All I could think about was TACO BELL….
Now as someone who believes in “real food” taco bells went against everything I stood for but….I WAS PREGNANT. Now I am pregnant for the second time and I have craved lots of carrots and anything crunchy. I’ll admit, before my first pregnancy I thought that pregnancy cravings must be some kind of over exaggeration. Boy, was I wrong. As a pregnant lady I find myself thinking about food all the time and I have both cravings and aversions . So the questions is….
Do Pregnancy Food Craving Mean Anything??
Unfortunately there is no scientific explanation for food cravings but I don’t think this means they should be discounted. Often times cravings might be giving us clues that we are missing key nutrients in our diet. It is also important to note that we are growing a human and our body wants more of everything and our bodies may trigger cravings so we are simply motivated to eat more.
The most confusing thing about cravings is that they can be off the wall and often not very healthy. So how do you interpret unhealthy and weird cravings?
Chocolate is a craving many woman experience pregnant or not and the reason for this is two fold. Chocolate has feel good ingredients in it that boost your mood but it also contains magnesium which most women need more of. I’ve started taking a magnesium supplement every night before bed and it helps me sleep more soundly and I honestly haven’t had an intense chocolate craving in months. Don’t worry though…I still eat chocolate, I just don’t NEED it. You can either apply magnesium topically(like this one) or take an oral supplement(I take this one).
This is a tough one because my taco bell craving felt ONLY about eating Taco Bell but looking back it was probably more about craving FAT and SALT. Pregnant women need healthy fats for the growing babies brain and nervous system and so often many of the “fatty” cravings are signaling your body to eat more fat. The sources of fat I recommend during pregnancy are avocado, pastured butter, pastured eggs, coconut oil, grass fed beef and fermented cod liver oil.
It is a common misconception that pregnant women need to limit their salt intake however pregnant women NEED salt. You can read more about the health benefits of salt here. Not all salt is the same, conventional salt is HIGHLY processed and should be avoided. I recommend real sea salt like this or this. If you are craving salty foods homemade popcorn cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt is a great way to qualm your craving. Buy quality salt here.
Craving sugar can be a problem before even becoming pregnant. Sugar is highly addictive and the more we eat it the more we want it. The craving can be EVEN STRONGER during pregnancy because the increase of blood volume and hormonal changes may cause your blood sugar to dip more often. To avoid low blood sugar while pregnant make sure you are eating plenty of protein and eat small frequent meals. Eating too much sugar during pregnancy puts one at risk for gestational diabetes. When you crave something sweet go for fresh fruit and switch out conventional white sugar for honey, maple syrup for coconut sugar. Watch my video all about the healthiest sugar options here.
Strange or non-food cravings
While I didn’t think my intense craving for carrots was all that strange I found out that my iron was low at my first midwife appointment. I realized that carrots are both relatively high in iron for a vegetable and people low in iron often crave crunchy foods like popcorn,ice or carrots.
Pregnant women are more likely to develop a disorder called PICA where you crave non food substances like dirt, clay, chalk or sand. Pica is linked to mineral deficiencies-more specifically iron. If you ever crave a non-food substance called your doctor or midwife immediately. It is very important to get enough iron during pregnancy. Meat (particularly liver), beans, and spinach are all high in iron (see more iron rich foods here). If you are unable to get enough iron from food you can supplement you can supplement with this or this.
Now it’s your turn!! Share in the comments below about your pregnancy cravings! What were they? Do you think they meant something?