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When it comes to nutrition, your body knows best. The Young and Raw motto is that as long as you’re craving real, whole foods – your body is telling you what it needs. We like to use raw foods as a cleansing tool vs. a permanent lifestyle, because we never want to see you restricting yourself from something your body is asking for (for example if you’re craving animal fats it may be because that’s what you need right now).

It’s so important to realize that we’re all unique when it comes to our health conditions, hormones, pre-dispositions etc. Instead of comparing yourself to someone else, compare yourself to you. Tracking how you feel when you eat certain foods, what your cravings are for and how your energy levels are is a great place to start.

For example, if you’re having frequent cravings for real, whole foods – take a deeper look at what those foods are known for nutritionally speaking. Are they high in a certain minerals, vitamins, or omega 3 fats? Are they anti-inflammatory perhaps? If so, this is an indication of what your body may be asking you for.

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I remember when we lived in Sayulita, Mexico for 5 months and one day I began to have strong cravings for oregano. Weird right? But it was close to my cycle and oregano is anti-inflammatory so I got some from the market, boiled it and I drank many cups of oregano tea. Afterwards, I felt completely satisfied. Similarly, I had this experience with eggs when I was a strict vegan, which resulted in me denying my cravings for many months before I finally “caved” which is not the language I would choose now, for honoring my body’s requests. What my body needed 2 years ago, is very different from what my body needs today, and my cravings show up differently at different parts of my cycle as they will continue to throughout my life, as will yours. This is why when working with women, the ladies on our team and I always reiterate the importance of tuning inward and listening to your intuition instead of getting caught up in diet labels.

There’s a difference between real cravings and food addiction

You will also need to learn the important distinction between listening to your cravings and acting on them. If you’re still craving things like pizza, processed foods or candy, it may be time to consider a cleanse so you can “reset” and get back in tune with your body. Once you’ve taken the steps to cleanse, listening to your body won’t feel like you’re trying to decode an encrypted message. It will be easy, I promise.

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I believe in you, and all of the power you hold to heal yourself and optimize your life to the fullest. Taking steps towards cleansing out your food addictions may seem impossible or too much to tackle, but if you simplify things one step at a time, you will eventually find a balance that works well for you and your personality.

5 ways to start listening to your body

1. Follow a real, whole food meal plan for just 3 days and see if you notice a difference in how you feel when you eat this way vs. including processed foods or junk foods in your diet. You can get our Free 3 Day High Raw Challenge on the Young and Raw Facebook page while it’s up – just download it.

2. Start adding a Vegetable Juice or Green Smoothie into your diet as many times per week as you’d like. Most often, people report noticing changes just with this addition to the lifestyle.

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3. Whenever you have a craving, ask yourself “Is this a craving for real food, or is this a false alert”. A false alert is a craving for something that is processed and not found in nature 50-100 years ago. A real craving is something that is real, whole food based and ideally – organic. It can be helpful to write your cravings down for a while, and then take your notepad to Google and do some web surfing. Look up the foods you’re craving and see what the nutritional profiles are. Hint – if you’re craving McDonald’s French Fries, maybe your body just needs energy (carbs + fat). You could try having a plate of steamed yams with coconut oil or ghee instead, or an avocado over a big green salad… you get the idea.

4. If you’re a woman, track your cycle week by week and notice when your caloric needs go up (like when you’re close to, or during menstruation.) Then, just include more calories from real, whole foods and increase your fat intake a bit and notice if your cravings change for the better. Often, cravings just happen because our bodies are not getting what they need from us.

5. Only when you’re ready, try a cleanse. If you’d like support along the way, check out our 21 Day Raw Food Reset Cleanse.

This article was republished with permission from youngandraw.com

Image Sources:

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