Why do we crave sugar? Why do those cravings get out of control? And what can you do about it?
Healthy nutrition is usually viewed in terms of calories and grams of fat. As a health coach I believe there is more than one way to look at food.
The other way is something pretty cool, and it's the concept of looking at the "polarity of food".
The polarity of food is based on the principle that everything has two "polarities" or "extremes".
For example hot and cold are extremes of the pole called temperature.
It's the same way with every apparent opposite - hard and soft, noisy and quiet, light and dark, good and bad, love and fear. When you find one thing, you will also find the potential for it's opposite.
To look at the world through the lens of polarity is to look at it in pairs: dark/light, night/day, yin/yang, male/female etc.
So how does this concept apply to food? Firstly, consider that food is MORE than simply fuel. It has energetic qualities that extend beyond calories, fat grams and nutrient values. For example, leafy greens grow upwardS, so they have a "lifting energy", whereas root vegetables, like a potato or parsnip, grow deep in to the ground, so they have a grounding energy.
So what does the polarity of food look like and how might this actually be creating your cravings?
The energy of certain foods makes you feel light, relaxed and happy - blissful even! Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, dairy and to a certain extent fruit all do this - these are "expansive bliss" foods. But when you eat too many "bliss" foods you start to feel a little spacey, ungrounded and maybe forgetful.
On the other extreme are "contracted tension" foods. These are the kinds of foods that put "meat on your bones". They make you feel grounded, focused, aggressive, but when you eat too many to can feel agitated and perhaps even angry. Foods such as salt, eggs and red meat are examples of "contracted tension foods".
So, if life is a system of opposites and your body is always trying to balance itself out, what do you think happens if you are having too many contracted foods like salt, meat and eggs? What do you think your body might start craving to balance itself out? It will crave the opposite of contracted foods - sweet, expansive, bliss foods.
Do you find if you have something salty like crisps you crave something sweet afterwards? That is a craving that has been created by eating contractive foods.
Certain activities are also contractive because they create more tension. Just as certain activities create more relaxation.
Working long hours, too much partying, staying up late, high stress levels - are all "contractive" activities. So if you do not allow yourself to relax the body is going to demand "expansive" foods to correct this and before you know it you will find yourself drinking too much alcohol, or bingeing on chocolate, bread or desserts.
Your body is literally begging you for a break. So you can put the brakes on your sugar cravings by putting in place some simple self-care methods such as ensuring you are getting good quality sleep, taking some time out to read, performing a daily meditation, walking in nature or taking a relaxing bath.