Sometimes your brain wants to snack when your stomach isn’t actually hungry, and you don’t really need to eat – you might be bored, emotional, or stressed. Lots of people are bored snackers, convenience snackers (the food is just there in sight), or sympathetic snackers (snacking when other people around you are eating). Or maybe you’re just dehydrated, and your brain makes you think you’re hungry when you actually need water. For those who struggle with low blood sugar, especially if it’s hypoglycemia or prediabetes, feeling light-headed and shaky is a real thing.
But there are some ways, besides just drinking more lemon water or green tea, to naturally prevent or at least limit cravings or light-headed, brain-hungry sensations.
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Spirulina: The Food of the Future
This remarkable superfood has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples in Africa and Central America and has been called the “most nutrient-dense food on the planet” and “the food of the future.”
In its natural form, spirulina is blue-green algae that grow in warm, alkaline fresh waters around the world. It’s rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants that can protect cells from damage. High in B vitamins, spirulina is a natural energizer and appetite stabilizer. Because of its high nutrient density, Aztecs would consume it as food for energy, especially before battle.
Spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and antioxidants.
It usually is obtained in powder form, and you can blend it into smoothies (have it added when you order your next açai bowl or fruit smoothie), mix it into your protein shakes (chocolate flavors would probably mask the taste best), or you can buy spirulina capsules as a dietary supplement. Be sure to find a trusted brand that doesn’t carry a risk of heavy metal contamination (from the water where it’s grown).
Collagen: The Fountain of Youth
You know this stuff is great, or you’ve heard that at least once. Collagen is basically the edible Fountain of Youth. Besides all of its numerous health benefits to your hair and what-have-you, collagen contains a ton of protein which helps satisfy legit hunger cravings, stem off the sugar hankerings, and keep you full longer. That way, you don’t feel like mindless snacking so much.
Certain high-protein foods help nurture collagen production in the body, so you can eat these foods like fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, and foods high in vitamin C and zinc. This way your body will develop more collagen, as well as get good amounts from your diet, which will help keep you satisfied without getting the urge to snack two hours after lunch.
You can mix collagen powder into protein shakes (some protein powders are mostly made up of collagen), blend into fruit smoothies or coffee (if you must), stir into chia seed pudding and overnight oats, or even add into healthy baked goods and cookie dough! Check out some Pinterest recipes for more ideas.
Chromium: Your New Bestie
Chromium has been medically referred to as the “Mineral Miracle” because of how beneficial it is to the body! Not many are familiar with this nutrient, and most people are deficient, but chromium is a natural mineral that our body needs. Since it influences how insulin regulates blood glucose levels, it helps prevent light-headedness while stabilizing your appetite, makes you feel full longer, and helps you go longer without snacking. This makes it helpful especially for those who struggle with hypoglycemia, diabetes, or prediabetes.
The GTF Chromium supplement – usually in tablet form – has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to help regulate metabolism and blood sugar; you can buy a trusted option here. For those who are trying to regulate diet and portions to lose weight, a study showed that GTF Chromium actually causes greater loss of fat and less loss of muscle than dieting without chromium.
Chromium influences how insulin regulates blood glucose levels, preventing light-headedness while stabilizing your appetite.
Personally, I feel better and have more stable energy when I pop a chromium tablet at the beginning of the day. When I have an early morning/long day ahead with meals far in between, I’ll take a chromium with a spirulina capsule with warm lemon water, and that helps hold me over until lunch without feeling shaky. If I don’t have time to eat breakfast, I’ll add a second spirulina and that will serve fine as my breakfast without my brain feeling starved. You might feel a bit hungry eventually after several hours, but sometimes it feels good to just have an honest growl in your stomach without feeling like you’ll faint if you don’t grab a snack right then and there! This routine is helpful if you’re doing a detox fast or intermittent fasting cleanse.
Coconut Oil: More Sun, Less Snack
Coconut oil is a natural fat that can help you feel full longer and can help with intermittent fasting/reduced snacking. And since it’s composed of MCT oils that boost your metabolism, you may even find it easier to lose weight, but you’ll definitely be able to at least resist the snack urge much more easily! You can even eat a teaspoon of coconut oil each day or mix it into your coffee (bulletproof coffee). Coconut oil also gives increased energy after consuming, so you can’t lose!
My Tested Theory: During college in Florida, I often rubbed coconut oil onto my skin to help me tan (hey, people told me I glowed). And it worked! But what surprised me was that, because I was absorbing the coconut oil through my pores and even smelling it from my skin, my blood sugar would be fine for hours, and I wouldn’t get hungry for my usual afternoon snack. When I applied it in the morning, I found I could easily fast until noon (calling all intermittent fasters, though I now recommend breakfast or at least a late breakfast). I tested this theory several times and had the same result. So for people like me, even just applying coconut oil (if eating it grosses you out) on your skin may also serve as a natural appetite suppressant! Plus, it’s a healthier way to make your skin more conducive to tanning than chemical bronzer, plus you smell like a tropical goddess – triple win!
These tips are not to encourage people to skip meals or do extreme fasting, but they are helpful if you have the snacking bug and want to give it its eviction notice. It’s not fun to be controlled by your taste buds and frequently distracted by thoughts of food, so these are some ways to help yourself have a healthy say over your food intake. Also, remember to drink plenty of water with all of these; water is essential to actually absorb nutrients and helps balance blood sugar, and if you’re dehydrated, then you’ll just keep wanting to snack.
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