What Do You CRAVE?
One of my favorite questions to ask my clients is, “What do you crave?” Crave is such a powerful word and can mean so many things. The dictionary definition of crave is “to have a great desire for.” We all know that feeling well is something that we crave. What else do we crave? We crave love, happiness, hope, warmth, laughter, and food. Many times, our desires intersect and we can’t quite put a finger on exactly what it is we are craving. I’ll give you an example.
When I used to work in a sales job with a territory of 22 states, I would find myself in the kitchen with a spoon, eating peanut butter directly out of the peanut butter jar until almost half of it was gone. What was I craving? Certainly not the actual nourishment of half a jar of peanut butter. What I really wanted was something to soothe me from the amount of stress I was feeling with my career.
This week, when you feel a craving coming on, ask yourself - out loud: “What am I craving?” The key to asking yourself this question is doing it aloud; that makes it real. We can get wrapped up in our heads sometimes and speaking aloud makes us more aware of what is really going on inside of us.
Physical Versus Emotional Hunger
Today, when we talk about nutrition and physical food, we are talking about:
Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Healthy Fats, Water
What is essential to realize when it comes to feeding ourselves, is that these these emotional factors can greatly influence our feelings of hunger:
1. Having an Inspiring Career
2. Honest, Open Relationships
3. Enjoyable, Regular Activities
4. Meaningful Spirituality (whatever this means for you)
So when you ask yourself, “What am I really craving?”, investigate physical hunger versus emotional hunger.
Hungry for something Crunchy?
Try any of these delicious snacks:
• frozen cherries
• plain popcorn: use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan
• carrots and hummus
• celery and almond butter or organic peanut butter
• sprouted toast with almond butter and agave nectar
Hungry for something Sweet?
Try one of these tasty treats:
• organic berries
• apple and almond butter
• oatmeal with agave nectar, cinnamon, almond milk and strawberries
• smoothies: coconut milk, banana, flaxseed
• sweet vegetables: sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, onions, beets
• organic dark chocolate
• coconut bliss non-dairy ice cream
Hungry for something Salty?
Try one of these yummy morsels:
• tabouli, hummus
• veggies with soy sauce or umeboshi vinegar
• Mary’s gone crackers (gluten free) with guacamole
• sweet potato fries
• salted edamame
Hungry for something Creamy?
Try one of these delights:
• organic, plain yogurt
• rice pudding
• dips and spreads, like hummus and baba ghanoush
• purréed soups
• mashed sweet potatoes
• coconut milk
Emotional cravings can be substantially harder to satisfy than physical ones, which is why we so often turn to physical food when the emotional food we need is lacking. We generally feel full, emotionally, when we are working passionately on a project, in productive relationships, enjoying regular hobbies and activities, and involved in some form of meaningful spirituality. The fun, excitement, and love in our daily lives have the power to feed us so that physical food is only a secondary solution to this kind of craving.
We may feel down and out and try to feed ourselves with physical food when we are still “starving” for emotional food. There’s no substitute for figuring out what emotional cravings you’re having so that you can resolve those and then really enjoy resolving your physical cravings when you’re hungry.
Chat with a friend or family member this week about the cravings you may be having and investigate whether they are physical or emotional. Simply exploring the process, can create some helpful realizations. They have and continue to do so for me, and I’m confident that figuring out what you’re craving in your life will make the satisfaction of every craving that much more enjoyable.
Let me know how this goes and what you learn about yourself? What other foods do you enjoy using to satisfy your physical cravings?
Catherine, a Holistic Health Counselor, trained at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in association with Columbia University and is a certified Nutrition Educator from Bauman College. She works on health goals in areas such as natural weight equilibrium, food cravings, sleep, energy and digestion.