During a cleanse it’s inevitable that some cravings will come on, especially when we may not be eating as much calorie dense food as we’re used to. Sometimes cravings come on so strong you feel like you’re turning into a ravenous beast that simply MUST have whatever it is you’re craving in that moment.
Moments like this are normal…but the first thing to do is catch your thoughts, examine them, and determine if you’re just hungry and your body/brain are defaulting to the calorie dense foods that they remember. Consider if you truly do want to eat these foods or if it’s just a passing craving, if you’re feeling emotional, stressed, or are simply just hungry and need to eat something healthy to curb your craving.
Breath deeply and think about how you will feel after you eat whatever it is that you’re craving, and if the consequences are worth a few moments of temporary pleasure.
Here’s a list of common cravings that could come up, and some cleanse friendly alternatives that can help you curb that craving, and keep you feeling great:
Bread: Eat quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, rice, or root vegetables. These foods are a good source of gluten-free carbohydrates, loaded with fiber to fill you up, and vitamins, minerals and protein. If you simply must have some bread look for gluten-free breads/wraps but preferably the ones with the fewest ingredients, and organic ingredients. You can also bake your own yeast-free gluten free bread using gluten free flours. There are many great recipes online.
Cheese – Try making your own nut cheese (eat in small amounts), or sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your meal (goes great on salads, steamed vegetables or whatever you can think up). A craving for cheese could also be a need for healthy fats, so eating foods like Avocado, Coconut, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax, or small amounts of cold-pressed oils can help nourish your body and curb your desire for cheese and other dairy products.
Coffee – We often use caffeine as a stimulant when we are tired. One way to rely less on caffeine is to get adequate sleep. Caffeine is a poor replacement for rest that our body needs. Earlier bedtimes, using less electronics and artificial lighting in the evening, and relaxing evening teas like chamomile can help create a better night time routine to help you get to sleep earlier. As a replacement for coffee try Harmonic Arts KickStart, Herbal Teas, Matcha, Yerba Mate, Guyusa, or Herbal Elixirs. Roasted Dandelion Root also makes a great coffee substitute that is very cleansing. Water can also be a great resource for helping you cope with consuming less caffeine. Every time you crave coffee or other caffeinated beverages just sip on some water. Being hydrated will help you stay more alert, improves digestion, and is essential for cleansing.
Sweetener – Dates, Molasses, Maple Syrup, Honey, Stevia Leaf, Berries, Yacon
Dessert – There’s nothing wrong with craving something sweet after a savory meal. The key is to avoid the heavy, sugar laden common dessert foods like cake, cookies, ice cream, pie etc. You could have a piece of fruit and a cup of herbal tea with some honey, or make a small dessert smoothie with some frozen berries, almond milk or water, and banana. Eating it out of a small bowl with a spoon makes a smoothie seem more like dessert, especially if you make it thick.
Salty Crunchy Snacks – Try replacing things like chips, crackers, and other salty snacks with fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, snap peas, and cucumbers. If you prepare them in advance and have them ready in the fridge or in your lunch bag, they’ll be ready and easy to grab when you’re craving a crunchy snack. You can also try healthy snacks like brown rice cakes, and for something salty dried seaweeds like dulse and nori are a great way to get those ocean minerals into your body and curb a salt craving. Upgrade your salt with high quality mineral salts like pink crystal salt, smoked sea salt, black lava salt, and other sea salts that are much better for your body than standard table salt. Avoiding heavily salted, processed foods will help your taste buds adapt to less salty food. That way, when you do use salt, you need less.
The key to dealing with cravings is to figure out the source of the craving and what the best option is to overcome it. If it’s stress or emotions you can try some physical activity, or something calming like yoga or meditation. If it’s true hunger then you definitely need to eat, just choose the best, healthiest alternative possible and you’ll stay on track.
We don’t always choose the best options. We aren’t perfect beings, so if you do give in to a craving, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply examine the source of the craving, how/why you gave into it, and what your intentions are to deal with those cravings moving forward.
Happy Spring Cleansing!!
The Harmonic Arts Team