Read on as we bust together some diet myths.
WHY DO WE GET THE MUNCHIES?
Generally, the munchies are caused by one of, or several of the following factors.
1. Lack of essential nutrients in current diet.
Lack of essential minerals will trigger cravings. This is your body’s cue to search for nutrient-rich foods, hoping to get their stock replenished. For example, lack of sodium will make you crave sweet.
A diet lacking healthy fats and bioavailable quality protein will not provide you satiety and keep you hungry, craving for more (essential nutrients like cholesterol and key amino-acids).
Although water is not a nutrient, thirst can also interpreted as hunger.
Incorporate minerals in an easy to assimilate form by taking daily 1/2 teaspoon of quality unprocessed sea salt (Celtic sea salt for example). Repeat liberally whenever the need arises and after each workout / sauna to replenish the loss incurred by sweating.
2. Emotional eating
Eating is a primal response that soothes the nervous system (think warm sweet breastmilk). To a certain extent, sugar lowers adrenal production of cortisol -the stress hormone. So don’t beat yourself up next time you reach for chocolate when you’re feeling anxious. It’s hardwired in you.
There are ways to rewire your response to emotional triggers. To name a few: homeopathy (yes it works wonders), Neuro-Linguistic Programming, EFT tapping, journalling… Address it.
3. Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep will trigger your body to request energy-rich foods (carbs and sugar) to sustain itself. Sleep deprivation can lower glucose metabolism by 40% and insulin response to glucose by 30%.
Make sleep your priority.
Prioritise 8h sleep.
4. Sustained stress
Stress is demonised as a root cause for many chronic illnesses. While a certain amount of stress is beneficial (exercise and coffee are two examples), sustained stress generates chronic low-grade inflammation. Elevated cortisol triggers desire for sugary treats (see above).
A good way to release stress is practicing physical activities you enjoy (but no hardcore training in the evenings!).
Vagus nerve stimulation is also a great way to switch on the parasympathetic system - the rest & digest mode. Singing, humming, deep belly breathing, grounding, gurgling are great ways to achieve that.
5. Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance generates sugar and carbs cravings.
Addressing all the above will help your insulin resistance. To further manage your insulin levels and progressively balance them, switch to an appropriate diet: high in bioavailable quality protein and saturated fats (both found in grass-fed, organic meat and dairy), low in carbs (<40g per meal), void of refined sugar and refined foods (including deep-fried).