You’re a beautiful, unique human being and your body is wise beyond your imagination. Every symptom you get is an ancient communication from your body to your intellect to tell you what it needs.
We are at a point in history where our environment has evolved much faster than our genes and biochemistry have been able to keep up with. The language your body uses is now foreign to your current world. If you can learn to hear what your body needs again, you can take it back to the state of optimal health it was designed to be in – more energy, better sleep, better mood, less inflammation, less pain, and more agility.
Cravings are part of that communication. So, where do they come from?
It all starts in your gut!
Bloating, constipation, diarrhea or abdominal discomfort are signs that your gut is unhappy, and an unhappy gut means an unhappy human in more ways than one.
The Gut Brain Axis or GBA is now a firmly established scientific field. Our pleasure molecules for happiness and love (serotonin), relaxing and anti-anxiety (gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA) and reward system and connection (dopamine) are all produced in your gut. This means that if your gut is unhealthy you are less able to replenish your pleasure molecules and keep your mood balanced.
When you’re over-stressed and tired, your body begins to crave things that give you the building blocks to make more of these pleasure molecules and relax your body and muscles…
Sugar and carbohydrates give you these building blocks, and high-quality chocolate or cacao is high in magnesium, which relaxes muscles. That’s why they call them comfort foods. That’s also why you crave these things (especially chocolate) premenstrually, when your uterus is cramping or at the end of the day when you just want to melt into the couch.
Unfortunately, these things give a very temporary fix and end up doing more harm than good – modern chocolate doesn’t have much nourishing magnesium in it anymore.
The increased quantities of these foods cause changes in the gut environment. The new environment now favours the wrong kinds of bugs (yeasts, fungi, bacteria, and things like candida), they begin to flourish while crowding out the good guys. These “bad” bugs thrive on sugar and will do anything to get it, including finding ways to get you to eat it (cravings).
The community of bacteria in your gut, or more accurately the full content of the genetic material of this community of bugs is called the microbiome. The members of this community contain good guys and bad guys. It’s a constant battle, and your diet is the fuel that dictates who’ll win! It’s like the Wild West in there. You have to keep that delicate balance to remain healthy.
The interesting thing is that the genetic material of your gut bugs outnumbers your whole genetic material by over 100:1. That’s crazy! That’s something you should take note of and take good care of!
You’re not just one being, you’re an ecosystem, like our planet.
If we kill all the bees, what do you think will happen to the flowers and the food chain for the rest of the ecosystem? There’ll be total chaos!
The same domino effect can be experienced if you kill the good bugs in your gut. There have been strong links made in research, linking an unhealthy gut and microbiome to obesity, eczema, psoriasis, acne, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and much much more.
So what can you do to begin weeding out these criminals?
You need to clean up the streets! You need to reduce processed foods and sugars in your diet. Lauric and caprylic acid (found in coconut oil) have been shown to kill off the unwanted microbes to make space for the healthy ones. Then you can begin to nourish your good bugs with fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and pickles.
Emotional eating is a real thing…
There is an emotional attachment to food, for all of us, we love it and it’s our greatest reward. Food scarcity has been a staple in our genetic history, and the way we showed love and care was to share that scarce item of food, at the expense of our own nourishment for the love of our family and our tribe. This has been carried through till today where we live in a world of excessive and empty foods. It’s no longer a high fibre bulb that we gift our loved ones in a time of need, or as a reward, it’s now chocolates and sweets – the first things we think of.
We have never been more overfed but undernourished!
Science has shown us that there is no greater memory jogger and no better way to transport us back to a happy time than our sense of smell. The smell of rusks, biscuits, or fresh bread baking pulls us through an emotional wormhole to take us right back to the warm safe arms of our mothers and grandmothers.
In this crazy world of work, stress, and being a wife, a sister, a mother, an employee, a boss, it’s very comforting, even just for a second, to be in that safe place where we had no worries, and were nurtured and completely loved.
The fascinating thing is that all of those emotions are linked to those same pleasure chemicals that we spoke about earlier… and YOU have the tools to hack them.
And we are right back to our guts! A healthy gut means more happiness, more love, more energy, and less stress. It’s that simple!
Dr. Pheiffer is the leader in Africa for Medical Biohacking and is pioneering the fields of life extension, youth enhancement and mental and physical optimization in the southern hemisphere.
She has lectured both nationally and internationally for billion dollar per annum companies, as well as locally for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine, and has been a keynote speaker at AMCSA for 3 years. She cohosts a radio health and wellness slot and authors a newsletter to other physicians around the country on the subjects of advanced nutrition, biochemistry, nutrigenomics, as well as functional, integrative and anti-aging medicine, which she is considered a thought leader internationally for.