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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so this has happened more than once, and I have given in to it in the past, but typically one horrible day of my period I will very specifically crave cheese or sour cream. I know it has to be physical, because it only happens during my period.

I know it could be the combination of fat and calcium, but yesterday I ate pan fried crispy tofu in oil, and took a calcium supplement the day before.

Should I be more mindful of my calcium the rest of the month? Is it possible I'm just wanting fat and extra calories?

I have heard there's a chemical called phenylalanine (I think that's it) that women crave that's in chocolate and cheese. Is there another source that's non-dairy, but more savory/less sweet than chocolate?
 

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I don't really think it's possible crave calcium, but I am happy to be proven wrong. It would be nice if we could -- then it would be easier to get enough calcium.

I think fat, protein, salt and umami are what you are looking for. Do you have access to Field Roast Chao or other higher end vegan cheese? How about nachos with a homemade cheesy sauce? Hummus is also a good one for me. Chinese, Thai or Indian food might hit the spot, too.

Amy's frozen vegan mac and cheese usually works for me when I'm craving dairy but also lazy, or make your own "easy mac" -- microwave small shells in water, just enough to cover, until boiling. Let sit until mostly soft, then stir in daiya cheese (or try another brand meltable vegan cheese) and a bit of unsweetened plant milk. Microwave until hot and your desired softness.

Sour cream should be easy enough if you can get your hands on some tofutti sour cream, or truly unsweetened plain soy yogurt. Another option would be cashew cream, or silken tofu blended with a bit of lemon juice.
 

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Ok, so this has happened more than once, and I have given in to it in the past, but typically one horrible day of my period I will very specifically crave cheese or sour cream. I know it has to be physical, because it only happens during my period.

I know it could be the combination of fat and calcium, but yesterday I ate pan fried crispy tofu in oil, and took a calcium supplement the day before.

Should I be more mindful of my calcium the rest of the month? Is it possible I'm just wanting fat and extra calories?

I have heard there's a chemical called phenylalanine (I think that's it) that women crave that's in chocolate and cheese. Is there another source that's non-dairy, but more savory/less sweet than chocolate?
Kidney beans and greens if I remember correctly. I don't remember it being in dairy, I know they always say it is in pigs and sheep.
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't really think it's possible crave calcium, but I am happy to be proven wrong. It would be nice if we could -- then it would be easier to get enough calcium.

I think fat, protein, salt and umami are what you are looking for. Do you have access to Field Roast Chao or other higher end vegan cheese? How about nachos with a homemade cheesy sauce? Hummus is also a good one for me. Chinese, Thai or IndianIndian food might hit the spot, too.

Amy's frozen vegan mac and cheese usually works for me when I'm craving dairy but also lazy, or make your own "easy mac" -- microwave small shells in water, just enough to cover, until boiling. Let sit until mostly soft, then stir in daiya cheese (or try another brand meltable vegan cheese) and a bit of unsweetened plant milk. Microwave until hot and your desired softness.

Sour cream should be easy enough if you can get your hands on some tofutti sour cream, or truly unsweetened plain soy yogurt. Another option would be cashew cream, or silken tofu blended with a bit of lemon juice.
It's not a psychological craving for something creamy, I appreciate the input, but I am fairly certain this is physical, and I have read several sources that say your body can crave calcium.

I usually make a nooch macaroni sauce or eat Daiya on a pizza if I want comfort food like that. Or make faux meat with vegan gravy or something.

But I wonder if a tahini dressing over kale would do it, because it would have calcium and be creamy, and oils in the dressing would add fat.

I really need to try Field Roast Chao! I keep seeing people say it's good.
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks. It could also just be the calories/fat or the phenylalanine...I do have fortified soy milk, that I ate with cereal. I'm going to keep some Tums around in the future, and see if it happens again. If it does, I'll know it's just a fatty food craving lol.
 

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Have you ever made homemade cashew cream cheese? Or a tofu cream cheese version? So good! How long has it been since you last had dairy? I couldn't imagine craving dairy after not having it for a long time. I have, however, craved Toffutti cream cheese lol.

It's been so many years since I had a period (hysterectomy in 2005) I honestly can't remember if or what I craved, but dairy made me so deathly sick for so long as an omni (and aggravated my endometriosis terribly) that i doubt I craved it. But the fear of intestinal spasms and diarrhea and nausea with dairy could have been a psychological turnoff for it.
 

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Mmm, interesting! I used to have this same thing happen! Most of the time I wasn't that into dairy but there were cyclical days where I was desperate for it. Someone said it was because progesterone during the luteal phase makes you crave creamy fatty sorts of things (calories to grow a baby) but other creamy and fatty things didn't do the trick. It was on the notoriously 'low estrogen' days near the end so I reckon it was my body somehow knowing that milk fat is full of that stuff...
It stopped when I cut back on soy and ate more fat in general and estrogen in general rose. If that makes sense.
As in, I was actually having blood tests at the time (for Coeliac stuff).
I was also told by the GP that dairy helps the brain produce GABA and that soy lowers it. Or something. I didn't put too much weight in it but it does make sense that at the point of the month where you're a bit edgy you want those relaxing foods. Luckily, there are more plant sources of GABA than animal ones...
And tea raises it, apparently. And estrogen, for that matter.
It could be neither of these. I could be just rambling. But that was my experience and it totally went away.

Are you a low-estrogen sort? Are you thin? Do you eat a lot of soy products or a ton of fibre? Are you eating enough fat?
 

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I'm curious to hear what your findings are on this. How long have you been veg*n? I occasionally get inexplicable cravings for dairy or meat but have never paid attention to where they fall on my cycle. It would be interesting to note whether or not that plays a part, as I've just assumed it's psychological for me, being fairly newly vegan.

Interestingly enough, since going vegan, my cravings for chocolate during my moon time have more or less vanished. I still enjoy a bit of (dairy-free) chocolate here and there for taste, but the overwhelming physical cravings for it are gone (at least for now LOL)
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you ever made homemade cashew cream cheese? Or a tofu cream cheese version? So good! How long has it been since you last had dairy? I couldn't imagine craving dairy after not having it for a long time. I have, however, craved Toffutti cream cheese lol.

It's been so many years since I had a period (hysterectomy in 2005) I honestly can't remember if or what I craved, but dairy made me so deathly sick for so long as an omni (and aggravated my endometriosis terribly) that i doubt I craved it. But the fear of intestinal spasms and diarrhea and nausea with dairy could have been a psychological turnoff for it.

Ahhh...I really need to get a high speed blender or processor, and start making my own nut cheese. I read that nuts have phenylalanine, and I had my favorite sandwich (jack fruit tuna melt with nut cheese) and some raw vegan cheesecake at a great local restaurant, but that gets pricey, I can't always afford to do that, and making those nut cheeses at home may solve the problem.
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Mmm, interesting! I used to have this same thing happen! Most of the time I wasn't that into dairy but there were cyclical days where I was desperate for it. Someone said it was because progesterone during the luteal phase makes you crave creamy fatty sorts of things (calories to grow a baby) but other creamy and fatty things didn't do the trick. It was on the notoriously 'low estrogen' days near the end so I reckon it was my body somehow knowing that milk fat is full of that stuff...
It stopped when I cut back on soy and ate more fat in general and estrogen in general rose. If that makes sense.
As in, I was actually having blood tests at the time (for Coeliac stuff).
I was also told by the GP that dairy helps the brain produce GABA and that soy lowers it. Or something. I didn't put too much weight in it but it does make sense that at the point of the month where you're a bit edgy you want those relaxing foods. Luckily, there are more plant sources of GABA than animal ones...
And tea raises it, apparently. And estrogen, for that matter.
It could be neither of these. I could be just rambling. But that was my experience and it totally went away.

Are you a low-estrogen sort? Are you thin? Do you eat a lot of soy products or a ton of fibre? Are you eating enough fat?

I think you may be on to something! I ate an entire block of pan fried tofu the day before, thinking about calcium, and fat, and ironically that may be why I had the intense dairy craving the very next day. I don't want to avoid soy entirely, but maybe I should avoid it around my time of the month, I should probably stick with greens and tahini, or a different plant based milk, for calcium, and get my fatty cheezy goodness from the nut cheeses like Naturebound suggested.
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm curious to hear what your findings are on this. How long have you been veg*n? I occasionally get inexplicable cravings for dairy or meat but have never paid attention to where they fall on my cycle. It would be interesting to note whether or not that plays a part, as I've just assumed it's psychological for me, being fairly newly vegan.

Interestingly enough, since going vegan, my cravings for chocolate during my moon time have more or less vanished. I still enjoy a bit of (dairy-free) chocolate here and there for taste, but the overwhelming physical cravings for it are gone (at least for now LOL)

I was "mostly vegan" or "cheegan" back when I joined this site, even though I'd been veggie for a while, and have ZERO desire for flesh (except for my love of jackfruit tuna and Gardein fishless filets is a telltale sign I'm from a seafood loving family and former diet for myself)...I'm lucky that way...but not about cheese. Cheese was my huge hurdle, that's why I say in the past I had given in. But months ago I noticed I actually got physically ill, from dairy, and was extremely cheerful and thankful to have developed this new digestive problem (my mom is lactose intolerant and has been drinking non dairy milk for years and years)...I figured hey NOW I'M A REAL VEGAN!! Lol.

But then I kept having these stupid cravings, on moon time, and it's really frustrating because I don't want dairy, but I also don't want to be depriving my body of some essential nutrient, especially during that time.

I think it might be what beets and beats said about soy affecting my estrogen and/or GABA, and I need to avoid soy around the days leading up to and on my moon time, and stick to nut cheese, and eat plenty of kale or collard greens.

That's interesting that you no longer crave chocolate. I thought chocolate was a phenylalanine mood thing, that it had something in it women want or even need hormonally, and it can also be a source of protein. I refuse to eat cheap chocolate, for ethical reasons related to all the slavery surrounding major chocolate companies, but there are brands like Endangered Species, which are ethical, if you do happen to crave it.
 

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I only knew the word phenylalanine from the warning on products containing aspartamine! I'd forgotten it's an amino acid!

From this site esp. I'd suggest nuts and beans--
http://www.livestrong.com/article/317897-list-of-foods-that-contain-phenylalanine/

I used to really crave hard cheeses during my period--and roasted nuts like almonds.
I definitely suggest a good nut cheese with liquid smoke and garlic. A baked one is so good, they get that bit of crust
Ever try black salt? that turns nooch into really cheesey (I don't call it by itself 'cheesey-savory, but not cheesey.Add black salt and ---yes)

When I started more soy on regular basis, from home made soy milk, the okara in burgers, tofu and tempeh, my cramps pretty much disappeared.
I've been in menopause the last year or so and I don't have the horrors I see others go through. Who knows if it linked or just me, but I like it!
 

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Cashew butter sort of reminds me of cashew cream cheese. It is very expensive, but a little goes a long way and it is already made. Sometimes, at smaller health food stores or Whole Foods coops, you can find smaller amounts of homemade (made onsite) nut butters, hummus, tahini etc in small containers which is a lot cheaper than buying a whole jar (and keeps the binge temptation at a more manageable level).

Also, one can make nut/seed butters in a food processor too if you don't have a high speed blender. I did invest in a high speed Blentec in 2011 (now at 997 uses so far as it records each time I use it), and it was $450 including shipping, not cheap when I was in college and working part time back then. But it has more than paid for itself as I can blend my own flour from whole grains in bulk, blend my own nut/seed butters, plant milks (my favorite is flaxseed milk) make puddings and pesto (with my fresh home grown basil leaves, avocado, and lemon juice) and all kinds of smoothies and vegetable drinks and raw soups. I can make cauliflower alfredo too. A high speed blender is not necessary to enjoy a varied vegan diet, but it's a lot of fun and opens up more culinary experiences.

I find it interesting when people say they crave dairy during hormonal periods. So many parts of the world do not consume dairy, and it is not a natural part of the human diet (other than Mom's milk as a baby). I'm not sure I even buy into the idea that if we are missing some component of nutrient or are in greater need of it during a certain physical condition, that we crave it or something similar (for example, if we lack DHA, craving fish, or if we exert intense energy, craving something potassium or sodium rich). Interestingly, when I was starving myself and very underweight, I would have strong physical cravings for sugared cereals, something I hadn't eaten in many years. I called them food hallucinations because I could literally smell and taste the foods I craved even if I had not had them in a long time and would never eat them. You'd think my body would have craved nourishing foods with sustenance lol. I really do think that cravings for specific foods are more of a psychological component or cultural conditioning. And in western culture, we have so much food at our fingertips. It's like we HAVE to have this or that. We put so much value on stuff like "superfoods" or designer processed food (I am guilty of my love of Just Mayo) and get so mad when we can't get our hands on those particular foods, despite all else that is available to us. IDK, just rambling. Totally lost what I was trying to get at. Off to work...
 

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Bandit
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Well I had blood work done and everything was fine, no calcium deficiency lol. ..I was actually very slightly anemic, but it was literally following my monthly blood loss, and I figure I will just take a vegan multi-vitamin a few times a week that contains iron, and be more careful to combine vitamin C foods with iron foods. I assumed I was eating enough iron, but I also know caffeine can block iron absorption.

For now I am sticking with the phenylalanine theory, and am going to try making sure I'm eating nut butters, cashew cheese, tahini, so forth instead of soy during that time of the month. ..but still including soy the rest of the month for its many other health benefits and the fact I love tofu, and though I drink hemp, hazelnut or other milks, I find plain unsweetened soy milk to be the best in some recipes.


@Naturebound ...450 dollars? Holy guacamole! Still I think I should get a good food processor.

Also I wonder if your sugared cereal cravings had a lot to do with the body needing carbs to survive, and you would get simple sugars quickly...as well as the fact that most sugary cereals in the US contain a half version of a mild multi-vitamin, and milk (soy or otherwise) has protein. I do know some cravings are purely psychological. ..but I do think some are physical, and it doesn't matter if people in East Asia ever drank cows milk...you did, so your body internally learned to associate certain nutriets with that flavor or chemical composition. I'm not defending dairy, but bodily cravings are more individualized than general.
 
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