Perhaps you’ve seen the article that went viral on the web, the one that suggested the secret to never fighting with your spouse is eating candy bars. For today’s Sweet Thursday, I’ll throw you a few tips that are slightly more useful.
We know that our emotions can play tricks on us. When you’re mad at someone, you’re not always upset for the reasons you think. You could be thirsty, tired, stewing over something unrelated or just having a bad day. Sweet cravings work the same way – your body is simply getting the wrong signal from your brain.
Food conglomerates have used clever marketing for years. They program us to believe that sweets can satisfy our underlying emotional and nutritional desires. From lifehacker:
When you eat something tasty (say, a bag of potato chips), your brain registers that feeling. The next time you see that food, smell that food, or even read about that food, your brain starts to trigger the memories and responses that came when you ate it. These memories can actually cause physical responses like salivation and create the “mouth-watering” craving that you get when thinking about your favorite foods… Food companies are spending millions of dollars to design foods with addictive sensations.
So we know they suck us in, but how can we break out of our poor eating habits? When our bodies are clamoring for sugary junk food, it may be a sign that we need to replenish some nutrients. Chromium, phosphorus, sulfur and tryptophan are all needed by our bodies and too-low levels can trigger the sugar cravings.
Next time you’re tempted to run and grab the Swedish Fish or the Sour Patch Kids, try some broccoli and kale with blue cheese crumbles and a banana. I guarantee the sweet cravings dissipate. The broccoli and banana are rich in chromium and both tryptophan and phosphorus are present in animal products.
The broccoli and kale also provide you with a big dose of B vitamins, essential in helping to reduce the effects of stress. Stress increases sugar cravings and makes it harder to maintain willpower to resist those cravings, providing a double whammy of obstacles on your path to optimal nutrition.
Best of all, you’ll find that resisting these cravings becomes easier over time. Indulging in junk food makes you crave it more often; take a pass in favor of some natural, whole foods and those M & Ms will begin to look a lot less enticing.
Oh, and next time you’re pissed off at your girlfriend or boyfriend or both, skip the candy bar and ask yourself if you’re sufficiently hydrated.
Kap – When I feel the urge to do something I know I shouldn’t do (i.e. food cravings) I ask myself this question: Would I rather experience the joy of discipline or the pain of regret?
Gabe Kapler says
Love that, Brad. Nice.
Ed H says
So, was the premise of that article you refer to “have a happier marriage by dying sooner?”
Ed H says
…. or was it “kill yourself, not your partner?”
Gabe Kapler says
Terri Torrez says
I’m coming off of several weeks of “crisis mode”. The stress levels sent my sugar cravings through the roof. And it takes a lot longer for the stress levels to come down than it did for them to ramp up. I’m trying to keep healthy but also cut myself some slack. I haven’t touched a soda or a candy bar. But when the craving is too much I indulge with a square of Vosges dark chocolate (this one also has organic bananas and nutmeg) and a glass of Port. It’s an indulgence that doesn’t leave me with regrets.
I need to read this over and over again!!!