Have you ever thought about how your cravings are connected to your emotional state? The fact is that we don’t always eat just to satisfy physical hunger. Many of us also turn to food for comfort, stress relief, or to reward ourselves. It is pointless to promise yourself that you will never eat anything sweet again because in most cases, the reason lies much deeper than the lack of willpower. In this article, we will share with you what emotional eating is and how your emotions are connected to your cravings.
What Is Emotional Eating?
Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions. In other words, using food to fill emotional needs, rather than your stomach.
Unfortunately, emotional eating doesn’t fix your emotional problems. In fact, it usually makes you feel even worse. Afterward, not only does the original emotional issue remain, but it also leads you to feel guilty for overeating.
Excessive craving for a certain type of food indicates that some of our emotional needs are not met. You may have noticed that certain life experiences make you crave certain foods.
Each emotion has a certain “taste”, and therefore, by eating certain foods, you can strongly influence your psycho-emotional state.
Emotional eating is proof that food is not only a source of nutrients for the human physical body but also it is capable of shaping its emotional potential of the psyche. Simply put, food gives strength to emotions.
6 Flavors Of Emotional Eating
According to Ayurveda, there are six tastes of the food. In general, the six tastes inform the body with the following cellular information:
- The sweet taste is responsible for grounding, strengthening, nourishing;
- The sour taste – for cleansing and purifying;
- The salty taste – for balancing and regulating;
- The bitter taste – for detoxifying and mineralizing;
- The astringent taste – for anti-inflammatory and cooling;
- The pungent taste – for warming and stimulating.
If all these tastes are present in a balanced state in your meal, such food provides you with health and happiness. If this harmony is disturbed (which often depends on the way we process our emotions) then diseases come.
Let’s talk about each of these flavors and the emotions they are responsible for.
Sweet is associated with satisfaction – “sweet life”, “sweet taste of success”. At the same time, when we eat too much sweet food, it leads us to greed.
Also, being in a state of laziness, we often crave for something sweet. The sweet taste can be useful, but the excess of sugar in the body reduces the protective forces, the metabolism and functions of the liver, pancreas, and small vessels are disrupted.
It was noticed that people who don’t want to solve their problems, like to eat a lot of sweets, especially in the evening.
On an emotional level, the abuse of sweets can increase desire and passion, leading to obsession.
The sweet taste is equivalent to a warm embrace. In terms of emotions, when we eat sweets, we feel cared for. A reasonable amount of sweetness calms the mind and body and gives a sense of stability and security.
To reduce the craving for sweets, you need to analyze your life more deeply and ask yourself the questions:
- In what life situations do I lack sincere care and peace of mind?
- How can I change this?
On an emotional level, sour taste warms and “grounds”. Wine is a great example of a product with a sour taste. From the point of view of Ayurveda, the love of wine is explained by the fact that it calms, expands blood vessels, and makes us feel connected to the earth. The sour taste also helps to focus the mind. When we lack stability and concentration in life, we are drawn to sour things.
Abuse of sour tastes leads to envy and jealousy.
A pessimistic, touchy person constantly tends to eat sour food. And the sour taste in excessive amounts harms the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, joints, and violates the internal environment of the body.
The salty taste activates our love of life and increases our appetite.
A fussy, stressed person loves salty food. However, excessive salt is the enemy of the blood vessels of the whole body, bronchi, kidneys, and joints.
In terms of emotions, we crave something salty when we lack self-confidence and enthusiasm, or if we feel that we are constantly giving and not taking good care of ourselves. So if you’re looking for something salty, ask yourself:
- Am I giving away too much?
- How can I strengthen my sense of self-love and enthusiasm for life?
On an emotional level, salt abuse leads to greed and dissatisfaction.
Spicy food activates extroversion, the tendency to arousal and stimulation, and especially the desire for the intensity of the experience. Overexcitation and hyperstimulation lead to irritability, impatience, and anger.
Craving for spicy food is usually experienced by angry, overly temperamental people.
As a result of the abuse of spicy food, inflammatory processes occur in the liver, pancreas, stomach, heart, and genitals.
The pungent taste in a moderate amount improves blood circulation and increases the heart rate. In a reasonable amount, spicy foods (such as ginger and black pepper) promote more efficient blood circulation and purify the body. But when we are drawn to spicy food for emotional reasons, it is because we seek to temporarily sublimate the feelings of pleasure, excitement, and courage that it inspires.
If you constantly want spicy and spicy food, ask yourself:
- Is my life too monotonous?
- What can I do to make my life more exciting and adventurous?
Bitter food activates dissatisfaction, which generates a desire for change. Too much bitterness may lead to frustration.
Experiencing sadness, dissatisfaction, and grief, people unconsciously seek to diversify their diet with such bitter products as mustard, rye bread, coffee. Too much bitterness in your food may lead to chronic infections, diseases of the blood, and bone system.
The craving for bitter taste for emotional reasons occurs because the body needs “drying”, it wants to get rid of excess fat and moisture. The bitter taste has a deep cleansing effect. It helps to take the ego under control and to temporarily give up pleasure.
If you have noticed a craving for the bitter taste, this may indicate excessive self-denial. Those who tend to have too many limitations and self-restriction in their lives may begin to experience an increased craving for bitter taste.
From the point of view of emotions, the astringent taste gives us a temporary immersion in ourselves. It cools the body. The excessive craving for astringent products may indicate a desire to isolate yourself from the world. And although this taste gives you a temporary opportunity to collect your thoughts and be alone with yourself, its excess can create an unjustified fear of leaving the “cozy shell”.
Excessive consumption of astringent food leads to diseases of the hormonal organs, bronchi, spine, joints, and bones.
A Balanced Diet According To Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, it is considered important to get a full palette of taste sensations and be able to live all the emotions that arise.
Ideally, a balanced meal should include all six flavors:
- Sweet taste: cereals, bread, rice, honey, sugar, plant-based milk, most fruit, nuts.
- Sour taste: vinegar, sour apples, raspberries, plant-based yogurt, fermented foods, citrus.
- Salty taste: all types of salty food, seaweed.
- Pungent taste: all types of chili and pepper, ginger, garlic, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, mustard, horseradish, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint.
- Bitter taste: leafy vegetables, green tea.
- Astringent taste: most varieties of lentils and beans, green apples, pomegranates, cranberries, acai berries, asparagus.
How To Stop Emotional Eating?
To stop emotional eating can be quite challenging. Here are some tips on how you can help yourself to become more aware of what you eat and why:
- Try to include a balanced amount of each of all the six tastes in every meal (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent). It can be only a pinch of salt, or a squeeze of lemon, or a slice of pepper but as long as the taste is present, the energetic puzzle will be complete and your cravings will be reduced.
- Analyze which tastes dominate your diet and balance out the missing ones. This will gradually balance your emotions and reduce your uncontrollable cravings.
- If you want to understand your relationship with food and the reasons for excessive cravings for a particular taste, try to write down your feelings, experiences, and emotions at this moment. And the next time you feel an excessive need, for example, for sweets, let this be an opportunity to shed light on your subconscious. Ask yourself: “What do I really want? What emotion am I trying to “eat”?”.
- Try to cook for yourself or eat food prepared for you by a person who loves you. Make sure that you eat only high vibration foods. If you just fill your stomach, you will not be completely satisfied. You need to nurture your body with good energy.
- Make sure you are not eating while you are also doing other things – such as watching TV, driving, or playing with your phone. Being distracted from eating can prevent you from fully enjoying your food. Since your mind is elsewhere, you may not feel satisfied or continue eating even though you are no longer hungry. Practice mindful eating by focusing your mind on your food and the pleasure of a meal. Mindful eating will prevent overeating.
The Bottom Line
Understanding how emotions and taste preferences affect each other will help you figure out whether you really need a particular taste or whether it is an unrealized emotion that requires your attention. Listen to yourself. Eat a balanced and balanced diet. Be attentive to yourself and treat your body with love!