In my practice of clinical nutrition, over the years, I’ve seen many people who are more concerned with losing weight then improving their health. If you don’t focus on deeply nourishing foods, all your weight loss goals will get fouled up with temptation and cravings.
What is Temptation?
Temptation is something that pulls you away from your goals. It is defined as,
tempting, enticement, or allurement (source).
When you are tempted by something, there is an underlying seductive force that is driving your actions – actions that may be regarded as unwise, wrong, immoral or even wicked – in which case, guilt is the final result.
But, we really should be asking the question – how do temptations and cravings arise?
What Drives Temptation and Cravings?
Cravings are produced by the microbiome. In a previous article, I outlined the current research that shows that the composition of a person’s gut bacteria is specific to each individual and subject to the influences of diet, environment, exposures and other modifications.
It is clear that the microbiota are intimately intertwined with issues of nutritional status, behavior and stress response in the host.
In view of this research, and in my clinical and personal experience, I have found that when cravings hit, it is because of an imbalance in the gut bacteria that affects nutrient levels, hormones and subsequent behavior.
The fix – the Hack – is to infuse your body with nutrient dense foods that provide easy to assimilate nutrition. This will begin to heal your metabolism. The result will be that over time, losing weight won’t be the battle that it is now.
Instead of giving in to the craving for some kind of junk (I don’t even like to call it food), try one or all of these 3 deeply nourishing hacks first.
Craving Hack #1
When you crave food, it’s your body telling you that you need nutrition. The most nutrient dense foods are homemade bone broths. Drink homemade bone broth throughout the day – at least 1 – 2 cups a day.
Drinking homemade bone broth from clean chicken bones and feet (and the heads too) and/or beef marrow and joint bones, will provide easy to digest nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are not available in any other food.
It practically needs no digestion. This allows your digestive tract to rest and yet still be fed. Many times, a food craving will come when you are tired or need a nutrient boost. The bone broths will give you that and will keep you hydrated.
According to the principle of “like feeds like,” broth can give our bones strength and flexibility, our joints cushion and resilience, and our skin a youthful plumpness. What’s more, the abundance of collagen in all types of bone broth supports heart health through strong and supple arteries, our vision with healthy corneas, digestion through gut healing, and overall disease prevention via immune system modulation. (p.9)
You can be overweight and still be starving for nutrients if you have been relying on our modern food system for your food. Processed food has very little available nutrition.
Craving Hack #2
I haven’t been too adventurous with organ meats so I stick to chicken livers or bratwurst (a combination of beef liver and beef) from my farmer. I have actually been craving liver lately, and I know that is an indicator that I need something very nourishing.
Organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys, tripe and even brain) should be considered extreme nutrition and should be eaten at least once a week – more if you are recovering your health and/or metabolism.
Organ meats contain every macro and micro nutrient that you need, including, healthy fats, amino acids, minerals and vitamins. There isn’t a food that is more nutrient dense than organ meats.
There are large amounts of minerals in organ meats, such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, iodine, calcium, choline, potassium, selenium, zinc, CoQ10 and manganese. There are the important fat soluble vitamins such as A, D E and K. In fact, liver is the most concentrated food source of vitamin A.
Organ meats also include the essential fatty acids, arachidonic acid, EPA and DHA as well as vitamins B12, natural folate, B6, B2, B1.
Historically, the organs were saved for the elders, the hunters, pregnant women and children as a way of ensuring that they would be fully nourished.
Sadly, we have lost the important knowledge that organ meats are essential for growing children, the elderly and everyone in between.
The best organ meats come from animals raised humanely on pasture. Another benefit of adding organ meats to your menu is that they are cheaper than muscle meats. I get my organ meats from my local farmer and also here.
Get some great recipes for organ meats in Nourishing Traditions.
I get my organ meats here.
Here is a great source for desiccated liver from clean grassfed cows if you just can’t hack eating it.
Craving Hack #3
The current research shows that the gut microbiota may influence the brain via bacterial neurotransmitters.
Of critical importance is the addition of fermented foods and beverages that will add strains of beneficial bacteria and yeasts that will eventually crowd out the disruptive microbes.
This will start a restoration process that will favor the beneficial bacteria. As time goes on and you add more and more of these foods to your every day diet, the pathogenic bacteria and yeast will slowly start to die off.
Start to introduce homemade yogurt, coconut milk yogurt, kefir, kombucha, beet kvass, sauerkraut, and pickles just to name a few. Incorporate these fermented foods into your diet in small portions at first as they pack a powerful amount of bacteria that can set off a Herxheimer reaction, or die-off, if introduced too quickly.
Take a spoonful of homemade sauerkraut if you have a sugar craving. The sour taste will stop that craving in its tracks. Have a homemade pickle or any other small amount of a fermented food.
Drink fermented juices, because fermented juices are high in nutrient value.
Take a quality probiotic.
Eat Bone Broth, Organ Meats, Cultured Foods
I remember my mother made some form of liver every week while I was growing up. That, along with chicken broth made with chicken feet and heads, as well as butter milk and yogurt helped my sister and I grow up with a strong immunity.
Issues of metabolism and weight are complicated and very individual.
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