I was 17 years old, doing year 12 and stress-eating potato chips like crazy. All I wanted was salt and crunch and salt and crunch until I hit the bottom of the bag.
I knew it was bad. But I was craving salt so hard and potato chips hit the spot perfectly.
Salt Cravings and Adrenals
Why was I self-selecting for salty, crunchy chips? Because I was doing year 12 and I was stressed out of my mind!
I was craving salt because my adrenal glands were pushing, pushing and pushing some more to get assignments done, deal with questions about future plans (can I get through this year first?!?!) and handle the general crazy schedule of a busy teenager juggling school and life.
As part of the physical reaction to stress, our adrenal glands trigger the release of salt into the bloodstream to increase our blood pressure. That means we can pump blood harder to the muscles and run away from the lion in front of us. Except in my case, the lion was actually my Group Project for drama elective.
That salt release means that your salt is being used and your body is going to want more – hence, salt cravings!
Chips and IBS
I had no idea just how badly this chip addiction was affecting my ability to manage IBS.
It’s a low-FODMAP food, but that doesn’t mean it’s IBS-friendly at all!
Every time I got started on a big bag of them (a.k.a most days), I was bloating and experiencing so much pain and I couldn’t figure out why.
Why Chips Make IBS Worse
Chips are an inflammatory food. Inflammation is a huge driver for IBS pain and bloating, which I’ve written about on the blog before.
This inflammation is caused because when we eat anything deep-fried, it causes oxidation, which triggers the inflammation. This happens through the entire body, including in the digestive system!
How I Stress-Eat Salt Now
Just because my IBS is under control now, it doesn’t mean I never get stressed or that I never crave salt. I totally do both of those things!
It’s all about making better food choices.
Stress-eat this recipe, instead – it hits the salty, crunchy spot just as well, with anti-inflammatory properties to boot!
- 2 handfuls organic popcorn kernels
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1tsp cumin
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp Celtic salt (finely ground)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Add coconut oil to a large saucepan with the hotplate turned to “high”. Wait for it to melt and add the 2 handfuls of popcorn kernels. Cover with a lid for about 1 minute.
- When you hear the very first kernel pop, quickly turn off the heat. Leave the pot covered to sit for 2-3 mins, allowing all of the popcorn kernels to warm through to a similar temperature.
- While you’re waiting, add all of the dried spices to a bowl, then add the olive oil and stir it all together.
- After a few minutes, you can turn the hot plate up to “high” once more and watch the popcorn go off (leave the lid on the pot when you do this!). After every kernel is popped, turn the heat off.
- Remove the lid of the pot and pour the spiced olive oil onto the popcorn. Put the lid back on the pot and shake the pot around, coating all of the popcorn in the spice mixture.
- Once coated, you can pour into a big bowl and satisfy those salty, crunchy cravings!
Addressing the Stress That’s Driving the Salt Cravings
Naturopathic medicine has so much to offer in the way of supporting your stress response so your adrenals can meet the challenges you face every day.
Adrenal healing is the absolute key to reducing stress-induced IBS symptoms and I have a huge number of tools in my kit to help you with your unique needs.
If you know stress is a big driver for your IBS (and you want to wean off your chip addiction!) book a time to chat with me for FREE here.