Cravings and nutritional deficiencies

by Lorena Valeri, naturopath What do you crave?   Sweet, salty, fatty or starchy, other? According to Vera Tweed (2015), experts are now saying that although unhealthy eating habits are formed in childhood, there is hope for us yet; they now believe that the brain can be re-programmed for a healthier culinary experience. Also studies showed that although some cravings can highlight some nutritional deficiencies in many cases the food we crave may not exactly correct those deficiencies.   Some studies have found that sugar and starch cravings may be a result of low blood sugar and the body trying to correct itself (though not in a long term productive way). Eating sugars and starches will spike blood sugar and as sure as things go up, they must also come crashing down (sometimes fast). To avoid this occurring, the Tweed (2015) recommends eating a protein and a healthy piece of fruit which will stabilize blood sugar for longer periods.   Other surprising triggers for cravings in the report: Late nights (which is not good, as our bodies are programed to store more calories at night). Apparently eating protein for breakfast helps to reduce sugary cravings at night time. Diet soft drinks / sodas Diet soda was found to ‘make people choose higher calorie snacks and feel less satisfied with food’ (according to a study at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth) Studies also indicate that artificial sweeteners promote weight gain and diabetes by changing the good bacteria in your gut. Let’s breakdown the cravings: Craving                                                Possible Deficiency                           Craving Antidote: Sugary Foods Chromium, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur or tryptophan Grapes, other fresh fruit, nuts, vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes and spinach Salty Foods Chloride or silicone Celery, tomatoes, lettuce, seaweed, cashews, or seeds Fatty Foods or Dairy Calcium Mustard, turnip greens, broccoli, almonds, salmon, kale, legumes, low fat dairy or sesame seeds Starchy foods Nitrogen Dark leafy greens i.e. Kale or collards, nuts and seeds, eggs, lean chicken or turkey Chocolate – Dark  Chocolate – dairy milk Magnesium,  Good fats i.e. Omega 3 type. Nuts, fish and leafy green vegetables, organic cacaoNuts and seeds, tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod, eggs, avocado, cold olive oil       Dr. Fuhrman’s Anti craving salad dressing (Tweed, 2015): ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ½ cup water, ¼ cup walnuts, ¼ cup raisins, ¼ tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove minced garlic. Blend in a blender and add to salads.   Dr. Fuhrman’s 6 steps to reduce cravings (Tweed, 2015): Have a large salad as your main dish and include some raw vegetables ¼ - ½ cup of Beans each day – filling and satisfying, Dr. Fuhrman says they are a terrific antidote A Large bowl of steamed greens (steam for less than 13 minutes to prevent loss of nutrients) Nuts and seeds – include walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, sesame seed (Raw and Unsalted) Mushrooms and Onions. Mushrooms should be well cooked to remove the bacterial contamination Eat 3 fruits per day, and Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating them with your meals to dilute their sugars and slow their absorption into the blood. (Its preferable that fruit is fresh as opposed to dried).   Dr. Fuhrman, Tweed (2015) says that the longer you stay away from the starchy and sugary or salty craving foods from the past the less you will crave them.   This is great news for those wanting to reach a healthy weight, but have been sabotaged by your cravings in the past.

Garlic Prawns

Ingredients: Australian fresh tiger prawns (peeled, deveined, tails intact) Fresh chopped parsley Glass of dry white wine (optional) Freshly chopped garlic Extra virgin olive oil Freshly chopped chili or dry chili flakes Method: In the pan add olive oil ,fry gently chopped garlic, add prawns, glass of white wine, chili. Keep stirring for 3-5 min. Remove from heat and add chopped parsley. Spoon prawns into serving bowls and enjoy with crusty bread as a dipper or on its own! Makes a great seafood entre, especially in winter.

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Roasted pumpkin and quinoa salad

Ingredients: 500 g Butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5cm cubes... 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp Moroccan seasoning 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained 2 tbs lemon juice 2 tsp finely grated lemon rind 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan forced. Place pumpkin, oil, seasoning in a bowl. Toss to coat. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 20-25mins or until golden and tender. Meanwhile place quinoa and 1 1/2 cups cold water in a saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 mins or until liquid is absorbed.

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Grilled Salmon fillet

Ingredients: Fresh Atlantic or Tasmanian salmon fillets Extra light olive oil for cooking Dried Herb garnish: Pepper, dried parsley, powdered garlic, dried oregano Alternative Herb drizzle: 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped; fresh parsley, finely chopped; squeeze of lemon juice; extra virgin olive oil Salt to taste Seasonal vegetables steamed or roasted.   Method: Grill the fillet on a high heat grill or BBQ plate with the skin up. After a couple of minutes, gently flip the fillet skin down (if you grill it this way you prevent the skin shrivelling and curling the fillet). Remove from heat when a golden crust forms. Avoid cooking for too long otherwise the flesh will become too dry. Plate the fish on a pre-warmed plate and eother sprinkle the dry herb garnish or drizzle the alternative herb and oil mixture. Serve with seasonal vegetables and a salad for a quick and simple, yet delicious and nutritious seafood meal.

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Veggie stack

Ingredients: Tomato, bocconcini, Asparagus For the dressing: Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar Garnish: Salt & Pepper to taste, freshly chopped basil.   Method: Blanche or grill the asparagus till soft, then assemble the stack in alternating layers. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy as a light summer lunch, or entre.

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