Every time I ask my readers what the most frustrating part of transitioning to eating a healthy diet is, the top answer is, cravings for unhealthy foods.
For this week’s Q&A, I received an email from Anca that says:
“Hi Ariel, Firstly let me thank you for all the info provided. It’s really useful and helpful to feel that your choices and beliefs are confirmed from different sources.
My biggest problem is giving in to cravings in the evening when my energy is low. (I’m generally raw till 4 – fruits mostly, with no need for anything else. After I eat salads or anything cooked – gluten free cereals and vegetables, I sometimes feel I could eat jars of honey, nuts, crackers, or even sweets with white flour and sugar, salty cheese, pasta etc).
I know it’s cell memory, craving for what I’ve fed them for 30 years…and also my mind’s need for stimulants, but I would really want to be able to stop it.
I would be happier to have full control over my diet…to decrease unhealthy consumption of unappropriated foods. I don’t have any condition or weight problems…I just want to eat healthy.
I find it very difficult to find a solution. I don’t like allowing myself to eat those things. Like ‘ok, I’m eating clean stuff all day long, it’s ok to make an exception from time to time’.”
Anca has made a few good points in her message and she is certainly not alone.
Most of the food cravings in my experience are caused by these four factors:
- Under-eating carbohydrates
- Not eating enough greens
- Poor planning: you just don’t have enough tasty, healthy meals available when you need them.
- Emotional eating
In Anca’s case, there’s clearly a case of under-eating carbohydrates and greens. You’re simply not eating enough of the foods your body needs to be satisfied and maintain its energy levels.
Any time you’re craving sweets, honey or bread, rice, pasta, corn, potato (in other words, complex carbohydrates), it is a clear indicator that you haven’t had enough simple carbohydrates.
If you eat enough fresh fruit during the day, you will not crave complex carbohydrates in the evenings.
You need to learn to gradually increase the amount of raw food that you eat; to the point that you’re no longer craving unhealthy foods.
When you’re craving salt or salty foods, it clearly means you’re not eating enough vegetables, in which case I recommend that you eat more lettuce, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, or whichever vegetable you enjoy, and just making sure you eat enough of them.
The easiest guideline is, “fruit during the day and a LARGE salad for dinner, together with other vegetables.”
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