Why do so many individuals have cravings today? Whether you’re healthy or not, I’m sure you have experienced a craving from time to time, whether it be related to food, substance or behavioral/habitual.
There is ALWAYS an underlying cause of cravings, so I believe giving advice like: “you should stop eating sugar, it’s bad for you” or “you shouldn’t drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or smoke weed” is useless. Why would I say that? Because the guilty party probably already knows these things aren’t good for them, and yet something drives them to do it. But to me, it’s not so much the fact that they are harmful, it is the fact that the individual relies on them that ultimately is the problem. Why are they relying on something to make them feel good? This is usually a sign that they are trying to fill a void or cope with stress.
What is stress? It can be anything that causes us to lose energy. It can be worrying about factors in our life like relationships, career, finances or general fears we face. It can be exposure to environmental toxins like electromagnetic frequencies (EMF), hidden chemicals in foods, water or products, air pollutants, artificial lighting, etc. It can also be from a lack of fresh air, sunlight and clean drinking water or a lack of sleep and rest.
So basically what happens is that when we lose energy chronically from our environment, a stress response emerges, and it begins in the brain. This loss of energy triggers a release in the stress hormone cortisol which is a glucocorticoid. That means it produces glucose (sugar) for the body to use while in this emergency state. That glucose comes from non-glucose substrates: the release of glucose from glycogen stores or amino acids in the liver and muscle or glycerol from triglycerides in fat tissue. If this action becomes chronic, it stimulates reward seeking pathways in the brain to crave things like sugar, because we are turning over glucose rapidly to deal with the stress. This creates a sort of starvation response which forces us to consume sugar to spare our own bodily tissue from being broken down through this catabolic process.
Drugs can make us feel good because they stimulate similar excitatory, reward-seeking pathways in the brain. Additionally, drugs like painkillers or opiates activate beta-endorphin which make us feel calm and eliminate pain. It turns out that when sunlight (UV light in particular) hits our skin, it activates a chemical in the brain called POMC (proopiomelanocortin) that is used to synthesize beta-endorphin naturally. Therefore, it is safe to say that many addictions and cravings can be as simple as a lack of sunlight on the skin.
That being said, any decrease in energy flow is what creates the stress, and if we can restore energy flow, the stress goes away. Before I knew the mechanism, I would succumb to terrible sugar cravings, and often punish myself the next day by restricting my calories, only to create an endless cycle of binging and starving myself. So if I ever need to reduce my cravings now, I simply connect with nature: let the sun shine on my skin and through my eyes to increase my energy flow, connect to the earth’s magnetic field to yield free electrons through my feet, practice intermittent fasting, drink plenty of quality water and use cold water immersions. Cold water immersion works to increase the flow of energy by releasing heat from our fat tissues and that energy liberated keeps hunger and cravings to a minimum. These are natural strategies we can use to allow our brain to sense our energy status, which results in decreased fat storage because let’s face it, why would we need to store fat (energy) when we are yielding plenty directly from our environment? Storing energy is critical only when we are losing it too quickly in, so decreasing our fat mass is the result of efficiently using energy from our environment. It’s not a story about caloric restriction as most would think. When we can increase our energy flow, cravings and hunger simply disappear because we do not need as much energy from foods.
Other strategies I would address are finding solutions to other sources of stress such as career related issues (i.e. stress and pressures at work), relationship issues (i.e. being around people who bring me down), financial stress (i.e. struggling to pay bills), etc. The free energy we can harvest from nature allows us to put forth strategies to overcome these lifestyle hiccups we may face, and overcome any source of stress that comes our way. Once stress is managed well, cravings for sugar or any other substances are completely eliminated, but our environment simply HAS to be the main focus first and foremost. Nature’s gives us its energy for free. Reconnecting is the key. Disconnecting is our downfall.