Ahhhh, that chocolate chip cookie looks soooooo good!
I recently did some research on how to adapt my family’s all time favorite chocolate chip cookie to vegan and gluten free. Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookies are, in my opinion, the absolute best chocolate chip cookies on earth. They require a few slightly unusual ingredients including a bread and cake flour combination, and they take a bit longer than the average chocolate chip cookie because they need to rest in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. Never mind that, believe me, it’s all worth it.
My family demands chocolate chip cookies at Christmastime. I have tried to entice them with buttermilk and chocolate fudge, Mexican wedding cookies and other more traditional holiday sweets to no avail. They always insist on chocolate chip cookies. What’s a girl to do……I give them chocolate chip cookies.
Looking at the light brown crunchy cookies oozing with chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt that appear in many of the online recipes is truly making me crazy. I am not a person with a huge sweet tooth, but the more I research, the more, I HAVE TO HAVE A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Life is going to have to stop until this craving is satisfied.
Why am I having this craving and what can I do to stop it, I asked myself.
Food cravings are an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing for a specific food item. Of course, I know you don’t need that definition to recognize what a craving is. Everyone has them at one time or the other. Cravings are experienced for many different reasons including stress and emotions, hormonal imbalances or changes such as during pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, lack of sleep, exposure to highly processed foods, poor hydration, lack of physical activity, hunger, as well as in what setting food is consumed such as a craving for popcorn at the movies. Research has also shown that just looking at a picture of appetizing food can trigger cravings. They often arise around food that is high in sugar, salt and fat. My all time favorite chocolate chip cookies have the trifecta….a perfect combination of sugar, salt and fat.
If you are trying to lose weight or eat a healthier diet, food cravings can sabotage your efforts. As each person’s triggers and body chemistry are different, it’s important to give some thought to your own food cravings and how they may be affecting your health.
My own struggles with cravings have resulted in weight gain, poor diet, fatigue, depression and anxiety at various times. Knowing that has not been enough to stop me from indulging in my cravings. Studies of human behavior have confirmed that although knowing a certain behavior is undesirable is a good first step in changing that behavior, it is not enough.
If you are struggling with managing your own cravings, consider one or more of the following strategies.
This is often easier said than done, right? Strategies for reducing stress include meditation, yoga, exercise, therapy, deep breathing, eating a healthy diet, and pursuing hobbies and other interests.
Drink More Water
Mayoclinic.org recommends 15.5 cups of fluids per day for men and 11.5 cups of fluids per day for women. Or remember the old reminder to drink eight glasses of water a day….that’s a good start.
Eat Enough Protein
Consider lean sources of protein such as beans, peas, legumes, tofu, quinoa, low-fat yogurt, lean beef, poultry and fish. Try this Chickpea Salad with Capers and Dill.
Make Sure To Get Enough Sleep
Although the amount of sleep individuals need is different, most experts agree that adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each day.
Plan your meals and snacks in advance and make sure that your food is at the ready when hunger strikes.
Change Your Environment
When you find yourself in a place that ordinarily triggers cravings, try changing your environment. Take a walk, phone a friend, read a book, or play a game.
Avoid The Foods That Trigger Cravings
This strategy doesn’t work for everyone, and for some people may even make them more prone to cravings. For me personally, it’s a godsend. Once I go down the path of eating that cookie, I’m a goner.
Reduce Portion Sizes
You may not have to completely give up the foods that are high in sugar, salt and/or fat in an otherwise healthy diet. Have a small portion of the foods you crave. If you have a chocolate craving, sample one of these Dark Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bites to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Keep A Food Journal
Writing down your daily food intake can be a great tool to help you identify when cravings arise and what may be triggering them.
Eat A Variety Of Healthy Foods
My own food journey has revealed that the healthier my diet is in general, the less likely I am to give in to my cravings.
See A Medical Professional
If you believe that your cravings may be the result of nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances, consider consulting a medical professional for testing to identify your needs.
Are cravings always bad?
I believe the answer is NO. Chances are you’ve had the experience of eating unhealthily for several days in a row. This happens to me on vacation when I throw caution to the wind or on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas when there’s lots of unhealthy food readily available to sample. At some point, I’ve had enough. My body craves healthy food. The idea of eating another chocolate chip cookie(even the world’s best chocolate chip cookie) is appalling. This is the time to give into those cravings entirely. Settle in and treat your body to that delicious healthy food. Chances are you’ll be feeling lighter and more alive in no time.
Here are some healthy and delicious recipes to enjoy everyday.