Food Cravings and the Emotional Body By Dianne Carol

Food Cravings and the Emotional Body
by Dianne Carol

We have all had food cravings, some odder than others (pickles and ice cream have been a running joke for pregnant women for years). Cravings are our body’s way of telling us it wants something.

In interpreting those cravings, we can better understand what is needed. Are we hungry? Are we missing specific nutrients that the body needs? Are there emotional reasons for the craving?

In Ayurveda, (an over 3,000-year-old natural system of medicine from India that translates to “knowledge of life”) each of the 6 tastes is tied to a specific emotion. Knowing this connection, we can better understand the language of our body and what it may be trying to tell us.

Let’s briefly look over the 6 tastes and what their cravings may be telling us. For each one, there is a positive emotion as well as a negative emotion.

Sweet – the sweet taste is the building block for our body, it is the first taste we experience as a baby. Mother’s milk is sweet in taste and all our bodies need to grow. It is tied to love, compassion, joy and happiness. When we crave the sweet taste, maybe what we need is a hug. Is compassion, joy, or happiness what is needed? This is also why we often crave the foods of our childhood or something a loved one made – as it was made with love and what we crave is the memory of that moment more than the food itself. When we overindulge in sweets to the point of excess, the emotions connected are greed, attachment, & possessiveness.

Salty –  sodium is needed to balance the fluids in our body and for nerve and muscle health. It can enhance the other flavors in our foods when used in a balanced way and can be used in excess to preserve foods. The salty flavor is tied to the emotions of courage, enthusiasm, and confidence. How are you feeling emotionally when you crave the salty taste? Sad? Depressed? Bored? When in excess the emotions connected are greed, addiction, temptation, possessiveness, and irritability.

Sour – the sour taste helps us with digestion and appetite. The positive emotions are appreciation, comprehension, understanding, & discrimination. We not only digest food but we digest thoughts and emotions as well. If you crave sour things, you may be looking for clarity. It also awakens the mind and gets energy moving. In excess, it is tied to jealousy, criticism, hyperactivity, & agitation.

Pungent – think onions, garlic, chilis, and anything that adds heat to foods. This taste also helps with digestion and helps move stagnation in the body (think about runny noses after having spicy food). The emotions tied to this taste are enthusiasm, excitement, clarity, and vitality. When you crave the pungent flavor do you feel stagnant in your life? Are you craving excitement and adventure? In excess, it can point to aggressiveness, anger, competitiveness, and envy.

The next two tastes are not craved as often as the others as they are typically consumed mixed with other tastes.

Bitter – the bitter taste is quite cleansing and beneficial to the liver (think greens) – at one time it warned us of ingesting foods that contained toxins and to some is still a turn-off or is masked with other tastes such as sweet (coffee cocoa, tea). The bitter taste is tied to self-awareness, introspection, clarity, and detachment from the material. In excess, loneliness, separation, and cynicism.

Astringent – this “taste” is more of a mouth reaction than a flavor. It is the drying or sometimes puckering of the mouth typically due to tannins (think dry wine, underripe bananas, and pomegranate). The astringent taste is found subtly in a lot of herbs and spices as well as some foods. It is beneficial for the organs and helps release moisture and waste from the body. The positive emotions are grounded, collected, and cohesive. In excess; fear, resentment, rigidity, and anxiousness.

The next time you crave a certain food or find yourself eating a lot of one thing, consider the taste associated with it and ask yourself – is my emotional body trying to tell me something? How do I feel in this moment and what void am I trying to fill? Is it hunger? Nutrients? Or do I need to address some emotions?



Dianne Carol is an Ayurveda wellness coach as well as being trained in various healing modalities.  You can find her working at the register of Crystal Visions where she loves to meet and talk to the customers. She is also available for readings and energy work at the store.



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