What Is Causing Your Cravings?

Today, I was in my Pilates class and I was listening to a woman explain that she follows Weight Watchers, but there are sweets in her house (two teenage boys) and she winds up following her plan for a few days and then succumbs to the sweets because of the cravings.

One issue that is a whole other Oprah, I will discuss in another blog soon — that I think it is a mistake to have sweets around for teens with the excuse that they are teens.  There are so many delicious HEALTHY options for teens and kids that it is just a poor excuse because they are growing fast and need calories to burn, that you can give them EMPTY calories in the shape of cookies and cake.  But, that will be for another day.

Today’s issue is what is causing MOMMY (or Daddy’s) cravings? Two things!

1.  You are addicted to sugar and you have to get off and allow yourself to get through withdrawal (like crack addiction).

2.  You might have Leaky Gut Syndrome.  You might ask, “What the heck is that?”  It is a real medical condition that not all doctors know about or talk about, but good ones do.  Your doctor might scoff, but then you will need another doctor.  Dr. Andrew Weil knows about it and writes about it.


I had this condition and it caused me to be very ill and gain a lot of weight.  It also caused my sugar cravings.  In a nutshell…

Leaky Gut Low

” leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream. This triggers an autoimmune reaction, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal bloating, excessive gas and cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, joint pain, skin rashes, and autoimmunity. The cause of this syndrome may be chronic inflammation, food sensitivity, damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), cytotoxic drugs and radiation or certain antibiotics, excessive alcohol consumption, or compromised immunity.”

(If you have migraines, gut issues, yeast infections, nail issues, bowel issues, skin issues–it could be caused by Leaky Gut Syndrome!)


How do you heal this condition?

1.  avoid alcoholm NSAIDS, any foods that you’re allergic to.

2.  Make sure you’re eating plenty of fiber.

3.  Take Culturelle or another probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus GG.

4.   Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, including essential fatty acids like fish oil and GLA. In addition, you might try supplementing with glutamine, an amino acid that helps maintain intestinal metabolism and function and seems to benefit patients who have had intestinal injury from chemotherapy and radiation.

5.  Cut sugar out of your diet as much as possible and follow a MEVY diet (Meat, eggs, vegetables and yogurt) if you can’t follow the anti-inflammatory diet.  If you eat fruit, stick with fruit that has low sugar like berries or citrus.  A side benefit is that you will lose weight.  You will have sugar cravings for about a week, find something to keep your mouth happy like gum, lots of flavored water or coffee.  Try to avoid milk for awhile–lots of sugar.  Use non dairy creamer if you need light coffee.  Sweeteners can be an issue, and if you like the taste of Stevia at all, use that.  I couldn’t give up my Splenda–so getting the Leaky Gut Syndrome cleared up for me took many months.



MIDDAY SLUMP: You Have To Eat A Snack Between Lunch and Dinner


Ever catch yourself nodding off about an hour or two after lunch?  “If you started your day with nothing more than a cup of coffee or a bowl of cereal, you’re bound to feel your energy start to drop sooner in the day.”  Protein six times a day helps this from happening.

And if your lunch mainly consisted of carbs, then after a meal later on,  there is a huge drop in blood sugar.  However, after any meal, your blood sugar rises for about two hours—and then it drops off.   Your lunch has to contain enough protein and fiber, and if not, then your blood sugar can rise and drop even more quickly, causing you to feel groggy.

Even if you eat a substantial breakfast and a lunch that combines carbs and protein, you might still have the midday slump. Eating raises your body’s core temperature as the body works to digest and metabolize your food.  After you eat a meal, a few hours later, your core body temperature drops, signaling your brain to release melatonin, which causes you to feel tired.

One thing that can help is to exercise.  Regular exercise has been shown to provide more energy throughout the day. If you aren’t able to get in an early-morning or lunchtime workout, try a 15-minute power walk around the time you usually start your slump.   Snacking helps to control blood-sugar levels.  The ideal snack is around 200 to 300 calories and contains a balance of carbohydrates and protein.

If you want to lose weight and keep your metabolism going AND you want to stay awake during the day and be productive, you need to eat your midday snack.

8 suggestions for a snack:

1. A piece of fruit and two tablespoons of peanut butter (or another nut butter).

2. One ounce of almonds and a handful of grapes or a piece of fruit.

3. One ounce of cheese with a few whole-wheat crackers.  Watch the carbs in the crackers.  Look at the box.

4. Two ounces (a moderate handful) of trail mix.

5. Six ounces of greek yogurt with fruit.

6.  A low carb protein bar

7.  A hard boiled egg and a piece of fruit.

8.  A couple of slices of meat, cheese and a piece of fruit.