(This picture of health was to lure you in. Potato chips may have also lured you, but this green monster happened in my kitchen this morning so here it is. Drinking green monsters in the sunshine is just the thing for after a delightful, though overly indulgent, weekend.)
At any given moment, on any given day, I’m craving one of a couple of things: dark chocolate, ice cream (specifically Talenti Caribbean Coconut) and potato chips (Salt and Vinegar Kettle Brand do nicely for me.). And those are just my food cravings…and just the big ones. Hehe…Oh, dear…
As you know, I’ve been taking a closer look at just about every detail of my life lately, but this food craving thing is something I’m starting to pay more attention to. Mind you, I didn’t say I was quite ready to do much about it. Doing something about it feels like the WORST thing in this moment. But I am becoming more and more aware. And awareness is the first step to change. Or that’s what “they” say, and I kinda believe “they” on this one.
Here’s a little peek into last Wednesday. Wednesday was a great day. I worked my little heart out, taught a yoga class and then was a student at a yoga class at The Front in Ogden. My dear friend teaches a fabulous vinyasa flow on Wednesday nights. 7:15pm. Don’t miss it. She’s the greatest. After my yoga night I rolled home at 9:15pm and was a bit peckish (I was raised watching all things BBC. I have to use words like “peckish”. I can’t help myself.). The only thing I could think about was finding my chip bag. And I found it. Next thing I know it’s 15 minutes later and I’m totally zoning on an Instagram feed, standing at the counter with my phone in my left hand, purse and ALL my other bags stacked up my left arm ready to go upstairs and my right hand is a free bird with the chips. After who even knows how many handfuls, I come back to consciousness and slowly back away with my fingers covered in salty, vinegary, DELICIOUSNESS and I’m thinking to myself, “What. Just. HAPPENED?!”. Immediately I start rolling down a little bit of a shame lane. I just tried typing out the internal dialogue of a shame lane and it was depressing so I deleted it. Have you been there though? Do I need to write out the dialogue? I’m sure you can imagine.
So, deconstructing cravings. From my recent schooling and from books I’ve read over the years I’ve learned to not look at things we crave as something bad or that we are bad or somehow out of control for having cravings. Instead, learn to approach them with curiosity. Like science! Oh, I LOVE science! Questions are the genesis of every scientific experiment and one of the best questions ever, ever, EVER is simply, Why? In this case, Why deconstruct cravings? Well, for me personally, most of my cravings don’t serve me. I don’t feel that great after partaking or imbibing and I want to feel good more than I want to feel like icky. Don’t we all? And, let’s be honest, when I let my cravings have their way with me for too long I feel bloaty and have muffin top. And then I’m pinchy and uncomfortable in my clothes and that’s crappy. That’s it. That’s my answer. Maybe it sounds vain, but there it is. It’s personal and any impetus for change must be terribly personal.
In a book I have from school called Integrative Nutrition, which I’ve never actually read, just thumbed through, the author lists eight primary causes of cravings: 1. Dehydration 2. Lifestyle (filling gaps in poor relationships, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, etc…) 3. Yin/Yang imbalance 4. Inside Coming Out (craving foods our ancestors ate or foods we ate as a child) 5. Seasonal (Eggnog and I MUST be together at Christmas time but I somehow forget it exists during the rest of the year.) 6. Lack of nutrients 7. Hormones 8. De-evolution (self-sabotage) Keeping those eight things in mind, let’s remember my chip demolition the other night and do some scientific deconstruction on chips. (VERY IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE!!!! I just looked up Kettle Brand potato chips online. Did you EVEN know that there is a Sriracha flavor?! I’m not sure how to get some, but I’ll find a way.)
First of all, what is it about chips that I love? Perhaps breaking it down and talking about it would be helpful. Alright. Here I go. So, I like that chips are crunchy… I like that they are salty… Aaaand I like that they are thinly sliced potatoes saturated and fried in oil. Ha! Try finding a replacement for that! Okay, hold everything for a second. When I said we should do science on potato chips I had no intention of deconstructing them out of my life. Potato chips are staying. I just love them so much and I don’t foresee them disappearing from my life totally, but in these night time moments of post sweating my brains out in a yoga class and not having had anything to eat since lunch it would behoove me to take a little pause, FEEL what it is my body is needing (sodium perhaps?) and maybe find happiness and satisfaction with a pickle. And some salted almonds. And an apple. And a coconut water. Or sometimes…sometimes… eating a bunch of chips is going to be the right thing to do and it will all be just fine and you only live once. Carpe diem, man.
I’ve been writing this post for a couple of days now and have taken some time to look at my other food cravings in this deconstructing light. I’m finding that dehydration is a huge trigger for me. I’m usually pretty good at drinking water, but when I don’t hydrate I crave sugar like mad. When I get to feeling like I just need to hook myself up to an IV drip full of melted chocolate, again, if I will pause, look at what is going on objectively (and sometimes emotionally), what I really need is a big tumbler of water (or a REALLY good squeezy hug and a kiss).
Hormones are another cause of cravings that seem to step into the ring with me, but this is a tricky one. I know that by eating healthier my hormones will be better balanced. But since they aren’t balanced from time to time because of the way I sometimes eat and sometimes because of stress then it feels like a cycle I can’t get out of. But I can. And I do. And it’s all good. And it starts with being aware. And breathing. And being sweet with myself. And changing one meal. And then changing the next meal. And knowing that sometimes I really do just need a treat. And Easter is coming. And the novelty of Mini Cadbury White Chocolate Eggs won’t be here all year. And it would be wise to get my little paws on them. And, and, and. and, and…. I’m going to be over here deconstructing things if you need me. I love you all! Thanks so much for reading! Have the best day!
Juicy Jam Session: This was my theme song for last week. It’s an easy, breezy, peaceful, windows down, hand out floating on the wind kind of song. What You Don’t Do-Tom Misch Remix by Lianne La Havas. Spring is in the air, friends, and life is soooooo beautiful!