Health: Beat the cravings

Christmas is coming and temptation is all around. Darren Danks helps us curb those cravings and stay happy and healthy...

Health: Beat the cravings

Cravings, we all have them, they’re part of life, but what do they mean? Why do we get them? Do we need to be a slave to them?

There are a number of reasons we have cravings, a nutrient deficiency in our body, not drinking enough water, hunger, stress, emotions or we may just be bored. Most of us tend to reach for the unhealthy foods, it’s what we’re told to do in adverts – ‘helps you work, rest and play’, ‘I’m lovin’ it’ and ‘taste the rainbow’. They all aim to link our emotions with their food, which makes for a very powerful combination.

But there are things you can do when the dreaded cravings hit us. Before we reach for that inviting block of chocolate calling us from the cupboard, take a moment to stop, ask yourself what you really want, is it sweet food? Carbs? Or maybe salty foods? Whatever it is that you simply must have, try and identify the kind of food. There are much healthier alternatives to chocolate, bread or those ready salted crisps which are just so moreish. But it may be down to more than simply wanting a particular kind of food. 

Often it’s more emotionally linked. Think back to times in your life when you were engaged in an activity where you were so engrossed, contented, happy or carefree, you forgot about any cravings and lived in that moment. Did your cravings come to the surface?

The answer is usually no. That’s because when we allow happiness and love into our lives and are actively focused on that rather than focusing on the more negative things in your life, our cravings begin to reduce because we are feeding what we call in health coaching, our Primary Foods (the things that nourish our mind and heart). It’s so easy to find yourself being dragged down when you’re surrounded by how perfect everyone else’s lives are, or news filled with war, violence. We can sometimes forget to appreciate what we have in, and around, our own lives. Making the shift towards a more positive mindset can help in controlling our cravings, our general wellbeing and our health.

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But if you still need to eat something to fulfill your craving, you have much healthier options to choose from that will give you that hit. 

Something sweet: how about grapes, fresh dates or fresh fruit. These are a great healthy alternative to chocolate, sweets and cake. 

Something salty: try some raw cashews, walnuts or almonds instead. Water is another great weapon in your fight against those pesky cravings, drink plenty of it and, you will feel fuller and your body will thank you as it will be able to cleanse itself, your joints will be lubricated, and your skin will look and feel better. 

Bread: we all love a sandwich but use wholemeal bread instead of white. It has more fibre and is more filling. There’s always a healthier way to feed those cravings. Try and find alternatives that are full of nutrients. Eating nutrient-dense foods will not only reduce cravings but will improve your health, your resistance to illness and they can help you look and feel younger.

Cravings can take over our lives and create feelings of guilt when we give into them. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way, there are alternatives. Fresh fruit and veg, nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate. Don’t punish yourself, simply change how you satisfy those cravings. 

Darren Danks is a Holistic Health Coach based in Netherton near Dudley. Since childhood he has been overweight but since changing his lifestyle in September 2012, he lost 95lbs, eliminated his type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This started his passion with health and wanting to help others. He specialises in working with type 2 diabetes and overweight people. Visit www.simplyhealthy

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