I don’t know about you but when I was pregnant I would have done pretty much anything for a donut. But not just any donut….a chocolate glazed donut from Dunkin Donuts. It really is one of my favorite foods on Earth, even now. Well as you know I live in Washington where there are no Dunkin Donuts here. When I have been pregnant (and I have been pregnant in California and Las Vegas too) there have not been any Dunkin Donuts around. It was torture! Seriously. I could not understand why I just had to have one so badly but I actually considered flying somewhere to go and get one. I didn’t but I wanted to. That would have been ridiculous to spend a $1000 flying somewhere for a donut. I do remember my mom sending me one in the mail though. It was awesome. Not exactly the same but close enough and so delicious.
What causes these cravings? I mean it is so much worse than cravings when I wasn’t pregnant. The feeling was just so sudden and intense! Like I had to have it and had to have it now! LOL Another thing I craved were Pringles chips. The plain old regular ones and I had to eat them in a stack of two. Weird, right?! I loved how crunchy they were. I have a friend who craved chewing on ice. One more crunchy craving. Of course, ice is way healthier than chips so that was a bonus for her.
The reason for these things is always something that has intrigued me. The first place I decided to Google was at WebMD. They said pregnancy cravings caused “unquenchable longings”. Well that part I knew already. They also said,
“No one really knows why pregnancy cravings occur, though there are theories that it represents some nutrient that the mother may be lacking – and the crave is the body’s way of asking for what it needs.”
Well that isn’t very informative. That part I had kind of figured out on my own. My body just loves donuts and I guess it needed them. LOL
Upon doing a bit more research I learned some really interesting stuff. Did you know that high hormone levels present during pregnancy can alter not only smell but taste also? I learned the hard way about the “smell” part. There were a handful of things I absolutely could not tolerate when I was pregnant, like when someone would drink alcohol or eat red meat. The smell of dirty laundry was enough to do me in. But the weirdest one was the smell of my dog’s shampoo. LOL I loved having them clean but man did I hate the shampoo smell. All of my bath products had to be unscented as well. So these wonderful hormones affect not only cravings but food aversions as well.
Your taste buds interpret what you eat for something specific, although your body may not actually need that particular food. For example, you may feel like you have a craving for pickles but your body may actually need more sodium or you may crave chocolate or ice cream and your body may be craving calcium or fat. It really is a remarkable thing, the way our mind works. The trick is to understand and know what your body really needs.
Hormones are such a strange thing. We all know they can affect our moods but they can also affect our appetites through our hypothalamus as hormones rise during pregnancy. Do you know that only 10%of women actually crave fruits and veggies? Most cravings are sweet, salty or spicy. Mine was sweet and sometimes salty, never spicy. I had way too much heartburn for that. LOL What were your pregnancy cravings? Anything really different or strange? I’d love to hear about it. Too much of those “good-tasting-but-not-good-for-you” foods, though, can lead to unnecessary weight gain or even gestational diabetes. More than 50% of women who have gestational diabetes crave sweets. Make sure you satisfy those cravings but by eating the foods your body really needs.
Don’t eat Dirt
There is one more thing about cravings I came across I thought I would mention. PICA. I had never even heard of this before but apparently some cravings can be non-food items like dirt, laundry starch, ice scrapped from the freezer, ground up clay pots, crayons etc. Some, or many, of these items can be really dangerous to mama and their unborn babies. For example, eating dirt can bring lead poisoning which can lead to infant death and/or deficiencies in their brain development. These cravings can be just as strong and overwhelming as a food craving. Doctors speculate that it could be from a lack of iron or zinc but do not have any definitive answers as to the cause. Some of these reasons may even be cultural in some more rural areas in other parts of the world. If you have these types of cravings or have been linked with PICA please see your OBGYN to make sure you are not lacking in any vital minerals and are protecting yourself and your unborn baby.
So I found some really neat articles when researching this but not too many real reasons as to why I would have flown to New England for a donut. All I know is that when I was pregnant and had that glazed chocolate donut I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Thanks Mom! Oh yeah, and eating dirt is not good!
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