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The Four Types of Hunger

May 15th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Ayala’s Herbal Water
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Fruit-Infused Water
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Merriam Webster defines hunger as: An uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach. (Whew…talk about a mouthful!) 

This definition refers to physical hunger. We all know what it feels like—an unmistakable, uncomfortable sensation triggering you to go on the hunt for food. Thank goodness your body is equipped to sense physical hunger, otherwise you’d run the risk of starvation and entire organs and body systems would shut down! 

It’s very important for you to understand all of the ways that hunger can present itself. Some of these are quite sly, causing you to reach for a snack even though you aren’t physically hungry. But don’t worry, you’re about to learn how to recognize these little tricksters and put them in their place!

 

Pleasant hunger

This is a safe and trustworthy hunger. It’s the type that causes a baby to fuss just a little bit to let you know she is hungry. If you miss her subtle pleasant hunger cues, she’ll be sure to remind you with a piercing cry.  

How does it feel?

Pleasant hunger feels like: “I could eat, but the hunger is not controlling or bringing me down.”

To be pleasantly hungry means you have an appetite for nutritious food. It results from eating healthy and well-balanced meals throughout the day while minimizing unnecessary snacking. Meals that contain the proper balance of Earthfoods and healthy proteins and fats will keep you satisfied for around four to five hours, at which point you will begin to feel pleasantly hungry. Click HERE for ideas to help you get started.

Opt for the following meats and seafood when possible:

  • Hormone and antibiotic-free meats (organic when possible), such as free-range chicken and turkey, and grass-fed beef
  • Free-range eggs (organic when possible)
  • Omega 3-rich fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna

Some of the best plant-based protein options:

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
  • Hummus made with tahini or olive oil (versus inflammatory oils such as canola or soybean)
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Tempeh: fermented soybeans formed into “cakes”
  • Natto: fermented soybeans
  • Plant-based protein powders, such as hemp powder and pea protein powder

Healthy fats include:

  • For salads, stews and low-temperature cooking: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil (also good for higher-heat cooking), macadamia oil, walnut oil, almond oil
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Ghee, or clarified butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Unrefined coconut oil (good for medium-heat cooking)
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Olives
  • Omega 3-rich fatty fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • MCT oil

Be careful of processed foods like chips, frozen meals, deli meats, and artificially sweetened beverages (to name only a few), as they can disturb your hunger and fullness signals, causing you to eat more than you bargained for!

 

Urgent hunger

Urgent hunger is what causes happy Mel to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West!

Caused by insufficient calories in the bloodstream, while in the midst of it, you will eat just about anything in site with no regard for its nutritional content. Your body sends a signal to your brain saying “NEED FOOD NOW!”

When in a state of urgent hunger, I’m definitely not chopping vegetables for a nice garden salad. Instead, I’m ripping open the nearest bag of corn chips like a starving raccoon. Remember, it’s a food-emergency and your body needs food fast—preferably something that will raise your blood sugar quickly back to normal. We never make healthy choices in this state, so avoid it at all costs.

How does it feel?

This is what I call desperate hunger. Your stomach is growling loudly and you feel faint and unstable. When in this state, if someone dares to even say hello, you’re liable to bite their head off! 

How to avoid it

The best way to avoid urgent hunger is to never allow yourself to get there in the first place! Eat a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner (see above) and if more than five hours pass between meals, plug in a small snack like a handful of raw walnuts, raw veggies with hummus, or half of an apple with almond butter. 

 

Thirst hunger

Did you know that thirst can be mistaken for hunger in your body? All too often, we find ourselves reaching for a snack, when what we really need is a glass of water. How can you tell the difference? Drink a glass of water, and if the hunger pangs go away, then you know it was thirst.

How to avoid it

To avoid this false hunger, be sure to drink at least 48 ounces of water throughout the day—or enough to produce urine that is pale yellow in color and almost clear. 

Water recommendations are based on several factors:

  • Physical activity
  • Body weight
  • How hot it is outside
  • Illness/fever
  • Thirst

Keep in mind that once you begin feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you get to that point.

Don’t like the taste of plain H20?

Make your own fruit-infused water (see this week’s recipe pick!) or look for these naturally infused waters: Hint Water, Ayala Herbal Water, or La Croix Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water!

 

Head-hunger

If you use food to cope with life or find yourself eating when you aren’t physically hungry, you are most certainly feeding your head-hunger. Maybe you eat when you’re bored, stressed, sad, angry, depressed or happy—whatever the reason, this is a sure sign of disconnect.

When was the last time you witnessed a baby cry because he needed a diaper change and Mom came running with a bottle? She tries to feed him, but he keeps crying. If he could talk, he’d probably say: “Hey, dummy, check the diaper! I’m wet and uncomfortable…not hungry!” He’s upset but doesn’t turn to food to ease his emotions because he knows it won’t work!

Feeding your head-hunger is one of the driving forces preventing you from achieving your health goals.

To conquer head-hunger eating, answer these questions:

  1. I am about to eat because I am ______________.
    (i.e. Stressed!)
  2. Why do I feel this way?
    (i.e. I’m overwhelmed with end of the month projects at work!)
  3. How else can I cope with this feeling?
    (i.e. Practice deep breathing exercises)

For best results, put your #3 plan into place immediately.

 

Final words of wisdom

It only takes a little bit of awareness to be successful at this…so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.

Remember, it’s always speaking…

Are you listening?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Ayala’s Herbal Water

 

Ayala’s Herbal Water is the first nationally available organically certified enhanced flavored water made with all organic ingredients.

With flavors like lavender mint (my favorite), cinnamon orange peel, lemongrass mint vanilla, ginger lemon peel, and cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, Ayala’s Herbal Water sets a new standard for healthy beverages: zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors, and zero chemical preservatives. 

If you like a little fizz, Ayala’s offers these flavors in sparkling water too! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Fruit-Infused Water

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

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