Advocate for functional nutrition and body psychology
Oregon native and current Brooklyn resident Alexandra Jamieson is a natural-food chef, author, speaker, TV personality, and functional-nutrition counselor whose mission is to motivate and empower women to get the life they desire.
A onetime Solo Mom to her son, Laken, and raised by a Solo Mom herself, she’s had plenty of experience with the single-parent life. “My son is now nine. His dad and I separated when he was almost two. My now-husband moved in with us almost four years ago. So for four years, I was total single mom. My parents divorced when I was 11, and I lived with my mom until I was 18.”
Jamieson has created an online family known as the “Clan of the Crave Bears” as a safe space for gals who want to love their bodies and lives. Using functional nutrition and body psychology, she encourages women to take even more action and reach new goals.
“I coach women going through life shake-ups to double down on self-care, nutrition, and pleasure, and master a positive mindset in order to create the energy and peace they desire in their bodies—so they can be resilient, effective, and happy in their lives.”
This writer can attest that her words of wisdom and positivity are akin to a warm embrace, and her “You can do it!” attitude can be just what a Solo Mom needs.
Q: What is the Crave Cast?
A: It’s my podcast. It’s 77 episodes old, and I interview experts, authors, and fascinating people who have great information on cravings. I talk about our cravings in terms of what women want. It’s a way to reframe the old idea that cravings are bad and our bodies are broken. What we crave is actually valuable information.
Q: I crave sugar. Is this “bad”?
A: It depends on what impact sugar and that craving have on your life.
Q: It has a positive impact in that it makes me feel good in the moment.
A: All cravings are a request from your body for balance. Once you know the root causes of your cravings, then you can start filling your life with things that heal them and answer those requests in a way that moves you forward.
Q: How do we do this?
A: The first step is to identify the roots of your cravings by doing my Cravings Quiz at cravingsquiz.com. There are four root causes to any craving, but you can have more than one:
1. Bacterial cravings
Foggy thinking, inability to focus, skin outbreaks, sugar and caffeine addiction, bloating and digestion issues . . . all these things point to bacteria overgrowth.
On a biochemical level, we humans are more bacterial than human. Our bodies have 10 times more yeast and bacteria cells than human cells. Bacteria are much smaller than human cells and a symbiotic relationship evolved so they actually produce most of the neurotransmitters that help us digest and absorb nutrients in food.
However, much of our modern lifestyle has set us up to be bacterially imbalanced. Candida (a kind of yeast) is one example of a microbe that overgrows in our bodies—because we use too many antibiotics, eat a highly processed, refined diet, are stressed. . . .
All these things impact our bacterial balance. When we have too many yeast cells in our body, they crave sugar. They feed on the sugar we eat. If you’ve ever tried to go off sugar, by day two you feel terrible or you’re obsessing on sugar because the yeast cells are literally dying inside you. Part of you is dying off. So all those microbes communicate with us via our nervous system. They talk to our brain and our bodies, “I’m dying! Go to the freezer, and get sugar now!”
2. Nutritional cravings
Your body craves food that help it get the basic, minimum nutrients needed. A lot of us are overfed and undernourished. We get enough calories but not enough of the nutrients and minerals.
Most women in America unknowingly suffer a magnesium deficiency. So your body, in its wisdom, starts to crave foods that have magnesium—the most delicious option being chocolate! For my serious chocoholics, I have them start adding magnesium-rich foods into their diet to answer this nutritional requirement—like Chia seeds, hemp seeds, and certain sea vegetables. Chocolate then becomes less appealing. Even a good supplement is wonderful, especially at night before bed.
3. Emotional cravings
I filmed a segment today on this idea of emotional cravings. A high-profile male doctor in his older 60s was the host. At the end, I said, “Let’s post a selfie.” He’s standing next to me, smiling into my phone, and under his breath he says, “It’s all horseshit.” He tells me my life’s work is bullshit! And it’s happened to me before. They aren’t women, so they don’t understand the struggle we as women have in our bodies. When I talk about emotional cravings, women get it. Men don’t.
I’ve had countless women come to me with this issue. I tell them they are normal. Women have been taught they are too emotional; they should quash their feelings. Most women I work with don’t have diagnosed eating disorders, but they have disordered eating. We’re not in a flow with food and our bodies; rather, we struggle with food and our bodies.
Emotional cravings are triggered by sadness, loneliness, stress, fear, anger. We sometimes share these emotions with our closest friends, but the bigger world perception (illustrated by the male doctor who interviewed me) is that we are crazy, and we know they think we are crazy, so we use food to stuff it down.
Food becomes a way to punish ourselves or reward ourselves because it is the only easily acceptable avenue open to us. It’s safe. We have to do it three times a day. But it is killing us because it’s robbing us of our joy, vitality, creativity, and our impact on the world.
We need physical touch. We must have fun and feel good in our bodies. It nourishes us and feeds us in ways nothing else can. We try to substitute touch and sex with cupcakes, but it doesn’t work.
There’s very good science about our physical needs. It’s believed we need at least six to eight hugs a day of at least six seconds apiece.
Q: What about Solo Moms who don’t have that person to give us that affection?
A: Getting child care, going out with friends, ones you can hug and put your arms around—that’s a start.
We require physical pleasure. If you can’t have sex, you need to masturbate regularly. I give women a two-week masturbation challenge: every day, for at least 15 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if you reach climax, but get to know your body. It balances your hormones. You are calmer. And you sleep better.
Q: How did you land in this career?
A: Trial and error! I started with food and health when I was 25 because I was really sick. I’d put on 30 pounds since college. I was exhausted, depressed, and had migraine headaches every day. The first doctor I saw prescribed painkillers and Prozac, but when I read about the possible side effects I said, “No, thank you. I’m going to heal my body.”
I discovered I had Candida overgrowth, full body, full systemic, in my blood system. I did research and discovered I could treat it with food and nutrition. Food is healing. I went on a yeast-free, sugar-free, vegan diet. In two weeks, the headaches were gone, and the migraines stopped. Within two months, the weight evaporated. When you hit bottom you’re able to turn things around pretty quickly.
I became certified as a both a healthy gourmet chef and holistic health counselor. Now I coach other people [on how] to heal their body with food. But it’s never just about the food. It’s about all the components we discussed.
Q: How did you become a Solo Mom?
A: In 2004, my ex-husband and I made the movie Super Size Me. (I’m the vegan girlfriend in the film.) After that, everyone knew who I was. I wrote three books on vegan nutrition. I went on Oprah, was in People magazine, everything. . . . Then I took a couple years off to get married and have a baby.
When my son was two, my husband left me. My life fell apart. My body fell apart. I started craving meat. I tried to get my business back up and running, but I’d been known as the vegan expert. And I’m secretly eating meat, trying to balance my hormones and my anemia.
Q: How did you manage?
A: Not well. I managed by hiding.
Luckily, I have some amazing friends. And even though shit was falling apart, I’ve been blessed with a growth mindset so that when things are shitty, I think, I’m not done yet. There’s a way to figure this out! One of the things I’ve done in the past two years is get certified in applied positive psychology and learn real science-based interventions for mindset transformation.
But in the middle, it was a lot of hit and miss. Thankfully, I had my own coach, and she said, “You don’t know what you like to eat because you’ve been vegan for so long. Try everything, and see how it feels.”
Q: Did being a single mom impact your career?
A: Not really. In the beginning, we had a babysitter who would pick up Laken a couple days a week, or I would pick him up. My ex traveled a lot, so we decided to have a sitter who could go back and forth between both houses.
Q: How can your blog help Solo Moms?
A: My blog is about not just feeling good in your body, finding the foods that fuel you, and transforming your relationship with food, it’s also about having permission to go after what you want. You are worthy and deserve what you desire. That’s my mission.
Q: Favorite Solo-Mom tip?
A: Never underestimate the power of the checklist.
We have one on our refrigerator with seven things Laken needs to do before we leave for school. Instead of me having to nag him, which annoys me and is going to annoy the shit out of him when he’s a teenager—all I have to say is, “What’s next on the list? Check the list. Go back to the list.”
Q: What are you most proud of as a Solo Mom?
A: I’m proud of my life’s work. I’ve helped thousands of women feel better in and about their bodies, so that they can have the life they want.
Learn more about Jamieson at alexandrajamieson.com.
Kathleen Laccinole, ESME’s Dating Resource Guide, has penned numerous films and parenting books but is best known for producing the highly lauded Greta, age 20, and William, age 16.
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