Pizza Please, with Extra Pickles

It Is Not All In My Head!

Is it all in the head or are cravings really real? Most women who have gone through a pregnancy will blacken the eye of anyone who suggests cravings are not real. What is really interesting are the types of cravings women have. It seems the bulk of food cravings are for sweets followed by salty foods. After that, spicy cuisine ranks third and then a small percentage of women crave sour or tart foods. What is it that causes these food cravings, which nearly 85 percent of pregnant women experience at least once during their pregnancies?

What Causes Food Cravings?

Many of these cravings come out of the blue with such ferocity that they are almost insatiable. Is it hormones? It is possible that hormonal changes during pregnancy can impact both the sense of taste and smell - however, the truth is, nobody really knows for sure. Ronald Chez, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of South Florida, notes that pregnancy has a similar effect on every woman's body, while cravings vary widely from person to person. "No one really understands what causes cravings," says Chez. "No absolute cause has been scientifically established."

What Does It All Mean - Am I Lacking Something?

Depending upon who one speaks with, the meanings of food cravings can vary greatly. For example, a craving for ice, laundry starch and cigarette butts (a condition called pica) have been linked to iron deficiency even though none of these substances contain any significant amount of iron.

Some alternative medical practitioners feel that a shortage of B vitamins may be responsible for a chocolate craving. A need for more essential fatty acids can trigger cravings and if that need is filled, the cravings often disappear. It may appear that a craving for red meat is a cry for protein, but that is not necessarily so.

San Francisco midwife and herbalist Cindy Belew says, "People think their cravings are significant, but studies show no link between cravings and nutritional requirements. If people craved what the body needs, we would all eat more broccoli and less chocolate."

What To Do About Cravings

So, what should you do about the cravings? Pay attention to them and indulge in the healthy ones. Try to find alternatives for the not-so-healthy cravings and indulge in them in moderation. A healthy diet should meet both nutritional and emotional needs. It should also cater in part to your food preferences. Humor your cravings - just try to make them as healthy as possible.

Breakfast, Exercise and a Big Hug

You can curb some of your unhealthy cravings by having a good, healthy breakfast every day and getting enough exercise. Skipping breakfast just makes room for the cravings to roar. Also, make sure you have all of the emotional support you need. With the ups and downs of hormones and emotions, pregnancy can open the door to major emotional eating binges, so having people around who love and support you can help keep the unhealthy cravings under control.

You Go, Girl

As for the ice cream and pickles...knock yourself out! You probably will never look at it again after the baby is born anyway.

Also, check out these articles for some great ideas if you want to redecorate your kitchen.

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