Why do have cravings? What if these cravings were actually telling us something? Certain different healing modalities look at cravings to better understand what is going on inside the body. For example, Chinese medicine looks at cravings as signs of certain organs in your body need more support.
For example, the taste associated with the Spleen is sweet. This is frequently because their Spleen, the organ of digestion, is working overtime to digest fat-laden, nutrient-dense, over processed foods. In addition, people who are overweight almost always have damage to their Spleen system. As a result, they crave sweets. Unfortunately, in Chinese history, sweets were eaten in small amounts in the form of natural foods, like dates, yams, and fruits. Today, when we crave sweets, we turn to something like M&M’s, candy and soda, which only further damages the Spleen.
If you crave salty foods, you might look to the health of your Kidney system. The Kidney in Chinese medicine is most damaged by stress, overwork, and keeping long hours without adequate rest. It is also related to how well and healthfully you will age.
If you have a craving dill pickles and other sour foods. The sour taste is associated with the Liver. The liver performs over 500 functions, and if it is under stress it will want to be cleaned. Sour foods can support the liver versus foods that will cause more inflammation, heat and mucus, such as heavy sauces, pork, and hydrogenated oils.
The Lung system is associated with foods that are acrid, or strongly flavored. Acrid foods have the ability to make you sweat and cause your nose to run—to clean out your lungs from sinus congestion, asthma, and infections.
People who crave cold and bitter foods may have issues with the Heart system, as well as internal heat. The Heart is associated with the element of fire, and bitter taste. Frequently, people who crave dark chocolate, coffee, and dark bitter ales, also find in the clinic that their Heart system is depleted in some way. Try drinking room temperature water or add lemon and cucumber to cool your internal fire.
So, instinctively our body does know what it is doing. Where as society has not supported us to trust this. Take a couple of minutes and really listen to what your body is craving for lunch today, it may need it:)