Comfort eating is such a complicated phenomenon.
On the one hand, there’s the situation where you can’t stop yourself from eating the junk, no matter how much you hate yourself for eating it or how bad you feel afterward.
On the other hand, there’s a situation where you can’t stop yourself from eating everything in sight, but you don’t care. It’s almost like you want to feel bad and you’re sick of trying to feel good.
Having been in both scenarios, I can empathise that either way, it’s a very difficult place to be.
There’s no chance in the world of overcoming gut issues like bloating, stomach pains, reflux, nausea, upset bowels or fatigue when comfort eating is still in the picture.
How is your gut going to process the volume of food efficiently, not to mention that most of what we eat when we comfort eat is irritating to the digestive system?
Grains are very difficult for the body to digest and sugar is highly inflammatory to the gut. Sugar feeds the ‘bad’ bacteria like pathogens and inflammatory bacteria, while starving out the good.
Sometimes too, we know that we are intolerant to a certain food – dairy for example – and yet continue to eat it despite it making us feel sick.
So why do we keep going back to these foods when we know the consequences? In copious amounts?
As with everything, there are 3 parts to this – the physical, emotional and energetic.
In this article, I’ll be focusing on the physical. Part 2 will focus on the emotional and energetic.
There are a hundred reasons for sugar cravings (craving bread, rice, potatoes and pasta is also a sugar craving – you don’t necessarily need to be craving chocolate and sweet things), so for the purposes of not writing a novel, I’m going to go into the top three physical causes of sugar cravings.
There are certain bacteria in the gut which feed off sugar and therefore drive you to crave sugar so that you keep eating it and they live.
The main offender is Candida, which is a yeast that is surprisingly common. There are other opportunistic gut bacteria like Klebsiella which also love these types of foods.
As difficult as this is at first, if you do have these bacteria in the gut, the only way out is through. They need to be starved out, and you can also use certain antimicrobial foods like garlic and oregano to help clear them out.
You’ll need to have a functional stool test to determine whether you have an overgrowth of these kinds of bacteria. Contact me if this is something you’d like to investigate.
Insulin resistance is when the cells of the body can’t accept glucose (sugar) from the blood into the cells or maintain stable blood sugar levels.
As a result, your blood sugar levels bounce all over the place and drop throughout the day. So, your body makes you crave the foods that will stabilize your blood sugar the quickest – refined carbohydrates, sweets, potatoes etc.
But this is a vicious cycle because insulin also tells the body to store fat. So, because your body cells are having trouble accepting sugar in, the excess sugar gets stored as fat and you continue to crave sugar.
Your body is literally craving energy.
Perhaps your fatigue is due to poor sleep, stress, hormonal imbalances or your gut symptoms (if you have gut issues, you’ll most likely be fatigued as well). Whatever the cause, if you’re tired then you’re more likely to crave food as the body wants more energy.
The solution to all these physical causes is to cut out the bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, chocolate, chips, desserts and refined foods and replace them with lean protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats like avocado, salmon and coconut oil.
Balance your meals with vegetables, protein and healthy fat to ensure a satisfying and filling meal. This stabilizes your blood sugar levels, gives you sustained energy and feeds your healthy gut bacteria.
To counter those sweet cravings, stock up on sweet teas and [fruit free bliss balls] so that you have something on hand. Sprinkle cinnamon on your fruit and drink plenty of water.
It may be difficult to ward off the cravings at first, but if you can stick to your healthy diet and stay away from temptations, after a few days you’ll feel like a whole new person!
It doesn’t take long to bring the body back into balance. Focus on food as medicine (not comfort) and you’ll overcome sugar cravings quicker than you think.