Cravings and afternoon snacking are the “Achilles heel” for most, especially those who are looking to lose weight or to improve health metrics. Snacks are unavoidable, and for most individuals, increased willpower and restriction only increase the craving. Been there, done that! It happens to the best of us, and it’s why birthday cake rarely sits in the house for more than a day or two. You get the kids in bed, you’ve eaten perfectly all day, but then you feel a pull, dare I say an obligation, to finish off the remaining decadent quarter of a cake. You realize it’s technically off limits, and all the justifications come rushing through your brain, but it doesn’t change the magnetic pull of chocolate deliciousness, just waiting and luring you to the kitchen.

You’ve been diagnosed with a case of what I affectionately call, “crave-alotis”…It’s the undesirable case of craving salty, sweet, chocolate, fizzy, or crunchy….the top contenders. But what’s behind it all? Hormones! That’s where this becomes a bit of a complex equation! On any given day, the catalyst may change, but what stays constant are the chemicals, emotions, and the accompanying hormones that are typically driving the situation. We’ve all experienced it. You’ve had a hard day but you stayed “true to diet,” your children pushed you to the limit, too many text messages piled up, and you suddenly feel the overwhelming urge that you “deserve” something yummy, which will make you happy.
There is a clear connection between mood and food, particularly Serotonin. Sure, there are cases in which you are lacking specific nutrients such as magnesium, and so you crave magnesium-rich chocolate and are willing to slice off the finger of anyone who gets in your way! I get it! But, we are talking about that “deer in the headlights” moment, when you wander aimlessly into the kitchen only to find yourself squarely face-to-face with your refrigerator shelves, just looking for something…anything! It predictably happens in the afternoons and evenings. Maybe it’s boredom, but more than likely, it’s your central nervous system asking for a bowl of hormonal happiness to increase the mood booster Serotonin. And while it’s easier to reach for a donut, mindfully identifying the root cause as being low serotonin, can get you a lot farther down the road of healthfulness.

Image Courtesy of Dr. Axe

  • Symptoms: you’ll find yourself a bit depressed and irritable.
  • Cravings: cheese/dairy, eggs, grains, salmon, poultry, banana, potatoes, beans, sesame seeds,
  • Rationale: The aforementioned foods are rich in Tryptophan, the precursor to Serotonin.
  • Caution: Tryptophan-rich foods are typically animal proteins, which add acid, inflammation, calories, unhealthy fats, and the subsequent craving for carbohydrates, both because carbs alone increase serotonin and also because carbs help drive tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. Carbs make serotonin available! But be aware that carbs also spike insulin levels, which have a ripple negative effect on health!
  • Action: The best way to increase Serotonin healthfully is with a daily source of Spirulina, one of the top ingredients in Purium’s Apple Berry Green Shake.
  • Result: Increasing the amount of tryptophan in your body will both decrease depression, and it will give you the control to resist comfort foods.
Next time you have that afternoon itch to head to the kitchen for cheese and crackers, take a moment to practice Mindfulness. Drink a glass of lemon water to “wait and hydrate.” Note how you are feeling. And, grab a Green Power Shake, whip up a batch of Cocoa Mint Spirulina Cookies, or enjoy a Chocolate Mint Green Shake  Your cells will thank you for the added, clean nutrition, and your mood will improve!
Take my Three Day Green Shake Challenge…for Free! Schedule your free Health Coaching Consultation on the website, and I’ll send you three green shake samples to try. See what a difference three days of Tryptophan-rich Green Shakes makes in your energy, health, and mood!

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