What’s Your Poison?


My mom told me that when she was pregnant, she craved shrimp. Shaun said his mom was super into oranges. The science behind cravings is unclear, but one hypothesis is that cravings are a way your body tells you you’re missing some essential nutrient from your diet. It’s sort of like your body sending out a distress call. I guess my mom needed protein, and Shaun’s mom needed vitamin C? Side note, I’m not pregnant. Ick, raising children.

I often think that the people that subscribe to the cravings-as-signals-of-nutrient-deprivation theory are full of crap. In no particular order, here are the things that I crave most often:

  • Wine
  • Pizza [generally correlated with the wine, always regretted afterwards]
  • Tavola [usually satisfies the wine craving, too]
  • Spicy Foods [of the Asian variety generally]
  • Omelettes [EGGS AND CHEESE, COME ON], or Why It’s Clear I’ll Probably Never Be 100% Vegan
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pretzels

I don’t know about you, but part of me thinks my cravings serve to deplete my nutrient stores, rather than increase them. Or maybe I just crave being a junk food junkie. Either way, the cravings I get hit with don’t support the essential nutrient theory in any way. But I may become a subscriber soon.

I was really mad at Shaun on Friday morning. Like, uncontrollably angry. Bitter, snappy. Why? Because I woke up and started packing my lunch for the day, and discovered he had eaten all of the carrots the night before as a snack. I was greeted by an empty carrot drawer.* What I hoped was a calm, collected, “Did you eat all of the carrots last night?” probably actually made me sound like the girl from The Exorcist. And anyway, anytime anyone** ever asks a question like that [when I knew the answer because I was staring at the empty drawer] there’s really no other explanation than pure anger.

I spent the bulk of the day dying for a vegetable. I was a raving lunatic. I even ran into a gas station to look for like, a children’s pack of baby carrots or snap peas, anything. Once I assessed my life, I noticed something interesting: my diet for the week had been primarily grains, beans, and fruits. Oatmeal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, proteins for dinner, with oranges and berries in between. I had passed over a kale and tomato dish when my nausea hit in favor of a soup with noodles in it.

It’s not outrageous to say that my bad mood and intense craving was my body signaling to me [eat a damn vegetable, you carb freak, most likely], and I was surprised at the signal’s intensity and duration. I’m half wondering if my feeling under-the-weather that week was also a product of nearly zero veggies. I hope a craving like that doesn’t hit again [because I hope I can take care of myself and be more well-balanced], but I definitely find some merit to the essential nutrient craving theory now. Oh, and Sorry Shaun…

Am I crazy? Has anyone else ever felt this? Share on, friends.

* Yes, our fridge has a dedicated carrot drawer.

** So many anys.

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Categories: Food

Author:ryesandshine

Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/

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  1. Steamer Madness | Ryes and 'Shine - February 9, 2012

    […] school-night meal essential is a stove-top steamer basket. I’ve been using it to calm my cravings for greens in the fastest, healthiest way possible. Vegetarian Times reported in their January/February […]

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