What Your Food Cravings Really Mean + How To Beat Them

When we first heard you could beat cravings using Ayurveda, two words came to mind: Yeah. Right. When food cravings strike for us, they strike hard, and there’s not a lot that can pry that bag of kettle corn out of our hands. What many of us don’t realize is that there is more to our food cravings than meets the eye. Many times, it’s what we aren’t eating, saying or doing in life that is the real fuel behind our unhealthy benders.   

Dr. Pratima Raichur, one of our go-to Ayurvedic experts is also the author of Absolute Beauty, the ultimate inner-outer beauty Bible. Pratima’s guidelines for dealing with food cravings are insightful and right on the nose. As we’ve learned, Ayurveda is a complex ancient medical system that works with the individual. There is no quick fix to overall health, but the key is in finding balance – that’s when we are all happiest, healthiest and begin to glow from the inside out. 

“comfort” cravings: The desire for comfort foods – sweets, creamy foods and carbohydrates – is really a desire for something warm, nurturing, calming and grounding, and usually accompanies feelings (conscious or subconscious) of anxiety, insecurity, restlessness, fear, worry or upset. In other words, it is an expression of vata imbalance and calls for vata-pacifying techniques.

To satisfy the craving:
– use a dab of sweet oil and give yourself a massage
– recall a “sweet” memory
– have a loving conversation with a friend
– listen to sweet music
– drink fennel tea.

“Energy” cravings: The desire for quick pick-me-ups – a caffeine rush from a coffee, a cola or a chocolate bar, for example – is really a desire for something warming and stimulating, and usually accompanies feelings of dullness, lethargy, sadness and depression. These are all symptoms of a kapha imbalance and call for kapha-pacifying techniques.

To satisfy the craving:
-use pungent oils such as bergamot, clove or rosemary
– listen to some loud, lively music
– get a vigorous massage
– drink ginger or spice tea with honey

“I-have-to-settle-down” cravings: Feelings of extreme excitation, frustration, anger and annoyance –  and the craving for fast finger foods like salty chips and nuts – indicate a pitta imbalance.

To satisfy the craving:
– use sweet scents such as jasmine and sandalwood
– take a moonlight walk
– get a calming massage
– look a vibrant scenery of artwork
– drink licorice or cardamom tea

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