The word diet is changing in the United States today. Doctors’ and scientists’ findings, as well as peoples’ own experiences, are teaching others that diet is not the right term--it’s lifestyle. Lifestyle is permanent change that is not bogged down by food cravings and mental distress over what your next meal will be. Lifestyle is harmonious; it gives you the freedom to accelerate towards your goals because your everyday actions are congruent with them.
But craving makes this ideal lifestyle difficult to achieve. Craving comes from food addiction; when unhealthy, processed junk is introduced to the body, it pleads for more. For this reason, many people have been eating unhealthy food options their entire lives, making it incredibly difficult to shift to a healthy lifestyle.
Even people who maintain a truly nutritious, plant-based diet 85% of the time and have their cheat meals 15% of the time have trouble leading a craving-free life. It’s the small percentage of unhealthy food that makes staying healthy challenging.
To Yo-yo is a No-no
I experienced just how sensitive the body is to junk food over the past few years, because my diet would yo-yo between healthy choices at home and unhealthy choices at college. A few dairy and processed-food splurges at the beginning of each fall semester made it tremendously more difficult to continue my clean, plant-based diet from the summer. The moment I began dabbling with processed food, my body wanted more.
From my struggles, I have discovered some key habits that make maintaining a plant-based lifestyle much, much easier.
If you are currently an all-star plant-based eater 100% of the time, congratulations! Please post some suggestions that might help others below. For the rest of us who are battling cravings, whether you are having trouble dropping the Snickers bar or the Chobani yogurt, I can tell you what works for me and some others I’ve talked to about healthy eating.
How can you overcome cravings?
Here’s what I do:
I start the morning with a green smoothie and/or steel-cut oatmeal. Filling up on a nutritious breakfast sustains me for 5 hours until lunch. I make smoothies in two-day batches and oatmeal in five-day batches; this way I don’t have to prep for breakfast every day. In my oatmeal I add a variety of berries, nuts, seeds, raisins, shredded coconut, and a splash of non-dairy milk. If you eat this breakfast for a week, and then continue to do so, you will not snack before lunch ever again. Guaranteed!
Snacks are meant to soothe the body’s cravings when it wants something salty or sweet. Take control of these cravings by switching to healthy vegetables or fruit. Carrots, celery, an apple or banana, or some raw, unsalted nuts will do just fine. Changing the way you snack is a major step forward to resisting unhealthy eating habits. Eventually, these healthier snacks won’t even be necessary between meals (especially with that awesome breakfast), and you’ll be able to eliminate them altogether!
The next step is to add more greens and other beneficial nutrients to your diet while reducing salt and oil intake as much as possible. This step is a bigger challenge, but with some guidance and tricks it is certainly possible for you. And the Healthy Food Now team is here to help you throughout your journey!
Have you been struggling with food cravings lately? How have you overcome them? Share with us below!