Kick cravings for carbs. Simply!
'Is giving up the carbs' something you've committed to? Are you feeling an extra need for carbs with the change of seasons & maybe feeling guilty?
Cutting back or giving up carbs is something we know we need to do BUT… in reality is hard! (Especially those sneaky mid afternoon chocolate fixes)?!
Carbohydrate (carb) cravings might feel like;
- a need for something sweet after a meal, (especially a healthy meal).
- a need for something 'comforting'.
- a dip in energy after a meal or mid morning or afternoon.
- the need for food at around 4-5pm.
- irritability without knowing why?
- or you just really WANT that slice of bread or sweet treat.
So how do we kick these cravings and live a little more?...
- Stabilising blood sugars.
- Learning what's really causing the craving?
- The change of seasons.
Great. So how do we do that?!
Firstly let's look at blood sugars.
We understand how simple carbs can send our blood sugars on a crazy rollercoaster ride - you know the ones i.e. pasta, rice, pizza, bread, biscuits, generally highly refined and processed foods and grains that the body can use quickly for fuel.
This conversation with my son and analogy about twigs v logs will help.
Twigs v logs.
I’m not sure how the conversation started. We were sitting at the family dinner table when our youngest stated he wanted to eat more pasta and pizza because it was good for him?!
He was ‘fishing’ for a bite that’s for sure. I reckon he got a bit more than he could chew!!
Stay with me because this might help your family too.
About to jump up and down and correct his misguidance, I caught myself and kept quiet for a moment (not so easy to do)!
With my hubby’s support, I explained …
It’s like keeping a good fire burning.
To make a good fire what do we use? ‘Logs and twigs’.
What gets it started, by making it burn fast and hot? Twigs.
So what makes the fire burn steadier and for longer? ‘logs’.
What happens if we used just twigs and no logs? ‘We need to keep adding twigs constantly’!
So there are 3 types of energy our bodies use for fuel; fats, carbs and protein (macro nutrients).
Fats and protein are like the logs - add them to the fire, or our metabolism and they give us good, sustaining, steady energy for a longer time.
Simple carbohydrate is like the twigs. When added to the fire (or our metabolic system) alone, they’re burnt up super quickly. We need to add more and more twigs to the fire to keep it alight!
It's an over-simplified analogy of energy production but he totally got this. And maybe it'll help you and your family too.
So getting back to our blood sugars. It’s like the twigs.
The twigs burn quickly, and quickly need to be replenished to stop the fire going out. It’s the same for us. Eating a lot of simple carbohydrates means we need to keep replenishing the fire. If we don’t, our blood sugars swing and cravings kick in (we need energy). It's almost always leading to excess energy and fat storage i.e. weight gain.
Eat more sustaining fuel i.e. protein and fats and our blood sugars are more stable, (this doesn't necessarily apply to type 1 diabetics).
An interesting fact about these sources of energy is that fats and protein are essential to our diet. We need to get these energy sources from our food. Carbohydrate on the other hand is non-essential i.e. our body metabolises (makes) glucose (a product of carbohydrate) from fats and protein as and when required. Carbohydrate therefore is a non-essential dietary fuel - i.e. we actually don’t need much in our diet.
Secondly, what's driving the craving?
Let's assume you've stabilised your blood sugars but you're still guiltily reaching for the bowl of pasta or slice of cake! Stop. Before eating the cake, take a moment to think about WHY you're reaching for it? Is it boredom, tiredness, stress, lack of movement, self care, time outside, the need for comfort etc? Or is there a microbiome imbalance driving the need for simple carbohydrates & create further imbalance? This article, 'parasites, the silent epidemic' might help answer this for you.
When we crave foods, it's more likely there is a deeper spiritual or emotional need not being met. To help identify this though we need awareness and we can only have awareness if we stop, slow down and take a moment to notice or feel what it is our bodies are really asking for?
Thirdly, is it seasonal?
Through the winter months and the transitioning of the seasons, we can naturally crave more comforting, heartier or starchier foods. It may be that your body needs a few more of these whole foods and complex carbs such as basmati rice, sweet potato, quinoa and other unprocessed, gluten free whole foods. At times women (and our hormones) can especially benefit from adding more of these foods into the day. If this resonates for you, perhaps experiment and see how you feel.
So in summary HOW do we manage cravings?
13 ways to kick the cravings.
The body is complex and there is a lot to consider other than food alone in the production of energy and to curb cravings, (something I go into far more detail in my 21 day foundational program, 'Get-up & GLOW with Kate')
Commonly these 12 ideas make a great difference;
- Reduce or eliminate sugar (carbohydrate) including refined and processed grains.
- Stay hydrated. Drink more filtered water. Add in a pinch of good quality salt rich in minerals e.g. himalayan or celtic sea salt.
- Add in a cup of bone stock each day.
- Add in more healthy fats and protein for good energy.
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine.
- Add in more nutrients especially minerals e.g. bone stock or supercharge (e.g. with gelatin or a raw egg) a smoothie.
- Add in bitter foods e.g. dark leafy greens and herbs either in soups, salads or smoothies, to help support liver health.
- Enjoy better sleep with earlier nights and mornings.
- Spend more time outdoors, especially in the early morning or late afternoon sunshine.
- ‘Speak’ more kindly to yourself. Be aware of your thoughts.
- What time of the year is it? Does your body actually need more complex carbohydrates or more seasonal foods to help it transition through the colder or warmer months?
- Then what are the cravings telling you? Listen to your body. Is it because you feel like you’re missing out? Does it relate back to childhood when treats were a reward for feeling down? Or is it an imbalance in the microbiome?
- Starting anything new can be hard. It's easier to stay in our comfort zone. Think of it as an experiment and stretch past your comfort zone where the magic happens.
Cravings can infact be an invitation to continue our personal evolution to becoming the best version of ourselves.
Try any one of the above for 2 - 4 days and the cravings will pass. As you nourish your mind and body more deeply, blood sugars will begin to stabilise and your mood improve as your body returns to balance or homeostasis.
Making change and new choices is more enjoyable and successful with community, knowledge and accountability. If you’re looking for a super quick reset grab my free copy of A Gentle Cleanse and register for my upcoming call! Grab it and register here.
Or for more lasting lifestyle unleveling join me in my next round of Get-up and Glow! Where we go into this topic in more detail and create new healthFUL habits for life. We start on the 30th of August for 21 days to inner and outer radiance. It’s our foundational detox program. You can join me through this link!
And, 'never give up because great things take time'.