Instead of turning on the kettle this afternoon and reaching for your 3pm biscuits, stop and think – is this what my body actually needs?
Now before you rolls your eyes and think this another super food story telling you to have some hippie kale concoction, stop and listen to what nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara, best selling author and founder of Changing Habits, has to say about cravings.
“A food craving is usually due to the body requiring nutrients, either macro (fats, carbs and protein) or micro (vitamins and minerals). A food addiction is where a certain chemical is in the food that passes the blood brain barrier and effects receptors in the brain,” O’Meara says.
“When you begin to eat foods that are REAL as opposed to foods in packaging, which are subsequently laced with additives, preservatives, flavouring, modified foods and non food sources, then your body gives you the right cues as to the right food you need to eat. But because we don’t consider what we eat, we make poor food choices when a craving begins.”
O’Meara likens it to when cows chew on fence posts and rocks. When the animal does this the farmer knows to put out a salt block because it indicates the animal needs minerals. She says instead of rocks and fence posts, humans eat chips and lollies.
To ensure you are satisfy your cravings without sacrificing your waistline, here are some healthy substitutes O’Meara has suggested you eat to fuel your body with the nutrients it really needs.
There is nothing wrong with 100% cacao. It is filled with fats for energy, many nutrients and antioxidants as well as some carbohydrates and amino acids. It’s a wonderful food. What is wrong with chocolate are the additives that many manufacturers make their chocolate with. If you have a craving for chocolate, choose one with just a few ingredients – cacao, organic sugar and vanilla. The food company Changing Habits sells 100% cacao that you can snack on or make your own healthy chocolate with. But if you’re not prepared to quite go there yet try some Loving earth or Pana Chocolate. You will find that this type of chocolate curbs the craving in smaller amounts then any other chocolate that has been made with many additives.
Coffee actually has many benefits. The problem is that many people add milk, sugar, use substandard instant coffee and drink too much. If you love your coffee, there is no need to give it up, just find the best, organic brand if you can and start working toward having coffee like the Italians - freshly ground espresso, short or long without anything added. Coffee is an addictive food however, so minimise how much you drink and use it wisely. It is especially good during brain storming sessions or of a morning! My favourite coffee is normally a long black but on occasion I have a coffee with a tablespoon of unsalted butter, and a tablespoon of Changing Habits Coconut Oil, whipped into a long black. It’s a coffee treasured by Tibetan travellers for energy and health!
Here is a food that definitely needs the big heave ho! These drinks are made from artificial flavours which add up to about 48 chemicals including solvents and diactyl. Add to that the preservatives and sugar and you have a drink that pushes blood sugar up then drops it down leaving you depleted of energy. If you love your soft drinks, slowly start adding soda water to dilute them down. When you get to 20% soft drink and 80% soda water then you’re ready to leave the soft drink out all together and add a little fresh lime and mint with a drop of natural stevia. Eventually you won’t even need the stevia, you will be happy with just the lime and mint. It’s all about changing habits!
If you have your favourite package of biscuits near you, I want you to turn the package over and read the ingredients. If it reads like a chemical laboratory then every time you eat these biscuits, they are merely adding to your health woes and lack of energy. They may even be apart of the aches and pains you feel. I’ve never been about taking away something without replacing it with something new. Why not try and make yourself up a snack that you can take to work every day so that when the biscuit craving comes you have something to replace it with.
Find O'Meara's yummy biscuit recipes here.
If you love your nuts then make sure you eat the best. I always encourage office workers to have some nuts on their desks, but there is a caveat on what nuts. I suggest nuts in their shells and there is very good reason for this. Let me spell them out:
1. They are preserved by nature and are of the highest in nutrition
2. You can’t eat them non-stop. You have to stop what you’re doing in order to crack the shell to get into the nut. This serves two purposes - you can’t eat too many and they have not been salted, flavoured and roasted therefore they are better for you.
3. The best nuts to have are brazil, macadamia, walnut, hazelnut and almond.
What’s wrong with cheese and crackers? Especially beautiful fermented soft cheeses with seeded crackers! It’s really hard to find a good, healthy cracker so rather than crackers and cheese, try dried fruit and soft cheese. The dried fruits I use are usually dried pear, apple and date and as they act as great crackers to slather your beautiful cheese onto. Most people believe that cheese is bad for them, but you’ve probably noticed that I am a nutritionist that believes fat is a good macro nutrient - but it must be a good quality. The low fat/lite revolution has been a disaster for our health and waist line. So I would rather you embrace the good quality fats that can be found in a wonderful brie as opposed to having you eat low fat low salted crackers.
This is one food that has become a bit too convenient and there is a belief that it is healthy. Yes perhaps 40 years ago it was a healthy food, when bread was made from 5 ingredients and made properly in order to counteract any anti-nutrients. But these days some bread is made months before (dough and partially cooked), others are made from premixes that have preservatives and raising agents and things that are non essential for health. And another nail in the coffin for bread is that it is made with a hybridised wheat using dubious chemicals where the gluten is not tolerated by many people. So if you want to snack on toast I’d be replacing, it with a good quality gluten free (check your ingredients and make sure it is made with real foods, not chemicals), or I’d be making bread the old fashion way with the old traditional wheat grain – called Einkorn.
There are packet chips and packet chips. There are ones that have many ingredients with flavours and additives and then there are chips that are made from just three ingredients; potatoes, oil and salt. If you have a craving for chips then find an ethical good quality chip with just three ingredients. These days chips are made with all sorts of vegetables including; kale, sweet potato, beetroot and potato. These are not hard to find and many of them have no genetically modified foods or additives and are made traditionally! Failing finding these chips I would suggest make your own, they’re not hard and can be quickly made by slicing thinly your favourite root vegetable, smother them in coconut oil and seaweed salt and place in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Remember the key to good health is always making sure all of your ingredients are of the highest nutrients.
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