Cravings have a bad habit of sneaking up on us when we least expect it, but there are things we can do to experience them less often and things we can do to crush them when they do manage to sneak in. Mark Hyman, author of Ultrametabolism, recommends getting plenty of essential fatty acids like those in fish or flax because that can help balance blood sugars.(1) Elizabeth Somer in Food & Mood says that drinking plenty of water is helpful because, “Often a desire for sweets in the evening is actually a signal that you need fluids”. (2) Drinking a cup of vegetable or chicken broth could help satisfy or make an herb infused water. Getting enough sleep is very important when dealing with cravings. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels which cues your body to store fat and lowers leptin (the hormone that tells us we’re full- give me more of that please!) so we feel hungry when we’ve had plenty to eat. (4) Lack of Zzzz’s has shown evidence linking short sleep duration to decreased glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion- no thank you! The majority of studies show that glucose tolerance and/or insulin sensitivity are substantially impaired when sleep is restricted for just a few days. (3) Drinking plenty of water, eating a good variety of nutrients, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep are all great ways to prevent cravings, but what do you do when you are experiencing one?
- Have a pickle
- 5 deep belly breaths
- 1 teaspoon L-glutamine powder dissolved in water 2-3 x a day
- Suck on a cinnamon stick or toothpick
- Inhale essential oils of anise, cardamom, grapefruit, clove, rose or vanilla (4)
- Plan “environmental intervention”. Schedule activities that keep you busy during the time cravings normally strike. (e.g., walk with friends, crochet, take a virtual paint class)
- Enjoy a “mocktail” and use the fancy glasses! (recipes on the website)
- Drink a cup of herbal infused water or tea
Infused water recipes — Be creative!
- Lemon basil – squeeze 1 slice of lemon in water and add 2 large basil leaves (crushed to release flavor)
- Cucumber mint – 4-5 slices fresh cucumber and 3-4 mint leaves
- Lemon Rosemary – 1 lemon slice and roughly 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- Ginger Lime – 1 lime slice and 3-4 thin slices fresh ginger
- Celery cucumber – 1 short stalk celery, sliced to release flavor and 4-5 slices cucumber
- Cucumber thyme – 4-5 slices cucumber and roughly 1 tsp thyme (crushed)
- Mint lime – 1 lime slice and 3-4 mint leaves
- Fresh mint sun water – Place 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint leaves in a gallon jar and place in the sun for 3-4 hours. Store in the refrigerator.
- Hyman, Mark. UltraMetabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss. Atria Books. 2008
- Somer, Elizabeth. Food and Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best. Holt. 1999
- Mesarwi, Omar et al. “Sleep disorders and the development of insulin resistance and obesity.” Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America vol. 42,3 (2013): 617-34. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2013.05.001
- Lipman, Frank MD. 10 Reasons You Feel Old and Fat. Hay House Inc. 2015