I was starting to eat potato chips, barbeque ones with that just right sweet salty balance. It started with one or two to dip into my home made canned salsa. Now it was turning into a food fest of grabbing one handful after the next. Forget the salsa with it’s healthy, low-sodium, fresh ingredients. That will be for another time. I was on a roll, eating my most dangerous high cravings food. But I’d learned something over the years. I don’t have to let craving s destroy me – I have the power to do something about it. I had to go for my cravings killer before it was too late – I had to get up and eat some real food.
Cravings come for me under circumstances that are not unusual. Stress, tiredness, nervousness, frustration and hunger. It’s when I want to hit the salty crunchy comfort with potato chips landing in the #1 spot to fill that need. It was a while back I decided to do some self research to find out why I could eat a whole bag of chips at one sitting. I tried different type of chips to see if that helped. IT might slow me down a bit, but after a few chomps, I was at it again, grabbing handful after handful until I’d eaten far too many.
I tried moving to a new location in my house. Maybe taking a few jumps on the mini-trampoline in the living room for distraction. That didn’t work as I jumped right off the trampoline over to the counter and grabbed another handful. After being a complete nerd and charting this behavior when it came to chips, it hit me; what if I didn’t have any in the house? Well, that worked for a while of course, and I thought I had found the solution. Until I went to the store the next time that is and grabbed a big bag, tore it open in the car and ate half of it before getting home.
Now you would think a bone fide vegan chef and certified health coach would be very careful sharing this type of information. The correct way would be to claim I had made a stash of dehydrated flax crackers to eat when I got hungry with some freshly made, whole foods hummus. I shouldn’t be admitting that craves took over and I went for the bad stuff I found hard to resist. But why pretend? Cravings are REAL and insidious and ugly. They make you run and hide out in the bathroom to eat a few things you tell others in you house not to touch for fear you’ll lose your credibility as the “pure eater” in the house. Or they make you leave the house under the pretense of doing something else to just drive around wasting expensive gas or going to a parking lot to eat the stuff you put into your purse to get out. Yes, cravings make you do ugly things.
I have never been good with having a substance outside of myself have control over me. That’s why I’d never make a good drug addict. As soon as I felt the drug was controlling me instead of me controlling it, I would drop it. It’s like when I went on a caffeine detox after developing an eight cup a day habit. I cold turkeyed the stuff over a week’s time going through some kind of awful withdrawals. It was certainly worth it in the long run and the process was so bad I fear caffeine to this day. I’ll drink some decaf coffee periodically or have some naturally caffeinated herbal tea. but I’m still leery of its potential pull on me.
So the salty crunchy pull of chips had me baffled. Then one more day into my research, I got it. It wasn’t that the chips were so great. In fact, I realized I could eat the whole bag becuase theyre is no nutritional value to potato chips. My body continued to crave more and more as it searched for nutrition from what I was feeding it. Since I normally eat pretty healthy, eating junk is a shock ot my system that is accustomed to getting vitamins and minerals from whole foods. It wasn’t that they tasted so good. After a while, they barely had a taste at all, another reason to grab more and more, trying to find a taste. It wasn’t that i needed more, I could feel the salt going through my bloodstream, increasing the pressure in my head that would show up as high blood pressure if I took the test right then. No, it wasn’t that they were so good.
It was much simpler than that. It was that – I was hungry. Pure and simple. Yes, I might have been stressed or nervous but I usually wait until real hunger shows up to eat. I was hungry. I learned taht when I start eating this way, I need to immediately do a switch out to cruncy, healthy foods and fill up on that. That’s why I keep a bowl of the Humungous Veggie Salad around. The crunch comes from carrots, celery green and red cabbage. I add some walnuts for more crunch, maybe some sunflower seeds and eat away. With only a light dressing ov balsamic vinegar, I can eat all I want without worry.
I know it sounds simplistic and maybe even silly, like a fantasy dream that isn’t going to work. But if you’re having cravings and can’t tell why, try it. Plan for what you know you’re going to need. If it’s salty, crunchy, sweet, bitter or another flavor profile, have something around to grab, right at that time where you’re just about to go off the deep end. Sure it takes discipline, no doubt about that. It take pre-planning. But it can work. For the sweet crave, have a stash of dates around. even better make a raw chocolate cake or walnut fudge bar. For bitter, add fresh lime or lemon juice as your salad dressing. Crunchy can be helped with raw nuts and seeds.
You have to find your healthy substitute well ahead of time or it won’t work. But it can work when you work the plan and find your cravings killer foods. Take it from my personal research and try your own. See what happens when you feed yourself good foods when the terrible cravings try to eat you alive. Then let me know how it worked for you to kill the cravings in the comment section below.