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What Are You Really Craving?

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What Are You Really Craving?

I’ve been reading the writing of Marion Woodman, an author and Freudian analyst, who’s well known for her writings on addiction and eating disorders.  Freudian dream analyst and forerunner in the intuitive eating field even before it was a field. In much of her work, she talks about how literal the body is in its signals; in a recent interview she says, “The longing for sweets is really a yearning for love or sweetness.”

If cravings really are that transparent, why are we so frequently at their mercy? I think it’s a simple answer: we just don’t take the time to listen to where the craving is coming from. What part of our Selves is doing the craving—the body or the mind? The fact is, we don’t really pay much attention to our Selves from the waist down. In our culture, the head is where the action’s at; it’s the part that’s sexy and loud and bright, and we’re completely at its mercy. Meanwhile, we drag the body around like a dog on a leash.

But the body is brilliant at expressing its needs and desires. It’s just not as shrill or strident as the mind, and we don’t get still and quiet often enough to hear the body speaking–or we do hear it, but allow the mind’s whims to subjugate the body’s needs. When we get sick, it’s often the body’s way of saying “Enough!” when it’s fed up with being ignored. And it’s an opportunity to check in with our Selves from the neck down, and notice what needs attention.

What does all of this have to do with eating? Everything. In our culture, we eat from the neck up. When we dine out, we choose grilled salmon, no sauce, dinner salad, dressing on the side, because the brain tells us this is a nutritious choice that will keep us slim and healthy.  At the store, we load up our shopping carts with non-fat milk, low-calorie “butter” spread and diet soda, because our minds tell us those foods will also keep us slim. Sometimes, we load up our shopping carts with frozen dinners and boxed mac ‘n cheese, because our minds tell us we’re behind on deadlines and we don’t have time to cook.

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Read more: Spirit, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Inspired Eating, Self-Help, , , , , ,

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Lisa Turner

Lisa is a chef and nutritionist with more than 30 years of professional experience and formal training in food, nutrition and product development. She’s written five books on food and nutrition and is the creator of The Healthy Gourmet iPhone app, and has been a featured blogger for many national sites, including Huffington Post and Whole Foods Market. Lisa is a faculty instructor at Bauman College of Culinary Arts and also teaches food and nutrition classes and workshops to individuals and corporations. She's a black belt in Ninjutsu, an active volunteer in the Boulder Valley school lunch system, and an avid wild food forager.


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10:14AM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

Very interesting! Thanks

2:56PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012


6:32AM PDT on Sep 12, 2012


5:12AM PST on Dec 1, 2011

A lot of this resonates. When I was young, if I knew I had some sweets or something tasty to eat that evening, somehow it felt very 'glamorous'. It was different and exciting, something to look forward to. I still feel quite similarly ... so I suppose the thing to do is find some non-fattening forms of excitement!

12:27PM PDT on Aug 11, 2010

Very interesting thanks for the info it helps a lot.

5:17PM PDT on Aug 9, 2010

Very interesting, thanks!

7:24PM PDT on Aug 8, 2010

Try getting the most nutrients out of foods...

PS.: feel free to share info and recipes at Nutritional Trashed Thx ;-)

12:23AM PDT on Aug 8, 2010

Interesting article and so true!
I have one question though.
What is that ghastly looking stuff in the pan, for crying out loud?

6:21PM PDT on Aug 7, 2010

im always in the mood for strawberries..yumm...and dark chocolate!

4:05AM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

Really interesting. I find that when I allow myself one unhealthy meal (e.g. high in fat or salt) my body craves more fatty and salty foods for the rest of the day.

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