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What You Should Do If You Find Yourself In A Sexless Marriage

If you're having sex less than 10-15 times a year, this might just help to change that.

Marriage

Something that I make a point to tell every engaged couple that I come into contact with is, "Make sure you have sex on your wedding night." There are a billion reasons why I think it is so important. For starters, in this context, consummate literally means "to complete (the union of a marriage) by the first marital sexual intercourse". This means that the marriage vows don't "complete" your wedding day; having sex with your spouse does. Also, if you can prioritize cake eating and picture taking, you can make sure to get it in (what matters, we make time for…right?). Another reason why I think it's a big deal is because it's really unfortunate—and a little shocking—how many couples don't copulate on their wedding night. How many? According to one pretty popular study, a whopping 52 percent!

What I find to be even more interesting than that is some of the same reasons why newlywed couples don't do-the-do on their first night as husband and wife are the same reasons why a lot of people (some studies say 20 percent) are in a sexless marriage—fatigue, poor communication, fighting (couples who fight on their honeymoon are more likely to fight throughout their marriage, by the way), stress, side effects from medication, not factoring in your partner's needs and even kids (some people are with their children on their wedding night and/or end up not taking a honeymoon).

And what technically makes a marriage sexless? If you and yours are only having sex 10-15 times a year, although I hate to break it to ya, that places you firmly into the category. The reason why that's not something to simply shrug off is, aside from physical issues that would prevent you from having sex, there is not one sane therapist, counselor or coach would will tell you that a marriage without sex is healthy.

Sex is a responsibility in marriage (check out "10 Wonderful Reasons Why Consistent Sex In Marriage Is So Important"). Even the Bible says, "Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (I Corinthians 7:5—NKJV) Did you catch that? A marriage without sex in it is a form of deprivation.

But what if you already are in a sexless marriage? What should you do? Although it takes a while to restore a sexless union, here are some questions that can help you and yours to get back on track.

Whose Definition of “Sexless” Is It?

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One time I was working with a married couple on improving their intimacy outside of the bedroom. As I was offering up some tips, the husband said, "It's gonna be hard for me to focus on that when we're damn near in a sexless marriage." The wife immediately sighed. Although we were on a phone session, I had worked with them long enough that I knew she was rolling her eyes. "How often do the two of you have sex?" I asked. Before the husband could answer, the wife said, "Three times a week." Wow. And that is what her husband considered to be sexless. Bless his heart.

Listen y'all, when it comes to sex, there is a big amount of space in between deprivation and straight-up greediness. Again, the official definition of a sexless marriage is couples who engage no more than around once a month. If you are getting more than that, while you and your spouse may be sexually incompatible when it comes to appetites, or you may need to come to a place of compromise regarding frequency, a sexless marriage, you two are not in.

So, if you are like this husband (because a lot of wives have stronger libidos than their husbands do) and you are telling yourself that your marriage is sexless simply because it doesn't happen as much as you'd like, make sure to get honest about the narrative. Not having sex as much as you'd like is nothing like a sexless marriage. Any couple in a sexless marriage will tell you that.

How Long Has This Been the Case?

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If indeed you have narrowed down that it's been so long since you've had sex that you can't remember the last time that it actually happened (which is way too long), it's now time to reflect on how long "long" has been. Do the two of you have a pretty healthy sex life (for the most part) and it's only been a couple of months of MIA TLC, or is there more of a pattern going on?

There's one couple I know who are physically capable of having sex and claim that their marriage is fine. But guess how long it's been since they've had sex? Around three years. More than that if you count good sex. If there's one thing that is supposed to make a married couple's relationship different than all of the other ones that they have, it's the fact that they actually have sex with their husband or wife. If you're not making physical intimacy a priority in your marriage, why is that? No…really…why is that? It's not "just because". And whatever the real reason is? It's gonna reveal what's really going on in your relationship. Chances are, sex has very little to do with it too.

What Was Intimacy Like Prior to Marriage?

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Something that can be a total set-up is thinking that sex when you're married isn't much of a difference from sex when you were single. Shoot, you can check out "What 5 Men Had To Say About Married Sex" to see just how off the mark that is. When you're single, a lot of times sex is about gettin' yours—on your schedule and on your terms. But any healthy married person will tell you that sex within a sacred union is about a lot more than climaxing. Selflessness, open communication and mutual fulfillment are not only meant to be constant considerations but consistent goals as well.

Some people are in a sexless marriage because, although as a single person, sex was "fun" (because it was so much about them and not much else), they now view sex as "work".

If you add to that the fact that their past partners needs weren't that big of a deal, now that their spouse's needs should be a top priority, they would rather pass on sex than mature into the kind of partner their spouse needs in order for them to have a happy, healthy and thriving sex life.

Single sex doesn't necessarily have to be intimate. Oh, but married sex should be. Are you struggling with emotionally connecting? If so, could that be the cause of your sexless situation?

What Does Your Spouse Have to Say About It?

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Here's another sign that your marriage is unhealthy—if whenever you bring up the lack of intimacy that's currently in your relationship to your spouse, they give you the Kanye shrug and go back to whatever it is that they were doing. The reason why I say that is because it's pretty rare that if a sexless marriage is going on, both individuals are completely fine with that.

Not to send you down a rabbit hole, but someone I know who is in one once told me that the only reason why I was giving their marriage side-eye was because "I wasn't mature enough to understand that sex is not all that important, the older a couple gets." Guess what? About six months after they said that, they found out that their spouse had been cheating for at least a year. Before you pin it all on the cheater, how would you feel if it had been a couple of years since you had gotten some? Wouldn't you feel like your spouse had left you out to dry? Even the Bible says that a sexless marriage gives room for evil entities to do their thing.

In an article that I read on sexless marriages, it featured a study that said the coping mechanisms for dealing with this type of issue range from masturbating (79 percent) to having an affair (26 percent). But what really stood out to me is fact that 51 percent choose to get into a hobby or (catch it) strike up relationships with other people. Hmm. I just read that around half of all emotional affairs eventually turn physical, so yeah, don't assume that just because your spouse is not talking about how they feel about the lack of intimacy and sex in your relationship that they are "fine". According to statistical data, they probably aren't anywhere close to being that.

Have the Two of You EVER Been on the Same Page Sexually?

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As far as their intimacy goes, something that some couples share with me, is that it's easier to have less sex when neither of you were on the same page to begin with. If one or both of you were sexually active and not exactly "thrilled" with one another, sometimes you'll tell yourselves that things will get better after saying "I do". Then, if things still aren't quite right, after a couple of years of actually trying to get in sync or faking like you're sexually satisfied when you're really not. After all, faking is lying and when is lying to your partner ever a good idea?

What all of this boils down to is if you're in a sexless marriage because the poor quality has led to low quantity, it's time to get proactive. There are websites like The Marriage Bed that can provide information on just about anything you can think of sexually if you need help sparking up a conversation. It can also be helpful to create a sex vision board (check out "Should a Married Couple Have a Vision for Their Sex Life?") where both of you can share your innermost fantasies and desires. Personally, I am a huge fan of sex jars (you can read more about that here), and a sexcation can never hurt either.

Sometimes, navigating through a sexless marriage is all about perspective. Rather than surrendering to the belief that you are "doomed" to bad sex for the rest of your life, choose instead to see your situation as a lifetime to explore and evolve with your spouse. If both of you are committed to the goal of having a mind-blowing sex life, you're already halfway there.

Are You BOTH Open to Therapy?

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In the article "7 Signs a Marriage Won't Last, According to Sex Therapists", I found it interesting that the #1 reason is couples no longer have sex. While I personally think that, if two people truly want to, they can overcome any obstacle in marriage, I will say that if you and yours aren't having sex and it's been that way for a while, trying to fix things on your own is probably gonna prove to be futile (because really, if you could, wouldn't you have by now?). The solution? Counseling.

But let me get specific about this. One time a husband told me that during premarital counseling at his church, he spoke very graphically about how important fellatio was to him. Because the people he was speaking with didn't "believe in" oral sex (what in the world?!), they sped past his point. He can count how many times he's gotten head in the almost twenty years of marriage (SMDH).

Where I'm going with all of that is this—if you're already a little hesitant about marriage counseling, make sure that you "interview the counselor" (or therapist or coach) before formally agreeing to becoming their client. You need someone who you and your spouse can feel totally comfortable with. Not only that, but someone who is willing to broach every aspect of your intimacy—and non-intimacy—until the issue is resolved. Squeamish, super-churchy and sexually pinned-up professionals need not apply. At all.

How “in This Thing” Are You?

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"For better or for worse." When folks say that on their wedding day, it's kind of amazing how much they seem to focus on the better and underestimate how low the worst can actually get. A sexless marriage is hard, and to some people, it can even feel like a form of torture, but you really need to ask yourself if it's something to totally throw in the towel over.

One day, when you've got about 30 minutes or so, jot down all of the things that you love about your spouse. Then write down all of the things that disappoint you, including your less-than-stellar sex life. What has more things on its side? If it's the good stuff, isn't that enough of a motivator to stay and work on your marriage?

A marriage without sex totally sucks. I get that. But a relationship that consists of good sex and nothing else isn't much better. You up the chances of the latter being the case for you should you end the union that you are already in. The one you promised to stick with, even when times get hard.

BONUS: There’s No Time Like the Present

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I must admit that one of the things that truly baffles me about sexless marriages is there is no time like the present to change the status of that type of situation. I mean, if two people aren't having sex—and again, they are physically able and there is no abuse that is going on—why not…start having it?

If your immediate thought is, "I hear you, Shellie but it's not that simple," then you are proving a point that I already made. Is the problem really about sex or is it something more? Much more?

The fascinating thing about sexless marriages is it forces couples to look at all areas of their relationship. If the act of sex itself is the last thing that you want to initiate in order to remedy your sexless marriage, resign yourself to the fact that there is something much deeper that is going on.

After all, as I oftentimes say, "Sex celebrates love, not creates it." Do you and yours have something to celebrate or not? The answer to that alone can get you down to the root of why you're currently in a sexless marriage.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

Maintenance Sex Could Be The Key To A Successful Marriage

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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Mj Rodriguez has been giving us all of our lives since she emerged on our screens as the ever-so-fabbbulous Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista in Pose, in 2018. Since, she has captured the hearts of many all over the world, from LGBTQ advocates, to everyone in between. The beloved series officially came to a heart-wrenching end, after three seasons of tackling homelessness, sex work, the rejection that the trans community deals with on a daily basis and combined it with heart and dance to captivate millions around the world weekly.

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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping

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Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking

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If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails

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If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms

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If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness

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Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss

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One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness

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OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings

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Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

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