Dr. Miller sees food cravings in two main categories: Foods that hum and food that whistle.
Foods that hum are foods that your body really needs, they usually have the nutritional value missing in your diet and the craving is just a warning signal from your inner wisdom to alert your conscious mind that you need these nutrients. I remember when I was in first year in college, our physiology professor used to ask his famous question in the end-year oral examination: Why chicks in poor rural areas walk next to the wall? We didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. The answer, however, was very simple; they are nibbling on plaster pieces covering the wall as their little bodies need calcium. When you experience low blood pressure, you crave salty foods; when you need a boost of energy, you crave sweets; when your body needs B vitamins, you see yourself drawn to freshly baked bread (unfortunately our bodies do not know that our white bread is just empty calories); when you feel down due to low serotonin levels in your brain (the feeling good neurotransmitter), you crave chocolate, and so on.
On the other hand, there are foods that whistle. These are foods that you feel drawn to due to emotional attachment or some kind of mental connection (pop corn and movie for instance) or just due to appealing ads on TV and in magazines. These are usually high calorie, highly flavored, but nutritionally empty foods like fast foods, fatty desserts, highly flavored salty crackers…
Whistling is everywhere around us, in TV, magazines, on the streets, in the malls… Whistling became so loud that we can’t hear the hum anymore. You do not need to be a nutrition expert to understand the difference. After all, who taught those chicks that plaster wall contains calcium? You only need to tune in to your inner wisdom: to listen to your body. It deeply knows how to differentiate between the hum and the whistles, between our needs and our wants. Turning off the auto pilot and learning to live fully aware and mindful help us to know “when we are being seduced (whistled at)” as Miller puts it. Tune to your emotions: Are you feeling lonely, bored, aimless, angry, frustrated…? Then, you can stop and reflect: Do I really need this?