Christmas is over, and New Year’s Eve is a few days away, and I have a question for you…
How are you doing with food cravings right about now?
The holidays might be the hardest time to resist cravings for acidic foods that you otherwise may be good at avoiding.
There are lots of acid-filled foods sitting around at home, at the office, and at friends’ and families’ houses, it can feel like indulging is part of the spirit of the season, and everyone around you seems to be giving into their cravings, so why not you?
Here’s the plain and simple truth about why not…
The more you feed your body junk, the more your body will crave junk.
Pretty soon, you start gaining weight, feeling sluggish, and then before long, health problems start to crop up because of all of the acid you’re consuming.
On the other hand, the more alkaline you eat, the more your body will want nourishing, alkaline foods. It’s a vicious circle one way, or a healthy circle the other way, and you get to choose which way you are going to go!
So the faster you can fight your junk food cravings, the better for your health both today and long term.
Here are my top 5 tips to combat your cravings and replace the acidic junk with nutritious, alkaline favorites.
- Cut the sugar!
The #1 best thing I can tell you to do to stop all food cravings in their tracks is to cut down or remove sugar from your diet as much as possible.
That might sound extreme, but the science behind it is rock hard, and once you know this… you’ll think differently about the sugar you eat.
When you eat any sugar or carbs (like pasta, bread, white potatoes, or processed snacks that contain gluten), your insulin level spikes. And what does that make your body do? Feel hungry and crave more sugar.
If you’ve ever eaten pizza and then had a craving for ice cream, you know what I’m talking about. Your insulin levels are just begging for more sugar. This sets you up for insulin resistance, and can have the ability to lead to degenerative diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The cure is to cut sugar and replace it with healthy fats, proteins, and veggies that don’t cause this chain reaction. In fact, they help calm your cravings. But being a former sugar addict turned health machine, I know how hard that can be. Most times, deprivation and will power is not enough to overpower the cravings, and there is a reason – because the TRUE CAUSE of your sugar craving was not addressed, and that is mineral deficiency, especially magnesium.
Cut down (or eliminate) grains as well, as they are a hidden source of sugars that also spike your insulin levels, at the same time skewing your Omega 3:6 fat ratio heavily in favor of Omega 6, which becomes very inflammatory to your body.
Also beware of the hidden sugars, in pasta sauces, salad dressings, vinegar, yogurt, etc.
So if you found yourself indulging heavily in sweets over the holidays, up your mineral and healthy fat intake and you will quickly see your cravings subside.
- Eat more craving fighters!
Some foods encourage cravings, and some foods fight cravings.
Incorporate more of these foods into your regular diet to prevent cravings from popping up in the first place:
- Protein-rich plants: lentils, chickpeas, adzuki beans, lima beans, raw almonds and cashews, and organic plant-based alkaline protein powder
- Foods rich in good healthy fats: coconuts, flax, and chia seeds, and organic, wild-caught salmon
- Foods high in natural fiber: dark, leafy greens like watercress, kale and spinach, Swiss chard, avocados, artichokes, peas, okra, squash, Brussels sprouts, and quinoa
- Surround yourself with the good stuff!
Ever get one of those late-night cravings for Doritos, Dunkin Donuts, or M&M’s? If so, you know what I’m talking about with this one. If you have it around your house, when the craving strikes, you’re going to eat it. It’s too hard to resist.
On the other hand, if you don’t have it at home, you have to drive or walk to go pick it up, bring it back, and then binge. You’re much less likely to go through all of those steps. So as the New Year approaches, in addition to cleansing your body, I recommend you detox and cleanse your kitchen and pantry.
Also look for some good healthy swaps or alternatives – For example, look around your kitchen and find something much better to snack on that satisfies what your cravings are really about and what your body is truly looking for. A smoothie, homemade alkaline trail mix, or Smoky, Crispy Chickpeas might just do the trick.
- Eat 3 alkaline meals every day, and don’t let yourself get too hungry!
If you’re like most of us, cravings happen when your blood sugar is at its lowest in between meals. These moments are most likely to fall:
- In the morning if you haven’t eaten any breakfast
- In mid-afternoon about halfway between lunch and dinner
- Late at night a few hours after eating dinner
Aim to eat 3 meals a day, and make it a rule NEVER to miss a meal. Because if you miss one, then you will be calorie and nutrient starved, and the next time you go to eat, you will more than likely go for the empty carbohydrate heavy calories (sugar and grains).
The goal is to not eat in between meals, to keep your insulin levels at bay. When you get in a consistent habit of eating this way, your body will shift from burning sugar as its primary fuel source and will turn to fat instead. Fat is a much cleaner and healthier source of fuel for your body, and besides keeping you satiated in between meals, it will help you melt the fat off your body.
Now here’s the deal – when eating alkaline, calorie counting goes out the window. So if you find yourself hungry a between meals, I give you full permission to have a (healthy) snack – but only before you follow these rules.
- Drink a tall glass of lemon water, and ideally supercharge it with Daily Greens or Daily Minerals. Thirst and hunger go to the same part of your brain, and many times you may be dehydrated instead of hungry.
- Wait 15 minutes, and if you are still hungry, go for a 15-minute brisk walk. Walking stimulates your endorphins and enkephalins, and may be enough to kick the hunger pains.
- After the brisk walk, if still hungry, go for a healthy alkaline snack
By eating regularly and starting your day off right, you keep your blood sugar better regulated and prevent the crashes that lead to cravings.
In case you need a go-to snack, be sure to plan ahead so you have:
- Something to eat within an hour of waking up
- A small snack or smoothie mid-morning in case you get hungry prior to lunch – this is when it’s a great idea to keep a stash of raw almonds at your desk
- A nourishing mid-afternoon snack with plenty of fiber, protein, and fat instead of sugar
- Supplement with magnesium and chlorophyll!
Often, when you crave one type of food over and over, you’re actually deficient in a vitamin or mineral and your body is trying to make up for it. For instance, if you crave red meat, you’re probably suffering from low iron..
Instead of indulging in a steak, which is very high in acid, feed your craving with a nourishing alternative. Chlorophyll is almost identical to your red blood cells except that the center molecule is magnesium instead of iron. So take a chlorophyll supplement to curb the craving like Alkamind Daily Greens. It has 5 full servings of vegetables in every scoop!
Similarly, cravings for sweets often signal a deficiency in magnesium, one of the most common mineral deficiencies in humans. Take a supplement with both magnesium and calcium (at a ratio of 1:1) in order to prevent a deficiency in either mineral like Alkamind Daily Minerals, which also supplies plenty of sodium bicarbonate and potassium.
Here are some other cravings:
Vinegar – you are really craving the sugar in the vinegar, so up your Minerals
Ice Cream – craving sugar and healthy fats – up your minerals and healthy fat intake to 50-75% of your diet (avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut butter, cacao butter, raw almond butter, etc.)
Pretzels – craving salt, up your Minerals