One of the most common issues for people trying to eat more raw is dealing with cravings. Usually they are for cheese, bread, pasta, chocolate or potatoes, although they can be for other "favourite" foods which might come under the banner of comfort foods. And while having the craving is enough of an issue in itself, what can compound it is the concern that "maybe I'm not getting everything I need with what I'm eating?” Well, rarely is this the case, although it may be depending on the range of foods you're eating and the quality of them, so rather than waste lots of time and energy getting confused about things, let's investigate a little further into the three different types of cravings and how you can learn to tell the difference between them...
Now, to the novice raw foodist, a craving is a craving because most of us aren't taught that there are different types, so we all tend to assume one thing (it could be positive or negative) and then stick with that. Which means that, depending on your natural tendencies and belief systems you probably have, you may be inclined to think of all of your cravings as "nutritional needs" that need to be taken care of, or "nasty addictions" that need to be overcome!
And while it may be true that all of your cravings fall under one banner, it's also highly possible that you have a combination of one or two going on, or maybe even all three. So, to learn how to differentiate between each type by simple process of elimination, read on.
The very first question to ask yourself is: “Is this a food I eat or used to eat regularly, perhaps every day?”
If yes, then it is more likely to be emotional or food sensitivity related.
If no, then it is more likely to be emotional or nutritional deficiency related.
If your answer was yes, then ask yourself: “What is it about this food that I seem to be craving?” You may need to dig deep here and do your best to be still and really tune in to the essence of what it is. Is it the flavour, the texture, the “mouth-feel”, the way it makes you feel before, during or after eating it?
If it’s any of these it’s most likely to be an emotional craving. In which case, you can get over it by finding a raw equivalent that satisfies whatever need you have. (For example, I have always loved ice-cream and when I went through tough times in my life I’d start buying ice-cream after not touching it for months at a time. I came to realise that I loved the way it felt in my mouth, the way it numbed my tongue – and emotions – and even though I didn’t feel great afterwards, I knew that it would make me somehow feel better about life. So I simply developed some amazing raw ice-cream recipes so that I could indulge when I needed to, but not have the “guilt” of eating junk food thrown on top of what was already bothering me!)
If your first answer was “yes”, and you couldn’t pull up any emotional or sensual needs around the food you’re craving, then it’s more likely to be a food sensitivity issue. A good way to tell is if you find yourself wanting the same food every single day and you feel as if you really need to have it (and nothing else will do) but you don’t actually feel better for eating it. If this is the case then that food has a physiological hold over you that is most likely going to be allergen or addiction related. In this case, the only truly viable thing to do is to go “cold turkey” and get it out of your system once and for all (I did this with bread and it worked a treat).
If your answer to question one was “no” then you need to discern if it’s an emotional or deficiency-related issue. As we’ve already discussed how to uncover whether it’s an emotional need, you should, by process of elimination be able to figure out which of the two it is. If you suspect or even know that it’s a craving for something because you may be nutritionally deficient in one or more nutrients, then read up about the food (or foods) you are craving in a good nutritional reference book and see if anything slots into place. For example, sometimes if people aren’t careful with their raw diet they may lean too heavily on certain foods or food groups and then miss out on something. Sometimes this can be B-vitamins if no sprouted grains are being eaten, or if the diet is low in nuts, greens and is very strictly vegan. So, see what you are craving, and, if there is any pattern to it, experiment and eat something raw that appears (on paper at least) to match the nutritional profile of what it is you are craving, and see if that makes a difference. If not, and the cravings persist, then so long as you don’t have an irreconcilable problem with whatever it is your body is asking for, then eat it. Either way, it is always worth consulting your GP or alternative practitioner to see if you do indeed have a deficiency and what exactly that is so that you can address it properly.
© 2012 Karen Knowler WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR ON YOUR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Karen Knowler, The Raw Food Coach publishes "Successfully Raw" - a free weekly eZine for raw food lovers everywhere. If you're ready to look good, feel great and create a raw life you love get your FREE tips, tools and recipes now at www.TheRawFoodCoach.com.