Weekend Food Commentary – How Mid-Winter Carb Cravings Could Be A Good Thing


Carbs are such an excellently controversial topic these days. Any time the social wisdom is changing, the central idea of the “old wisdom” becomes highly controversial. Now, of course, anyone reading my posts already agrees that the argument about grains is long over, so by “Carbs” I am referring to extra fruits, and more starchy vegetables. I am Urban Paleo Chef, after all, and therefore still very much Paleo! The discussion on how much carbs per day, though, is still alive and well! I love to generate and participate in a good discussion. So I am really hoping that this post will load up the comment board!

How Your Mid-Winter Carb Cravings Could Be A Good Thing!

There are a couple of different reasons why you may be having more insistent carb cravings in the winter. Some of these are normal healthy responses to normal healthy activities, while others are a good reason to pay really close attention to your body, and the messages that it is sending you. Of course, you should always be responsive to your body’s needs. But if you’re anything like me, you like your body to function like a well oiled machine – food needs are communicated as cravings and hunger, rest needs are communicated as fatigue or soreness, and everything is generally simple. And while you’re in that “well oiled machine” groove, your cravings are appropriate to your output. Or, said differently, when you have a huge workout, you have a bigger carb craving than usual. And thats just right!

So, what could cause a carb craving that’s good for me?

Let’s talk about the ways I get carb cravings that are a good thing. The most obvious is when I have had a couple key workouts in a week. My carb cravings are naturally triggered by my increased carb output. This is perfectly fine, and exactly what I am expecting. I know what’s going on and how to respond. Another common cause of carb craving is a night of lost sleep. Certainly this is not an ideal situation, but it’s normal and natural. Do you think that our cave-man ancestors were never disturbed in the middle of the night? So, again, the carb craving I get is natural, and I know to expect it and how to deal with it.

Ok, so how can a carb craving be a warning sign, and what does that have to do with the winter?

There are a few different scenarios where your carb cravings will not be connected to an otherwise daily event like a hard workout, and these should set off the red-flags and alarm bells! These could very well be early warning signs that allow you to head-off something coming that could side-line you. The first is a little bit of seasonal depression. Don’t panic, this is perfectly normal, and shouldn’t be too hard to deal with; but you have to respond immediately! Get some vitamin D supplements, get some sun with a mid-day walk, and set up some social outings. You should see your symptoms clear up immediately! The second is a little less dramatic, and a little less obvious: you could be getting a cold. The cold virus requies sugar to survive, so a carb craving could be caused by the virus consuming your blood sugar before the rest of your body can receive it. This is fairly simple to deal with, and the solution is complimentary to the first issue. Since the virus requires sugar, reduce your sugar intake to vitamin C fruits and salad vegetables for a few days, maintain your low-level cardio to burn off your blood sugar, and decrease your key workouts so that all of your resting energy is focused on fighting the virus. And just as importantly get great sleep, and use limes and lemons on everything! This should clear up in 2-3 days, and you will know when it’s over. Your cravings should vanish! Also, if you responded immediately you should see no more symptoms than your cravings!

What other Carb Cravings might you be dealing with? I want to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments section!

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