Food Journaling and Food Cravings

Painting by Ana Morales


I’ve been doing a small experiment as part of my curriculum at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition called food journaling.  I’m being taught that we, being mammals, intuitively know what to eat.  The problem is that modern grocery stores have everything you could imagine from all parts of the world and advertisers spend billions on us in hopes we’ll crave what they’re selling.  This all confuses us and suppresses our natural cravings.  It’s also popular and widely acknowledged that we have junk food cravings and so I don’t think most people are encouraged to give into or be open to healthy food cravings.

When I was pregnant with my twins I started craving steak and other high iron containing foods.  Then I found out I had very low iron levels.  “Gee, that’s convenient”, I thought.  I also craved big salads and that makes sense considering I was now needing nutrients for myself and two others.  I was fascinated by the fact that my body was reaching out to these foods in order to take care of me and restore balance in me.

Anyway, I’ve found food journaling very helpful lately.  I write down what I eat for meals and take note of how I feel before and after those meals.  I also spend time thinking about what I really want to eat and then I eat it.  I haven’t had any cabbage whatsoever in about 3 years.  In the past week I’ve had 2 heads of cabbage in a raw coleslaw made with cabbage, carrots, cashews, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, and agave syrup.  Then I bought something I’ve only had twice in my life-saurkrout.  Once home and unpacking the groceries I realized that saurkrout was cabbage, too!  This is when I started thinking that perhaps my body was in need of something that cabbage contains.  I’ve never liked cabbage but at this moment it’s better than chocolate to me.  It’s particularly nice to crave something healthy for once.  I just read that cabbage is high in vitamin K and C and is a pretty good anti-inflammatory.  From what I’ve read in the past, vitamin C levels tend to be lower in people with diabetes and high blood sugars cause inflammation in the body.

I’ve only been doing this a week and find it more than interesting to note that in the past week my anxiety has decreased, my energy levels have increased, and suddenly my husband is the most wonderful person ever (despite him acting exactly as before).  And this is pms season proven by my crying yesterday at Disney’s Mulan movie.  In other words, my mood is different.  They say food affects our mood and I have always believed it.  The problem is that I have forgotten about this to some extent and getting back in touch with the information has been SO valuable.

I highly recommend to anyone to try this.  It’s easy and inexpensive and the information you get out of it is priceless!  Go to the grocery store and stay out of the aisles with the boxed food.  Just walk around the produce and other whole foods areas and try to listen to what your body is calling out for.  You may be surprised!

One thought on “Food Journaling and Food Cravings

  1. Scully

    This really made me think.
    I want to try it. I crave 2 major things on a consistent basis that most people find weird. Cheese and Fruit. I’m sure the cheese is my body craving fat and the fruit.. I’m not sure. Is it the sugar? the water content? I also crave (all the time) tomatoes and cucumber.
    I am lucky that these are my primary cravings (chocolate is totally there too but I’m only woman)
    I think I’m going to try writing this shit down. thanks for opening my view.

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