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Satisfy the Cravings, Kill the Snack Habits - Part 2

Two things that destroy weight loss efforts are cravings and bad snacking habits.

For the last two weeks we’ve been talking about . 

First, I listed clinically proven  and help dieting.  Last week, we examined how to deal with for “something, I’m not sure what," like salty things, sweets and chocolate.

This week, we’ll take a look at overcoming cravings for bread products, fatty foods, and the "midnight munchies."

Craving Bread Products

So, why do we crave the bread products? Aside from the fact that we have access to some of the best bread in Philadelphia, at Winnie's Le Bus, many of us probably crave breads, (and/or sugar), because we (subconsciously) crave Serotonin. 

When we eat breads and sugars, our bodies create serotonin,which is a basic feel-good hormone. No wonder Le Bus is so beloved.

Though there is much to be said about this, here are a few tips on increasing serotonin levels by means other than bread. 

  1. Sleep 7 to 9 hrs per night.  
  2. Get more sunlight. 
  3. Vitamin B complex supplement, and a calcium/magnesium supplement.
  4. Decrease alcohol, caffeine, sugar and artificial sweeteners. 

But those things are lifestyle tips. So, what can someone do when a bread craving comes along, for immediate elimination of the craving? I don't have studies to back these up, but as a "carb-o-holic," I have personally struggled with the bread cravings, and here's what has helped me:

  1. Green tea. I don't know why, but green tea takes away my bread cravings.  
  2. Take a few sips of my cinnamon shake.
  3. Eat apple slices with natural peanut butter, (ie. ingredients = peanuts and salt. The end). I think this works because apples have sugar and fiber, a similar combination to bread. The protein and fat in natural peanut butter are very filling. So the combination of apple slices and peanut butter both give the brain a sugar boost, fiber, nutrients and pectin for easy digestion, and filling fat and protein to give you a full sensation. Seriously, this combination is the kingpin combo for cravings. Almost any craving I can think of can be cured by a glass of water accompanied by apple slices and peanut butter.  

Crave Fatty Foods?

No wonder you crave fatty foods–your brain needs fat.  However, studies have shown that the combination of fat, sugar and salt, (a very common combination in American foods), creates a response in the brain that is as addicting as cocaine.  Yes, cocaine. No wonder I love French fries dipped in a chocolate shake, or butter and syrup on a pancake! However, there is good fat and bad fat. Most of the fat we eat is bad. Fortunately, there are fats we can eat that are actually good for us, such as those found in avocados, walnuts, salmon, peanut butter, fish oil supplements and eggs. 

An egg? Yes, an egg - the whole egg.  I can’t say enough good things about eggs. Do not cheat yourself by eating just the white. The yolk is where all the nutrition is. Good fat for your brain and heart, and a rich, complete source of amino acids (ie. Protein).  

Also, along with multi vitamins, everyone (kids included) should take an omega fatty acids supplement. Your brain needs these fats, as does your heart. And studies have shown that people who supplement with Omega Fatty Acids actually lose weight better than those who don't.  

Cravings for Texture?

Sometimes we crave something crunchy, or chewy, or smooth. When that's the case, we simply must have something healthy in the fridge that fits the bill. Crave crunchy? Go for a carrot or an apple. Crave chewy? Grab a couple gummy vitamins. Want something smooth and creamy?  Taking the kids to Rita's, Rose's or Nick's? Bring along a yogurt cup for yourself. 

Late Night Munchies? 

Late night munchies often occur simply because your body is trying to get the energy it needs to keep you awake. A weight-loss golden rule is to never eat four hours before you go to sleep. So what do you do if you must stay awake, but get the munchies? Decaf green tea, “gummy” vitamins and gum. Warm liquids make you feel full. Gummy vitamins appease your sweet tooth just enough. Peppermint gum gives you something to chew, and the scent triggers a satisfied feeling in your brain. 

SUMMARY:  To avoid cravings, take a multi vitamin, a mineral supplement, a B complex supplement and omega fatty acids supplement, daily, and drink 64 to 92 ounces of water per day. But if you should get cravings, here are the best foods to squelch the fire:

  • a glass of water  (with lemon or a splash of juice for flavor) or green tea.
  • apple slices or a banana with natural peanut butter.
  • a hard boiled egg with a dash of salt.
  • a glass of vegetable juice (like V8); this actually works for just about all the different kinds of cravings.
  • chewy gummy vitamins.

And, when you do go to Le Bus, go ahead and enjoy your favorites from the bread basket, but order a green tea too, so you don't overdo it. 

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