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Food Cravings Reflect The Emotional Needs Behind Them


There is a connection between emotional needs and craving certain types of foods.

We often respond to this connection by attempting to feed our emotions to satisfy the need.

However, if we acknowledge and accept the message behind our food cravings, it helps free us to meet our needs in healthier and more satisfying ways.

The Emotional Messages Behind Our Cravings

Food cravings are hints from our body about our emotional needs. The list of cravings and their messages below is a reference and guide to be used in combination with your intuition, common sense, and your doctor's or other professional's advice.

Simple carbs and processed grain products are comfort foods. We may crave pasta, sweet rolls, or mashed potatoes when we long for a sense of safety, security, or belonging. Although French fries cannot reject or disappoint us, their comfort is painfully short-lived.

Dairy foods appeal to the child in all of us since our first food was mother’s milk or a close substitute. If we crave unconditional love and acceptance we may reach for ice cream, fatty cheese products, or custard pie to calm our longing. Human beings do need love and belonging to thrive — it is normal to desire those — but dairy foods cannot provide them.

Craving salty foods such as a bag of chips, or shaking extra salt on the foods you prepare, may indicate a need for change, adventure, or variety in your life. Something in you wants to “spice” things up, and your natural caution may be keeping the situation too status quo.

Most of us enjoy chocolate, and we are all sensual beings. If you constantly crave chocolate, you may be frustrated romantically or sexually; check to see whether anxiety is holding you back. Chocolate is a safe sensual experience, but it will never replace the chemistry experienced with another person.

Craving the crunch may mean you are crunching away at your anger. Chomping on chips, ice, hard candies, or carrots may feel safer than expressing anger to a person but can never resolve the angering issue. Many individuals need the help of a counselor to learn how to express anger effectively. It is well worth the time and expense to acquire this skill.

If you are reaching for sweets, you may actually be reaching for fun and excitement. Sweets take us back to childhood, holidays, play and playmates. There are many ways that life can be sweet without sugar.

Cravings for alcohol are frequently related to the issue of acceptance. The effects of alcohol diminish feelings of rejection and create illusions of self-acceptance. Alcohol also contains sugar and grains. It can temporarily meet our longing for excitement or comfort and protect us from anxiety related to personal intimacy or fear of failure.

Source: Dale, Cindi. The Subtle Body Practice Manual, Sounds True Press, 2013.