-Well, how do you know?
-I can feel it in my stomach.
-How can you be sure it’s hunger, and not pain from thirst or a food sensitivity?
Certain types of signals are very closely related in how they feel and it is very hard for us to tell the difference. Who has time to really figure out what the body is trying to tell us anyway, right? We would much rather just take an aspirin or ibuprofen and get on with it. Pain from hunger, thirst and food sensitivities all have very different meanings for the body, yet we are not tuned in enough to tell the difference.
From the movie Remember the Titans
“Pain is only bread in french”
If your body is telling you that you need more water, but you think that you are “hungry” and need more food, you are setting yourself up for failure. Why? The body needs about 10 liters of water in order to have proper digestion. Some of it will come from the food we just ingested but most of it will come from recycled sources of water from other areas of our body. If we were already a bit dehydrated from the beginning, we will be even more dehydrated after we have eaten. Now other areas of your body will have even less water for its functions, because its all needed in digestion. This is a very costly operation for your body, and it doesn’t like it. Did you know that as little as a 2% dehydration can give you these symptoms:
Fatigue, Anxiety, Irritability, Depression, Cravings, Cramps and Headaches.
So before you start snacking away, thinking that you are starving, ask yourself “does it seem reasonable that I should be this hungry at this time”? If not, have a big glass of water with a pinch of sea salt first and wait and see what happens to that “hunger” feeling. If it goes away it means your body is in need of more water.
A time to start suspecting that you may have some food intolerance or sensitivity is when it goes something like this: You have just had a plate of food, but your stomach “is telling you” that you are “still starving”, and you dig into another big plate. When you “feel hunger” midway through a meal it is possible that it is actually a pain signal from the gut. It is trying to tell you that it is sensitive to something in the food you are eating. For your gut it is like you are eating stinging jellyfish. Ouch!
Ask yourself, does it seem reasonable that I am feeling “this hungry” even though I already had a plate of food? Why not note down what you ate, and if it was at a restaurant, which one. With this information, see if you can compile a pattern of when you get “hunger pains” like this. It can give you some very valuable clues as to what could be irritating and hurting your gut. These are the most common offenders:
Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Corn, Soy, Nitrates, Peanuts, Sesame, Sulfites, Fish/Shellfish, Tree Nuts.
If it seems to you that you are “feeling hungry” too often, check out your hydration situation and make sure you have figured out your own Hydration Formula. If the hunger pains happens during a meal, be very suspect of food sensitivities and start your detective work to figure out what it can be.
Have a great weekend!
For those of you in Luxembourg, I hope to see you on Tuesday evening at 19:00! We will continue to look at the different messages our body is sending us, and how to interpret them.
Cure Your Child With Food by Kelly Dorfman
Your Body’s Many Cries For Water by F.Batmanghelidj