The right diet is a critical aspect for better health when living with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis.
But many people are worried about changing their diet.
Perhaps it could make things worse, or there’s a fear it would be boring.
Perhaps they are worried they’d be craving so much “bad” food it’s not something they could stick to.
It’s understandable but once someone is shown the right way to eat, then the diet can be so enjoyable and not a stressor in any way.
That said, controlling cravings is really important, as solely relying on willpower to avoid all the ‘naughty’ foods someone 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!
So how can cravings be controlled? 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 the brain asking for it to be fed 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 a person crave sweet foods a huge amount, and appropriate protocols to help kill these things off can only be beneficial.
- Eating excess sugars / carbs
When someone eats too much in the way or carbs and sugars, it spikes 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, the body craves a short-term energy boost (which leads to more sugar/carb cravings) putting someone into a vicious cycle.
Therefore, more protein and fat in the diet can often help to better control cravings.
- Not eating regularly enough
If someone goes for too long periods without eating then this too can cause blood sugar problems.
Levels will drop very low, leading to fatigue and cravings.
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).
Without drinking enough water, the body will fail to function optimally.
Energy levels will suffer, and that can often mean cravings poor foods in hopes for 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 overall health, hormone production in particular. Depriving the body of fat will lead to numerous problems, and cause hunger and cravings.
One great source of really beneficial fats is Advanced Fish Oil, pretty much an essential for someone not getting regular servings of oily fish in the diet each week.
- Poor sleep
Quite simple this one but if somneone doesn’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 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 someone has inflammation in the gut, or when they lack sufficient digestive enzymes or stomach acid, then they are unlikely to be taking as many nutrients as they need from the food they eat.
Over time, this will lead to numerous nutrient deficiencies which will worsen health, leading to fatigue and ultimately cause cravings.
Therefore, optimising digestive health, and reducing inflammation, is really important (and something that I can assist with but things such as Turmeric (this one especially) and Fish Oil (this one) can really help).
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 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
Craving salty foods (such as crisps and chips) can be a sign of certain mineral deficiencies, though most simplistically it’s likely that the person doesn’t have enough salt in their 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 it can cause cramps or greater levels of fatigue in particular). Therefore, it is very likely that someone would benefit from adding some good quality salt to their meals if they eat mainly unprocessed foods and if they 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 the 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 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 someone 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 is eaten, and that can only be good for better health!