What if your food cravings are simply a biological reaction to what’s happening inside your body? 

Cravings are driven by two things, first the composition of your microbiome and second, any mineral deficiencies you may have. In other words, if you have an imbalance in your microbiome (more bad bacteria than good) or you’re deficient in essential minerals, you can expect strong cravings, especially for unhealthy foods. 

The good news is, stopping your food cravings may be easier than you think! 

#1 Cause of Cravings: Microbiome Imbalance

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According to Psychology Today, “microbes increase our craving for food that they like by changing our taste buds, increasing opioid and cannabinoid receptors, and producing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. So they also know how to make us happy.”

The article pointed to three studies to show how the microbiome affects our cravings. The first was a fly study, where researchers found that when they changed the fly’s microbiome, their cravings changed. 

In the second study on mice, researchers found that in a germ free environment, their cravings were different than when they exposed them to a variety of good bacteria. Makes you wonder whether your cravings have changed after living in today’s sterile COVID-19 world?

The third study was on humans who had undergone gastric bypass surgery. Researchers believed that the subjects lost weight not just because the stomach was smaller but because the subject’s cravings changed due to a shift in microbiota pre and post surgery. 

While we inherit our microbiome from our mother, there is a lot we can do to change and repair our microbiome.

4 ways to stop your cravings by changing your microbiome:

  1. Make small changes to your daily dietary habits. Your microbiome turns over every couple hours. Remove chemicals like glyphosate, artificial ingredients, processed and refined foods from your diet.
  2. Get rid of bully microbiota, like candida. You can do this by increasing the variety of foods, especially the vegetables, you’re eating. For example, I buy a different lettuce salad mix every week.
  3. Do more 24 hour fasts, followed by consuming probiotic rich foods. 24 hour fasting has been shown to reboot intestinal stem cells, promoting the growth of good bacteria. 
  4. Hang around other people with good gut bacteria. How do you know who they are? They’re likely happy, have good energy, mental clairy, and are at a healthy weight. They are people who make healthy, good food choices. Studies show that family members have very similar microbiome profiles. 

#2 Cause of Cravings: Mineral deficiencies

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92% of Americans are deficient in at least one nutrient, which might be the hidden culprit behind why you’re reaching for those potato chips or that cookie. 

When you’re deficient in a mineral, your body will crave a food that contains that mineral, but often in an unhealthy way. For example, if you’re craving chocolate, you’re likely deficient in magnesium. You can get this mineral in raw nuts, seeds and legumes. Try eating these foods instead and see how your cravings do!

What you crave and what to eat instead

If you’re craving Sweets:

You’re missing: Chromium, Phosphorus, Carbon, Sulfur

What to eat instead: chicken, beef, eggs, fish, cranberries, grapes

If you’re craving chocolate: 

You’re missing: magnesium

What to eat instead: raw nuts, seeds, legumes

If you’re craving soda:

You’re missing : calcium

What to eat instead: mustard, turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese, sesame

If you’re craving alcohol:

You’re missing: calcium, potassium, protein

What to eat instead: raw nuts, black olives, granola/oatmeal

If you’re craving bread, pasta and carbs:

You’re missing: nitrogen

What to eat instead: high protein foods, meat, fatty fish, nuts, beans, chia seeds

If you’re craving oily foods: 

You’re missing: Calcium

What to eat instead: organic milk, cheese, green leafy vegetables

If you’re craving salty foods: 

You’re missing: Chloride, Silicon

What to eat instead: Fatty fish, goat milk, nuts, seeds

FASTING TIP: If you are fasting I recommend breaking your fast with the healthy alternatives of the foods you are craving, so you’re making sure you’re replenishing those minerals first.  

Also, mineral supplements can be helpful if you feel like you’re not getting enough from foods alone. We like using MIN by Systemic Formulas and BodyBio – Electrolyte Concentrate. I use BodyBio in my morning coffee, especially when I’m fasting. 

Minerals are essential for successful fasting, specifically — sodium, potassium and magnesium. Without them you may experience some of the symptoms of mineral depletion like muscle cramping, insomnia, rapid heart rate and hair loss. For more on minerals and fasting >> watch this.