Food cravings are an absolute enemy to a person who has big health goals. Cravings are nasty little rascals that sneak up on us at the worst times when we are least expecting it! Usually, once a person has detoxed their previous eating habits, the cravings subside. When I gave up dairy and grains it was a battle, but after living clean for some time, my body stopped craving junk and started alerting my brain to what I needed. This sounds odd, but truly I could tell if I needed leafy greens for vitamins, protein for strength, or good fats for sustainability.
These blissful years were shattered when I entered a highly stressful season of life and SIBO had taken root in my digestive system. Wow, I had never experienced cravings so strong in my life. While I hadn’t consumed sugar or grains in years, SIBO had me desperate to drink pure maple syrup straight out of the bottle, yikes! In the Gurney house we believe food is fuel. What we eat can give us energy for an accomplished, happy life. Having no desire to go back to the days of pain, exhaustion, and serious digestive distress, I knew I needed a plan to beat the cravings at their own game. Friends, it was a seriously rough road, but I am doing well and the cravings are less frequent and not nearly as strong. I hope some of my strategies can be useful to you as well!
This wonderful oil can be used to kick my body into ketosis and sustain me while I am intermittent fasting. While many people use it to make bulletproof coffee, I sadly find that coffee is not a safe food for my digestion. Instead, I add a couple of tbsp to a couple of Applegate sausages for breakfast. Sometimes I eat a couple of spoonfuls straight up, kind of like a supplement. It always reminds me of the scene in Mary Poppins when she feeds the children cod liver oil. Be brave, the taste really is not bad, the texture is just odd to swallow on it’s own.
I am truly addicted to tea and I’m not ashamed to say it. I drink a cup of black tea with a pinch of stevia in the morning and then another cup after lunch. The flavor keeps me from wishing for sugar and of course I appreciate the caffeine boost. When I need a caffeine break I switch to herbal teas. Many people drink herbal tea for medicinal purposes, but I want an herbal tea that feels like a luxurious treat!
Republic of Tea is one of my favorite brands. Visit their online store, or find it at your local health food stores. Blackberry Hibiscus is always delightful. It has a beautiful pink color so my niece loves it for tea parties, and the fruity floral combo always gives me a boost. The Daily Beauty, Blueberry Lavender tea finds its way into my cup when I want a peaceful morning. I’m drinking it as I type because it makes me happy on Saturday mornings. In the evenings, when I am desperate for dessert, I drink the Hibiscus Blueberry blend. It keeps me from raiding the kitchen at night!
Lulu and Max is a local tea vendor that has grown to be a favorite of mine. It is a joy to visit their stand at the farmers market, but their teas are also online. This brand sells loose leaf teas which makes the tea pure and fresh. I have yet to be disappointed in any of their flavors, but Bloom, White Pear, and Blueberry Mango are my top three!
When you are searching for the perfect tea, be careful of the ingredients label. Organic is a good place to start. Check the ingredients to be sure what you are drinking is made from real ingredients and is free of additives. The same goes for Stevia! It is rare to find a Stevia brand that is just pure stevia. I trust the 365 brand from Whole Foods because it is free of additives.
Not all gum is created equal friends. Most have a ton of terrible ingredients. Even some of the healthy gum choices have soy. My favorite gum is made by pur. All the flavors are delicious, but Pomegranate and Bubblegum give me the biggest thrill. They also have mints! This gum is making it’s way into local grocery stores. I find it at Fresh Thyme, but Walmart also sells it!
Okay, this one is obvious, but still important to note! If water is not your favorite, find a way to jazz it up. Add lemon, cucumbers, berries, mint, or blueberry for flavor.
Water is a lifeline, it is worth it to treat it as an investment. I’ve mentioned before that we have a Reverse Osmosis water filter. If you like Starbucks triple filtered water, I promise this is even better. It’s a very clean and refreshing taste which makes drinking water a delicious experience. If your home is temporary, most grocery stores also have RO machines so you can buy refillable gallons.
Investing in a reusable water bottle is important for you and for the environment. I have been please with a few brands, but YETI has been the most faithful. While competitors break easily, and usually leak, my YETI has stood up against my crazy adventures. I pack a couple of 26oz water bottles in my lunch box every day. For weekend adventure I pack my half gallon bottle to be sure I never run out of water.
When I my body is low on water, I find myself desperate for carbs and sugar! I come home from work “starving”, and I find myself eating way too much and ignore veggies entirely. To prevent these fits of cravings, every day before breakfast I gulp down two or three glasses of water. Since I am a teacher, sipping water all day is not an option. I am running around the building, and I can’t get to a restroom anytime I want. Learning to gulp has changed everything. If this is hard for you, practice. I try to drain a whole water bottle before lunch. I also try to have at least one, if not two water bottles before I head home. The water pushes off my hunger, giving me time to exercise before dinner, and helping me make smarter food choices instead of listening to the cravings.
At times, cravings will convince me I am hungry when I am really not. This is super important to discern because overeating with SIBO is a big problem. Autoimmune people could be carrying around that food baby for many days, having to take supplements to feel normal again. I cannot stand this bloated feeling, so instead, when I am hungry, I ask myself, “Do you want a salad.” If the answer is no, I must have a craving, if the answer is yes, I’m actually hungry. I try to eat at least one salad a day. Sometimes this is a whole meal, like my Chicken Club Salad or my Greek Salad with Lamb Medallions, but other times it’s just a side salad. Leafy greens go a long way in keeping me full and making sure my food is truly for fuel, not feelings.
Leave us a comment or share with you friends if you find this helpful. For people who are struggling with autoimmunity, you might find my posts about overcoming SIBO helpful.