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WIAW – What Your Cravings Are Telling You

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I am learning to just accept the snow days. Just like I am learning to accept my cravings.

Sudden and random food cravings don’t just happen to pregnant women you know. In fact, while I was pregnant, I don’t think I had half the amount of random cravings as I do now.

The thing is, our bodies send us the craving signal when it needs something. And that something is usually a vitamin, mineral or nutrient we are lacking or simply need more of in order to keep up with our daily functioning and activity level.

I have noticed lately that I tend to have sudden and random cravings more frequently when I up my mileage and most often in the 48 hours following a long run.

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Instead of running through my usual meals on this snowy What I Ate Wednesday, let’s talk about my latest random cravings and what may have been the cause behind them.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the other morning that this red pepper was my snack of choice.

Who craves a pepper let alone a pepper of a specific color? I guess I do. When the sudden need for a red pepper hit me, I didn’t think twice, I just went to the grocery store to get one.

I know better than to fight a craving. I have enough to think about on a daily basis, the last thing I need on my mind is a red pepper, and red pepper would have consumed my thoughts had I not had one to eat.

I sliced and ate the whole thing. Craving satisfied.

Or so I thought.

The next day, I couldn’t stop thinking about tomatoes.

Confession: I woke up in the middle of the night Saturday unable to go back to sleep until I got up to eat slices and slices of tomatoes with hummus and that awesome guacamole.

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Who craves tomatoes in the middle of the night? I even tried to get myself to want an apple with peanut butter instead but I truly didn’t want it. I wanted a tomato.

The tomato craving was so strong Saturday night (or was it really Sunday morning?) that I became afraid since then to go without one.

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Since I am always prepared, I made a salad (loaded with tomato) to bring with me to the Islanders game on Monday. If you must know, I am the queen of sneaking food into arenas and movie theaters.

The genius that I am decided that craving red peppers and tomatoes must signify a deficiency in lycopene.

Remember how I wanted to talk about this yesterday but didn’t have time to develop my thoughts into a post? That’s because I wanted to do a little research.

Yet after all of my research, I found nothing on lycopene deficiencies but I did find that most of the cravings we have, including chocolate, carbs, sugar, salt or fatty foods, all seem to stem from the need for the same nutrients:

  • Magnesium
  • Chromium
  • B-Vitamins
  • Essential Fatty Acids

The articles I came across offered a ton of information and a lot of it was contradicting. There was an overall consensus though that the consumption of too many process foods and not enough nutrient dense food is the cause behind these food cravings and deficiencies.

Let’s be real here- We all know that I eat a pretty clean diet so high in nutrient-dense foods that I probably consume a small farmers market or at least enough fruits and vegetables in week to satisfy the nutritional needs of my entire town.

Rather than analyze all of the information I came across and overwhelm us all with the list of which foods meet which nutrition requirement, I am going to stick to the one thing I took away from my little project:

We need to listen to our bodies.

We are all different. Our cravings change from day-to-day and are indicative of our ever-changing needs required to keep up with us. Remember, we aren’t machines and cannot expect to eat the same things everyday or run a bazillion miles and expect to eat the same amount we ate the day before to not only feel satisfied, but meet the nutritional demands of our activity level.

I spent a lot of time yesterday reading through so many links and articles and even my own Nutrition Text Books before I realized I wouldn’t find the exact answers I was looking for.

I was so glad to come to this realization moments before my workspace was invaded by snow day art supplies.

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If you don’t bake when snowed in, you color. At least in our house that’s how it goes down.

Do I know exactly why I was craving red vegetables? Will we ever TRULY know if we are craving chocolate at 8:00 pm Tuesday evening because we are lacking in the magnesium department or if it is simply an emotional craving? Probably not.

I am still confident in saying though that if you pay close enough attention to your body and how you feel, you can usually separate a true craving and hunger signal from an emotional longing to nibble and munch your way through a bag of chips with a side of m&m’s.

The more in tune you get with yourself, the closer you will become to recognizing your cravings for a random red pepper.

You would think that I would have some links of interest to share with you today given that the topic of cravings should have produced something worth sharing, right?

Wrong.

Frankly, I am a bit tired of reading the articles that tell you how to fight off your cravings, satisfy your sweet tooth with 10 calorie hot chocolate and do jumping jacks instead of making a snack.

We know by now that I don’t believe in denying yourself what you really want or ignoring the true need to eat.

However, I do have a new “snack” worth sharing that may work in the low-calorie-ways-to-satisfy-your-cravings department:

 

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That’s right. Sour Patch Kids gum. And yes, you are reading correctly, sugar-free.

Let’s credit my little boy for finding this at Target yesterday. It absolutely tastes exactly like Sour Patch Kids and while I don’t like to advocate chewing a crazy amount of sugarless gum (which I am totally guilty of by the way) if you are craving sugary and gummy candy and don’t want to sit down with the bag, maybe this can nip the craving in the bud.

No need to thank me. Happy What I Ate Wednesday.

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I NEED TO KNOW:

How much snow did you get yesterday?

Latest random craving?

Ever crave a red pepper or tomato?

Have you tried the Sour Patch Gum?.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Ashley @ Kick Ash Mom.com January 22, 2014, 7:05 am

    Do you draw? or your son? Braiden had another snow day out of nowhere yesterday. I’m getting tired of them! Scarlet eats tomatoes like an apple! It’s crazy! Tomatoes are one thing I just can’t eat by themselves.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles January 22, 2014, 11:30 am

      I have always been on the artistic side but I don’t draw anymore as a hobby or anything. I did used to teach the preschool art program when my son was in preschool because I have always loved a fun art project and always have cute ideas to do with the kids.

  • Michelle January 22, 2014, 8:02 am

    We had the sour patch gum. We bought a 3 pack last week, also at Target. I guess they know where to place their products! I liked it, as did the kids. It tastes just like the sour patch gimmes. My kids also eat tomatoes like apples. Sometimes with a little salt. I have never craved a pepper of any color, or a tomato, but have lots of other cravings. : )

  • Crista January 22, 2014, 8:22 am

    I crave red pepper, quite often actually. Never green pepper, which is weird but I eat a vast array of green veg and not a lot of red so I just chalked it up to that. Though I’ve NEVER had a craving for a pepper in the middle of the night lol!!

    How much snow did you get yesterday? None, fortunately I’m visiting Australia and it’s SUMMER!

    Latest random craving?avocado on toast

    Have you tried the Sour Patch Gum? No but now that I know it exists I can’t wait to go back to the US and stockpile it! I am a sugar free gum fiend. I’ll try to give it up for a while, or be moderate but it’s just not in the cards long term!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles January 22, 2014, 11:29 am

      I am the same – I try to give up gum and works for a bit and then suddenly I am back in full force.

  • pickyrunner January 22, 2014, 8:32 am

    Cravings are something I’m definitely working on. If I want ice cream, I’m going to eat the damn ice cream because otherwise I’ll eat us out of the house trying to make up for it. If I want an apple, god forbid we don’t have an apple in the house. I’ve been known to drive to the store for the one thing I want to eat at that minute because otherwise bad things happen. Haha just kidding but giving in to cravings takes the power away from food. Counterintuitive but it works!

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. January 22, 2014, 9:47 am

    YES to craving red things! I’ve been known to eat marinara sauce straight from the jar, and that happens with salsa all.the.time… although I don’t know if that’s so much a craving for the actual tomatoes or for the salt. Oh, and ketchup is a huge one too. Other than that, lately I’ve REALLY been craving oatmeal… like to the point where I had to make a bowl for dinner a couple nights ago because nothing else seemed to satisfy my hunger. Actually, that’s the thing about cravings… I always give in to mine because if I don’t, I just end up eating 100 other things and STILL having to go back and eat what I was craving. Better to just do it from the start and save myself the headache.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles January 22, 2014, 11:28 am

      Now that you said this, I realized the other night my craving for tomato sauce. I am totally with you – better to just eat what you crave than try to avoid it by eating other things AND THEN eating the thing you craved to begin with anyway.

  • Julie@teachinggoodeaters January 22, 2014, 11:07 am

    I live in the snow belt of Pennsylvania… we just moved here this year, and what I’ve come to realize is that snow is no big deal around here. I’ve come to expect 2-4 inches every morning. Since Thanksgiving, I think we may have only seen the grass for one 2-3 day time period! I stopped eating wheat about 8 months ago and, since then, have noticed that cravings, of all kids, have been drastically reduced! However, the one craving that sticks out in my mind, was also red… in this case- beets! Whole Foods sells frozen sliced beets which means that all you have to do is roast them… I ate several bags of them over the course of one week.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles January 22, 2014, 11:27 am

      I recall some winters here where waking up every day to a fresh 3 inches was routine. I am tired of winter this year though!

  • Ashlee@HisnHers January 22, 2014, 1:30 pm

    Ahhh my favorite candy ever! I didnt know that existed!
    And our bodies are smart machines, arent they? 😉

  • Janelle @ Run With No Regrets January 22, 2014, 5:32 pm

    I think we got about a foot of snow in Philly…. and oh, I’d love some of that gum! I haven’t chewed gum in a really long time.

  • Julie January 24, 2014, 1:45 am

    And I just took my magnesium because I hardly ever do even though I have them.

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