I work a lot with clients on getting a handle on their cravings, whether they are cravings for sweets, alcohol, salty, crunchy, or creamy foods, to name a few.
The Wisdom of Cravings
I learned in my training as a holistic health coach to honor our cravings and think of them as a critical piece of information that can help us understand what our bodies needs. The body is smart. It tells you when you are not feeding it properly.
Our bodies are always seeking balance in homeostasis: when we get too hot, we sweat to cool ourselves; when we are too cold, we shiver to raise body temperature. Cravings can be seen as the body, emotions, or spirit giving us information about what we need.
A sugar craving is simply the body asking for energy. How we feed the body, whether it’s with food or something intangible, is a choice that we have.
Why You Might Want Sugar or Creamy Treats
Perhaps we are craving sweets because we have been eating too much salty or heavy food and we need to eat lighter. We can reach for something sweet, or we can increase our vegetable intake, which will have a cooling and relaxing effect on our body.
Perhaps we don’t have enough sweetness in our personal lives. We might need to nourish ourselves by spending time in nature or by enjoying the sweetness of a close relationship. Someone once told me that creamy cravings are your emotional self telling you that you need a hug. Sometimes that’s all it takes for me!
I often go for sweet and creamy treats, but I know that ice cream isn’t good for me. Sugar taxes my nerves and I especially don’t do well with the coldness. I know that when I get these cravings, I need to adjust something else to limit them; sometimes, I just want to give into my craving and not have it tax my health.
A Healthy Creamy, Sweet Treat: Tapioca
To help manage my craving, I often enjoy tapioca pudding, one of my favorite creamy treats. In the summer, I eat it with fresh berries, but when the weather gets cooler and berries are out of season, I like it served warm with vanilla and a few nuts ground on top. As soon as the weather grows cooler, I increase my fat intake, and nuts are one healthy way I do that–walnuts are my favorite.
Adapted from John Robbins’ cookbook May All Be Fed: Diet for a New World, my tapioca recipe below is a family favorite. You can use whatever milk and natural sweetener serves you the best. Tapioca satisfies those cravings for creamy and sweet and yet is light and quick and easy to make. You can serve it warm or cold, plain or topped with fresh fruit.
Ingredients & Directions
- ¼ cup natural sweetener (I use maple syrup)
- ½ cup granulated tapioca
- 3 cups of milk (I have used almond, soy, coconut, or cow’s milk)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
In a medium saucepan, combine the sweetener, tapioca, milk, vanilla, and salt, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring until thickened. Transfer to a serving bowl and add more sweetener, if you want it sweeter. Cover and refrigerate or consume warm, which is how I like it when the weather is cool.