Holly Rush – Food Cravings?

photo 5Okay, as you know, I love food and I love trying new foods, more so since I got into this ultra running milarchy. But recently I have noticed that my cravings for foods have started to change.  After Pisa Marathon I kicked back over christmas and generally ate and drank anything and everything that got in my way. So post the festivities I made a conscious decision to cut the amount of sugar I was eating by trying to cut out my life long obsession of sweet tea and coffee. It took a few weeks but I can now drink a whole cup of tea without wincing, I never thought that would happen. The other life long addiction I have is cake and all things baked. This is taking a little longer to crack! I like to have a treat and I feel if I am training hard, the odd almond croissant isn’t going to kill me. However, one a day may be overdoing it!? So I am trying to fill those cake shaped spaces with bananas dipped in almond butter or dried fruits and nuts.

All this ‘clean’ eating has opened me up to a lot of questioning. Lots of people ask me what I eat to fuel my daily running addiction and if I stick to any sort of specific diet…….Paleo, Vegan, low Carb, high carb, raw, high protein blah blah blah. The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. In short, I do eat everything.

But, the questions have definitely made me start to think.  Why do I crave certain foods – especially weird ones, like pork pies during a long run? and why have my cravings changed over the years?

When I was a kid I wasnt into sweets or sugary drinks. I loved my mum’s homemade stews and drank gallons of plain old water. But as the years have ticked by and I took up running my food cravings have taken a massive U-turn. I took up drinking coffee, eating more high sugar snacks and drinking sports drinks. Always feeling sluggish if I went without any of the above for more than 3 hours.

Healthy-Foods-e1366809633375I know my body wants sugar, but I am trying to curb that craving and periodise when I need the essential carbs for specific training sessions. I also know my body wants salt, especially when I am running or racing for a long time, hence the pork pies and salted cashews I hallucinate about during ultras!

I started reading labels of all the foods I crave and I was surprised, and then not so surprised, by what I found. The dozens of bananas smothered in nut butter? Turns out bananas are high in potassium, and I sweat like a gorilla, my body had to find a yummy alternative. And the nut butter I cover my oatcakes in every afternoon? Salt, protein, potassium and magnesium as well as low G.I carbs.

Hmmm…seems like my body is definitely finding its own electrolyte replacements.

I crave a lot of other weird stuff, so I will keep reading labels to see what else I need. Do you think gherkins have something special? Hmmm…maybe I’ll go buy a jar to find out.

What do you crave? What do you think your body is telling you it needs?

Last weeks training (recovery week)

Mon – REST (its been a while!!)
Tues -am 60min easy/pm 40 min S&C
Wed – am 60 min easy/pm 60 min S&C
Thurs- 5 x 2mile MRP (60sec jog on) 1mile MRP (90sec jog on)
Fri- 90 min easy
Sat- 10 min easy, 10x3min hard/3min cruise, 10min easy
Sun- 2hrs easy