Lets talk about cravings.
When it comes to cravings there seem to be two camps that attempt to explain the “I NEED ALL THE BROWNIES NOW” phenomenon. These camps, while they have some similarities, are operating from two different points of view. They are the physiological camp and the psychological camp.
The physiological camp posits that when you’re craving things like sweets it really means you’re low on specific nutrients like chromium or carbon phosphorus and to eat nuts, broccoli, cheese or meat.
The psychological camp blames your sweet cravings on your emotions and tells you to get your sh*t together.
If you read material written by the physiological camp, it can pretty much be summed up as such: whenever you crave sweets, soda, chips or basically anything other than nuts, broccoli, cheese or meats, what your body actually needs is: nuts, broccoli, cheese or meats.
Not to brag, but my body has never once craved Sour Patch Kids accidentally in it’s pursuit of a burger. Sorry, hasn’t happened. I have craved Sour Patch Kids on enough occasions to know that it’s because something is going on emotionally or hormonally and a little thing called stress is F-ing with me.
If you read material on the psychological camp, it breaks it down like this:
- Carbs – you’re feeling deprived, stressed, or over-worked.
- Caffeine- you’re lacking motivation in your daily activities, tired/dehydrated.
- Creamy – you’re in need of a feel-good food to quell your worrisome thoughts.
- Crunchy- you’re frustrated.
- Sweets- you’re tired, stressed and/or sad.
This is me. Like, I take vitamins, I eat a lot of food on a daily basis, I don’t have problems getting my nutrients. For me, cravings are so much more about emotions than they are about nutritional deficiencies. And I think, to an extent, a lot of people are the same way.
If we weren’t all at least somewhat wired like this the Food Network would not exist. Cooking shows, food and fitness blogs, the culinary industry would not exist in the forms that they do if we weren’t all wooed by the emotional aspect of food.
For example: what do I always NEED when I’m trying to write a post and I’ve been staring at a blank page for what feels like forever? Something crunchy. I’m frustrated and getting anxious as the minutes tick by. The post isn’t writing itself and I find myself browsing the app store for technology that will write posts for me. Give me that salty crunch of a chip or popcorn or a crunchy granola bar or what have you. However as soon as I start writing I realize that I’m not hungry at all. Thanks for nothing, emotions!
Where am I going with this? Well, if you’re like me you see this emotion-craving link to be your Achilles’ heel, but what if we turn it into a strength…
What if every time one of those cravings hit, we actually knuckled down and confronted the source of our stress rather than trying to numb ourselves to it? Do you even realize how productive and successful and mentally healthy we’d be if we confronted everything head on?
This is my summer goal. Want to join? I was going to call it a nutritional goal but that loses the point entirely.
The point is to get the focus away from food and onto life. Onto the things you want to make happen. Onto the things that scare you. To give it a topical analogy, it’s the anti-Merida makeover. This makeover isn’t about getting “pretty” and forfeiting your bow and arrow- aka the symbol of your strength- in the process, this makeover is about getting dirty in order to find your personal bow and arrow. (For an awesome perspective on the Merida makeover controversy, go to Nicole’s blog).
What are your thoughts on the physiological vs psychological theories?
Do you agree with one side more than the other?
Do you crave certain foods in times of stress?
What are your summer goals?