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Low-sodium high-calorie foods

I recently started a workout program, the first time I've worked out regularly since high school. It's been fun noticing the changes in my body and reaping the benefits of working out. But one thing I've noticed has been a bit of a pain: my appetite. I'm the sort of person who gets hungry often and gets cranky and headache-y and non-functional when I'm hungry. Now it seems like I'm hungrier even MORE now that I've started working out, which makes sense because I'm burning calories and building muscle. I've been trying to eat more, but it seems like I'm never satisfied--my stomach may be full, but my body still wants more, or I get hungrier faster. I figure I need more protein and calories in my diet, so I've been trying to eat more. I'm not worried about gaining weight, I'm actually worried about losing the precious few curves that I do have. But what I am worried about is sodium. It seems like I'm always craving salty and buttery tastes (I've never had much of a sweet tooth, I even have trouble finishing a large piece of fruit because of the syrupy taste). I also have random cravings for milk, which is kind of amusing because I haven't drunk milk for like 10 years.

So! What are your favorite good low-sodium, high-calorie (protein is nice too) foods that will satisfy my salty/buttery tastes? I take vitamins and "good fatty oils supplements" fairly regularly, and I eat meat. I know things like unsalted nuts and dark chocolate, but what about actual meals, not just random snacks?


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
Don't forget healthy fats! You need more of those as well, and that is a big source of calories. It satiates the appetite better than any other food group. A good base rule, though is to eat protein if you are craving it. If you are working out more, you are tearing down muscle and need more protein than you normally eat to recover. The same rule goes for sodium as well. If you are getting sweaty, you need more sodium than you had before working out. Salt is the biggest thing lost in sweat. "Cranky and headachey" are symptoms of too little salt in the system as well as hypoglycemia. Protein and fats are best for hypoglycemia, if it's that.

The three things that your body needs more of with increased exercise is the three things you are craving. It's good to start by knowing that your body has a clear communication going on with you, it's best to trust it.
A good salad with a creamy dressing, a chicken breast cooked in butter with some cheese on top, or get some full-fat yogurt with some berries in it (avoiding all chemicals and sugar) all fit that bill. These are the things I keep on hand for post workout protein/fat needs. Good luck. Good for you for exercising more!

Feb. 22nd, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
Thank you for the suggestions! They sound delicious =) Good to know that my body isn't going bonkers, but actually telling me what it's supposed to!
Feb. 22nd, 2008 03:36 am (UTC)
The cravings will subside, I promise. I remember going through the 'stick of butter dipped in ramen seasoning sounds like dinner to me' phase. I suggest finding a really good protein powder/shake for snacks (I know you said no snacks, but they are awesome and creamy if right).

I'm a big fan of low-fat cottage cheese, omelettes/fortata (ok, egg anything), hummous, fatty fish like salmon, refried beans (make a burrito and put thin slices of cheese on the bottom-you'll taste it more there), yogurt (falafel on spinach or lettuce with plain yogurt or home made tatziki as dressing), homestyle potatoes, turkey sausage or bacon, coconut milk sauces, and natural peanut butter (especially on home made thai food).

http://www.skwigg.com/ has some great stuff on food, gymrats and gymrats_eats might be good places to ask too. though gymrats can be a bit snarky, I don't see anything in this post that would likely set them off but you never know.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm so glad to know that I'm not the only one! Thanks for the awesome suggestions and links. Putting the cheese on the bottom of a burrito...brilliant! Falafel, how come I never thought of that? I love falafel! You guys always come through for me here at naturalliving =)
Feb. 22nd, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
cravings sort of depend on what causes them...

how are your electrolytes? are you making very sure to replenish them after you're working out? if not you could be craving sodium simply because you're low.

are you taking a calcium supplement? if you're doing weight training and your bones are trying to build themselves up, maybe you need one and that's why you're craving milk.

craving butter could mean you're low on efas.

working out will also up your protein requirement,and if you have blood sugar issues it can sort of mess with you if you let your blood sugar drop too low -- and if your belly can be full but you're hungry, that sounds like you might be spiking your insulin with carbs when you eat and then overproducing insulin so that your blood sugar ends up lower than before you ate. i used to go thru it, and it's MISERABLE.

if it were me, i'd cut back on starches and increase protein and healthy fats. (starches affect blood sugar just as much as sugars do.)

it might be worth getting some blood work done, especially glycohemoglobin/a1c, glucose, and electrolytes, just to see where you are.

for meals,i LOVE stir fry. fast and easy, especially if you chop stuff when you come home from shopping and freeze it on trays, then transfer to jars or zipper bags.

pull out some protein, pull out some veg, stir fry with some seasonings (garlic, ginger, whatever spices you like), eat.

also i LOVE salads, ones iwht tons of greens, some desi chickpeas, and some leftover seasoned beef or something like egg or tuna or chicken salad (insert protein of your choice), some pickled beets, tossed with evoo and raw cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice and some celtic salt and black pepper. SO GOOD.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
Because they're in season right now and we've got a tree, lately I've been having an avocado (with a sprinkling of salt) as a post-workout treat.

Carbs, that could totally be the culprit. Bread is my weakness, my comfort food, but maybe that's what's been making me feel worse!

I just made myself a salad =) Delish!

Thanks for all your recommendations.
Feb. 22nd, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
i am so very very envious of your avocado tree. and that's a wonderful healthy fat. the salt thing is so weird. it's been way demonized in the usa, but i read something a few years ago (and didn't bookmark, grr) that said that reducing salt is wonderful for the 1/3 of ppl who have hypertension, neutral for 1/3 of people, and actually bad for 1/3 of people (i'm in that last category and learned it the hard way).

bread, potatoes, and white rice just knock my body for a loop. and they're all my comfort foods! specially with cheese -- and i'm allergic to casein. *grumble* *g* so now i stick to brown rice with butter and salt and pepper, and only a little balanced with protein and fat.

i dont do well with raw foods like salads in winter, but now that spring is springing i am starting to crave them.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 22nd, 2008 07:11 am (UTC)
Seriously, A+ to naturalliving for giving some great help. I've always liked salty/buttery things more than sweet things, but now it's MORE.

I think I'm gonna splurge on some organic whole milk and full fat yogurt tomorrow (I live with my parents so I usually just have what they buy, reduced fat etc.).

Thanks for your encouragement! Good luck to you too =)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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