Deconstructing Cravings from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.
No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.
The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:

  • Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.

  • Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.

  • What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?

  • When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.  

Ripple Effect

Kindness has a ripple effect.The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has created a ripple effect around our nation and others as well.   A seemingly innocent request amongst celebrities has become a nationwide phenomena.  Now folks from all walks of life know what ALS stands for and this ripple effect has created nationwide awareness of the disease.  ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral sclerosis, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  It’s a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and then to the muscles throughout the body.  This devastating disease needs more research and with a ripple effect, research dollars are pouring in nationwide.

It’s interesting how social media has changed our society in a way we could have never imagined.

I love the ripple effect, which got its name from the ripples created in the water.   What I like most about it is that the positive effects of one person can be seen by several.  Think of “pay it forward”.  And just as a positive ripple effect exists, a negative ripple effect can counteract.

Recently, I was involved in my own downward spiral with the ripple effect.  One seemingly innocent request, approved my supervisors, turned into an office drama, which in the end led me to positive corrective steps.   I won’t bore you with too many details, basically, I asked for my cell phone to be paid for by my office as I use my cell phone a lot for work, and it would have given me an equal “raise” as far as my other colleages received.  Both my direct supervisors approved, however, others in the office got involved and in the end, not wanting to continue the negative energy of the situation, I decided to pay for the phone bill myself.   What happened afterward, quite literally, put me into therapy and questioning whether the work environment I was in was serving me anymore.  One person I help out, not my direct supervisor, decided to seek assistance for calendar, travel and other items elsewhere, others in the office gossiped about my request, and then others made requests on my professional time that were most inappropriate.

Fortunately, having a weekend to sort things out proved mighty useful.  I learned that my request made a ripple effect in my office that was not as positive as the ALS bucket challenge.  I had to stop the ripple immediately, and I did just that.  I commanded the universe to cut the cords that were attaching me to the negativity in the office, I started listening to Gabrielle Bernstein presentations “Course in Miracles”, I made an appointment with a therapist for unbiased help on getting me through my day and I made an appointment with a retirement counselor for the pension program in which I participate.

I could have spent my time sulking instead of taking positive action, and wouldn’t you know it, each positive action lead to another ripple effect.  A personal ripple effect in my life, things that I am grateful for rather than resentful of.

Not working for one of the administrators in my office freed up my time to really work with my supervisors on their meetings and events that have some real meaning for them.  It also meant I only work in the office, no overtime and I’ve created a clean separation between responsibilities in the workplace and free time away from work.   The course in miracles helped me to identify small steps everyday that lead to gratefulness, things like getting an awesome $5 Starbucks Card today for filling out a survey, or running into someone from my past over the weekend who was a big part of my life, and we just lost touch, or having a positive ripple effect on someone else.

I have learned that actions I take effect others, and I’ve been more cautious of my words and actions.

What type of ripple effect are you making in the world?   Make some comments below.

Have a great week!

5 diet types for every body, because we’re all unique!

The Institute for Integrative Nutrition came out with this infographic highlighting the five most popular diet types today.

Most of my friends and family members are really into the Paleo diet, but this doesn’t work for us vegetarians due to the nature of the diet which focuses on grass-fed meat and fish.

You also hear about gluten-free diets for individuals who have become allergic or have sensitivities to gluten which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.  You can find gluten-free products available at mainstream markets as well as health food stores.   Beware of the sugar content in the gluten-free products.  Sometimes I feel like these companies are sacrificing health for sugary taste, which causes other issues int the body.   I can recommend the Tinkyada line of pasta, which I’ve found to have a great texture and taste.  If you want to check out gluten-free options, the pasta is a very good start.   I have learned that in order to reap the benefits of a gluten-free lifestyle, you must go gluten-free for at least six-months.

Macrobiotics, listed below, was very popular a few years ago and focuses on Yin and Yang food choices.  You’ll see an explanation above and if you’d like more information about this diet type, feel free to make a comment below and I can write a blog focusing on this diet type.  The foods that are highlighted include seaweed, brown rice, and fermented soy.  It’s a great option for vegetarians.

Vegan diets and Raw Food diets to me, seem extreme.   I do have friends that do one or the other, sometimes both who have had tremendous results with their health and energy.  A raw food diet consists of vegetables and fruits, not cooked over 118 degrees, which makes having a vitamix and dehydrater imperative. A great cookbook for vegan diet is “Oh She Glows Cookbook”, and can be purchased for as low as $14.99 thru Barnes and Nobles.   I have the cookbook and have made several delicious dishes that even my boyfriend Chad enjoys.  I highly recommend this cookbook if a vegan diet is something you’d like to try.

The main focus of any diet should be health and no matter what your eating style, make sure you get plenty of water, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains and beans so you’ve got the energy to get through your day.  A restrictive diet is no way to live.   I had been on a calorie restrictive diet for a year and it became an obsession.   I feel like as long as you are healthy you should choose moderation. There is more information on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Blog on healthy lifestyle, recipes and nutritional advice.  You can check out their posts from my Lisa’s Lentils Website here.

Have a great week everyone!