Why The Slump Makes You Want Junk
We’ve just had an amazing week in the Lake District as a family. We stayed in a little cottage in Keswick, me, the hubby, the kids and the dog. This is the second year we have gone on holiday at Easter and whilst it crept up on us a bit, I think we were all in need of some time away, fresh air and some new scenery. We had great weather and some fabulous trips out exploring. Holiday success!
When we returned home we continued the activities with trips to the beach, local gardens and a spot of shopping. Then we hit the middle of week two and both the hubby and my son were floored with flu, oh man! Anyone that knows me will know that I’m not really the sympathetic type (more the grit your teeth and get on with it type) but even I couldn’t ignore the fact that this wasn’t a dose of ‘man flu’ it was a dose of actual flu.
Two days went by where the hubby barely moved or ate anything, which is so unlike him. His normal eating pattern is 3 proper meals surrounded by snacks and post work-out mini meals. On day three he’d pulled himself around by lunchtime and he uttered the words ‘do you fancy going to McDonald’s and getting me a cheeseburger, nuggets and a banana milkshake?’ What I wanted to say back to him is ‘are you effing kidding me?’ The reason I wanted to react like this is that we just don’t go to McDonald’s, it’s not something we do. We make pretty much everything from scratch and it’s usually a healthy version, i.e. reduced oil, reduced fat, etc. It comes from re-education on my eating habits when I started my journey with Weight Watchers. I tried to offer all sorts of alternatives that were in the house but nothing was appealing so I played the dutiful wife and off I went to get him his order.
Day four played out a similar way, McDonald’s breakfast, corned beef square from the butchers for lunch, another McDonald’s for tea and then off to bed. I was hoping he would get up the next day and have shaken the flu off because not only was it bugging me to watch him shovelling in the junk but it was also paining me to keep handing over the bank card, seriously contactless payment at a drive thru is just too easy!
I’m pleased to report that by day five he was back in the land of the living and had returned to normal eating habits. However, this got me thinking. What was it about being ill that made my usually healthy husband crave junk food?
After a bit of research I’ve been pointed in the direction of one main conclusion. It’s all in our heads. Your body is not craving these high fat, high sugar foods, it’s our minds. If our body could take over our mind it would have been screaming “don’t do it, you’re making me worse” Our mind is coping with our body being under stress and is therefore craving food from a time of less or no stress. Sometimes these foods such as McDonald’s or ice cream remind us of being children or of being younger and fitter and therefore take us back to a more relaxing state of mind. Sounds plausible to me.
Next thoughts are, if we can ignore what our heads are craving in our state of illness and focus on what we should be eating, what exactly is that?
Stomach bugs, it is suggested that if the bowels are flowing too freely it is recommended that you follow the BRAT diet – which is bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast. These foods keep the up over sickness at bay whilst keeping you hydrated, If you are feeling or being sick with your tummy bug then salty foods are great at balancing out your stomach acid.
If your body aches and you are generally feeling unwell then you should be snacking on foods high in calcium and magnesium. Foods such as bananas, nuts, seeds and fish.
If you have a pounding headache then you need to drink lots of water.
Evidence suggests that by nourishing our body with the food that it needs rather than the food that our mind craves, you are more likely to shorten the number of days that you feel ill.
Do you have a ‘comfort’ food that you crave when you are feeling unwell?