Techniques to Satisfy Cravings with Katie Lemons // Part 2


  • HEAL YOUR GUT!: gut microbiota (what our bellies are made of) has been suggested to affect our bodies big time in certain ways, such as the production of neurotransmitters and short chain fatty acids - both of which have mood-altering effects, change the tastes of foods and affect pain sensitivity. According to one study, the carbohydrate cravings you feel might not only be hormonal in origin, but instead our systems being hijacked by our gut microbiota. Eat fermented foods, take a probiotic, practice gratitude, cut sugar intake, eliminate artificial sweeteners, avoid harmful sprays and pesticides on produce, eat polyphenol-rich foods. ( 2 )

  • stabilize your blood sugar: In one study,  subjects whose blood sugar remained low reported greater tension than those whose blood glucose was higher. This could be due to activation of the autonomic nervous system, in an attempt to return blood glucose to normal levels, resulting in increased feelings of tension and cravings ( 3 )
  •  avoid meals singularly high in carbohydrates: carbohydrate-induced release of insulin over time, causes low levels of blood glucose resulting in irritability or aggression ( 3 )
  • choose meals higher in protein and good fats: Protein triggers hormonal responses that differ to those caused by carbohydrate; fats alter how quickly you feel full and how well your belly works( 3 ) Therefore, a large dose of sugar, in the absence of other nutrients, is acting as a serious unnatural stimulant on your body. ( 3 )

  • avoid alcohol: alcohol enhances the release of insulin and hence the tendency for blood glucose levels to fall ( 3 )
  • avoid foods that have high glycemic index to prevent blood sugar spikes and declines: refined sugars and carbohydrates - sugar, flour, rice, white potatoes, bread
    • high glycemic index is not to be confused with glycemic load. Cherries and watermelon, for example, have a high glycemic index, but low glycemic load. The glycemic index refers to how long it takes for our body to break down carbohydrates. Whole grains, such as brown rice, pasta and bread plus most vegetables, generally have a lower GI than their white counterparts and cakes and confectionary. The slower foods break down, the fuller you will stay and the more stable your energy levels — which is why low GI carbs are first choice in terms of blood sugar stabilization. Glycemic load, in contrast, is more about carbohydrate quantity and quality. A food with a high glycemic index raises blood sugar, whereas a low glycemic load is a better indicator that a food wont’ have much impact on blood glucose levels. Watermelon, for example, has  glycemic index of 72 (relatively high), but a  glycemic load of only 4.

eat according to your phase:

  • This way, you’re refilling the nutrients that are depleted / lacking. The follow list is retrieved from Alissa Vitti’s “Woman Code.”

    • luteal phase (week before your period): stave off sugar cravings through the consumption of food high in B vitamins; eat a good combination of calcium and magnesium in leafy greens to lessen fluid retention and bloating; eat a lot of fiber to help your liver and large intestine flush estrogen most efficiently through the bowel; consume natural sugars help with dip in estrogen that occurs in the second half of luteal phase that can make you feel irritable - roast or bake vegetables which increase the concentrations of those sugars so  the veggies taste sweeter; have adequate intake of complex carbs to stabilize serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain and help prevent mood swings ( 9 )

      • reach for these foods: brown rice, millet, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collards, cucumber, daikon, garlic, ginger, leek, mustard green, onion, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, squash, sweet potato, watercress, apple, date, peach, pear, chickpea, great northern beans, navy beans, hickory, pine nut, walnut, beef, turkey, cod, flounder, halibut, mint, peppermint, spirulina ( 9 )

    • menstrual phase: aim for low glycemic index and water rich fruits and vegetables; include seafood and sea-based veggies to help remineralize your body with iron and zinc, which you lose during menstruation ( 9 )

      • reach for these foods: buckwheat, wild rice, beet, burdock, dulse, hijii, kale, kelp, kombu, button and shiitake mushrooms, wake, water chestnuts, blackberry, blueberry, concord grape, cranberry, watermelon, adzuki beans, black soybean, black turtle beans, kidney beans, chestnut, duck, pork, catfish, clam, crab, lobster, mussel, octopus, oyster, sardine, scallop, squid, banter tea, decaf coffee, miso, salt, tamarin ( 9 )

supplements to take:
B vitamin (specifically B6) ( 6 )
magnesium ( 6 ) - catch this post to find out how much to take / why
**to note: B6 and magnesium make work synergistically, so it’s recommended to take a multi-B Vitamin and magnesium together ( 13 )
chaste berry / vitex - the chaste tree is believed to produce these positive effects by reducing prolactin, increasing progesterone, and binding opioid receptors. The binding effect on opioid receptors and its relationship with endorphin levels (our happiness levels!!) minimizes the typical symptoms of PMS, such as anxiety, food cravings, and physical discomfort ( 11 )
if cravings stem from blood sugar imbalances, chromium may be a good option for stabilization ( 12 )

in review:
- feed your body the nutrients it’s losing/lacking and avoid high glycemic index foods that spike blood sugar -
- be a detective of your cravings, being able to decipher if they are physical or emotional -
- have techniques on hand when the emotional cravings strike -

( 1 ) Schumacher, S., Kemps, E., & Tiggemann, M. (2017). Acceptance and imagery based strategies can reduce chocolate cravings: A test of the elaborated-intrusion theory of desire. Appetite (113) 63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.012

( 2 ) Zakrisson, A. Did you know that your cravings might be microbes controlling your mind? Act Physiologic, 215(4), 165-166.

( 3 ) Benton, D. (2002). Carbohydrate ingestion, blood glucose and mood. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 26(3), 292-308. doi: 10.1016/S0149-7634(02)00004-0

( 4 ) Schmidt, J. & Martin, A. (2017). “Smile away your cravings” - Facial feedback modulates cure-induced food cravings. Appetite, 116, 536-543. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.05.037

( 5 ) van Dillen, L.F. & Andrade, J. (2016). Derailing the streetcar named desire. cognitive distractions reduce individual differences in cravings and unhealthy sacking in response to palatable food. Appetite, 96, 102-110. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.013

( 6 ) Canning, S., Waterman, M., & Dye, L. (2006). Dietary supplements and herbal remedies for premenstrual syndrome (PMS): A systematic research review of the evidence for their efficacy. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 24(4), 363-378. doi: 10.1080/02646830600974170

( 7 ) Campolier, M., Thondre, S.P., Clegg, M., Shafat, A., Mcintosh, A., & Lightowler, H. (2016). Changes in PYY and gastric emptying across the phases of the menstrual cycle and the influence of the ovarian hormones. Appetite, 107, 106-115. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.027

( 8 ) Gailliot, M.T., Hildebrandt, B., Eckel, L.A., & Baumeister, R.F. (2010). A theory of limited metabolic energy and premenstrual syndrome symptoms: Increased metabolic demands during the luteal phase divert metabolic resources from and impair self-control. Review of General Psychology, 14(3), 269-282.

( 9 ) Vitti, A. (2013). Woman Code. HarperCollins: New York.

( 10 ) Gothe, N.P., Keswani, R.K., & McAuley, E. (2016). Yoga practice improves executive function by attenuating stress levels. Biological Psychology, 121(A), 109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.10.010

( 11 ) Kloss, B.A., Marcom, L.A., Odom, A.M., Tuggle, C.L., & Weatherspoon, D. (2012). PMS treatment through the use of CAM. International Journal of Childbirth Educaiton, 27(3), 60-64.

( 12 ) Sharma, S., Agrawal, R.P., Choudhary, M., Jain, S., Goyal, S., & Agarwal, V. (2011). Beneficial effect of chromium supplementation on glucose, HbA1C and lipd variable sin individuals with newly onset type-2 diabetes. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 25(3), 149-153. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2011.03.003

( 13 ) de Souza, M.C., Walker, A.F., Robinson, P.A., & Bolland, K. (2004). A synergistic effect of a daily supplement for 1 month of 200 mg magnesium plus 50mg vitamin B6 for the relief of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine, 9(2), 131-139.

Devon Loftus