Back in 2005, when I was studying health counseling, we were exposed to almost every kind of dietary theory and practice there was. The whole premise of the school I went to was to listen to your body; your body will always communicate with you and tell you what it needs and what is missing. So imagine my surprise when I woke up one day, after 10 years of having a strict vegetarian diet, with the most powerful craving for beef I've ever felt in my life! (And I have been pregnant!!!)
Whenever I told people that I was a vegetarian for 10 years, they’ve always acted so impressed! But being vegetarian, at that time, was very easy for me. I felt great, I was super fit, I had already had a nutritional background - so I knew how to avoid missing my nutrients, and I worked in a health food store so I had access to, and an employee discount for all this gorgeous, organic, ethically produced food. My environment made it super easy and affordable to live this lifestyle.
Then one day, about two and a half years ago, I woke up with the most sudden, super powerful craving for beef! I thought… OK, something must be missing in my body. What can it be? I tried various types of protein powders and amino acid complexes. I even explored a little CLA (supposedly cow meat contains a lot of this). Nothing worked! My body was just craving some serious red meat. It was so strange because I didn’t crave just meat in general. I didn’t want chicken or any sort of poultry and the smell of pork was not appetizing to me - I was one of those rare people who strongly disliked bacon. But my body was talking to me and I had to listen. I could not ignore the main message I took away from my nutrition training.
I finally gave in on one of my very first dates with my partner. I looked at the waiter and for the first time in over 10 years I spoke the words “Steak and eggs please. Medium rare.”
My partner was so confused! He was still just trying to get to know me and said “What? You’re the worst vegetarian ever!”
He still teases me about it now.
That first steak was unbelievable! There is really nothing like having your cravings met. It was exactly what my body was asking for. I thought OK, maybe now I’ll finally have what I’ve been missing. HA! Those cravings did not go away for an entire 2 years! For the first few months I ate beef every single day! Steak tips for breakfast, burgers for lunch, sirloin for dinner, and beef jerky for snacks! It was ridiculous! I was going against many of my dietary principles. I was very emotionally torn while being very physically driven. Honestly, I’m still not sure why this happened since I do not observe an extreme difference in the way I feel. If anything, I feel I was much stronger before while eating a plant and dairy based diet.
However, I do know that I am finally getting my fill! I am no longer like an addict, itching for my next serving of cow and I have been feeling the desire to once again explore plant based dinners and vegetarian recipes.
While I do still strongly believe plant based diets to be much cleaner and plant proteins to be highly superior to those which come from meat, I will continue to listen to my body through this transition and hope that my cravings for cows continue to grow weaker - until they fully disappear.
I would love to hear about some unusual, or super powerful cravings you’ve had and how you went about satisfying them.
Written by: Anna Alexandra Lerer
Edited by: Nadia Aboawad