The right diet is a critical aspect for better health when living with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.Does the thought of changing your diet worry you a little?
But does the thought of changing your diet worry you a little?
Perhaps you think it would be boring, or that you would just crave so much “bad” food it’s not something you could stick to?
It’s understandable but once you do make a start and are shown the right way to eat, then your diet can be so enjoyable and not a stressor in any way.
That said, controlling your cravings is really important, as solely relying on willpower to avoid all the ‘naughty’ foods you may crave is almost impossible.
Sure it may work for a short time but eventually, it can be very easy to give in, go into a trance and wake up hours later smothered in battered Mars Bars.
And that, whether you noticed or not, would be affecting your health!
So how can you control your cravings? Well the first step is to understand what’s causing them. Here are 11 major factors…
- Candida / Yeast overgrowth.
This is very common in people with IBD (and is something that shows up on the stool tests I run on my clients).
Candida / yeast survives by feeding on sugars and other carbohydrates. It sends signals to your brain telling you to feed it and that can cause BIG sugar cravings.
Therefore, killing off the Candida is important to help bring cravings under control.
There are many steps someone would take to do that but this supplement can help a huge amount.
- Bacterial or Parasitic infections
That makes you crave sweet foods a huge amount, and appropriate protocols to help kill these things off can only be beneficial.
- Eating excess sugars / carbs
When we eat too much in the way or carbs and sugars, it spikes our blood sugar levels. Often this gives a short-term increase in energy but soon these levels will drop, leading to tiredness.
This is one reason why many people feel a slump in energy mid-morning or mid-afternoon – it’s normally something they have eaten at breakfast or lunch.
When in this slump, your body craves a short-term energy boost (which you’d get from more sugars/carbs) which can put you in a vicious cycle.
Therefore, more protein and fat in your diet can often help to better control cravings.
- Not eating regularly enough
If we go for too long periods without eating then this too can cause blood sugar problems.
Our levels will drop very low, we’ll feel fatigued, and crave anything and everything we can get our hands on
(and quite often it won’t be good quality, unprocessed, anti-inflammatory foods).
Some people can cope perfectly well without eating a regular meal but the majority of people seem to do much better if they eat something every 3-4 hours (even if only a small snack).
If you don’t drink enough water, your body will fail to function optimally.
Energy levels will suffer, and that can often mean you’ll crave poor foods to give yourself a boost.
- Lack of good fats
So many people come to me with very little in the way of good fats in their diet.
Fats are critical for our overall health, hormone production in particular. Depriving our body of fat will lead to numerous problems, leave us hungry and craving poor food.
One great source of really beneficial fats is Advanced Fish Oil, pretty much an essential if you aren’t getting regular servings of oily fish in your diet each week.
- Poor sleep
Quite simple this one but if we don’t sleep very well then this will lead to tiredness. And tiredness will lead to sweet cravings in an attempt to use sugar just to get us through the day.
Therefore, taking steps to improve sleep will only be good for our cravings. This article shares some tips on how to do that.
- Poor nutrient absorption
This is a big one for people with IBD but when you have inflammation in your gut, or when you lack sufficient digestive enzymes or stomach acid, then you are unlikely to be taking as many nutrients as you need from the food you eat.
Over time, this will lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies which will worsen your health, lead to fatigue and ultimately cause you to crave many poor quality foods.
Therefore, optimising your digestive health, and reducing inflammation, is really important (and something that I can help you with but things such as Turmeric (this one especially) and Fish Oil (this one) can really help you on the way).
The extreme nutrient deficiencies that I see day by day were one reason that I helped to create this Advanced Vitality product that contains a combination of nutrients and antioxidants designed to help reduce fatigue and tiredness in someone who suffers from Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis. Check it out here, its achieved some pretty fantastic results…
- Hormonal Imbalances
Imbalances in our hormones can lead to cravings (not to mention increased symptoms, emotions and mood swings).
Many women especially will struggle with cravings at certain times during the month because of these hormonal imbalances.
Supporting a healthy hormone balance over time, therefore, is really important. Advanced Cycle is a supplement that contains 9 different herbs shown to be able to do just that. Check it out here https://autoimmuneinstitute.com/products/advanced-cycle
- Lack of Salt
Ever find you would just love a packet of crisps? Or perhaps McDonald’s fries?
Well, craving salty foods like those can be a sign of certain mineral deficiencies, though most simplistically it’s likely that you simply don’t have enough salt in your diet.
Excess salt, and sodium intake has been associated with many serious health problems such as strokes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
However, studies have actually shown there to be no link between sodium intake and the above health issues, and in fact, those who consumed the least amount of salt actually had marginally higher death rates from heart disease.
Everyone loses salt each day through urine and sweat, and it needs to be replaced (otherwise you can end up with cramps or greater levels of fatigue in particular). Therefore, it is very likely that you would benefit from adding some good quality salt to your meals if you eat mainly unprocessed foods and if you also regularly participate in sports and/or workout/sweat regularly.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Chocolate cravings (assuming they aren’t just sweet cravings) can often be because of a magnesium deficiency.This is one of the most common deficiencies there is yet a huge number of processes in the body are reliant on magnesium.
Dark chocolate is a good alternative to typically milk chocolate that is normally filled with rubbish, but other good sources of magnesium include fish, pumpkin seeds, a variety of green vegetables, dairy, and avocado.
Also, having a bath with some Epsom salts in it can provide your body with some much-needed magnesium.
One reason that Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis sufferers can so commonly suffer from nutrient deficiencies such as this is because the inflammation in their digestive tract means they simply can’t absorb all the nutrients from the foods they eat.
Therefore, minimising that inflammation is critical and there really is no better natural foods to help you to do that than turmeric www.autoimmuneinstitute.com/products/advanced-turmeric or fish oil www.autoimmuneinstitute.com/products/advanced-fish-oil
So there are 11 big reasons for you cravings but hopefully, you can see there’s always something that can be done about them.
Just relying on willpower isn’t needed, and getting to the cause of the craving is always much more effective.
p.s. please don’t think that your cravings will ever completely go away and I expect you to eat “perfectly” all the time. I certainly crave certain foods myself, and definitely don’t eat perfectly (my love for Salted Caramel Haagen Dazs ice cream certainly puts a stop to that!). But it is possible to minimise those cravings, and always be in control of what you eat, and that can only be good for your health!