The good crave. February 23, 2008Posted by phledge in black bile, family, fat, medical school.
Okay, so I’m really on a challenging journey trying to figure out what my body wants to eat. It’s hard for a couple of reasons:
I’ve been dieting for so damn long that I’m used to someone else telling me what I should eat.
I’m in school. I do not have instantaneous access to nourishing, inexpensive, fresh foods of all varieties. I am lucky if I can afford Chipotle. Also, I am stuck in a box for eight hours a day. I do not have time to cook.
My husband and I have very different ideas of how to eat. I am a grazer; he is a two-squares a day type.
I tend toward overeating because, as one of six children, I subconsciously panic that if I don’t eat it all now there will be none left later. Intellectually I know this is ridiculous. The hungry child within begs to differ.
I’m also wondering about a lecture I listened to several weeks ago about food intolerance. One of the core arguments made is that if a patient craves a particular food during a short fruit-juice fast, that food may be responsible for some generalized symptoms; elimination of said food may result in improved health. I’m not sure how much I buy this, although from an addiction standpoint it begs consideration. Say I am addicted to nicotine, or alcohol, or Coke (hee, I kill me), and I stop intake of those substances. Surely the first thing my body does is crave those things! But how about if I am a menstruating woman who stops eating meat (for whatever reason); as my iron reserves decrease I will very likely start to crave red meat or other iron-rich foods. How are we to tell when the craving is for our health and when it is for an addiction? I find it rather silly that someone can claim to be addicted to wheat or dairy or sugar–after all, these foods generally provide for our healthy growth and maintenance. I’m also a little addled by the concept of addiction, anyway. Why is it that our infinitely intuitively wise bodies would demand a cigarette, or another beer, or another can of Coke? Somewhere, somehow, some need in our bodies is being met by these otherwise damaging substances. But that’s another story for another time. Suffice it to say, I’m worried that I am not hearing my body correctly. The foods I eat are not dangerous in and of themselves, and I’m not freaking out that I’m going to get fat! because, heh, I already am. But I do want to nourish myself, and I’m sad to report that I can’t hear what my body is saying.