Getting in "touch" with seasonal local foods and cravings vs looking at just nutritional facts. Interested in underlying broad (not hypocondriac) reasons behind wierd cravings - raw cranberries anyone?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 04, 2012 at 5:16 AM

In the gradual and often flawed transition into running a paleo home I believe we have finally settled into this lifestyle. I do 95% of my grocery shopping at the farmers market and have come to love the connection to food that comes with it.

I have favored farmers that I feel extreme loyalty to and I know who I can trust for each thing. It is usually pretty easy to know whats in season. For example right now EVERYONE has apples and is desperately trying to dump all their excess bell peppers.

If for some reason I cant go to the market one week I feel almost lost as to what I should eat. Food at the grocery store seems wrong somehow. Hell at freddies in NOVEMBER their sale/push is for coconuts and pineapples?? The later isn???t even in season in the tropics right now.

Of course I mean this lost feeling in a spiritual sense not practical. I am not curled up in a fetal position utterly helpless if I have to rough it at the industrial food chain for a week. I am just saying that by having this connection to the market/farmers/food I no longer have to think about what I should be eating. I buy whats in season and I have stopped obsessing over macro ratios. In a few years I will probably "know" whats in season at any given time.

Occasionally this "instinctual" grocery shopping leads to interesting purchases. I bought a container of gorgeous raw cranberries this week that absolutely screamed out to me. But the only cranberries I have ever had have been out of a can at thanksgiving. I hated them. Same thing with canned beets (though I LOVE the real thing now).

As I popped on into my mouth and considered... would paleo man have eaten these without the gobs of sugar they are normally served with? If not then why do I want them so badly? Weren???t bitter sour things usually associated with being poisonous? Or as my friend pointed out- We have super spoiled taste buds... maybe they tasted way more palatable to the person who has never had a milkshake.

I guess Im just wondering in a broad sense about this deeper connection. I don???t want to obsess over the nutritional stats... but I am curious in a big picture kinda way. Why did I suddenly feel like I couldn???t live without this sour bitter beautiful bright red berry? I know that the greens in spring are naturally detoxifying. I???m just curious what a sour bitter thing in fall means.

I have learned the difference between a craving.. and a ???YES EAT THIS NOW??? feeling. Those hopefully ancestral instincts that say ???this is food this is good???. Whatever you want to call it.

End melodramatic musing/



on November 04, 2012
at 02:14 PM

Now you're making me want to go razor clamming on Long Beach, WA, and grab a bag of cranberries right next to where they grow. :)



on November 04, 2012
at 11:43 AM

Hmm, question is? I know this is nutritional stuff, but cranberries have lots of iodine, vitamin K and strangely for a berry they have choline. I love them without sugar, although they are very tart.

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4 Answers

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on November 04, 2012
at 06:09 PM

For me seasonal cravings have a lot to do with what I grew up with. I'm indifferent to summer squashes, but as fall approaches I start stocking winter squashes faster than I can eat them. My freezer is still stocked with last year's cranberries, behind the pile of frozen huckleberries and blueberries from last summer.

In the midst of reading about Salish culture, I've come to a sad post-1856 war observation by an Army officer. He recommended that Eastern Washington be left unsettled, because of the need for a huge forage range for the nomadic tribes, which at the time numbered possibly 20,000. They had horses and cattle, so the area would have supported a much lower population of true paleos surviving on berries, fish, roots and game. Abundances of all of these was limited to specific locations separated by 100 mile distances.



on November 04, 2012
at 02:48 PM

Maybe you were just drawn to the novelty, of Paleo-ifying something you didn't eat/try/like before. For me, it's been that way with sweet potatoes and squahes this year. I didn't eat them before Paleo, but I think that was because the non-Paleo preparations grossed me out. (Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on it? Omg ew.) But this year, I was just moved to try new stuff, and I tried sweet potatoes a few ways and picked out some of the adorable little acorn squashes. I had no real plan for them at the store, and I had to look to Pinterest for some ideas. Now I'm glad I did, though.

Also, I think the "sour bitter" thing in fall might be kind of like a palate cleanser for the seasons. In summer, I think we tend to eat some of our sweeter foods like tomatoes and fruits. Maybe after all that sweetness, something acidic was wanted? I think greens in spring might be the same - after a winter of hearty roasts and stews, sometimes we just want to switch to something light and fresh.



on November 04, 2012
at 02:11 PM

It could be that you were drawn to the bright color, and a food that you know is in season right now. The cranberries have been mighty appealing to me, lately, too. I usually make a cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but I think cranberries really shine when you dry them and then add them to stews. That's my favorite way to have them, and then they last all winter.

It also makes sense to me that they would be cooked with late apples, to add some color and tartness.


on November 04, 2012
at 01:38 PM

I am that way with apples. Not sure why, but I am totally in love with the reddish...sometimes yellow...sometimes green roundish bundles of nouishment. I LoVE EM!!!!! I am Scottish/Polish in heritage and that tends to dominate my cravings. Found out there are plenty of variaties of apples native to Scottland and Poland. Maybe that is why they are a comfort food to me. Not sure. I am interested in what everyone else has to say on the topic.

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