I’m excited to bring to you our first guest article, written by our very own Simply AIP family member, Sami Varshikov! Sami is a healthcare administrator and clinical nutritionist based in California. Her concentrations include autoimmune conditions, eating disorders, and food allergies. When she isn’t working, she spends her time reading, or cooking while dancing shamelessly to 80’s music. After facing a Hashimoto’s Disease diagnosis, Sami began her AIP journey to support her healing and rebalance her life through food. Read on for Sami’s advice on how to power through food cravings and come out better on the other side.
The other day, I wandered down the freezer isle in the grocery store, and very slowly surveyed all of the ice creams. I scanned the products for key phrases like “dairy free,” only to find that even the dairy free ones had chocolate, or were made with nuts. I finally happened upon a carton that proudly proclaimed, “Made with real fruit!” Guess what? It still had sugar added to it.
It was hopeless. I felt defeated and upset, all because I couldn’t find an AIP-compliant ice cream in the store. As I stood there feeling sorry for myself, I began to wonder why I had gone down that isle in the first place. Before my AIP journey, I wasn’t the biggest fan of ice cream; so why did I want ice cream now? Only because I knew I couldn’t have any.
Every single one of us can attest to the challenges that come with the Autoimmune Protocol and living a cleaner lifestyle; we are faced with reality when we go out to a restaurant or to a party, where we are surrounded by tempting foods. Events like those can trigger feelings of deprivation. But even something simple and routine like going grocery shopping can be challenging. The store is filled with foods that we have had in the past (and we remember how delicious they were!).
Do not to beat yourself up if you catch yourself eyeing the donuts. No matter how logically we try to look at the situation, no matter how much knowledge we have or how much willpower we have, the fact remains that we were trained to want the sugary and starchy foods. On a molecular level, Cheetos and Mars Bars and Big Macs are designed to make us crave them and be addicted to them. Food companies have taken advantage of our brain chemistry. It is not our fault.
Repeat after me: “It is not my fault!”
AIP is about holistic health, so it is important to establish a balance between self-acceptance and self-betterment. If you have had tough food cravings, here are some tips on powering through them:
- Focus on what you have control over. Take a deep breath, and remember why it’s best for your health if you do not give into the craving. Opt for something else that you enjoy. Make your favorite AIP-compliant meal!
- Always be prepared. Don’t go anywhere without a snack! Life is unpredictable, and you might find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by tons of food that is not AIP-compliant. If you have some healthy snacks in your purse or your car, it will be easier to say “no” to the other foods.
- Identify your triggers. Every person has a different relationship with food, based on their individual history. Pay close attention to what situations trigger cravingsfor you. Do you crave foods when you are stressed or lonely? When you spend time with your extended family? When you have something to celebrate? Whatever the case may be, knowing your patterns can be helpful. Once you know what your triggers are, you can come up with a plan to combat them.
- Make some “dupes”! We live in a wonderful world of Pinterest and Facebook groups and e-Cookbooks. If there is a non-compliant food that you are really missing, chances are there’s a recipe out there for a close substitute. Check out some fun recipes and make time to try them out.
What foods or situations trigger you the most? How do you handle your cravings?
Email me at Laura@SimplyAIP.com with your triggers and cravings, or post directly to our Simply AIP Facebook group here (https://www.facebook.com/groups/294743447720378/).