OT - Tone-up Tuesday
Junk food can be addictive. Junk food is often heavily processed, meaning it can be full of artificial flavorings, chemicals, salt and sugar, all of which is perfectly measured out to make the food as tasty (and addictive!) as possible.
Junk food cravings can happen to the best of us (not me, as I have NO willpower!) and they seemingly strike out of nowhere. One minute you're enjoying a tasty and HEALTHY dinner... the next you're foaming at the mouth for something sweet or salty or carb-filled. Before you start feeling guilty (I'm having an affair with CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!), your junk food cravings may be your body's way of telling you it's lacking important nutrients.
Your body may be lacking magnesium, which is a mineral present in more than 300 chemical reactions that keep your body working properly! To say magnesium is important is an understatement. If you find yourself dreaming about swimming in Willy Wonka's chocolate river while nibbling cake, add leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fish to your diet.
Your body could be dehydrated, but if you sip some water and find your junk food cravings are still going strong, don't jump for the cookies or a candy bar! Instead, eat fruit for an instant - and natural - sugar fix. Sugary foods can also signal a lack of chromium, carbon, sulfur, or tryptophan. Add more foods like chicken, cheese, broccoli, and nuts to your diet.
Your body might need iron. Eat more chicken, turkey, eggs, and spinach. A caffeine craving could also mean you're super dehydrated. If you find yourself perpetually glued to your coffee mug, try having a glass of water beforehand to see if your craving disappears.
Table salt lacks trace minerals as it's processed. Eat pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax to increase your mineral intake. Switching to sea salt can make a world of difference.
Red meat can also signal that you're low in iron, so chow down on leafy greens like spinach and kale, and add more vitamin C to enhance how your body absorbs the iron. When you crave protein, your body isn't speaking in code - it simply wants more protein! Eat more chicken and fish, add more green veggies to your diet, and drink protein smoothies when you're on the go. Nuts and seeds are a convenient protein-rich snack.
Believe it or not, but if you're constantly drooling over Coke, your body is lacking calcium. Increase the amount of dairy products in your diet (milk and yogurt), and throw in some leafy greens like spinach and kale for good measure.
Your body is begging your for more calories. Obviously, the key is to focus on healthier fats, such as avocados, almonds, and coconut oil, as opposed to French fries.
If you're looking for a crunch, make popcorn instead of eating potato chips. Pop on the stove with coconut oil, air pop, or buy healthy pop corn. Season with light salt, garlic, chili powder... and number of seasonings or spices to liven it up. BONUS: Popcorn is high-fiber!
Try oven-roasted sweet potato 'fries'. Sweet potatoes are more nutrient-dense and have a lower glycemic index than potatoes. They also have more potassium and carotenoids.
Eating grapefruit will not only satisfy your sugar craving, but it can also help naturally suppress your appetite. The night amounts of fiber in grapefruit can satisfy hunger and help people avoid the temptation to overeat, since it is a bulky food. It stimulated cholecystokinin to be released - a hormone that regulates digestive juices and acts as a hunger suppressant. Try it sprinkled with cinnamon and broiled!