Monday, June 27, 2011

Dealing with Cravings

Discovering food allergies as an adult presents some unique challenges. There is a lifetime of favorite foods mulling around the brain, tempting and cajoling one to run right out to get them. Then to consume said foods without a second thought as there is no room in the brain for that thought. It is only after reason returns, that the situation can be viewed with an analytical mind.

These intense cravings can often be associated with specific nutrients. Finding substitutes for such foods is a very important action towards the betterment of one’s health. Cravings for a single food can easily be explained. For instance, a peanut contains substantial levels of vitamins B1, B3, E, and Folate. Chocolate is loaded with the minerals iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, and phosphorus.

To decipher a craving food, do a search for “nutritional profile __________” while filling in the blank with a craving food. Find a site that allows serving size adjustment. For example, 1 ounce is an appropriate serving for cocoa whereas 1 cup is not. A valuable site will also provide RDA information. This is critical in determining which nutrients may be triggering the craving. Take note of any nutrients that are providing 15% or more of the RDA.

Next, do a search for “__________ rich foods list” filling in the blank with the above determined nutrients. Find a list that shows the RDA of an appropriate serving size. Choose foods from the list that are free of any food allergens or intolerances.

This process can be time consuming and tedious but it will lay the invaluable foundation for making better food choices. To keep cravings at bay, it is a good idea to incorporate these foods into the diet. Make sure to keep plenty on hand for a food craving emergency!

Another stumbling block may be restaurants. Sometimes an entree from a favorite restaurant may be calling your name. Tackling this type of craving is possible too. Taking the time to play in the kitchen and experiment is all that is needed. Find a recipe, or two, or three, and use them to create your own while substituting ingredients that are allergens or intolerances. It may not be exactly what you are expecting the first time, but the process can be fun and tasty. Keep notes and make improvements. You may end up with something better than you’re used to.

I’ve been craving Middle Eastern food lately and was able to come up with a tasty Moroccan Chicken Tangine (click for recipe) and a refreshing Egyptian Iced Tea (click for recipe.) This venture was even better than going out since I would’ve had to go to two separate restaurants to get them both!

Eat well and be well,


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