When Your Body Craves Certain Foods, It Actually Is Looking For Nutrients
This chart was first published on my website and then in my book “CHOOSE YOUR FOODS: Like Your Life Depends on Them” in 2007. Here is an excerpt:
Food cravings can seem strong enough to pick you up and carry you straight to the refrigerator or convenience store independent of your will and better judgment. For many women, cravings are especially intense in the week or so before menstruation. But many men, older women, teens and children can have strong cravings too. Let’s look at what is behind this force. Naturopathic physician Tori Hudson, ND, describes the condition as a mild malnutrition, certainly not with severe overt consequences as say scurvy or rickets. Rather, a great many people on the Standard American Diet (SAD in more ways than one) suffer from a milder malnutrition from eating only depleted, processed foods and not enough whole, nutrient-rich foods.
As a result, we end up craving the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that we lack. But while your body may know that you are missing for example potassium, your conscious mind is not aware of the flavor of potassium. Instead, because of familiarity, you can reminisce and feel hungry for the flavor of salty foods, which are high in another cation, sodium, and which have their appeal partly rooted in sodium and potassium. The salty foods that your conscious mind desires has its greatest ability to quench those cravings due to the salty foods’ high sodium content.
So how do you wrap yourself around healthier food choices if you have never eaten healthy food? Steven Ehrlich, ND, an Arizona naturopathic physician recommends starting very slowly and gradually. He likes to add, rather than subtract, from his patient’s diets. For example, he might instruct the patient to add an apple every day. Once that’s going well and has become a habit, they might later add some salmon, then a salad. As the healthy items start filling up the menu and the patient’s tummy, the highly processed foods begin falling away surreptitiously as they get replaced. Gradually, the patient is encouraged to continue to improve the diet by the rewarding health benefits that accrue to those who eat well. This is probably the most painless way to clean up the diet, provided the patient is steadfast and sticks with it permanently.
The bottom line is: the way to win the eating game is to choose the healthiest foods possible in the widest variety available, with respect to your metabolic type.1 The following table gives the best food options for overcoming various kinds of cravings.
|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|
|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|
|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||Carbon||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 have been so dehydrated for so long that you have 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||Silicon||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|
As we have seen, cravings are actually the manifestation of a mild malnutrition, which is very widespread, even in well-to-do societies. We go into this at length in Chapter 11 of the book. So we end up craving the vitamins and especially minerals that we lack. The chocolate that your conscious mind desires has its greatest ability to quench those cravings due to chocolate’s high magnesium content.
Of course, the sugar in commercially prepared chocolate is another desperate desire when you have ridden the sugar-insulin roller coaster long enough to plummet to the abyss of hypoglycemia. The food cravings of PMS are due to poor glucose tolerance brought on by diets that are high in refined carbohydrates. Refined sugars deplete the body’s supplies of B-vitamins, chromium, magnesium, zinc and manganese, and the resulting deficiencies then manifest as cravings for other foods. What adds insult to injury here is that whole sugar cane is actually high in these minerals. In fact, of all known plants, the one with the highest known proportion of chromium is, of all things, sugar cane. Chromium is necessary for insulin function and to modulate blood sugar levels. Then the refining process strips out the minerals, so that the whole food, which nature put together so wisely, now becomes something that destroys our health, heaves our blood sugar and blood insulin into grotesque chaos, and leaves us craving what the refining process threw away.
This simply adds to the mountain of evidence that nature knew what she was doing when she made whole food. This is not to say that sugar cane or the minimally processed molasses should be consumed. The torture of the huge sugar-insulin assault on your pancreas and liver and brain is really not worth the minerals gained from eating it. Those minerals are available from healthier sources.
If you are interested in food and how it effects your body, read about our recent clinical study on sugar, and how we found that our cancer patients who eliminated all types of sugar and sweets from their diets had double the survival rate of cancer patients who ate sugar. We have seen first hand at our natural cancer clinic the devastating effects of sugar on the human body, and as we recommend to all of our patients – the one food you should eliminate from your diet is SUGAR (in all of its forms). You will lose weight, have more energy, and be healthier; and you will feel the effects almost immediately. We feel this is the single most important thing that anyone can do with their diet to become healthier. If you are interested in learning about naturopathic, alternative cancer treatments please visit our homepage.Sugar: The Fuel That Feeds Cancer Growth