Deconstructing Cravings: The Nitty Gritty

In Health, Nutrition by Ray DeFeis, INHCLeave a Comment

Ray DeFeis, INHC
Latest posts by Ray DeFeis, INHC (see all)

One of the most important things I’ve learned about the body is it never makes a mistake. It always knows what it wants, especially when it comes to what we crave. Whether it’s chocolate, candy, ice-cream, fried foods, or whatever it may be you desire, it knows. Taking the time to understand why we crave what we crave, can help decipher what the body needs to run optimally and help avoid those pesky cravings.

When it comes to food cravings many of us tend to get them confused with hunger. We often might think we are hungry. However, hunger comes from our stomachs and our cravings are controlled by the brain. These cravings are very selective to what each and every one of us is experiencing. So we must first ask ourselves, am I truly hungry or am I just poorly hydrated? This is common! Your best bet is to drink a full glass of water and then ask yourself how you feel after 10 minutes or so. When that doesn’t do the job we need to be aware and ask ourselves, what is this about?

The usual suspects for cravings are: Allergies, addiction, nutrient imbalances, and our memory or emotions.

Walnut allergyAccording to a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 90% of food allergies are associated with 8 food types: Cow’s milk, Hen’s eggs, Peanuts, Soy foods, Wheat, Fish, and Tree nuts. I would also take into consideration GMOs(Genetically Modified Organisms) and chemical additives when tackling food allergies. An Elimination Diet is very important to help find out the cause(s) of your food allergies. Doing this will invigorate the body and improve your overall well-being

When cravings show up as addiction the main culprits are sugar cane, alcohol, coffee and chocolate. I was totally addicted to chocolate at one point in my life. Then I found out I was magnesium deficient. Most of us need magnesium, not chocolate. That is why it is so important to know about nutrient imbalances.

“All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!”Lucy Van Pelt

Are you eating enough nutrient dense calories for your body? When you don’t eat enough of these calories for your body you will crave sweets. Not enough protein, fat, and/or carbohydrates in the diet, you will crave sweets. In any particular meal that you don’t give yourself the adequate amount of macro-nutrients for your genetic makeup, consisting of whole food nutrition…yes, you will crave sweets.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, “six of the top 10 sources of calories are carbohydrates from sugar and refined grains”. Large sums of calories in the standard American diet come from food that lacks nutrition. We are literally craving nutrients that we aren’t receiving my friends.

We can also dive a bit lower into any imbalances to find the cause of our cravings by looking into micro-nutrient deficiencies. I love this chart that helps deconstruct cravings due to a lack of micros. Compliments of


Listen to your body. How much food and what foods are right for you? We all have different needs when it comes to what we eat. There is no one diet fits all. In order to stay sustained we have to create a balance within ourselves.

Last but not least we have memory or emotional cravings. Ohh, how we all love moms cooking or maybe an old snack that brings us back to our childhood days. These memories are embodied in our cells and every time they pass through our brain our taste buds instantly go MMM! One way to prevent giving into these cravings is just to make healthier versions of these memories. Be creative!

You don’t want hold onto your cravings for to long without dealing with them. Like anything in life, don’t ignore your intuition or the solution; let’s get to the bottom of it! Pay attention to yourself. Ask questions. What are the results you are getting from giving in or resisting the cravings? Trick your mind with whole foods, make smart choices, be creative, and most importantly aware. Eventually, you’ll have full control over your cravings. And if you ever find yourself struggling just remember that “All You Need Is Love” but, a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt either 😉

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