Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Food cravings

When I was pregnant I craved calcium. I could get through a jar of calcium tablets in a day, and I had to really fight the urge to eat more. I particularly liked Dolomite and oyster shell tablets. I had to be very careful not to get supplements that had any other vitamin in them or I would have overdosed. I used to go to different health food shops so none of them realised how much of the stuff I was getting through.

Anyway, the calcium never did me any harm, and my kids were very big-boned when they were born, so I figured the craving was functional (or semi-functional anyway).

When I was anaemic I used to crave flax seed. I got through masses of that stuff. This is called 'pica', and it isn't functional. I mean that the stuff you crave doesn't help the condition - there's very little iron in flax, though it's actually quite nutritious in other ways. I realise that I must have been ill with anaemia for years and years. I took a lot of iron before I had my operation, and I lost the pica.

Today I found out about Pagophagia, which is another variant of anaemic pica - compulsive Ice Chewing. There's a bulletin board for ice-lovers. Metafilter discussion here.

If you have a food craving like this my recommendation is take iron tablets (in sensible amounts) for a few weeks and see if it helps. Pica can be a symptom of stress or OCD though, so obviously if that may be the case that's worth seeking help for too.

Ever had a craving, and do you think it may have been a response to anaemia?

I wrote about my flax craving on this blog Aug 6th 2003. At that time I attributed the cravings to the phyto-oestrogen in flax.

On the same day I posted I am Jack's ruptured appendix.

About two months after this my appendix did rupture, and I have a horrible feeling it was the flax-seed that caused it.

Anyway, that was a strange coincidence wasn't it?
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