One of the things I love doing is turning unhealthy craving into delicious healthy recipes.
On my Facebook page recently I asked people what unhealthy foods they would like to have healthy substitutes for and I got a huge response.
We are programmed from a young age with images of unhealthy treats as rewards for good behaviour or if we eat our main course. “Have you been a good boy?” asks a kind autie/grandad/parent. “Then I’ll buy you some sweets.” Bribery works wonders with kids, but why can’t we use this method with healthy versions of things? Why can’t we teach our kids that the lovely raw chocolate brownie is as much of a treat as the gelatin-infused gummy sweets that most kids seem to eat? We can turn the treat from being toxic to being something that both tastes delicious and also is good for the body.
So this has become part of my mission. I often lay in bed at night and think of ways to make healthy versions of popular chocolate bars, cakes or finding healthy substitutes for caramel etc. But one thing that I feel is important is to look at what is causing the craving in the first place. Let’s look at some popular foods that came up in my recent research:
Crisps - A lot of people crave crisps, this is quite often due to the lack of good salt and fat in people’s diet, which in the right form are essential for health. A good solution to this is to have an avocado with some raw grey sea salt sprinkled on top. We buy lentil crisps or potato crisps made with sea salt and only natural ingredients (msg is not a health food). I also make kale chips with soy sauce and good salt in the dehydrator (you can buy them in the shops too). Eating crisps, or any food that you chew or munch a lot, releases serotonin from the brain helping us to feel good. A solution is to chew ALL of our food sufficiently. It is good for our brain and digestion too.
Alcohol - Another common craving is alcohol. It is nice to have a glass of something special. I like to have a nice glass of water kefir or kombucha in a wine glass as a substitute for wine. It tastes great and works on supporting the gut too. Alcohol cravings can be due to dehydration, seeking stress-relief or from an imbalance in gut bacteria leading to a sugar craving. Make sure you are well hydrated with water (“Adam’s Ale”), look to mindfulness techniques to manage stress and sort out your gut health.
Sugar - Sugar cravings come from many places, tiredness, stress, imbalance in gut bacteria to name a few. It’s a bit of a negative spiral with sugar as the more you have the more you want it. So what can we do to help reduce our sweet tooth or make it a little bit healthier? There are so many great natural alternatives we can use like maple syrup, raw local honey, stevia, coconut sugar, dates, apples, bananas or dried fruit, all of which have much less of an impact on our blood sugar levels and our immune system than the processed white stuff.
Meat - One of the reasons there are now estimated to be 3.5million vegans in the UK is because of the exposed horrors of the mainstream animal farming industry. I know someone who has worked in a turkey farm at Christmas and the stories he told me were frightening. If you eat meat please make sure it is coming from the most humane sources as possible. Ghandi said you can judge the level of civilisation of a nation by how it treats its animals. The UK has such a high level of care for dogs and cats, the RSPB has 1 million members, but collectively the nation butchers millions of animals each year. How people reconcile this in their conscience I do not know. Another aspect is the chemicals, such as adrenaline, that are released by animals knowing they are about to be killed which can remain in the meat. When this is consumed, the person can then have cravings for more. There are so many meat-alternatives out there, amazing things we can eat that don’t have such a high price tag of life and karma on them.