Too many times have I cracked open a half-full jar of almond butter, spoon firmly in hand, with the heroic intention of taking one small spoonful, only to spot my feet through the bottom glass mere minutes later. Too many times have I been caught red-handed by my boyfriend, an almond butter smear at the corner of my lips, looking as guilty as a dog that just ransacked the garbage for a scrap of organ meat. And it is not just almond butter. Peanut butter, walnut butter, hazelnut butter, you name it. I have to force myself to never even so much as open the jar unless there is nothing else to eat (not the worst last resort). Otherwise, I will become a force of smooth, creamy, destruction. I know Iím not alone. But why does this happen?
If you, too, crave the sweet, salty comfort of nut butters, it may mean that your body is trying to tell you something. The best idea is to stop and listen. Your body may be imbalanced. Here are 3 general imbalances that could be behind your cravings…
Energy Imbalance. If you find yourself reaching for the nearest jar, you may not be eating enough fat, protein, or carbohydrates. If you are feeling generally low, try†cashew butter to boost energy. If you are unsure where your deficits lie, start keeping a food journal and take note of any chronic holes in your diet. If you notice that you are imbalanced, adjust your diet slightly to fix it. That doesnít mean eat only carbs if you have been low in carbs. Simply add some fruit or a little sweet potato to your daily diet. For protein, add eggs in the morning instead of cereal, or beans on your afternoon salad. As far as fat is concerned, many people are deathly afraid of it, but your body needs it to thrive. Add some olive oil on your salad or coconut oil to your cooking. Eating fat wonít make you fat, just as eating protein wonít turn you into a world-class athlete. Itís just not that simple.
Hormonal Imbalance. If your hormones are out of whack, your body may crave certain minerals. Some minerals can usher your body’s hormones back to normal levels, whether it be stress-related cortisol or feminine hormones like estrogen and progesterone.†Minerals like Vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, and iron are essential for hormone health. Luckily, they are also plentiful in different nut butters, so indulge in a spoonful of almond butter, but you may also want to consider a multivitamin or incorporating more mineral-rich food sources into your diet like seaweed, red meat, Himalayan pink salt, and colorful fruits and veggies.
Stress/Exhaustion. Stress is different for everyone. It can be something as small and nagging as staying on a diet or something as fleeting as hitting traffic on your way to work. Regardless, stress wreaks havoc on the body. It is the initial forerunner to disease, and is directly correlated with ulcers, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, asthma, heart disease, headaches, depression, IBS, Alzheimerís, and premature aging. If you are craving nut butter, your body may just be looking for a comfort food to relieve some tension. Luckily, peanut butter contains high levels of vitamin B6, which can elevate mood. So, indulge in a spoonful (or 2) and go take a relaxing bath. If that helps, perhaps taking up yoga or meditation could curb your cravings in the future.
Regardless, once a nut butter lover, always a nut butter lover. So, when you purchase nut butters, always buy organic and minimally processed. Make sure there is no added sugar, which can negate some of its health benefits. Or, better yet, make your own at home on a rainy Sunday afternoon! But, be careful. Itís even more delicious when it is homemade.