There's nothing wrong with a veggie burger, but sometimes, if you're used to eating it, your body just craves some meat. The taste, texture, and smell: it can definitely be a craving that's hard to shake. If you notice signs your body is craving meat, you shouldn't deprive yourself; cravings always mean something, and there's nothing wrong with feeling satisfied and enjoying a rich, juicy burger.
As a certified health coach, I work with clients on feeling in tune with their bodies and needs, as well as having the right attitude when it comes to cravings and pleasure. When you deprive yourself, it can lead to some nasty cravings, as it's your body's way to telling you that it's lacking in particular areas, such as nutrition or taste. If you notice you're drooling upon a glance at a medium-rare steak and fries, you might want to pull up a chair, order one for yourself, and enjoy every bite. Here are seven signs that your body is craving meat and could use a dose of solid, animal protein every now and then. Whether it's red meat, chicken, or turkey, all offer incredible health benefits in moderation, so eating them regularly could be a great way to keep the body satisfied and nourished.
1. You're Tired
If you're low in energy, you might also be low in iron, which is a key nutrient found in meat products, explains Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D.N., C.L.T., a nutrition consultant at Shaw's Simple Swaps to Bustle. "If your body is craving meat, it may be due to low iron status. Focus on eating chicken, fish or beef if you're a meat eater, or pairing high iron plant based foods, like spinach and dark leafy greens, with a Vitamin C-containing food to increase your dietary iron sources," says Shaw.
2. Your Hands Are Tingling
When you're deficient in Vitamin B12, which is only found naturally in animal protein (vegans and vegetarians might want to supplement with B12, as plant-based diets can't satisfy this need), your hands might tingle due to weird nerve sensations. If this happens, your body is craving some meat to fix the deficiency.
3. You're Sick Often
Without adequate zinc, your immune system plummets. When you don't eat enough animal protein, you might be more susceptible to a zinc deficiency, and you might notice you're getting sick often, explained a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
4. Your Nails Are Breaking
If you notice your nails are weak and brittle, it could mean you're not getting enough protein, especially in the form of meat, as vegans and vegetarians are most in danger of a deficiency, explained Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to SELF.
5. You Have Slow Recoveries When Injured
According to Lea Basch, M.S., R.D., the registered dietitian for The Tasteful Pantry, speaking to Mindbodygreen, if you're taking a super long time to heal from an injury, it could mean that your body is craving meat and protein. Without it, it's hard for the body's muscles to repair and strengthen.
6. Your Muscles Hurt
According to Nancy Clark, author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, speaking to Livestrong, if your muscles are hurting, especially amongst athletes, it could mean your body is craving meat, such as a burger or a nice piece of chicken. Fueling post-workout is especially important, as it keeps joints and muscles healthy and strong.
7. Your Periods Are Heavy
Over interview with Cosmopolitan, Dr. Joseph Colella, M.D., weight-loss expert and author of The Appetite Solution explained that heavy periods can leave you deficient in iron and B Vitamins, which are harder to replenish on a meat-free diet. If that time of the month is tough, your body might be needing some meat, stat.
If you notice any of these signs or reasons, you might want to head to your nearest diner and grab a burger (extra fries, of course).