The Science of Cravings

The Science of Cravings | BooseBlend

Booseblend are here to tell you that being hungry and craving food is not the same thing.

For a while it was believed that cravings were a direct response to the nutrients we lacked within our own bodies. For example, if you really, really wanted a big juicy steak - says the Food Network - it was because you didn’t have enough iron in your system.

That doesn’t really account for why you’d want things that were bad for you though, like those nutritionless trays of brownies. I guess that doesn’t really account for when you just want to smash a donut and a milkshake. There’s no possible nutrients in those that your body could send you subliminal signals.

Hunger is not a learned experience, cravings are. Cravings are all about the dopamine hits your brain releases when you finish doing something pleasurable: like eating half your body weight in discount Easter chocolate.

Although you should be thankful that your cravings are (hopefully) limited to just food. As unhealthy as that can be sometimes, at least you’re not in the position where a strange craving forces you to chow down on a termite hill - as people inflicted with geophagia tend to do.

But, this is something that needs to be controlled, not rewarded. Eating healthy is difficult, staying in shape is tough, but without an understanding of where cravings come from or how to mitigate them it can be even tougher.

Modern industry is clever, though, and a lot of the stuff you’ll take for granted has been designed to provide those dopamine hits that keep you coming back to it. 

The big companies at the top of the food chain want you to want them, they need you to need them, and one way of having control over that is through making sure your brain pumps out dopamine when you eat their product.

That’s because the reward pathway is linked to the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory and behaviour. This means that anything you find tasty, your noggin will note it down and remember it forever. 

And it’ll make you want to repeat those behaviours.

So you’ll find yourself never satisfied, if you’re at the bad end of the craving scale, with just one nibble. You’ll want more and more and more and that’s a road that doesn’t end anywhere good.

However, once you know and recognise this, you can start to fight it. You can start to give yourself what you want, but through healthy means instead.

You might have guessed it, but smoothies are a great way to start with this. Rewire the crave, give your body good things, make a smoothie.

Craving things is totally normal and natural but it is a good idea to have some knowledge about them and how to go about defeating them. Everyone is going to smash a filthy burger once in a while or have a Friday night in with a bottle of wine and a tub of ice cream.

Psychology Today put it really neatly. They said a craving is like us narrowing our eyes. They said it ‘narrows the field of potential options down from many to one’ and that leaves one thing standing: to give in to your craving. We need to try and reverse that mechanism.

As with a lot of things to do with your brain, cravings have caveman roots. Discover Magazine wrote that plenty of the stuff we feel that we really need are high in calories and back when the earth was young they had to take advantage of being able to stock up on calorie dense foods whenever the opportunity arose.

They didn’t have the luxury of being able to pick and choose whenever they could find new supplies like us. We can waltz down the shop, sometimes a more-than-once-a-day if the cravings are bad, to just pick up whatever we need.

The cavemen would kill, and died for, something that isn’t remotely close to that luxury. We don’t have to pack our bodies as full of calories whenever we get the chance, we can just go to the shop and do the same thing from there. As a species, we’re always battling our desire to give in to the cravings with the desire to inject some willpower into your life and ignore them. But that’s really, really hard.

Travelling along some sort of middle ground seems to be the best way out of this, and that’s where healthy smoothies can help.

This isn’t a piece saying not to do that. This is a piece saying how you can help make sure that doesn’t become part of a weekly routine.

Sugar is one of the worst of the crave foods. It sets off those dopamine receptors in your brain like a kid on Christmas morning. That doesn’t mean you should give in to it though, but it doesn’t mean you should try and funnel all your energies towards forgetting them either.

Have a little bit of what you crave and teach your body that you can have it in moderation, that whenever you have it you don’t have to binge or overeat. While learning to overcome a craving isn’t impossible, it’s really difficult and most people are going to cave sooner or later.

Thus, it’s better to try and moderate those snack sizes alongside the way or supplement them with something else.

If you do really, really want to satisfy that sweet tooth without smashing the biccies, try setting up your Booseblend Pro and getting a little sugar fix with a berry smoothie.

You can grab this salted caramel and fig vegan milkshake that has all the sweetness of the milkshake without the diary or the caramel. It’s bound to get rid of those cravings and full you up at the same time.

You need a fair few good ingredients for this one, so it’s probably a good idea to hit the fruit n veg store before you do so. First you need some fresh fig, medjool dates, frozen banana slices, a bit of peanut butter or other nut butter, lemon juice, almond milk, chia seeds and a bit of salt.

All the fun without having to gulp down the ice cream or caramel.

Another great way to hit those cravings without destroying any healthy eating plans you might have isn’t with a smoothie, but it is made using your smoothie maker.

These pancakes might look like something you’d wanna serve up with a heap of maple syrup and ice-cream, but they’re actually really good for you and can be another way to satisfy cravings.

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The great thing about these is the fact that they’re made with quick oats, protein powder, egg whites, water and baking powder but can be topped with something yummy to  give you that little sugary kick.

Blend the dry ingredients together, add the wet stuff and Bob’s your uncle you’ve got a delicious mixture waiting to be cooked in the pan.

Another awesome thing about the pancake recipe is the amount of protein and oats it has will be keep you really nice and full for longer. And while you’re full up, the cravings are less likely to creep their way back into your brain.

This recipe is a total two for one idea: get that sweet little hit that satisfies the part of your body that wants the dopamine, and it lines your stomach with something that’ll keep the pangs at bay for longer.

That’s two super-easy recipes that you can make in the Booseblend that’ll help you to manage those cravings without going overboard on all the bad stuff as well. That’s got to be a win.

You’ll feel like you’ve unlocked the cheat codes to cravings if you smash out those two recipes whenever that sweet tooth starts to hum.

So to sum everything up, getting cravings is a totally normal part of everyday life. They are triggered by a chemical called dopamine, which sends little pleasure receptors around your brain when you eat something yummy and it’s the thing that’s responsible for those late night chocolate runs.

But, because it’s normally and fairly well understood, there are things you can do to try and mitigate those factors. Don’t cut everything out at once because when your willpower cracks, it could lead to a binge - which is more unhealthy than going for a little and often approach!

So do have a block of choc here and a couple of fries there, but don’t make it a daily routine or it’ll come back to bite you in the butt.

What you can do is try and ease those cravings with smoothies. We provided two excellent recipes that have a fine mixture of protein and sweet foods to act as a double threat: they’re going to keep you full and delay cravings that way, but they’ll also give you a little bit of what you want in the process.

And the best thing about it all is that you can whizz them up whenever you want in the portable Booseblend Pro. How good is that!