Week 3: Cravings & Macrobiotics

Hey Team!

What is good and new this week? Yes that's right, You know what's up next!

You're really getting the hang of this now... Take a moment to relax and write down all the wonderful, and not so wonderful things that have happened this week. Write them down, write about them, write what you would or wouldn't have changed about them. What you will do next time and how they made you feel. Accept them for what they are.  That notebook of yours isn't just for decoration. You should have your food and mood diary taking shape in their now and I hope you are writing everything else down that is going on.

This week are going to discuss cravings, protein, sweet vegetables and Macrobiotics.

Think for a moment what foods you crave the most.

Is it salt? chocolate? sugar? brocolli? (yes, it happens!) Our bodies are amazing. They know when to sleep, when to wake up, when go to the bathroom. They know to maintain a temperature of 37 degrees, they know how to repair themselves when we are wounded and they know the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.  Our hearts never miss and beat, our lungs are always breathing - our body is a super computer! Therefore there has to be a reason to why you are craving certain foods right?

bigstock-Chocolate-Craving-16174.jpg

Did you know that 100% of women and 70% of men had cravings in the last year, so I know that this module is relative to you! Sure there are physiological reasons for cravings, but most often they are to do with emotion and desire.  It is only fair therefore, to look at the foods, deficits and behaviours in your life that are underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really cravings are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance in your body. Take a look through your food and mood diary and see if there was anything in there that stated what you were craving or when you were craving it. Keep these diaries up, and you can track what is going on and why.

When you experience a craving, deconstruct it, and ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

Often we are stressed or anxious when cravings kick into gear. You need to take control and talk to yourself. Don't be afraid of yourself.

There are 8 main primary causes for cravings, you have been emailed this form, but here it is again

TASK 1:

  1. After watching the video above write down a time that you succumbed to a craving?
  2. What was the mental process?
  3. What was the end result and how could you take steps to get a broader perspective and make better choices next time?
  4. What are your triggers? 
  5. Can you analayse this far in? We will discuss this at length on our facebook page, it's something really important to think about. So that you can avoid the triggers in the future.

We will discuss this at length on our facebook page, it's something really important to think about. So that you can avoid the triggers in the future.

Now, imagine a future memory, think of yourself dealing with cravings in a smart way. Outline what might work for you when craving hits, then recount it in detail.

Remember, next time you have a craving, use the 'go to questions' when you are at the pantry about to cave.  

Ask yourself, is this worth the guilt? What am I actually craving right now? Do I just need a hug? A bath? Some sleep? To paint? Write? Read? To talk to my children?

Macrobiotics, Yin and yang

A big player in the cravings field is a yin/yang imbalance. In order to understand Macrobiotics you need to understand the yin-yang qualities of food. Then you will be able to deconstruct your cravings even more. The key is finding balance and harmony within yourself on all levels.

Macrobiotics was developed by George Onsawa, this man managed to contract Tuberculosis just to prove his point, and that he did! He managed to cure himself through balancing every aspect of his life through Macrobiotics.  Generally those practicing Macrobiotics practice the art of a great life, they being to perceive things from a wider and wider perspective. They see the ups and downs, see the bigger picture and let go of the small stuff (doesn't sound too bad does it?!)

So if we take another look at the Yin and Yang qualities and foods we can start to break it down a bit more

A great example here is of one of my clients. We started to add in more water to his diet, which in turn led to less coffee (contractive, yang) which resulted in no cravings for sugar in the afternoon (expansive, yin) this in turn led to less self hatred and anger (yang) which resulted in more self love and exercise started up again (yin activities) Many work issues dissolved as this individual now started to release their frustrations through exercise rather than drinking AND they now had a wider perspective on life. Endorphins kicked in to the system and overall this client is now experiencing a really happy life!

The majority of us are unbalanced, stressed and working too hard. We are tired and not adequately caring for ourselves. When we are young our bodies find it easier to balance things out for us, but as we age and ignore our bodies limits and signals we also loose the ability to self regulate.

The food we eat also translates into different energies, which have profound effects on our ability to heal ourselves. Macrobiotics defines clear patterns of the energies in foods and promotes understanding how they interact with one another.

Click here to see the Energetics of Food table

Hopefully the video above has helped out with any confusion regarding Macrobiotics. If you have more questions please fire them at me, or share in the group.

Another way of simply thinking about it would be how in Summer we crave fresh, raw, lightly cooked foods and salads. Yet in winter we crave soups, ovens, stews and roasts.

Bottom line here is to make sure you are eating a balance foods in order to avoid the harsh cravings.

TASK 2:

Take a look at your food and mood diary so far, notice how you are craving certain things at certain times? Is your mood affecting what you crave and vice versa. Is the activity you are doing (or lack of) affecting what you want. Share with me and with the forum what you are craving and when you are craving it, maybe we can help you break it down and deconstruct it more...and therefore find a way to avoid or attack the problem.

Sweet Vegetables

Sweet vegetables; that's right! There is such a thing. Believe it or not, in the ancestral days a carrot was a go to for a sweet treat. Sweet potato and pumpkin were seen and tasted as very sweet goodies. Its only in recent times (well since the development of adding refined sugar into all of our foods) that we have lost the ability to really taste the difference in our foods. We are so used to this processed food that our tongues are loosing their receptors to natural tastes. It's a bit of a scary thought if you think about it.  

Check out this information regarding sweet vegetables

TASK 3:

Add more sweet vegetables into your diet this week. Keep the food and mood diary going. Start to notice how the sweet vegetables help with the sweet that your body is craving?  Sure I'm not saying that your are going to steer clear of your sweet tooth and never pick up a piece of chocolate again, but if you are starting to avoid sugary, processed foods you may notice here that the sweet vegetables are helping keep you balanced.

Protein

Protein, protein, protein...such a HUGE factor when it comes to cravings! As earlier discussed with regards to yin and yang...if you have a huge meal of steak then it is likely you will crave something sweet after that. Your body has overloaded on yang (meat) and now wants to balance itself out with some sweetness (yin).

So first up I want to give you some information on Protein and the different types. I also want you to keep in mind that protein plays a huge role in cravings for sweet things.  Combining your complex carbohydrates - like apples and bananas (complex carbohydrates contain natural fibre to help our bowel movements) with a healthy source of protein like nuts or cheese, will help further balance the sugar and insulin surge in your body and allow a much more gentle increase in blood sugar.

Eating enough protein will also ward off sweet cravings. Protein deficiency is extremely common - and it's not vegetarians I am talking about here. If you are protein deficient your blood sugar becomes unstable and this leads to headaches, moodiness and extreme cravings (sound like anyone you know?!)

Other protein deficient examples include muscle and/or joint pain, can't sleep well, low energy, moodiness and stress.

In short - if you are feeling any of the above try upping your protein rich foods like;

  • High quality grass fed red meat or chicken
  • Spinach and Kale
  • Full fat organic dairy and cheese
  • Kidney beans and Quinoa
  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Asparagus
  • Peas and hemp protein powders
  • Bok choy
  • Tuna

TASK 4:

Take a look back at your circle of life diagram that you did in Week 1.  You may have re-drawn it in your notebook or you may have printed a copy out. Take a look at it and notice if anything is changing. If it is, please re-draw or print and date this new one. Think about what is changing in your life, why you have more time in it to fill other segments of the circle of life, or is it that you have prioritised yourself in there and you are making sure you find some balance?

If nothing is changing lets discuss what you want to see changing and how we can have that happen.

TASK 5:

It's also really, really important to look after yourself from the inside and the outside. I am sure you have all heard/read/seen information regarding how important it is for you to stop, slow down and take care of yourself. Well, here is a really simple tool towards starting to take care of yourself. Nope - you don't have to do any deep breathing, and yes, you will still be feeling like you are getting somewhere as you will be moving.

Have you heard of tongue cleaning?

Click here to find out more about tongue cleaning!

You guessed it - this week I would like you to try tongue cleaning. Keep us up to speed on how it is going. Ideally I would like you to try it every day - but if you only manage it a couple of times that is okay. You should make time for this daily task. It's so simple and yet the results are quite astounding. Do it when you are in the bathroom - do it in the shower, or while your children take a bath (you can still sit in and watch them if they are young). Please do this for you. You deserve it. 

We are on track to have you looking after yourself first and foremost. I want you to think of the health of you and your family as if you were on an airplane and the oxygen masks fell down. They say to put yours on first before you try to help anyone else. Now, that is how you need to start looking at life. How can you possibly help others properly if you are not helping yourself. You need to be fit and healthy before you can really be there to help your family or friends. How do you feel about that?

Go forth and conquer! Look how far you have come already and we are only at week 3!

Quick re-cap:

This week we have discussed cravings to a huge extent. I really want you to start breaking your daily cravings down, thinking about them from a wider perspective and then establishing some routines to see if some of them can be broken. 

Next time you are having a craving try asking yourself some key questions and find some awareness.  Many people can't control these cravings and its just horrible to live a life battling with yourself. So its important here that you make a conscious change not a fight with yourself.  A go to question seems to be really essential when it comes to handling emotional cravings.

Some good examples include:

  1. What am I really hungry for? 
  2. Will this give me the nourishment I actually crave?
  3. Is this worth the guilt and crash I know I will feel later?
  4. Is there a better choice?

Make it more about a choice and less about struggling with will power. Make it about doing whats best for you in that moment.  Awareness to whats really going on. Think about your cravings, are they happening when you are home alone? Then it is most probably a primary food issue for you (take a look at your circle of life and find some ways to up your inner circle dots) 

For those of you who are craving at the same time each day then it is most probably to do with a dietary issue.  Are you too yin or too yang? You will need to focus on balancing that out.  Also facings on eating more protein, drinking more water and nourishing yourself appropriately.

The nature of your cravings will always vary but some of the tips we have been through will help you make strong choices from now on in.

Make sure you are completing your weekly tasks:

  • Taking note and thinking about craving happenings and timings
  • Think about your protein intake - are you eating enough of the right proteins?
  • Try cooking with some sweet vegetables
  • Check out your circle of life - do a new one of re-assess and keep it in the back of your mind
  • Are you looking after yourself - try the Tongue cleaning

Take care of yourselves and remember, I am always here for you to drop me a line. Things do start to take flight a bit more next week, so try to stay on top of your tasks, you deserve to gain the most out of this as you possibly can.  Chat to you in the forum soon.

Jess x

This weeks files:

8 Causes of Cravings

Beans

Macrobiotics

Natural Sweeteners

Protein

Quinoa

Sweet Vegetables

Tongue cleaning

Yin and Yang