by Jade Jehle, Artistic Director & Blogger
Have you spent a considerable amount of time in the past holding the refrigerator door open, looking for answers? You’re not alone, and I am a big believer that listening to my body and satisfying it may be an essential part of a balanced lifestyle. However, when digging into this topic, the studies and data show different reasons behind it. Plus, women are generally more likely to experience food cravings than men… Hips don’t lie?! 🙂
“Crave for a thing, you will get it. Renounce the craving, the object will follow you by itself.
There is no end of craving. Hence contentment alone is the best way to happiness. Therefore, acquire contentment.”
– Swami Sivananda
Or, as Chuck Norris says so passionately, “let’s face it: so much of what we consume is not driven by knowledge but by basic craving and impulse. The process of what we eat starts in our heads. And no one is more in our heads than a food industry that spends billions of dollars in marketing its message in every means possible”.
Scientifically speaking, food cravings have been reported to start and be repeated due to areas of our brain responsible for memory and sensing pleasure. The hippocampus, the insula and the caudate are three areas of the brain where a food craving episode is activated. Surprisingly enough, studies also show that the memory areas of the brain are more significant than the brain’s reward center when it comes to cravings. Thinking about and wanting a certain food would be a stronger feeling than the actual reward feeling thereafter!
As per Adam Drewnowski (PhD) of the University of Washington, “further, blocking the opiate receptors in the brain, which sense pleasure, can blunt a person’s desire to eat foods rich in fat and sugar”.
Aside from physiological factors, food urges are also caused by emotion and desire – easy for us to control… or is it? Experts often state that cravings arise to satisfy an emotional need, and unfortunately, carbohydrates boost the levels of our hormone serotonin, providing us with a calming effect.
While hunger serves a utilitarian purpose, the dopamine stimulation and chemical reward that we get from fulfilling a food craving has been compared to drug addiction in several studies. Here’s why: both behaviors simply follow similar neural pathways. The pleasure and the reward that we obtain through both are milder versions of what drug addicts experience when they get high.
Jade’s 101 food cravings abolisher list:
- Eat spinach
Raw spinach and spinach extracts delay the digestion of fat and increases the level of hormones that reduce appetite!
- Drink more water
Boring? Drink different teas throughout the day in the cold seasons, and flavor your water with fruits or citrus on the warmer days!
- Get your beauty sleep
Sleep deprivation disrupts your hormone fluctuations, and typically leads to strong cravings and/or heavier appetite to compensate for the lack of energy
- Plan your meals
Not only is this healthier since you’ll actually know what’s inside of your food, but you’ll also save time by preparing several meals at once, lasting you several days! And let’s not forget the cost advantage 🙂