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Last Updated on January 12, 2018

Pregnancy Craving: Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Pickles and Other Kinds of Food?

Pregnancy Craving: Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Pickles and Other Kinds of Food?

Weird pregnancy cravings: the source of thousands of jokes and many late-night trips to the grocery store. The most stereotypical pregnancy craving is pickles and ice cream, but pregnant women have reported craving just about any kind of food you can think of. Around half of pregnant women in the U.S. have at least one craving, which can be as standard as the pickles and ice cream cliché, or as strange as eggplant or Cheese Whiz [1] sandwiches. Other foods become repulsive to moms-to-be—sometimes food they loved before pregnancy.

Why do pregnant women crave pickles and other kinds of food?

These cravings and aversions occur for a specific reason—the influx of hormones [2] can cause both biological and neurobiological imbalances. Pregnancy hormones impact a woman’s senses of taste and smell, which can cause major shifts in what she wants to eat. Some scientists also believe that some food cravings can indicate a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. The bottom line though? It’s not totally clear why women have cravings and aversions during pregnancy.

Although many women give into their cravings with no problems, food cravings can become severe, causing problems during pregnancy. In these cases, neurocounseling can be effective [3] for reducing or eliminating cravings.

Incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet for healthy fetal development

Interestingly, some experts have noticed that cravings often change during different stages of pregnancy [4]. For example, many women start becoming hypersensitive to bitterness during the first two trimesters—possibly to prevent the consumption of harmful substances during fetal development.

It’s important to incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet, since they can be an indication of what the mother or baby needs for healthy development. The catch is that many of these cravings consist of junk food, which should be limited during pregnancy. Too much junk food won’t help the baby’s development, and may cause excess weight gain. Balancing unhealthy cravings with a healthy diet (and healthy cravings) is key for a healthy pregnancy.

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Coming up with alternatives for unhealthy cravings is a good way to ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need without compromising your health. Of course, every once in a while, nothing will do but the specific food you’re craving, and it’s okay to indulge once in a while, as long as it won’t be directly harmful to the baby.

10 Common cravings pregnant women have

1. Chocolate

    One of the most-craved foods among pregnant women is chocolate. Some believe that this is due to an increased caloric need during pregnancy. Research shows that it’s also the most-craved food [5] in the United States. While indulging in a chocolate craving isn’t harmful, it’s better to choose dark chocolate and limit the amount.

    2. Milk & Ice Cream

      Dairy connects to an increased need for calcium during pregnancy. Ice cream is an especially powerful craving, because it is sweet and caloric. If you’re eating too much ice cream, try these recipes [6] for chia pudding for a healthier alternative.

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      3. Steak Fat/Red Meat

        Because of the iron, protein, and vitamin B6 contained in red meat, many women crave steak [7], specifically steak fat during pregnancy. This can be very distressing for vegetarian and vegan women, but some have successfully overcome this craving with daily massages—a treatment that can also help address postpartum depression [8].

        4. Pickles

          Salty pickles are the quintessential pregnancy craving among American women. A greater volume of blood during pregnancy can explain a desire for salty foods, as this increases sodium requirements.

          5. Spicy Food

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            Some women develop strong cravings for spicy food during pregnancy, which is thought to be tied to perspiration. Spicy food can help the body release sweat [9], cooling the expectant mother down.

            6. Fruit

              Fruit is both sweet and nutrient-rich (including vitamin C). Fortunately, this craving is okay to indulge in on a daily basis, preferably using fresh, whole fruit, or cut up into a fruit salad.

              7. Potato Chips

                Just like pickles, potato chips can be a powerful craving because of their salt content. They should be limited during pregnancy because they are quite unhealthy.

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                8. Eggs

                  A need for protein could explain the common craving for eggs, which also contain iron, phosphorous, and B-vitamins. Eggs are a healthy protein choice for women, but should be prepared with hard-cooked yolks to avoid the risk of salmonella. Hard-boiled is a good choice.

                  9. Lemons

                    Specific cravings for tart foods [10] like lemons are more common during the second and third trimester. It’s thought to be linked to both “shocking” the tastebuds, and encouraging a more varied diet. Luckily, lemons can be added to many recipes or just plain water, adding a healthy dose of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.

                    10. Peanut Butter

                      Peanut butter is a good source of B vitamins and protein, which could explain why this is a common pregnancy craving. Natural peanut butter contains no added sugar, and pairs well with apples.

                      Reference

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                      Last Updated on November 20, 2018

                      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

                      10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

                      A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

                      Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

                      1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

                      Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

                      If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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                      2. You put the cart before the horse.

                      “Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

                      3. You don’t believe in yourself.

                      A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

                      4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

                      The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

                      5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

                      If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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                      6. You don’t enjoy the process.

                      Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

                      The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

                      7. You’re trying too hard.

                      Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

                      8. You don’t track your progress.

                      Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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                      9. You have no social support.

                      It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

                      10. You know your what but not your why.

                      The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

                      Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

                      Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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                      Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

                      Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

                      Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

                      • The more specific you can make your goal,
                      • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
                      • The more encouraged you’ll be,
                      • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

                      I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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