CRAVINGS - WHAT IS MY BODY TRYING TO TELL ME?
Last month I wrote about habitually eating or drinking too much. We blame ourselves for being weak-willed, or society for putting the goodies under our nose. This may be true, but sometimes there are other reasons why we go for the chocolate, the coffee or the crisps: stress, unfulfilled longings, 'modern life', to name but a few.
However, if you keep on craving a particular type of food, sometimes a deficiency is to blame. In that case the solution may be easier than you think.
Here is a list of cravings, of the deficiency they might indicate, and what you could try to sort it.
Chocolate: magnesium. Eat nuts, seeds, green veg and wholemeal bread instead.
Sugar: chromium, sulfur, phosphorus or zinc. Have fresh fruits, meat and dairy. It can also be a sign of stress, or of candida*.
Salt: chloride and sodium. Have celery or cucumber, raw goat's milk, fish, spinach, chard, seaweed.
Fatty foods: good fat. Unrefined or extra virgin oils if used cold; butter or animal fat for frying.**
Steak, meat: vitamin B, carnitine, or minerals esp. iron. Sometimes it means a blood sugar imbalance. If you are losing weight, you may need more protein.
Cheese, butter, milk: calcium, protein, (good) fat, minerals. Walnuts, sesame/sunflower seeds,almonds, organic chicken or turkey.
Onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli: sulfur. Your liver may be sluggish or overloaded: does it have to deal with toxins from outside, or from poor digestion?
Spiciness: zinc. Red (especially organ) meats, seafood, leafy and root vegetables to give zinc.
Soft drinks: calcium. Cheese, leafy green vegetables, dairy.
Ice: iron. Meat, sardines, greens, beans, peas, wholemeal grain, nuts, eggs, dried fruit.
Different websites give surprisingly different answers to the question what your craving can mean. That does not mean it's all nonsense. Everyone is different: try out the various options and you may learn something about your body**.
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beetroot, calabrese, lettuce, salsify/scorzonera, french/runner beans, kale, carrots, cauliflower (mini only), salad onions, (sugar) peas, radish, kohlrabi, mooli, turnip, chicory, fennel, courgettes, marrows and pumpkins.
Sow swede and sweetcorn in early June. If the soil is above 25°C, sow crisphead, cos or little Gem only.
Plant out: courgettes, cabbage, sprouting broccoli, sprouts, celery, celeriac, ridge cucumbers, runner/french beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet corn.
veg: broad beans, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, new potatoes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, mangetout, peas, radish, spinach, spring onions, spring greens, watercress, kohlrabi, turnips, rhubarb, redcurrants, strawberries, gooseberries.
meat: lamb, wood pigeon.
fish: grey mullet - oily, so full of omega 3: steam, bake, roast or barbecue. Plus black bream, gurnard, pollock, whiting, mackerel, lobster, whelks, clams, cockles, coley, crabs, crayfish, flounder, grouper, gurnards, herring, megrim, scallops.
What to do with BROAD BEANS
Boil, remove outer skin (no need if they're young and fresh). Puree with butter and pepper. Add to new potatoes and mayonnaise for a warm salad. Or to garlic, onions and French beans with French dressing (warm or cold). With ham and a creamy/cheese sauce, or in an omelette with goats cheese. Pureed with roast garlic and fromage frais/creme fraiche, or cream and lemon juice.
in sarnies – good brown bread, thick spread of butter, sprinkle of salt
in a soup – just a plain potato, onion and stock base – add the watercress at the end, blitz and stir in a gloop of thick cream
sauteed as a side dish with pretty much any meat or fish dish you can think of.
SPINACH with MINT and CREME FRAICHE
200g spinach, 1 tblsp oil, 1 tblsp crème fraîche, 1 tblsp chopped mint, 1 minced shallot, salt, pepper.
Blanch spinach in boiling water with salt until bright green: drain. Heat oil, add shallot, cook for 2 mins. Add spinach, cook until done. Turn heat to low, add crème fraîche and mint. Stir until hot, season.
BROAD BEANS with SOUR CREAM
1kg unshelled broad beans, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 tsp grated rind, 1 tsp mustard, 1 beaten egg yolk, 180ml sour cream, nutmeg, 1 tsp chopped mint, salt, little soy.
Shell beans, steam till tender. Put everything bar the yolk in a in pan. Let thicken over low heat. Add yolk, stir, don't boil. Serve immediately.
SALAD OF BABY PEAS and SPRING ONIONS, serves 4-6
500g baby peas, 10 sliced spring onions; 125g cottage/cream cheese or fromage frais, 1 tblsp lemon juice, 1 1/2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, (thyme,) butter, salt, pepper.
Cook peas for 2 mins max., drain. Saute onions for 4 mins. Transfer to bowl, mix in warm peas. Whisk lemon, oil, seasoning, add veg. Crumble on cheese, serve immediately.
SPINACH and SOUR CREAM PANCAKES
Pancake batter, 120ml fresh spinach, 120ml sour cream, 3 eggs, salt.
Blend spinach until completely chopped. Stir sour cream into batter, add eggs. Add spinach, stir, bake!
(SPRING) CABBAGE with BACON and CREME FRAICHE
300g chopped bacon pieces, 1 chopped onion, sea salt, 1 green cabbage, 120ml crème fraîche.
Sauté bacon with olive oil until it begins to crisp. Add chopped onion with a pinch of salt and sauté for a few more mins until translucent. Cut cabbage into 1" pieces. Add to bacon and onions, and cook for 10 mins or until it has wilted. Add crème fraîche and cook for 5 mins more, adjusting seasoning.
WATERCRESS SOUP with GOAT'S CHEESE CROUTES
1 chopped onion, 1 crushed garlic clove, 25g butter, 1 cooked potato, 1l stock/water, 250g watercress, 4 slices of bread, 100g goat's cheese, 4 tbsp double cream.
Cook onion and garlic for a few mins, add potato and liquid Simmer for a short while, add chopped cress, cook for 2 mins; blend. Toast bread, top with slices of cheese, toast again. Reheat soup, stir in cream. Season, pour into bowls, top with the croûtes.
* Did you know that candida or thrush can be caused by too much chlorine in your tap water?
** See for instance bit.ly/K7F84J.