why do i always crave what's bad for me? for most people, this is the place where it all falls apart. if only we could crave salad, we think, as we head for the chips, the dip or the skittles.
according to the Angels, you can begin to understand why you crave what you crave by listing all the foods on an "i know this is bad for me but i have to eat it any way" list. mine includes things like salt-and-pepper potato chips, pretzel rods, cream in my coffee, coffee, chocolate and rice pudding. i also like mickey d's burgers and fries, kfc, and coke. once i had my list, i realized my cravings fell into three main categories - salt, sweets and fat.
then i realized that it isn't the salt, the sweets or the fats that are "bad" for me. salt and fat are necessary nutrients, and we are born with a taste for sweet. breast milk itself is sweet. its not the salt, the fat or the sweets that are bad for us - it's the form in which we choose to ingest them that matters.
for example, brains require salt. i realized that i most likely crave salty food at two times generally - right before my period, and when im writing. writing creatively requires an enormous expenditure of energy from an organ that already demands around a third of all available resources normally. at that point i realized that my craving for salt when i wrote wasn't a function of my weak will power, it was a function of my own body telling me what i needed.
once i realized there was a connection between what my body was telling me to eat and what i actually needed, i realized that potato chips and pretzel rods, eaten in moderation, may not be so bad for me AND might even have a healthy purpose. now, when i write, and i get an urge for some chips, i give myself a reasonable size bowl and let myself snack away. what i've found is that by "indulging" in a "bad" food like potato chips when my body tells me it's appropriate, i don't feel deprived any more, i don't feel i can't eat my chips and i don't feel bad about me or any perceived lack of will power.
one of the reasons we don't "crave" salad is that we generally don't forbid ourselves salad. why would you crave something you know you can eat as much of it as you wanted at any time? the control of cravings for most people begins with two things - realize what it is you're really craving, and release whatever it is from it's "forbidden" or "special" status.
similiarly, we all need sweetness in our lives. to listen to the ads on tv or in magazines, you would think sugar is public enemy number one. and yet, sugar, or glucose, is the only form of energy your body can metabolize. in order to access any of the energy in your food, your body first turns into sugar. yes, sugar. so to tell yourself you have to limit the amount of sweet food or sugar you eat, is to tell your body that the very fuel it runs on is bad for it. your mind is telling you one thing, and your body is insisting on another. is it any wonder we don't know what we need to eat?
again, it's not sugar or sweetness that's "bad" - it's the form you find it. of course you should enjoy sweet foods... just avoid the highly processed (high fructose corn syrup for example) or the artifical kind. your body knows what's real food and what isn't, even if you don't. this is why low-fat foods aren't as satisfying and artificial sweetners are too sweet. you can try all you want to fool your body - but your body has its own wisdom. it knows what it wants and needs and it will spur you on to eat until it receives what it needs - no matter how much artifical and processed food you feed it.
if you crave soda, for example, drink it. but drink the real thing - don't have the diet version. if you want chocolate, eat it - but don't eat the cheap, highly processed junk with the high fructose corn syrup. buy yourself - not anyone else necessarily - the highest quality organic chocolate with the highest amount of cocoa possible and indulge. what people generally find, once you get past the "i can really eat this and not have to feel bad about it" stage, is that you don't really need to eat a whole bag of chips to feel satisfied. you don't really need the whole chocolate bar.
if you allow yourself to eat only "real" food, you will begin to retrain your palate. and once that happens, you won't be able to stomach anything made with artifical or highly processed ingredients in anything other than very small doses. this is another reason the Angels recommend you begin slowly. the process of retraining your palate, of listening to your body, and of understanding why you crave what you crave when you crave it, can take a while.
and in the meantime, if you have a craving and you really want something, do what the Angels say to do... just say yes.