Ever since I can remember, I have been a protein craver. As a child, I looked forward to consuming beef, lamb, chicken, tuna, eggs and turkey. While other children were begging for sweets, I would happily gnaw on a lamb shoulder bone at dinner, never thinking that dessert was something I was supposed to want after I had filled my belly with meat. I regarded chocolate as something other kids liked, but never went nuts trying to get to it. The sweet treats I preferred were always fruity and sugary, like fruit gems and Sweet Tarts, yet I never really craved those items either.
It’s funny to me how people just assume that women are carb cravers. Not this woman! As an adult, my protein cravings are stronger than ever. When I say that protein food sources are the foundation of my daily diet, I mean it. Given the choice between pasta, sweets or meat, I will pretty much always go for the meat. A common scenario is for me to suddenly crave chicken breast or egg whites while I am doing work on my computer at night. This can hit me like a ton of bricks in as little as 30 minutes after I have eaten my last meal. My body also responds very well to a high protein intake so I make sure to eat a considerable amount for my size (currently between 150 to 200 grams per day).
Even before I began competing, I was never the type of person who would go on a donut run or make huge bowls of pasta. However, the one carbohydrate source which was a staple in my diet was glutinous white rice, but it was always accompanied by a solid protein source. The primary reasons why I kept this in my diet were 1. my Japanese heritage almost required an adherence to daily consumption of white rice, and 2. it stretched my food budget. Once I began competing, sticky white rice was banished from my kitchen. I literally did a sweep through every cupboard in my kitchen and threw out every single white and processed food I owned, then never looked back.
I have seen patients, clients and friends who had previously craved carbs who, when bumping up their protein intake and cutting out sugars and processed foods, suddenly began to appreciate and crave protein. Without getting into the physiology behind such a dramatic shift, suffice it to say that protein rich diets can indeed do a body good.