Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cravings: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird!

When I was first pregnant (before I found out), I craved strawberry milk. Now, I'm craving strawberry-flavored things again. I came across this article which was kind of interesting but it goes back to what I've known: Cravings mean that you're missing something!

For the full article, click here

Why are we craving?
Why ice cream? Why pickles? Well, no one is 100 percent sure, but it turns out your overwhelming urge for Swiss steak might not be so weird after all. “Pregnancy cravings are basically evolutionary,” suggests Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. “The reason for a bizarre craving for anchovies or charcoal is because there's something deficient in a woman's system that she needs.” Craving sweet potato fries? Maybe it's your body's cry for potassium or vitamin A. But why do you NEED it to be sweet potato fries? “People tend to crave something that has the highest amount of that stuff [they're lacking]...with something that they can tolerate eating.” In other words, your body's sending signals of what it needs, and your brain/taste buds might spin that into something that you naturally find yummy. And if you're getting a totally balanced diet? According to Dr. Wansink, you probably aren't craving much.

Can this explain your need for chocolate milkshakes? Sure—that's a big helping of calcium. But the midnight run for Fritos is a little tougher to chalk up to nutrients. Julia Hormes, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, studies premenstrual cravings and thinks her findings apply to some pregnancy cravings as well. Her explanation: Some cravings are (dare we say it?) big fat excuses. For example, you want Twinkies because, well, you WANT Twinkies. When you wanted Twinkies before, you might have grabbed a banana and ignored the unhealthy desire for goo and sugar, or even totally denied the fact that you desired them. But now you're pregnant. Your body's going through a lot and -- darn it -- you're going to have a Twinkie if you want one. “I think pregnancy may well be a situation where our culture acknowledges a woman's right to indulge herself. Our culture sort of gives you permission. Women give themselves permission,” she explains. A few Bumpies agree that cravings can go both ways (nutritional and absolutely not):

I haven't craved anything weird. I've mostly allowed myself to indulge in things that I normally don't allow myself to eat and write it off as a craving.”

“[I craved] Hardy's Thickburgers and cheeseburgers in general. I think it was my body's way of demanding that I feed it more iron. Oh yes, and any form of cake. I think that was my body's way of telling me that cake is delicious.”

(Note: If you start craving nonfood stuff like dirt, charcoal, clay or laundry starch, don't eat it! This is a disorder called pica, which some scientists think may be related to iron deficiency or other dietary needs. Resist the urge and call your doctor ASAP—they should be able to help you stick to eating real food.)

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