Tuesday, August 19, 2014

5 Craving Resistance Tactics For Healthy Eating. For When You Could Eat a Whole F*cking Cow. Made of Cheese.

A week or so ago I was bustling about in Shakti Life Kitchen working on a huge batch of chips when I got a call, the woman on the line asked if she could meet me to ask questions on veganism. The voice was urgent. When we met 10 minutes (!) later face-to-face she asked if I was vegan and for how long, I told her 3ish years. Wide-eyed, she blurted:

"When will the cravings stop? Will the cravings stop!? ... I crave cheese. I could eat a whole fucking cow made of cheese."

I know how she feels. Five years ago I was eating fast food and working an office job where I barely moved. I was 30+ pounds heavier and much unhealthier for it, I'd have never guessed the direction my life would take. The change was gradual, first switching to eating all whole foods, then to vegetarian, vegan and finally raw vegan. These tips may help you with any diet switch you're trying to make, whether it's vegan, paleo, or just a little less cheese and meat. Whatever you're trying to accomplish.

1. You Have to Really Want the Change.

A short detox of processed food may help inspire you to make a cold-turkey change. I did this with my skin-clearing detox years ago (it really worked in just 3 days!) and it helped see a quick visible change. I'd wanted to and made gradual changes for years but the snap decision to change and cut all processed food from my life was quick and strongly desired. I haven't looked back.


2. Change Your Mindset. It's About Addition, Not Deprivation. 

Browse vegan/healthy websites, books, blogs, and YouTube channels. Google recipes and vegan options in your city. There's so much to try, it's really all about seeing the positive. It's not above all the stuff you're depriving yourself of but rather all the yummy new options. This was my #1 motivation- I get to eat ample goodness and get healthier for it? Sign. Me. Up.

3. Start with substitutions for your favorites to satisfy, not deny, cravings.

I offered the lady asking for help a sample of our scrumptious aged cheddar cheese and she was ecstatic, it hit the spot. There are healthy substitutes for everything you could imagine, I enjoy the challenge of making former "unhealthy" favs from nutritious whole ingredients. When I first started my journey I switched my beloved hamburgers for frozen veggie burgers. Still not ideal, but a step in the right direction. Now I don't need or crave either.

4.  Plan Ahead: Keep Your House Stuffed Full of Food and Cook Ahead of Time.

Plan your grocery list, meals, and snacks and keep your kitchen stuffed with healthy options so you're full and happy and you won't want to go off the rails. I love having nuts and dried fruit for on-the-go and I'll even make smoothies ahead of time and pour them into bottles with a funnel to enjoy in the mornings when I spend the night at my boyfriend's house.

5. EAT. Never Deprive Nutrients or Calories.

Ah ha, the fun part! I suspected my cheese-craving visitor may not be eating enough as a busy mom. When you have a nutritional deficit your body makes up for it by screaming for a high calorie food source like cheese. Get in the "good" calories guilt-free and eat a nutritionally balanced diet to help calm the screaming food beast within.

Cravings can be crushed with good planning and the right mindset. I know you can do it! I'll continue to share many healthy alternatives to your old favorites. (The much requested salad dressings and deserts are 'a comin'!) Food is not the enemy, it's our fuel. Just try to get in more of the "real" stuff that nourishes, energizes and heals you from a cellular level inside and out.

Got any tips for staying on track I've left out? Let me know in the comments. I have a beginner's fitness journey to share in the coming months, too. Let's help each other get healthy!

27 comments:

  1. I suggest reading "the Pleasure Trap" by Doug Lisle.

    Cheese in particular can be very hard to kick because it's actually physically addictive. You need to change your mindset and look at dairy not as a yummy milkshake or a pizza topping but as the mammary secretions of another species. Ewww. It makes no sense to consume such. Think about what the animals go through to produce this milk. Acquaint yourself with the horrors of factory farming (youtube videos abound) but understand that even "happy cows" are still sentenced to a shortened life of virtual slavery and cruelty.

    I admit that sometimes I can be momentarily attracted to the smell of cooking meat. When this happens I conjure up an image of the animal that died a usually horrific and inhumane death. That's not food, that's torture.

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    1. Ah ha, thanks for the tip! And actually the last sentence you have there, when my roomie cooks meat the smell of it cooking makes me want it.

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    2. Will definitely check out the book.

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  2. Mmm cheese, not sure I could make the full switch but we definitely eat better than we used to, more veggies and less meat. And blackberries of course :)

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    1. The little changes do add up! May need to add that the post isn't about switching to veganism but rather, sticking to whayever plan you set for yourself. :) just used her cheese quote because it was too fun a visual :D

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  3. Gave up meat 34 years ago, and never missed it or craved it. Never. Not once. Maybe it is because I was so young. Maybe its harder for adults to give up meat? My kids have never had meat. Except we tease my son, because one time he was feeding our cat and a small piece of meat gravy from the canned cat food flicked onto his lip. He freaked out of course (disgusting even for meat eaters!), So we tease him and tell him he is no longer a vegetarian haha.

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    1. Something similar happened to me with cat food, bleeeegh! It's so nasty! I never crave it unless my roomie or my mom is cooking it, when I smell it I want to eat it, but I think it's more of the spices/oil in the air and the nostalgia of eating the dishes (my roomie cooks it up like my mom used to). But otherwise, nope, I never crave it. I'll crave unhealthy vegan deserts and things from time to time though :D

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  4. I love the idea of being a vegan but I also love meat! I love steak, chicken, cheese, eggs etc. I don't understand how people give all that up. I strive to eat healthier but can't imagine giving up my meat.

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    1. I hear that a lot and was once on that boat. It's super easy when you're ready to do it. There's so much beyond it to eat you never have to crave it IF you're trying to give it up.

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    2. Oh yeah and with all the amazing subs for meat/cheese I've learned to make, you just never crave it. :)

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  5. When mad cow disease was really making the rounds in Europe more than a decade ago, I stopped eating beef completely and never went back (and in fact, there was recently a death in Texas from mad cow). That one thing was able to get me to kick the beef habit, even though they say there have only been 4 deaths in the US from mad cow.
    I still eat fish and chicken, but am gradually scaling back on that. I think your tip about having your house adequately stocked with healthy vegan food and snacks is really the key. When you get off of work (always the dangerous time for me) and you know that you have something satisfying to eat at home, it lessens the chances of making a bad snap decision food choice.

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    1. Very true, the whole time I just realized I forgot to note that staying hydrated is very important! You think you're hungry when you're actually thirsty sometimes.

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  6. We're not vegan, but we do try to eat fresh and healthy as much as possible (minus my M&M's addiction). Like you, I second the planning ahead. As a busy family of five, if we've been running all day, and we're all very tired, it's very tempting to go for the quick processed foods or fast foods. Planning ahead with a few healthy meals stored in the freezer for just those times makes all the difference.

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    1. No problem with a little treat when you're mostly eating right ;) Kudos to you for feeding a whole family healthfully!

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  7. Haven't even read this post yet but I MUST comment on the screaming stegosaurus.

    I LOVE those guys! I collect toy dinosaurs and I'm always happy when I find one of these freaky hollow screaming Mimi's of a saurian. I've only seen them in stegosaurus and triceratops, but I've found both in a few different colors. I don't know anything about where or when they were made of if they come in more than just those two types, but I think they are hysterical.

    Roar, dino, roar!

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    1. I adore them as well, haven't been thrifting in a while but may not be able to resist the next big bag of them I find.

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