The Great Planned Over Drawback

Heather says:

Yesterday I forgot to mention something very important, or at least important to people with my whacked out metabolism.

When I stretch meals as outlined in the planned over post, I usually alternate with our normal lower carb, lots of vegetable and protein meals. Other times I freeze the leftovers of the original meal to turn into a planned over meal sometime later.

Why do I do this?


Photo Credit: Brimac the 2nd

I tend to become very short tempered if I don’t have enough protein. This is why I have no intention of attempting to become vegetarian. I’ll certainly alternate with meals where the meat plays second fiddle, meatless meals, andΒ vegetarian dishes. So far, in my experience even with careful planning and meals with packed with beans, I tend to walk around slavering like a starved animal after three or four days. With three young children, who need a significant amount of patience on my part, this is far from an optimal scenario.

Those Snickers diva commercials? Yeah, they hit a little too close to home sometimes.

I should also note, my husband has learned that if I am blowing something completely out of proportion, suggesting I need to eat a taco is actually not a good way to bring me back to reality. Not that I ever lose my temper or anything.

An excuse? Perhaps, but diabetes does run in my family, so I don’t get on the carbohydrate roller coaster too often.


I wasn’t careful this week and right now all I can think about is how good a steak would be; it’s quite distracting.

Am I alone in this quirk?

Remember, the morality argument about meat consumption is not up for debate here at Home Ec 101. Nutrition, budget, etc are all acceptable points, but as usual stay respectful in the comments. I respect my omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan readers and expect the same in return.


  1. JMH on June 7, 2010 at 6:44 am

    *belatedly catching up on blogs stacked up from the holiday*
    I also am O and also die without ANIMAL protein. I just can't seem to get anything out of the vegetable kinds. I love beans, but with the ham hocks in it. I love rice, made with chicken broth thank you very much.
    If I don't have meat, red, white or neonatal, I cannot move, I cannot think. I don't know if I get cranky, but unlike a bunch of people commenting, *I* don't have kids. *grin*
    "Vegetables ain't food. Vegetables is what food eats."

  2. Gigi on June 1, 2010 at 1:57 am

    I **must** eat meat, every day, including beef. I've also heard that I must be an O blood type – which I think I am. I agree that it's the B vitamins as well as the protein. I also get cranky if I don't have enough protein, and do best on a diet of meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits, and basically no grains.

    I'm a Texas girl, so we eat a lot of beef. I want to make the switch to grass-fed, as it's nutritionally superior, not to mention better for the cows and the environment. We tried our first grass-fed steaks recently, and they were ok, but it's going to take some getting used to. I eat most of the fat on the steaks as well (the fat is actually needed for digesting protein, and it's great for satiety and stabilizing my blood sugar) so I fear that I'm getting all the concentrated toxins & antibiotics fed to that poor CAFO cow that I'm eating.

    At the holidays, for about two weeks, we had duck, turkey, pork, chicken, but we didn't have any beef. By the end of that time, I was ready to run out into a field and just bite a cow! LOL!

    My husband travels a lot, so when he's getting ready to be gone, he cooks up several steaks, hamburger patties, and/or chicken pieces for me so that I have easy protein options in the fridge. Even though I love to cook, I get lazy, especially when he's gone and I'm hungry, so this keeps me on an even keel!

  3. anabenet on May 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I wonder if it's not just the protien but the B vitamins that are lacking when people crave animal meat. Red meat especially. The B vitamins help with the engergy issues too. Something to think on.

  4. Keter on May 19, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Show of hands….how many of our meat-needing commenters have type O blood? From what I've read and heard, type Os need regular animal protein to digest and metabolize correctly. I'm one of them, but thankfully just get digestive and metabolic upsets…no mood issues or cravings.

    • HeatherSolos on May 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

      I have heard that, but I've never seen the studies it's based on. Anecdotally, it is true for me.

    • tinkerschnitzel on May 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      I'm AB, but I'm also anemic, which would explain my meat cravings. I craved steak and ice through both my pregnancies.

  5. Bri Dodson on May 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    My husband also has a bad habit of asking if I need a bean burrito when we're arguing or if I'm being a bit irrational (unless I'm pregnant). It doesn't bode well for him usually…though he's usually right! I also need protein, but beans fill me up better than most meats so we eat a lot of those. I really crave meat when I'm pregnant…steaks, hamburgers, etc. Not stuff we eat a lot any other time.

    Cherie – You may want to do more research on the effects of soy on boys. It can actually really mess with their development b/c of the estrogen issue. Can cause men to be at higher risk of developing breast cancer, late puberty, low testosterone levels, etc. We banned soy from our house because of the negative reports and studies I read. Now, some people never have a problem with it and maybe it will come out one day that these studies are wrong…I'm just not convinced that it IS a safe alternative for our family.

  6. Karen on May 20, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Please don't eat the tiger!

  7. cherie on May 19, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I agree that cravings are a message about what our body needs!

    I, like apparently loads of others LOL, also need protein to cope well, and FEEL well.

    My dh has gone somewhat low carb in the past year or so too.

    I find that our household goes smoothest when there's ready to eat protein sitting in the fridge. I'm crazy for my freezer but the best is when I grab a bag of already cooked roasted chicken pieces or grilled chicken breast or some meatloaf out of there and just leave it in the fridge – it disappears, lunches, late night dinner for dh, after school snacks etc – just yesterday I left to take the littlest to karate for TEN MINUTES and by the time I got back the other two had eaten the last two meatloaf patties left from the night before as an after school snack – which was supposed to be poor dh's dinner.
    Luckily he is totally happy with boca burgers. I have survived breast cancer and don't mess with soy products anymore [we used to use a lot of tvp etc] on doctor's orders and don't give it to my girls – funnily the boy is the only one who really cares for boca burgers anyway . . .

  8. Anna B on May 19, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Wow, so many meat eaters! I don't have anything against it, but unlike a lot of the ladies here, I just don't care for it very much.

    Now pasta – pasta and I get along VERY well… πŸ™‚

    My favorite meat is fish, and my second-fave 'meat' is eggs. In fact, I think I like eggs more than fish. But beef, pork, lamb… eh, I'll eat it occasionally, but I have half a 10oz steak leftover from a steakhouse visit two days ago and it'll probably go bad, since I won't be hungry for meat again for awhile. πŸ™‚

    Now I just wait for all the flying ribeyes everyone will throw at me for admitting that…

    • HeatherSolos on May 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      If you are in good health and eating a reasonably nutritious diet that suits your tastes. Great!
      I firmly believe if we have a reasonable diet our cravings offer a good indication of what our bodies need most. If I've been craving ice and steak, I guarantee my iron is low and I adjust accordingly, not only adding in red meat, but more dark greens, too.

    • ThatBobbieGirl on May 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      I won't throw a ribeye at ya — I'd rather eat it. πŸ™‚

      Yikes — slice that steak or chop it, then stick it in a ziploc bag and freeze it. Squish it flat first. Then you can take out just a little of it to put in pasta sauce or a stir fry. Don't let t go bad!

      I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta — but if we're having pasta with no meat, I could eat a whole bunch of it and still feel like I'm starving. I make a very meaty pasta sauce and have "a little spaghetti with my sauce."

      Carbs and I have a love-hate relationship. I love them and crave them, but I hate what they do to me (gain weight) and how they make me feel (sluggish and unsatisfied). It's hard, but I try to mainly make myself eat meat and veggies, because I know that's how I feel well and function at my best.

      • Stacy on May 19, 2010 at 4:59 pm

        I feel pretty much exactly the same about everything you just said.

  9. Diane on May 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I'm happy and relieved to know I'm not the only woman with severe meat cravings out there. My female co-workers seem a bit taken aback that I can easily turn down cake, candy, and other sugar items but I can't turn down a rare roast beef sandwich (the sight of all that pink juicy goodness soaking into the baguette makes me a very happy woman) or slice of prime rib with au jus and horseradish . . . not even if the fate of the free world hinged on it. If you want to bring me to my knees . . . grill a pepper/garlic rubbed steak where it wafts onto the sidewalk . . . and if I'm feeling exceptionally hungry or unwell, I will suffer the very real 'addiction response' of suddenly being very trembly in the knees. Why is it men never have this effect on me . . . just steak? I guess I know where my focus truly is! LOL

    I feel ferociously hungry without two meat meals a day, and after a week more than a little tired and unwell. Not sure if the pernicious anemia I've coped with since puberty is really the instigator, but it makes sense to me.

    P.S. the only other severe cravings I endure are for raw oysters on the half shell. Thankfully, these cravings aren't nearly as frequent or urgent as my beef cravings. But when a red tide sets in and destroys our local Pacific NW oyster eating–and I'm currently in the grips of an oyster craving–I am a very bummed out, tired, hungry and frustrated woman!


    • HeatherSolos on May 19, 2010 at 10:00 am

      I quit being dainty about food a long time ago. If I'm hungry, I eat, and I quit feeling bad if my meal was twice as large as the petite lady at the next table.
      If I eat too much, I'll figure it out and address the issue at that point.
      Also Diane, your comment was just cruel, it's not even 6am and roast beef sounds divine.

  10. Stacy on May 19, 2010 at 5:24 am

    I guess there are a lot of meat lovers here! I'm kind of up and down about that. I love vegetables and whole grains and I'm almost a wanna-be vegetarian, sort of, some days. Taste-wise, I think I can go quite a long time without meat. However, I feel very very hungry if I don't have adequate protein with each meal. I used to eat a lot of soy proteins in various forms, thinking I was being super healthy, but then learned that it worked against my low thyroid, so I stopped. I don't even mind most of the substitutes, but I prefer to just add in cheese, eggs, or something "real" rather than fake meat. Also, I recently learned that unless it's organic, almost all soy products in the U.S. are GMOs. Yikes, I have eaten so many! Anyway, we like meat. I just try to have more chicken or fish and not tons of beef and such, even though we love it. My husband feels meat is much more of a meal requirement than I do–like the meal is just not really complete without meat.

    • HeatherSolos on May 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

      It's that constant hungry feeling that drives me crazy. I reach a point where I feel like all I'm doing is eating or worrying about the next meal. I love food, I mean I LOVE food, but it can't feel like the only focus of my life.

      Soy is a filler in a lot of processed foods, too. Since I limit our intake, eating whole cuts of meat makes more sense in our household.

      • Stacy on May 19, 2010 at 2:57 pm

        Yes, I agree. I pretty much feel satisfied if there's some kind of protein, not necessarily meat but it could be meat. Peanut butter, cheese, eggs, beans, etc. all work. My biggest meat craving these days is for meatloaf. I'm not sure if my husband likes it as well as I do, but ever since I started making my own a year or so ago, I want to make it frequently. I've used your recipe and like it very much–especially with a little bit of italian sausage and cajun seasoning. I also have a recipe for ground turkey meatloaf that I think is very good (same additions of sausage and cajun). In fact, I made it last night and ate some later in the evening too…good good good!

  11. Sara on May 19, 2010 at 3:53 am

    I would like to go vegetarian, but I've noticed if I don't get enough protein (even eating beans twice a day) then I get tired. (I'm borderline anemic, so I have to be really careful around that time of the month.)

    Plus half of my family are hunters so it would be a huge scandal if I went vegetarian (I don't have moral problems with hunting, I just think being a vegetarian would be healthier. However, my current vegetable intake is poor at best.)

    Basically: ME LIKE MEAT.

  12. caryn verell on May 19, 2010 at 1:46 am

    if bambi was the last living animal on earth and i was the last human being i would be stalking bambi just for a taste of venison. sorry folks! i want my meat…i gain weight, get cranky, suffer physical pain, you name it if i do not have my serving size hunk of protein (the kind i can actually chew) at least once a day… on the other side of the plate though are my carbs (serving size only) and yes i do like them but they sometimes do not like me. i am not a diabetic although everyone else in my family are. i am very fortunate not to have those "sugar" cravings everyone seems to rave about and even though i like chocalate…i rarelyl consume it. i do not like meat that has been "changed" with less fat/soy added/etc….that to me is not the real thing. and anything that has been made lofat/nofat/less sugar/nosugar/soy added so on and so forth is suspect…it is not nice to fool mother nature!

  13. Camilla on May 19, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I turn to eggs when I need a protein snack. For me, fried or poached with buttered toast, or scrambled with white rice and peas (the latter if my tummy is unhappy). For the toddler, hard boiled and cut into wedges. Even when planning has completely failed me, there's still fresh and edible eggs in the fridge.

  14. Jenna on May 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Actually, through a genetic quirk shared by a lot of family members – I CAN'T go vegetarian. Like a cat, hair starts to fall out, everything kinda breaks down pretty quickly if I go more than a day or two without animal protein. Luckily, I live near a farm/butcher shop that raises and sells grass fed meat at good prices – because the way my husband (former power lifter) and I sometimes plow through it… sheesh. I'd be in the poorhouse without them! I even keep little "emergency" packs of a 1/4 pound of stew meat in the freezer for a quick cook to sear, toss with garlic and salt, and munch through when I start to feel crappy. You aren't alone at all!

    In my case, the hubs knows TO tell me "Hey, HoNeY….. go grab some beef." when the crankies hit. It might earn him a dirty look or three – but by the time I'm done cleaning up my plate I'm usually able to sheepishly thank him for the reminder.

    • HeatherSolos on May 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm

      It's not that his suggestion is out of line, by the time it's apparent to him what the issue is, I'm ornery and looking for a fight.
      I'm really very lucky that he puts up with me, not saying he's a saint, just that I have some seriously annoying quirks.

  15. JRae on May 18, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Oh I TOTALLY get cranky when my blood sugar is low. And I've found that since I have a high metabolism I really NEED protein and fat, ESPECIALLY for breakfast!

    Unfortunately there are so many sugary and carby options for breakfast, that it leaves me feeling limited sometime. But whenever I have a pastry for breakfast, my body lets me know ASAP that that is NOT ENOUGH!

    And I get all nauseous when my blood sugar's low too. As if being cranky weren't hard enough…. πŸ˜›

  16. asyhre on May 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I always thought I could go with out meat, tried it a few times and well it is not an options… I can do a few meals, but that is it. My husband on the other hand can not stand a meal that does not have some sort of meat in it.

    When I was pregnant with each of my kids my cravings (as in daily) were steak, prime rib and ice cream… no wonder my husband does not want any more children… it was a very expensive time.

  17. Shannon on May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    LOL at the husband suggestion – mine gives a tentative, "Maybe you should have a snack…" which is so much nicer than "You have an attitude problem!" Protein, carbs, fruit juice, whatever – if I go too long without fuel, I get cranky and lightheaded, a miserable combo. Sympathies!

  18. Sandy on May 18, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I need protein. That's all I can say. Meat-derived protein. We all need to feed the body we've been given, rather than trying a one-perfect-diet-feeds-all approach. I don't do well with even one day of not having meat. This perplexes my vegetarian daughter, but so be it. I can usually tell when I haven't been careful with my eating habits; I will crave steak as well, even though I'm not a huge fan. I'd rather have chicken. But I think the craving is my body's way of telling me the protein is low. Lack of protein also has an affect on my moods. I'm not happy about that, but it's best if I don't ignore it. I now feel that I should eat a cheeseburger in your honor. Don't worry, I'll have a salad with it. πŸ™‚

  19. Miranna on May 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    You are not alone. My problem is that I have IBS and vegetables can cause HAVOC in my digestive system. Havoc.

    And then there's my poor husband who seems to think that if he can't have meat with every meal (except breakfast) then he's starving to death. *sigh*


    P.S. I am part of a game blog, where I am "Miranna." But my name is really Melinda

  20. EV on May 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    My Dr. just decided that gliadin (a part of wheat), olive, safflower, and sunflower oils, and turkey among a few other things are off limits to me for at least three months. The bonus is we are eating more red meat which I love. The down side is that no pasta means stretching meats is more difficult as we adjust to rice and potatoes. What do you call a past sauce over rice? My grocery bill is going up. Sigh.

    • asyhre on May 18, 2010 at 7:28 pm

      my daughter can not have gluten, but I have found that the brown rice noodles and corn noodles are a really good substitute. I liked the corn better then the rice, but the kids and husband could not tell the difference. And yes the grocery bill does rise as most of those noodle options cost more.

      • EV on May 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

        I've been buying rice noodles from a chinese grocery. This has saved – I don't mind the taste. The family can't tell the difference. I'd be interested in the corn noodles.


    • Britton on May 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm

      Our family is gluten free and has been for a couple years. One of the things I like spaghetti sauce on that is great is… spaghetti squash! Much better than rice, lots of vitamins not found in pastas, and sometimes a lot cheaper than the non-wheat pastas can be these days.

  21. tinkerschnitzel on May 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Mmm, meat. I'm in a quandry with my diet. I have a super high metabolism that forces me to eat 3000-4000 calories a day to maintain my weight, but I still have to be careful about what I eat due to family history of diabetes and gall bladder disease. I love meat, especially a good steak or pot roast, but it's not good for the gall bladder or liver. I love potatoes and anything starchy, but it's not good for the blood sugar. These are my main food groups, along with chocolate. I guess I'll stick to my meat and potatoes diet until I actually start putting on weight.

  22. Vanessa on May 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I'm a meat and potatoes person, which for the meat, great but the potatoes not so great since diabetes also runs in my family and I happened to be diagnosed with it very young. Meat is something I don't constantly have to watch for carbohydrates and so it is a big stable in my home. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes I did try a variety of meat substitutes and for someone who was raised on meat, it's not all that bad. I didn't usually miss my meat after a vegetarian meal with meat substitute.

    Protien, as I think you may know, is a big part of a diabetic diet. I know protein can be found in other food groups besides just meat but that is one of the main protein sources and I don't think I could live without!

    • HeatherSolos on May 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm

      I have never given seitan a try, but I do mockingly say it in the Church Lady voice, quite often. I have nothing against it, I've just never given it a shot.

      Most meat substitute is soy and after a long discussion with my doctor over some other things, soy really isn't an option for me or my daughter. I don't know if she will have the same issues, but I'm not going to tempt fate.

  23. imabug on May 18, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I don't think I get cranky when I don't get enough protein, but I do definitely get meat cravings

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