Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks


Food Cravings and Vegetarianism
By Brian Benjamin Carter, MSci, LAc

Brian is the founder of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, a professor at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and author of Powerful Body, Peaceful Mind: How to Heal Yourself with Foods, Herbs, and Acupressure.

Hello, I am a 23 year old female struggling with binge-eating. I have been a vegetarian for about 10 years and have found it difficult to feel satisfied after a meal on minimal protein. I crave sugar and refined carbs constantly and am now paying the price by having gained 10 pounds. I cannot seem to break the cycle of binging on these "empty" foods- while I am in therapy, I feel that physiologically there is something missing. Can you help? thanks!


It sounds like it's just food cravings, but if you did have an eating disorder-like issue, you'd have to see a therapist/counselor in addition to other professionals.

Chinese Medicine Doesn’t Require Vegetarianism

Most people are surprised to hear that Chinese medicine doesn't suggest vegetarianism. In fact, in our view, animal proteins are appropriate therapy for some people. But of course some people feel it's unethical to eat animals, so they have to eat the other protein sources.

Get Enough Protein!

If you are going to be a vegetarian, you do need to watch your protein and make sure you get enough. There's no substitute for it. Beans, tofu, nuts, etc. Most importantly, if you don’t eat enough food to create the energy you need for your daily activities, you’re going to crave foods that give you instant energy.

The Carbohydrate Craving Cycle

If we don't eat enough complex carbs (carbohydrates), or if our digestion can’t fully assimilate them, our body craves simple ones (sweets, cakes, cookies, donuts, etc.) because they give us a rush of energy. Anything with a high glycemic index will do this – in fact, you might be surprised to find out that Gatorade is very high on the glycemic index. Really, anything with high fructose corn syrup as the first or second ingredient is going to do this.

Because our blood sugar levels suddenly spike, our body releases a bunch of insulin to lower the blood sugar. Unfortunately, we get too much insulin, and soon our blood sugar is too low again, and then we get another craving for simple sugars and high glycemic foods and drinks.

How to Get Free

The solution is either to stoically ignore your cravings and eat complex carbs regardless, to take Carbo enzymes from Transformations Enzyme Corp., or to take an herbal formula. For the last, you'd have to see a local Chinese medicine practitioner. Since complex carbs can take time to prepare, what I do is take some Carbo’s, and cook or go buy some food.

The Carbo’s are a mixture of enzymes, herbs, and nutrients. They not only help you digest all kinds of carbs – thus preventing the non-assimilation of complex carbs problem – but also strengthen peristalsis, and prevent gas.

Acupuncture, Appetite, and Metabolism

Acupuncture can help reduce cravings and normalize endocrine and neurological functions, making it easier to eat right. I’ve been researching a book on Chinese Medicine Weight Loss, and have found research that supports this. More in later articles!


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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor