“What To Do When You're Craving Unhealthy Foods”

5 Actions You Can Take to Beat Food Cravings Now

by Frederic Patenaude

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Every time I ask my readers what's the most frustrating thing they experience when trying to eat a very healthy diet, the number one answer that comes up is *cravings* for unhealthy foods.

It seems that even though you may know what's good for you, the “bad” foods or the foods you're trying to avoid are still not only tempting, but sometimes temptation is stronger than anything. Like the movie said, “Resistance is futile.”

Now, I know it's been said that the best way to resist temptation is to yield to it, but today I'm not going to suggest that. Instead, I'm going to give you 5 actions you can take when you're craving unhealthy foods.

1. Eat More Raw Food

From my experience, the number one reason why people experience cravings on a raw food diet is that they haven't learned to eat enough fruits and vegetables to be well nourished. They eat a starvation diet that may be good for short-term detox, but it's not enough to sustain them over the long run.

So the one thing you can do whenever you're craving unhealthy foods is to eat more raw foods. Make yourself a big banana/blueberry smoothie and don't consider eating anything else until you've finished it.

Then you can learn to gradually increase the amount of raw foods that you eat, to the point that you're no longer craving unhealthy foods.

2. Wait for True Hunger

In my book The Raw Secrets, I explained the difference between true hunger and false hunger. In true hunger, you will be satisfied by simple foods. With false hunger, you will *crave* complex, spicy, or salty foods, and might not feel at all drawn to eat fruits and vegetables.

One thing you can do when you're craving unhealthy foods is watch how you feel and identify whether you're experiencing true hunger or false hunger. (Those signs are listed in the book The Raw Secrets).

If it's false hunger, commonly referred to as “appetite,” then it won't hurt to simply wait until you are truly hungry before eating. At that point, you may find that a green smoothie or a fruit salad might be the food that you're really craving.

3. Break Out of the Pattern

Often, cravings arise when there is a situation that “triggers” the cravings - some mental or emotional association that is “anchored” to the particular foods that you're craving.

For me, I would always crave all sorts of foods when I visited my mom. The emotional triggers associated with the place where I grew up were strong, and for many people it's the same.

You can learn to avoid these circumstances as much as possible, and/or break free of the emotional patterns or triggers when the cravings occur.

For example, if a certain situation triggers a craving for you, then you have to understand that your brain has been “conditioned” to react that way.

One thing you can do is simply break the pattern by doing something you wouldn't normally do in that situation.

That can be go out for a run, go take a walk, jump in a pool, do some jumping jacks, laugh... anything to break the pattern!

4. Identify the Emotion

You can also be craving unhealthy foods when certain emotions arise. The reason is that we often use foods to “numb” ourselves whenever we feel emotions we don't like.

And it's not just lonely or fat people who have that problem - everybody does, to some degree. The foods we call “comfort foods” are in fact “numbing foods” that prevent us from experiencing our feelings.

The solution is not to run away from the emotion, not to “express” it, but to simply feel it. Accept the emotion, feel it, and observe what happens inside of you when you're not running away from the emotion by using “comfort foods” to numb it.

You might discover very interesting things about yourself in the process.

5. Get at the Root of Your Cravings

Ultimately, you want to get at the root of your cravings. If the cravings are of a nutritional nature, you want to learn how to eat a healthy raw-based diet that fulfills your nutritional needs. I recommend as a minimum that you invest some time in learning the basics of this diet by referring to the following resources:

o Raw Health Starter Kit
o Making Friends With Your Food

But there are also complex chains of emotions attached to our relationship with food, and if you've been raised in a Western culture, chances are that you use food for many reasons, not just for nourishment.

In order to eradicate cravings completely, you need to change your *relationship* with food, so that you can do away with cravings and feel confident in facing the inevitable social obstacles that present themselves when applying a raw diet in a predominantly “cooked” society.

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