Why Do We Have Food Cravings?

food cravings explanation

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When my son E was born, it was amidst a flurry of health problems including a cleft lip and palate.  For his first year of life I breastfed him and made his baby food from scratch and added plenty of melted coconut oil and butter to his veggies.

It was at that point that I truly embraced real food.  And when I made it to his first birthday, I was sufficiently convinced that nutrition mattered that I bought 12 jars of cod liver oil, several gallons of local, full fat, organic, raw milk, and sourced some local eggs that I made for us every morning with breakfast.  That was my turning point. (Click here for sources of cod liver oil I recommend.)

It was this transition that got me thinking: what does my little E crave for his little growing body?  I started to pay attention to what he craves and the results have been fascinating!

Cod Liver Oil: Vitamin A & D

E could not get enough cod liver oil.  He would eat huge spoonfuls and say they were “yummy!” as he smacked his lips.  He even tried to steal his brother’s spoonful from the table!  Fortunately, I had read Nourishing Traditions by this point.  I knew that cod liver oil was loaded with easily-absorbable vitamin A and D, in therapeutic levels that would help his body make up for what he wasn’t able to achieve in utero.

I noticed this trend and would give him as many spoonfuls as he wanted.  He would usually max out around three large spoonfuls.  He was a hard core WAPF baby!

We usually had cod liver oil that was already mixed with high vitamin butter oil into a gel that was really easy to scoop out of the jar.  But you can also buy plain cod liver oil and just make sure that you and your family members take it with some butter.  The vitamins in cod liver oil (A & D) are more easily absorbed when taken with some form of vitamin K2.

Click here to see a video explaining all the ways liver is a superfood you should start eating!

Concerned about mercury?  Read more here.  Vitamin A toxicity?  Read more here.

Baby Foods:

E loved having fresh steamed veggies blended in this nifty food mill.  (I would use it every day and it was really simple to put together, take apart, and clean: a must for me while I was taking care of so much after he was born.  Simple is the way to go!)

Instead of focusing on baby cereal, I focused on giving E good quality traditional fats in tandem with his fresh produce so that he could absorb the vitamins from each food better.   At this point I hadn’t read Nourished Baby or Beautiful Babies, but I still managed to do a lot of things right with E, just by paying attention to what he wanted.  Our bodies are smart. We have cravings for a reason.

Did you know that butter on your veggies is also greater than the sum of it’s parts?  Imagine that!  It’s almost like butter is some kind of superfood!  Ahem.  The butter helps your body digest the vegetables better than if you ate them on their own.  Think salad + dressing, veggies + butter, broccoli + cheese.  You get the idea 🙂

In fact in a recent study found by Jenny at Nourished Kitchen shows that not only do veggies taste better with butter, but they actually are better for you:

consumption of fruits and vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, but only when combined with full-fat dairy consumption (source)

It’s no wonder E craved these veggies + traditional fats in particular, I think because they provided so much to his body that needed everything possible to catch up to the other typically-physically-developed kids his age.

Grass-fed Butter: Vitamin K2

And now we come to the great binder in all of E’s cravings: BUTTER.  He was always chomping whatever he could get his hands on that had plenty of butter in it.  He liked a lot of coconut oil too, but like the true Irish blood running through his veins from his mama, he prefers bright yellow, grass-fed, vitamin-rich, full fat butter.

And then there was the famous trip to the grocery store when I was buying several sticks of grass-fed butter and there was little E again, grabbing for a stick and ripping the wrapper off so he could bite it straight off the block.  I let him have at it, and I got a few looks from shoppers and the checkout person, but I didn’t care.

butterchomp!

A few days later, he snuck yet another butter block out of the fridge and made this mischievous face for me as I snapped his picture.  Of course from then on I just explained that he could ask for a scoop of butter whenever he wanted to.  And now he does.  A lot.

So there you have it.

It’s just one example, and a personal one at that.  But my gut tells me that cravings happen for a reason.  The more I pay attention to what my kids crave individually tells me what they are missing.  And the more I pay attention to what I crave, the better I seem to feel and the more energy I seem to get.

Listen to your body!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.
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Comments

  1. Carol G. says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the info! E is adorable!

  2. Love this post! It’s so interesting to hear about the cravings of a little one with no preconceptions about food…someone with a healthy relationship with food who is TRULY listening to his little body. It’s really cool.

    Someday I hope to be a WAPF mama too– thanks for sharing this…it’s nice to know it’s really possible to have your kids ask for cod liver oil 😉

  3. Great post, reminds me of discussions with my daughter about how my 2 sweet little granddaughters have taught her about what they need. Seems our bodies often tend to be a lot smarter than our brains sometimes appear to be 😉

  4. Smart mama and happy baby! Love it 🙂

  5. My daughter (20 m) does the same thing with butter- she grabbed it out of the grocery cart and started chomping on it while I was checking out, lol. Today I caught her having pulled it off the table and eating it with a spoon :o). Mmmmmm. She had a severe tongue and lip tie which are related to cleft palate- a precursor to it, I believe, according to Dr. Price.

  6. Sharolyn says:

    What a little cutie! My oldest was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate (as was I). I’m definitely working on getting him more on the cod liver oil etc as I think the good nutrition definitely helps their little bodies heal up quickly after all the surgeries.

  7. Hey there! Just found your blog when I was looking for a homemade onion soup/dip mix. Way off subject, but did the Dr’s tell you that your son had Amniotic Band Syndrome? I ask because my daughter was born without her left hand and they said it was ABS. When the neonatologist was telling some students about it, he said a lot of times it will cause cleft lip, and other amputations, etc. It just had me wondering…
    Hope you have a great night and thanks for the recipes!
    Elise

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  1. […] of all, I am a big believer in listening to your body’s food cravings.  There is a reason you might be craving a steak, or chocolate when you are on your period. […]

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