Whole Approach Table of Cravings

by Tarilee Cornish CNP

Note: Because aspects of the various types of cravings overlap, when you read through the chart you will see some repetition. Although there are special characteristics to each type, you will find that helping strategies for one type can often be applied to other types of cravings. 

Causes of Cravings
Knowing your cravings
After Effects of Indulgence
Emotional Framing
Practical Coping / Prevention Strategies
Cognitive / Mindful Strategies

Allergy / Addiction

•Is the craving expressed through a screaming voice or calm wise voice?

•Do I crave it hours after you eat it or again the next day?

•Does it trigger a binge, i.e. can't stop eating it even after full?

•Detoxification & withdrawal symptoms can add to intensity of craving.

•May cause temporary stimulation or sedation

•After response wears off fatigue, irritability or other symptoms appear

•The only way to eliminate cravings & symptoms related allergens is through extended abstinence (4 to 28 days.)  Eventually the craving will subside. 

•Eating one allergen can in some cases trigger cravings for any or all allergic foods.

•May occur under any circumstances but we will be more vulnerable to addictive habits when emotionally strained

•This food unhinges me and blocks my healing. I release myself from its control.

•I seek a peaceful relationship with my food and choose freedom from the angst caused by this allergy.

•"Nothing tastes as good as health feels!!!!"

•Craving will only fade with complete abstinence. Continuing with even small amounts will sustain cravings.

•Keep food diary of items eaten and craved.

•Note intensity of all cravings on a scale of 1-10.

•Track increase or decrease of cravings

•Eat something hypo allergic and nutritious to strengthen resolve and offer some satiation.

•If not home, promise self a suitable, healthy treat when home.

•Abstain from all suspected allergens to eliminate cravings. (See Food Allergies article on Whole Approach Newsletter Page)

•Tune into the 'seeds' of the craving as it germinates. Mentally track Feel in the body and Talk and Images in the mind.

•Accept and breathe through whatever arises. 

•They are only sensations and thoughts, they are not you and do not control you.

•EFT can be an effective tool for dealing with cravings too. Try tapping away the allergy or the sensations related to the craving or the side effects after indulgence. http://www.emofree.com/a/?2588

Blood Glucose (BG) Swings




•When did I last eat?

• Did I eat a blood glucose (BG) stabilizing meal (i.e. low glycemic)?

•Does the craving come with fatigue, irritability, brain fuzziness and or dizziness?

•Sweets cause a surge of blood sugar, leading to an uncomfortable high blood sugar state.

•Low GI food will support stronger, clearer and happier well being.

•Know that low blood sugar contributes to depression, anxiety and irritability.

•I can balance my mood by balancing my blood sugar carefully.

•Small frequent low GI meals can help those susceptible to low BG spells. 

• Always carry healthy,  hypo allergenic, low GI snacks.

• By realizing the craving is caused by low BG, steer towards relief by choosing the right food.

•Accept the uncomfortable sensations from the low BG while appreciating the nourishment of healthy choices that balance  body & mind.

 (usually causes sugar cravings)

•How hydrated am I? 

•Do I also feel tired?

•Have I been drinking diuretic beverages (tea, coffee, herb teas, soda)?

•Have I taken dehydrating fiber today?

• Am I eating a lot of salty or dry foods that could be dehydrating?


•If hydration is not corrected, sugar will not satiate. Cravings for sugar will continue until hydrated fully.

•May occur under any emotional circumstances.

• If we have compassion for our confused body and hydrate, our appetite and other body communication signals will work more effectively as a result.

•Stay well hydrated with clean water, more when exercising, eating salty food or drinking herbal teas.

• Always drink 8 to 16 ounces of water when cravings hit. If dehydration is the cause, within 20 min. of adequate hydration, they will disappear.

•Acknowledge craving and slow down to tune in watching the sensations to become familiar with them.

• Allow water to satiate by drinking it with full attention to its saturation of my body.

•Imagine the water cleansing our body of the craving and energizing the will power.

Nutrition Needs 
(calories, oil, protein, low GI carbohydrate)

•Have I consumed enough calories, oil, protein, carbs today?

•How active have I been today?

•Could I actually be hungry?

•Will most likely feel sick and then desire healthier food and/or if indulging in sweets, will craving savoury

•May occur under any emotional circumstances. 

•Loving myself through healthy choices reinforce my message to myself and the universe that I am serious about achieving health.

• Protein deficiency is the most likely nutritional cause; then mineral deficiencies, low oil intake and finally, low intake of  carbohydrates (rare).

• While building self awareness, tracking with a diet diary can help us recognize relationships between dietary insufficiencies and specific cravings.

•If sensing nutrition needs triggering the craving, slow down and tune in. 

• Ask for body intuition to guide me through this craving and beyond until the imbalance is corrected.

Women's Hormone Cyclic Changes





•Am I ovulating?

•Could I be premenstrual or menopausal?

•Have I been meeting my nutrition needs (above)?


•Indulging in sweets or starches or caffeine etc can be more likely to cause drowsiness as well as the potential for a more difficult period than usual.

•Is there an emotional component of my state that is adding to my hormonal susceptibility to this craving?

•I will choose the life affirming action rather than worsening my state with sugar (or starch etc)

•Do I have feelings I need to acknowledge?

•A walk in nature help reestablish balance.

•A women's herbal tea blend can ease cravings, discomfort and or emotional stress.

•Any type of exercise can help keep appetite in check.

•Know that this extra difficult phase is temporary.

•Accept the shifts in body and emotional sensitivity as part of Nature and know that understanding and intuiting our needs through these times will encourage well being.

Habitual Behavior

•Is there familiarity in this situation that is habituating me towards certain eating behavior or choices? (i.e. eating while driving or watching TV just because I usually do)

•When I last ate, was I distracted or did I fully appreciate my food?

•Any allergic or yeast related reactions can be worsened by feelings of guilt or shame related to making an unhealthy choice.

•It may temporarily satiate but with consequences if it's an inappropriate food for us.

•Am I avoiding feeling something?

•Am I procrastinating some work?

•Do I have a habit of eating under these circumstances?

•How can I make this experience different and satisfying without that food?

•When preparing for time spent in a familiar setting that may be associated with unhealthy eating, take special effort to prepare an extra delicious, extra healthy food that you can get excited about. 

•Alternately, engage in an activity that is unrelated to food altogether.

•Identify the 'seeds' of the Feel, Talk and Image of the craving before it takes hold.   See www.basicmindfulness.orgfor more information about learning this technique.

•Breath into it and allow the sensations

•Consciously direct attention to new healthy choices.

•Practice awareness and gratitude for the food and its creators.

Nutritional Deficiencies

•Have I eaten leafy green vegetables regularly lately?

•Have I been consuming nutrient robbing foods like sweets or white flour?

•Eating unhealthy or nutrient empty foods may create cravings for healthy foods.

•Can I choose a healthy food that will nourish my whole self and help me develop a more balanced appetite so that I can feel more emotionally balanced?

•Nutritional deficiencies worsen emotional stress.

•I will nourish my body and my mind to create ease in my life.

•When we become more tuned in with the needs our body has, we will develop a wiser palette and will crave healthier sources of foods, i.e. broccoli or almonds for calcium, not ice cream.

•Analyze the nutritional components of the craved food to gain insight.

•For supplementation try Doc's Best Ultra-Pure Multi Vitamin/Mineral support

•Eat nourishing, nutritional food and eat it mindfully, slowly, while ceasing all other activity.   This enhances absorption.



•Am I tired or hungry?

•Will eating sugar or starch actually give me more energy in the long run?

•May experience very short term energy followed by more significant fatigue than before.

•I will only feel more tired and it will be harder to cope if I choose to eat food that is not supportive to my health

•Try drinking water before anything 

•If still struggling, try eating a salad or other live, energizing food that is light and easy to digest.

•Try lemon juice and/or greens drink or blue green algae for a boost.

•Also see the suggestions for acidity.

•Try a 5min. walk or 20 slow in and out breaths.

•I acknowledge the rest that I need and will attempt to plan sustainably so that I plan appropriately for the daily energy that my healing process will allow me access to. 

•I honor my body and mind's needs.

Emotional Coping


•Am I eating this food to satisfy an emotional need?

•Am I trying to 'stuff down' my feelings so that I can't feel them or to numb them?

•Eating emotionally does not resolve or reduce the emotional pain that triggered the eating.

•Eating emotionally only adds shame or guilt to the pain.

•Allergic or other reactions to the food choice may also aggravate difficult emotions by negatively affecting our nervous system.

•Any or all of the suggestions in this column may apply.

•I accept that I am fantasizing about food to avoid this feeling.

•I choose to feel this feeling.

•I do not need to escape. I can move towards the feeling rather than away from it & allow it to be.

•Fighting my feelings will make them & the craving stronger.

•When eating (especially with healthy food), slow down, stop doing other things and allow the food to satisfy you deeply. 

•Acknowledge the nourishment of the food and the strength in you for your wise choice.

•Remember the number of wise choices that you have invested in and succeeded at today.

•When eating healthy food, appreciate the nutrients in it and your good fortune to be enjoying it. 

•Try to imagine and thank the people, creatures & elements responsible for the creation of your food.

•Watch the seeds of the craving develop, observe it and it may continue or the attention to its early stages may dissolve it quickly. See www.basicmindfulness.orgfor more information on this technique.

•Calling a friend for a laugh or upport/distraction can help.

•If it's really strong, concentrate on hearing a sound, like your breath or the birds and this will take you temporarily outside of your experience of the craving sensations.









•Have I eaten enough alkalizing veggies?

•Could I have overdosed on acidic and mucous producing foods, throwing off my wise appetite?

•I suffer with more cravings and heaviness if I succumb to this craving.

•Acidic body states feed the potential for cravings.

•Fatigue, brain-fog, irritability and potential for other allergic or yeast or mucous producing reactions

•Choosing healthy, alkaline veggies and light, cleansing food will help me maintain clarity and lighten my mood.

Instant Alkalizing Strategies:

•Try drinking a large glass of lemon water, unsweetened or with stevia added.

•A teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar will assist in the same way.

•A single or double dose of an organic blue green algae or green juice powder will also assist.

•Thorne Research Buffered vitamin C powder with ascorbates (mix with lemon juice, water & stevia for a balancing drink)

•Allow the healthy, alkalizing choices to connect with your deep inner wisdom and nourish all the cells of your body.

•Focus on your strength and ability to conquer this craving by allowing it to play out without resisting the sensations and thoughts. 

•Heed the cues of your body and give it what it truly needs to feel healthier and happier.

•Learn the cues and remember the remedies that work.

•Remember that "Nothing tastes as good as health feels"

Yeast Overgrowth or herxheimer (die-off)






•If the above causes do not apply or do not fully explain the intensity of the craving it may be the yeasts' persuasion you're feeling. Yeast needs us to eat sugar and starch to feed them and their metabolism can trigger the cravings in us.

•Have I recently increased my anti fungal? Is the die off aggravating the cravings to feed the yeast?

• Irritability, tears, fatigue or brain fog with potential for other worsening yeast related symptoms.

•Yeast is opportunistic and multiplies easily so symptoms can rapidly increase once yeast is fed. Picture the yeast in bread as it rises and don't let that happen in your body J

•If I eat food that feeds the yeast, the yeast can pollute my emotional well being as they metabolize what I eat. Do I want to give the yeast power over me?

•By avoiding this food I deprive the yeast and give my health a chance.

•I believe in my wise inner guide and I know I can cleanse this body confusion by making the choice that is for my highest good.

•Approach die-off very gently and observe carefully using a health diary to note the impact of increasing anti fungal doses or switching anti-fungals.

•Eat a healthy, non yeast feeding meal and it will be easier to withstand this type of strong craving.

•If out, promise self a candida appropriate treat to help resist current craving and start imagining it.

•Remember the number of wise choices that you have invested in and succeeded at today.

•Use the mindfulness of Feel, Talk and Image to cope with the craving.

•Halt the craving with a deep breath in and out and a command, STOP-for example, or NO, not for me, not now.

•Believe in your ability to wait out the yeast.

•If you feel consumed by a "food fantasy" that you just can't stop, carry it right through, all the way to the consequences and imagine it as realistically as possible!

•Watch the craving till it withers.

Indulgent Social Situations

•Be prepared to have a craving come up if you usually indulge in a similar social situation.

•Comparing what others can tolerate is not helpful. Our tolerances are unique and to feel good, we learn to honor our own body's needs and sensitivities.

•If we break our self-care just because we are with others, our actions demonstrate that we're not doing everything we believe in to help our health.

•Indulging once will make us more vulnerable to negative influence in a similar situation in the future. Try to imagine staying in control of your choice this time and every time from here forward.

•I can be excited about enjoying this social opportunity without food being the focus.

•I will quietly set a good example of self care.

•I am demonstrating my commitment to achieving wellness.

•Ask for help being strong. Explain how much better it feels when you adhere to the food therapy. Explain concerns that their presence might challenge resolve and ask for help keeping it.

•Remember the  wise choice investments and successes today and make them count even more by continuing with the healthy choices

•Watch for the first sign of a nano craving. Don't let it turn into a food fantasy or a full fledged craving. At the smallest hint of it, note it and use mindfulness to work with it. An abrupt self command may be most effective when you are surrounded by the foods you would like to ignore.

•Use the mindfulness of Feel, Talk and Image to cope with the craving. For more information see www.basicmindfulness.org.

•Try halting the craving with a command, STOP- for example, or NO, not for me, not now.

Hungry Shopping

•Shopping when hungry often leads to less than healthy and appropriate careful shopping choices.

•We will want to eat everything in the store if we arrive in hunger.

•Purchasing unhealthy foods will make food therapy difficult for the next few days and puts us at risk of a binge.

•It's natural that I have desires when I'm hungry & surrounded by food. 

•I will take care of my immediate need for healthy food and then will be able to count on my willpower more.

•Know before shopping if hungry.

•As soon as hunger is evident, note it and take a break from shopping to either eat something healthy or address the cravings mindfully until mustering the strength to go on.

•Watch for the first nano craving. Don't let it turn into a fantasy or a full fledged craving. At the smallest hint of it, note it and use mindfulness to work with it. An abrupt self command may be most effective when you are surrounded by the foods you would like to ignore. STOP-for example, or NO, not for me, not now.

•Use the mindfulness of Feel, Talk and Image to cope with the craving.


Special Occasions




•These situations will bring a stronger potential for cravings to arise.

•Many influences may require us to hold tight to our healthy conviction.

•Our actions will say to others that we're not doing everything we believe in to help our health.

•Indulging once will make us more vulnerable to negative influence in a similar situation in the future.

•If I eat the right foods for me I'll be much better able to enjoy myself and feel strong during this celebration.

•Take foods suitable to the occasion and that can be shared with others.

•Emphasize why you are eating/making this healthy food and how good it feels. Avoid insulting the other foods present.

•Try eating some healthy foods such as protein and
/or a salad before attending the event to reduce hunger.

•Sustain thoughts about health and healing and keep thinking about health goals rather than grasping at food cravings.

•If you feel consumed by a "food fantasy" that you just can't stop, carry it right through, all the way to the consequences and imagine it as realistically as possible

•Alternately to the above food fantasy, try a health fantasy. Imagine how the social event will feel so different when you can attend it in full health!


•Cultivate tools for surmounting temptation.

•Use cravings to develop concentration & discipline.

•Remember to celebrate our excitement about our progress towards future vitality & being the best we can be right now

•For all of the above reasons, choosing to eat unhealthful foods will have lasting consequences.

•It's never just "one bite" as the impact of increased cravings & symptoms may remain much longer than the pleasure.

•Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.

•I am nourishing my body and heart/mind in the very best way for me.

•Unhealthy treats are not about a "treat" or loving ourselves. Caring for my body in a way that helps me feel like my "favorite and healthy me" is how I choose to love myself.

•Carry small healthy snacks and eat regularly so we are less vulnerable.

•Learn creative food preparation so that we feel healthfully loved through good food.

•Allow our taste buds to evolve to a wiser intuition about what is delicious!

•Celebrate excitement in change and new foods and new ways of being in our healthier body!

•Temptation from nice smelling & looking artificial or unhealthy foods is ever-present.

•Unhealthy choices will always, always be an option that we want to turn away from.

•If we give in once, we'll give in again.

•The closer we keep our healthy principles the more we train our bodies and our taste buds to crave those foods which make us feel great.

•Learn about fair trade, ecologically grown foods (which are often but not always, healthier choices) and the importance of local food shopping. These excellent moral incentives will often give us yet another reason to choose healthfully.