With the Holidays in full swing, it’s likely that some of us are craving things we know we shouldn’t… those snowman cookies … so many cookies … I have put together a simple list of ways to avoid hunger throughout the day to avoid the extra snacking and calories.
First of all, let’s understand what causes most food cravings. The health of your gut and the flora in your gut can actually determine what you are craving, from chocolate to protein. See this article on Controlling Your Cravings with Microbes.
The other biggest factor in controlling cravings is sleep. When you are low on sleep, ghrelin, your appetite-stimulating hormone is really high, forcing you to crave foods like sugary carbohydrates. Couple that with the fact that when you’re sleep deprived your appetite regulating hormone, leptin, is really low so it can’t regulate these cravings.
UC Berkley did a study that found impaired activity in the frontal lobe of the brain of sleep deprived people, which is the decision making part of the brain. This is also the reward part of the brain. So, when you normally eat something that is enjoyable and rewarding, you don’t get a release of dopamine that supports satisfaction and reward because the frontal lobe of the brain is not functioning optimally. So, you just keep eating and trying to get that reward or satisfaction feeling from food. Not only does your ability to regulate cravings drop but willpower drops as well, so your drive to workout suffers. This combination can lead to weight gain.
We have all been there. Here are the best ways to fight back against the cravings that ensue:
Coconut milk based smoothies
They offer a quick, easy way to get good fat into your body. Here is one of my favorite green smoothies:
- Dinosaur Kale
- Golden Beet Greens
- Lemon Juice
- Avacado and Seed
- Apple (whole)
- Coconut Milk (full fat BPA free)
- Cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon is the only kind that will regulate blood sugars and is much more nutrient dense)
It helps make you feel full. Pellegrino is good with nothing added to it. I also like Zevia, it has natural flavor and is only sweetened with Stevia.
Natural chewing gum
Try miracle noodles. With zero carbs and almost no calories, they are made from a Konjac plant. They absorb water and expand in your stomach to make you feel full.
Overall, the best solution is to get on top of your sleep. 8.5 hours every 24 hours is ideal.
We have a couple of cook books that we really like at Fly Feet to make nutrient dense, clean meals: Primal Cravings and Primal Blueprint – Quick & Easy Meals. Pick one up and inspire your friends to eat clean!