Chances are, you’ve done some research. Generally speaking, you probably know the rules – less sugar; good fats; quality, real foods, etc. All of the information is out there; we just have to follow it. According to the way it reads on a page, living a healthier lifestyle should be simple, right?
If you’re anything like most people, your answer probably ranges from a subtle facial expression betraying your uncertainty, to an outright, hard-and-fast, sarcastic “Yeah right!” No matter where you fall on this spectrum, you can trust that you’re in good company. But why, when we know better, do we so often fail to do better when it comes to our bodies and health?
The answer: cravings – those pesky little devils that nag at you until you give in to their whispers. The fact is that what you know in your head and what your body fiends for in the middle of the night can be completely opposite things, and the battle of wills that ensues in such moments is not an easy one to win. Cutting out the unhealthy snacks sounds nice, except for the fact that they’re just so tempting! There is good news, though – you can actually overcome your cravings by adding certain foods to your diet, beating them before they even begin.
A diet that includes adequate amounts of raw foods is likely to cut down on cravings. But, not just any raw foods will do. Stick with alkaline forming foods, as acidic forming foods can throw the body into a tailspin that causes cravings instead of eliminating them. Alkaline forming foods assist the body in maintaining its normal pH. Staying in alignment with your natural pH keeps you well, happy and healthy; the opposite can cause you to feel tired, irritable, and unsatisfied.
Some healthy, alkalizing raw foods to start sneaking into your daily meals include leafy greens (think kale and spinach), nuts and healthy oils (like almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut oil), and certain fruits (including bananas, avocado, and lemons).
The intense level of nutrients contained in high quality raw foods will help your body feel satisfied by keeping your serotonin level up and even, meaning that there will be no need for the sugary, processed fare you might reach for when serotonin levels dip.
Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter related to our mood, appetite and digestion. It gives you that “feel good” sensation when hunger has been satiated, and 90% of it is produced in the gut.
This is where another important food factor enters the scene. Ensuring the health of your gut with fermented foods will mean that you are able to absorb more nutrients from what you eat. (Remember, more nutrients = optimum serotonin.)
Again, this eliminates the need for the sugary, bad-carbohydrate heavy or processed snacks that your brain turns to when your serotonin is low. Gut-healthy fermented foods that you can add to your diet today include raw apple cider vinegar, fermented vegetables (like kimchi or sauerkraut), and kombucha, kvass or other probiotic rich drinks.
So, now that you have a secret weapon, get ready for battle! Make sure you keep a healthy snack on you at all times – a serving of almonds stashed in your purse, or a bag of kale chips in your desk drawer work well.
Try starting off your day with some kombucha or kefir instead of coffee or tea. Toss some kimchi into your salad for a healthy, spicy kick, or pop some sauerkraut on top of a cracker with avocado in a crunch. Finally, make sure to keep some healthy sugar free sweet treats around for when a craving does hit. Blend frozen bananas with a little coconut milk and a dash of cinnamon for a great tasting alternative to ice cream. (Yum!)
Helping your body absorb high quality nutrients by introducing raw and fermented foods into your daily diet is key to rewiring your system for optimum health. Even more importantly, these factors will help you feel good on your journey to a healthier life, instead of deprived or lacking. So, the next time you face off with Rocky Road, chocolate chips, or peanut butter cups in a midnight snack battle, you’ll emerge victorious!
By Amanda Brocket of The Raw Food Kitchen
If you are interested in exploring a plant based diet to curb your cravings check out my website for a free raw food recipe or two and lots of tips. I also have raw food diet plans to assist people in their transition into a raw food lifestyle.