February 11, 2005 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Ladies- what yummy foods do you crave when it's that time of the month? Also, how do you keep yourself from wolfing down every last source of it in your kitchen?

Thanks in advance to everyone for their comments!
posted by invisible ink to Food & Drink (38 answers total)
For me, it's the incredibly stereotypical chocolate. To answer your second question, sadly, I don't. I eat pretty well the rest of the month, so I follow my cravings for those few days and don't worry too much about it.
posted by boomchicka at 4:49 PM on February 11, 2005

I crave both chocolate and salty foods. I'll indulge a little bit, but I try to snack on carrots and fruits to balance it out. As far as keeping myself from eating all of it: lots of water (not sure why it helps, but it does) and yoga (which helps keep *everything* in balance for me).
posted by smich at 4:52 PM on February 11, 2005

Milky Way bars. The big ones. That's it, that's all I need (except maybe also an extravagant tuna cassarole, which I eat ALL of - the entire big pyrex pan - now and then).
posted by melixxa600 at 4:52 PM on February 11, 2005

salty garlicky cervelat (the greasier the better), Lindt chocolate.

not together though ;)
posted by seawallrunner at 4:56 PM on February 11, 2005

It's usually chocolate, but this month it was cheese. Gorgonzola, goat, and crunchy cheese puffs.
posted by PY at 5:05 PM on February 11, 2005

Chocolate, of course, and dense warm comfort foods that are terrible for you, like potatoes with butter and other assorted fatty horrors, usually a day or two before and all through it.

I find it's helpful to track cycles (as with this handy calculator) so that you aren't afflicted by menstrual amnesia. Ie, even though it happens every month, if you're at all irregular or have fluctuating stress levels, you feel like hell and don't know why, because you're unpredictably reacting to it. If you really keep track of when you're due, you can offset the worst of it by increasing exercise, eating more iron-rich foods, and keeping well hydrated (like smich says). In my experience, following cravings only causes more tiredness and bloating.
posted by melissa may at 5:07 PM on February 11, 2005

Sushi. Much Much sushi. Eel sauce. How I crave ye.

Crème cheese as well.. on crackers usually.

Yes, chocolate helps, but then I notice I am drinking cups and cups of mochas and hot chocolate and stop.
posted by Lizc at 5:22 PM on February 11, 2005

It's different nearly every month. Sometimes it's salty, sometimes it's sweet. And I'm with boomchicka, I eat well the rest of the month (actually, 33 days since I have a long cycle), so a day or two isn't going to kill me. And even while giving into my cravings every month, I've managed to lose nearly 20lbs since September. Yay me!
posted by nprigoda at 5:43 PM on February 11, 2005

I crave yummy foods, especially anything sweet, every day of the month. The sweet stuff does gets extra appealing right before my period, but at "that time on month", the very sight or thought of food becomes nauseating for a day or two. Definitely no special cravings then. Heck, it can take nagging just to get me nibbling on some crackers at that point.

As for resisting intense cravings--nah, life's too short. I just try not to bring the worst stuff into the house. i.e. Raise the difficulty level. Stocking the kitchen with lots of yummy-but-not-too-evil substitutes has also helped.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 5:55 PM on February 11, 2005

I crave peanuts and chocolate, mostly. I keep myself from eating them primarily by keeping myself from buying them. It's the only recourse I have.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:03 PM on February 11, 2005

CHOCOLATE. I usually buy one really nice dark chocolate bar as soon as the craving hits, and keep it in my coat pocket so I can nibble little bits and pieces whenver the urge strikes.

I also usually have a couple of plain old hungry days, where I just eat a lot of food. I don't try to fight it, I just think "ahh, I'm having one of those hungry days" and cook up a big stir fry or something.
posted by bonheur at 6:25 PM on February 11, 2005

I like salt, salted, and served on a bed of salt. And then I salt it.

Nothing's a better craving-killer than fat, which I let myself get away now and then with since I limit carbs. Boiled eggs (salted, natch) or a cream cheese and mushroom omlette, some nice rich cheese, sugar-free yogurt if I'm trying to be really virtuous or low-carb ice cream if I'm not, and peanuts all do the trick.

Like bonheur said, I just have hungry days, too. I try to get a salad or two down as filler, but those are really the days where a big juicy steak does the trick. A large slab of grilled salmon is also nice those days.

Also, Indian food. No idea why (I mostly manage to skip the biryani and naan), but I find a little korma or chicken curry, and some palak paneer, ultimately satisfying on my hungriest days.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:38 PM on February 11, 2005

I crave red meat- rare red meat, and fortunately, there's a little bit of effort involved in having that, so I don't gorge myself. I do indulge though- I'll buy a pound of lean stew beef and fry up four pieces with some soy sauce. Since it comes in bite-sized pieces, I can monitor my intake just by counting (which is good, because weighing or measuring would be beyond me.)

Interestingly (to me anyway...) sometimes, a piece of dark chocolate will quell the red meat cravings. Go figure!
posted by headspace at 6:40 PM on February 11, 2005

Sushi sushi sushi. And chocolate ice cream. Although, oddly enough, since I'm out of the habit of eating much dairy, more than a few bites of ice cream at a time gets too rich so I manage to get a pint to last three or four days, no problem. Sushi is hard enough to get that I can usually manage to just go out for it or make it once and be satisfied with that.
posted by mai at 7:37 PM on February 11, 2005

When someone makes chocolate-covered sushi rolled in salt and vinegar chips, I will be a happy, happy girl. Barring that, Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby is bliss: malt ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate-covered pretzels. I could bathe in it.
posted by astruc at 7:54 PM on February 11, 2005

Lindt milk chocolate truffles, "Touch of Lime" Tostitos, and meaty chili. I also crave privacy, which I'm likely to get when I eat all three of those at once.

The food cravings are one of my biggest PMS symptoms, and since I don't normally eat like that thre rest of the month, I feel like I can indulge a bit. Seconding what melissa may said above, I think the main secret is being aware of what you're eating and increasing exercise during your cycle. I also keep track of everything with a food diary, so I'm less likely to gorge if I'm aware of the number of calories that are going into my mouth. Plus, the temporary weight gain during those few days is another harsh reminder for me, so I'm less tempted to eat everything in sight no matter how much the hormones want me to do it...
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:10 PM on February 11, 2005

Mmmm. astruc, your chocolate covered salt and vinegar chip sushi sounds amazing. I wonder if I'm coming up on that time of the month. Incidentally, it doesn't seem like it would be too hard to make it yourself. Here is a sushi how-to (first google hit, I'm sure there are many more). Once you make a roll and cut it up, you can dip it in some melted chocolate (they sell some especially for dipping) and crushed-up chips.

Okay, for everyone else who doesn't like this kind of weird thing, sorry.
posted by mai at 11:20 PM on February 11, 2005

Salt and salt and so much more salt, starting about four days before. Which makes me bloated and gross and unhappy two days later, when the hormone misery sets in. But oh, the ramen noodles are delicious at the time ...

I am bizarrely intrigued by sushi + chocolate + s&v chips! I kind of wish you had never mentioned it.
posted by librarina at 11:33 PM on February 11, 2005

I crave chocolate, but am allergic. A little Bailey's Irish Creme mixed with milk though sort of tastes like chocolate milk to me though, so it solves the craving. The other one is salt, and I buy a big bag of Goldfish crackers. I defeat the craving, and then turn over the snacks to my husband and son, who then finish the bag.
posted by FunkyHelix at 12:38 AM on February 12, 2005

Oh. My. Gawd. I thought I was the only one who liked the crazy chocolate, cheese, and sushi combination! There's nothing like some good salmon nigiri for dinner, followed by nice stinky Stilton, and a little chocolate to finish it all off. The flavors and the textures and the something just seem so very right together. I swear, sometimes I could get high off that combo.

(Maybe it's the salty soy sauce that does it for us, as opposed to the actual sushi? And Stilton's kinda salty too, actually.)

I do notice that my chocolate consumption, though continuous throughout the month, definitely spikes in the five days leading up to my period. I've often wondered if one reason women crave chocolate at that time of the month is that chocolate has proven anti-clotting properties, and it's our bodies telling us to eat something that will help everything flow out easily instead of having to cramp up and squeeze and be ooky.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:46 AM on February 12, 2005

Macaroni and cheese, with extra cheese on top. If I'm lazy, I get the boxed stuff but if I have spare time I make it from scratch and put gorgonzola cheese and breadcrumbs on top.
posted by rhiannon at 1:13 AM on February 12, 2005

fried cheesy things....mmm I don't think its necessary to struggle against serious food cravings. Better to have a little and get it out of your system, I say.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:02 AM on February 12, 2005

Hey, a lot of people seem to crave salty protein and umami flavours! And I just mentioned the chocolate covered sushi to my honey and he suggested a sushi fondue... Yum!!
posted by nprigoda at 5:34 AM on February 12, 2005

Steamed veggies (usually cauliflower, yellow squash,broccoli, or zucchini), dipped in melted Smart Balance (which has a sweetish buttery taste) and then into freshly grated parmesan cheese. YUM. Chocolate, too, but it varies from month to month. And I'm with the to-hell-with-resisting-cravings crowd.
posted by yoga at 5:40 AM on February 12, 2005

It must be some form of self torture that I would choose to come in here at this particular time. I want every single thing mentioned right this minute. I've found over the years that fasting while watching cooking shows is the only way I can get through it. And when I succeed I'm always happier afterwards.
posted by oh posey at 9:39 AM on February 12, 2005

I have a sweet tooth all the time, but it goes into high gear at that time. I'd love to indulge in Cinnabons, but lucky (?) for me, they are non-existent in BC. Usually I just have chocolate (Snickers, KitKat's, Twix). Also, I'm just plain hungry then. I can eat a full meal and two hours later I'm starving again. I figure my body is telling me what I need and go with it.
posted by deborah at 10:18 AM on February 12, 2005

I'm so normal, who'da thunk? Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. And salt & vinegar potato chips or pickle flavored chips (don't sneer, they are delicious) and hunks of red meat. Actually, coca cola & those chips are a good hangover cure as well, which is kind of interesting since I tend to get worse hangovers that time of the month too.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:27 AM on February 12, 2005

Any kind of sweet thing. My Sour Skittles craving is way up there too.
posted by SisterHavana at 3:35 PM on February 12, 2005

Sausages. Cheese. Anything salty, meaty and fatty that I run screaming from the other 28 days. Luckily really fatty food has its own built in controls. I can't eat a ton because I just get too full.
posted by tinamonster at 5:55 PM on February 12, 2005

I just want to say that not everyone craves chocolate. I certainly don't.

I tend to crave butter, salt, starch and cheese. So lots of buttered grilled cheese sandwiches, buttered salted popcorn, or cheesy buttered salty pasta.

Of course, I tend to crave butter, salt, starch and cheese every day of the year. But it's more intense at certain times of the month.

Sometimes I crave sugar, too. I've been known to make homemade frosting and eat it on saltines. I've also been known to eat a 50-50 combination of dry oatmeal mixed with brown sugar.

How do I avoid eating too much? I don't. My weight fluctuates up a little each month, but as long as I eat well and exercise the rest of the time it always goes back down again.

I know some folks who crave a certain smokable herb at that time of the month, too. I hear it soothes the jangling nerves and dulls the pain of cramps. But I imagine that this would make it even harder to control the impulse to scarf food down.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:17 PM on February 12, 2005

Anything sweet & salty. My absolute worst craving involves dipping french fries into a chocolate sundae.

Fortunately, that only happens about once a year.
posted by Space Kitty at 8:33 PM on February 12, 2005

Unami and salt seems to be pretty prevalent. Which makes sense. But chocolate is very common, too. Does anyone have any idea why this would be?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:05 PM on February 12, 2005

Well, here's one school of thought that says it's cultural.

But there's also this bit, from this source:

Chocolate contains essential trace elements and nutrients such as iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, fluorine, and vitamins A, B1, C, D, and E. Cocoa is the highest natural source of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked with hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems and premenstrual tension (PMT or PMS).
posted by melissa may at 11:12 PM on February 12, 2005

Thanks for the info. I think I'm going to tentatively lean toward "cultural".

Also, something not clear to me from comments above, is the difference, if any, between pre-menstrual and during menstruation. Do people's cravings change? How much do cravings and "comfort food" overlap?

Finally, mine and my partners' attitudes on these sort of intimate things have always been positive and open. Even so, I've never been that particularly aware of my partner's eating habits in this regard. I wonder why.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:21 PM on February 12, 2005

Melissa may hit the nail on the head, magnesium (and iron) is the common denominator of what I crave each month. Since I really don't eat much chocolate on any other day I let myself indulge on that but I also indulge on my other cravings, steamed broccoli and red red red meat.
What takes the edge off my craving is floradix® kräuterblut® (link is to show image of packaging as it goes under other names in different countries, such as blütsaft in Sweden and Holland). It's a huge source of iron (143% of your daily) and vitamin B12 (200%). When I am a good girl taking a spoonful each day I have no chocolate attacks during PMS. I like the stuff, the downside is that It can be hard to find.
posted by dabitch at 4:00 AM on February 13, 2005

Heh! Taking a supplement would kill the fun though. I&chocolate. nuff said.

But what I am missing from the other comments is chili spice. Hot, hot, hot spice. So I usually crave mexican food (such as home made nachos) because it has it all-- the cheese, the salt, and the habanero. Sometimes, I enjoy a dish of broccoli smothered in cheese and drowning in Sriracha, bottled Thai hot sauce.

I figure the hot sauce releases endorphins and acts as both stimulant as well as pain reliever. Or maybe I just like it.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:05 AM on February 13, 2005

As a teenager I used to want nothing but chocolate and potato chips. That gradually changed through my 20s and now I usually crave roasted spicy brussels sprouts, pasta with salty cheese, and broiled or grilled meat. Now and then I also crave miso soup and fish/shrimp.

And what SLoG said: tabasco or Thai chili sauce on everything!

To answer EB's question: My food cravings usually start about three days before my period does, and they go back to normal about a day after I start bleeding. My normal food preferences do include the craving-foods but I also eat and enjoy a wide variety of other foods. It's the difference between "hmm, that sounds good" and "MUST EAT SPICY PORK STEAK NOW!"
posted by naomi at 11:53 AM on February 13, 2005

Another counting for chocolate (Swiss chocolate, how I'd die for thee!), though it does differ month to month. Mainly I'm just a bottomless pit during PMS and I have a really hard time controlling my 'grazing' habits. I've found that exercising helps stabilize the hunger attacks, though.

I tend to go with the flow -- because once the period starts I usually have very little appetite at all.
posted by somethingotherthan at 10:44 PM on February 13, 2005

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