hormones, brain chemistry and metabolism. And we know that refined sugar and processed foods that contain “hidden” sugar are the most addictive foods on earth.
As I said earlier, my career is focused on healthy eating to prevent, arrest and reverse chronic disease, particularly Type 2 diabetes.
Here are 4 tips to fend off those cravings and keep your blood sugar balanced:
–Try “swapping out” a food that is high in protein or healthy fats, such as unsalted nuts, ½ of an avocado or a slice of turkey breast.
–Drink a cup of warm (or cold) cinnamon spice tea. Although it has no sugar or calories, the flavor of cinnamon has an amazingly sweet smell and taste.
–Try aromatherapy. Certain scents, such as jasmine, have been found to reduce cravings. And other scents, such as lavender, reduce stress. There are many brands, but 2 that I use are Aura Cacia and Now essential oils.
–Use music therapy. There are endless choices on You Tube and other music apps like Spotify, but one that I find to be extremely soothing is this Pachelbel music video.
FOOD is MEDICINE, and every bite that we put in our mouth is either promoting health or contributing to disease. For more information on conquering food cravings, I’d love to set up a FREE 20-minute phone call. Health Coaching sessions are available via telehealth or phone. Click here to schedule your FREE consult.