I know winter is making its way out when my Sorels switch to rain boots and scarves become optional. But there was half of a buttercup squash begging to be consumed in my fridge, so I made my last soup of the season. Squash, apple, carrot and ginger all came together to make some amazing flavourful love. Since my new vegetarian pursuit, I’ve given up on a “beach bod diet” (which was mainly chicken, greens and beans, over and over and over… aka, no fun). I enjoy food. But one thing my pre-vacay diet did make me realize is that I have some food addictions. Yes, food addictions. And not just in a general sense in that I’m always hungry, but hungry for specific things.
The other half of my designation, E.M.P., stands for Energy Medicine Practitioner. This program taught me about the psychological sides of disease, how to release non-genetic allergies and intolerances, and gave me a great way to help heal people mentally while my nutrition skills heal people physically. I thought for this post, I’d teach you about what some common food addictions might mean.
Before you start thinking, Oh God, what is this energy “medicine” stuff she’s writing about today? Just listen. Have you ever noticed how people just “develop” allergies? Or heard about how it’s “all about your mindset”? Well, these things are not a coincidence. Your mind and your thoughts have a very intimate connection with your physical body.
Every food corresponds to a certain mood. When your cravings are out of control, it’s because you want to feel more energetic, happier, or more relaxed. Your cravings are for the food that will produce the desired effect. Hunger and cravings are two very different things: if you were just hungry for a bowl of ice cream, you’d stop eating it at the first sign of satiation instead of finishing off the bowl, having another, and then maybe two more spoonfuls right from the carton. Or maybe you would’ve opted for something else.
Every food contains minerals, amino acids, textures, smells and other mood and energy effecting properties. Some are stimulants, some are depressants, and some activate the pleasure centre in our brains. Many food’s mood-altering or “psychoactive” properties are identical to those found in prescription medications for depression, anxiety and asthma! (Virtue, p. 10) For example, the feel-good chemical in chocolate is phenylethylamine (PEA). This is also the main ingredeint in Ecstasy and MDMA. Actually, it’s found in such high amounts in raw cacao that people have “cacao parties” and get buzzed off of this chemical, naturally (I’m not kidding, you can Google it). Tyramine and pyrazine, found foods like in nuts, coffee, pickled foods, sour cream, and aged cheese are the main ingredients in antidepressants and asthma bronchia-dilators.
There are also reasons behind craving certain textures (crunchy, soft and creamy, and chewy). Two people that crave the same food, but with different textures, would have two very different issues. Check out my post about food texture cravings!
Chocolate: Hungry for Love
The chemical I mentioned before, PEA, is the chemical that the brain creates when we’re feeling romantic love. “Chocoholism” is way of seeking love, intimacy and romance.
Dairy for Antidepressants
Tyramine (found in higher levels in cheese) is a stimulant. Choline (found in milk) has a soothing effect. L-tryptophan (also found largely in milk) combined with carbohydrates stimulates the production of serotonin, creating a happy sensation. This combination is found in ice cream, pizza, creamy sauces, and a long list of other common foods.
Salty Snacks for Stress
Well, stress, anger, and anxiety. Craving salty foods is a sign of adrenal weakness. Your adrenals manage your stress response. Often salty snacks are also crunchy, the crunch gives your jaw a physical outlet for stress (people usually hold anger in by clenching their jaw).
Spices for Excitement
Chances are if you like to spice up your food, you like the rest your life to follow suit. Feeling stuck, bored or generally dull might make your body convert this frustration into cravings for spicy foods. Bernard Lyman, a psychologist, researcher and author writes that “sensation seekers [are people who] seem to need extra excitement and often enjoy taking risks.” Sensation seekers have been correlated with cravings for spicy, crunchy or sour foods with strong cravings for novelty and change.
Breads, Rice and Pasta
Comforting and calming. There was a time a while ago when I’d come home from school and have a dinner roll with butter. In hindsight, this habit made me realize it was a serious comfort food (that made me aware of my gluten intolerance).
These kinds of cravings indicate a fear of feeling empty, being alone, of facing the truth of taking responsibility… basically, a feeling of fear in general.
Wondering what your specific craving might mean? Let me help you analyze it. Email me at email@example.com
Virtue, Doreen. Constant Craving. Hay House, 1995.