Why Do I Crave Red Meat? Top 5 reasons

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why do I crave red meat

Are you craving red meat and wondering why?

Cravings are an interesting thing. They can be hard to understand why we have them, and they often come out of nowhere.

While cravings for red meat are common, many times people are more fearful of their red meat cravings because red meat is associated with heart disease.

We’ve all heard that eating too much red meat will give you a heart attack, right?

So of course you’re going to feel pretty darn worried if you are craving red meat!

Plus, we all know the majority of people in Western nations are struggling with weight, so that’s just one extra thing to worry about on top of red meat cravings.

And you aren’t even sure why those cravings are happening in the first place!

At Eating Enlightenment we help people understand why they overeat, and what the they can do about their eating patterns.

However, please do know that we are meat-friendly in general. Meat can be a part of a healthy diet.

In fact, if you regularly eat meat, we encourage you to online order high quality meats and get them delivered straight to your door for discounted prices.

So if you’re someone who craves red meat or if you want to know why other people might be having food cravings, then read the following article!

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1 – You have iron deficiency anemia

iron deficiency anemia

Iron is an important nutrient and we should consume it every day. Having low iron levels is not good!

When your low iron levels get super low, this is what’s known as iron deficiency anemia.

Iron deficiency, unfortunately, is fairly common especially for women of childbearing age or people who have stopped menstruating.

In college I also got diagnosed with anemia. Anemia is when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells.

When I was diagnosed with anemia my doctor tested my blood, and based on those results of the blood test, prescribed me some supplements and told me to eat more meat.

After doing some research about why people crave iron rich foods like beef or chicken, it all kind of clicked for me why the recommendation made sense.

Iron deficiency can cause you to feel tired and sluggish because your body is not getting oxygen efficiently through the blood stream. Eating iron rich meats will help replenish that nutrient in your diet which should increase energy levels quickly!

In fact if you’re craving things like steak then you might be deficient in a number of nutrients, not just iron. For example, if you are craving red meat certain nutrient deficiencies might be why.

If you’re not getting enough iron in your diet then this could be why you’re craving red meat. Eating lean beef can help!

2 – You’re pregnant

pregnant woman

Now why would you be low in iron?

Well, maybe your iron levels are not actually low … if you were eating for one person!

But if you are pregnant and are eating for two people, then your normal amount of iron is not going to suffice!

So if you are craving red meat, this could be why!

Also while pregnant it is important to eat healthy proteins like lean beef. Your baby needs protein after all and there’s nothing better than a steak for your growing little one!

After the baby has been born, cravings will likely disappear or at least decrease in intensity.

In fact some people find they’re unable to eat certain meats when they become parents because their body just cannot handle them anymore.

For example, I’ve heard stories of from some mothers who started to crave red meat while pregnant. But then after the birth of their child their cravings returned to normal.

3 – Your body’s craving protein

protein deficiency

Protein is essential for your body to grow and function normally.

Unfortunately most people in Western societies eat way too little protein, which can lead to cravings like the ones you’re experiencing with red meat!

If you think about the traditional American meal it’s steak and potatoes right?

Well, let’s say you’ve been snacking on mainly carbs (potatoes) the whole day. For breakfast you had cereal, lunch some pizza, and then now in the even you’re absolutely craving red meat.

Why is that?

Well, you’ve just eaten carbs the whole day and now your body is craving protein!

If you are craving steak or other forms of red meat then why not try buying some lean beef mince?

It’s cheap, quick and easy to cook (throw it on a pan or grill)! Plus there are so many awesome recipes out there that use lean beef mince as their main ingredient!

What about chicken?

4 – You’re feeling stressed and need an outlet

picture of stressed out woman with sticky notes on her face to show bad work life balance

Have you ever worked really hard and felt like you needed a big treat?

Well, the same culture that promotes the meat and potato diet also promotes a big steak as the best treat of all!

If you are stressed then your gut instinct might be to crave a big red juicy piece of meat! Because stressful times to you could mean that you feel like you need a reward!

Just think …

Are you normally not thinking about red meat but then when things get really stressful you start daydreaming of a grilled steak?

If this is the case, why not treat yourself and make a nice juicy steak for dinner?

Eat some veggies too! No need to cut those out completely. Eating red meat does not have to be bad for you or your health as long as it’s done in moderation and balanced with other forms of protein like nuts or veggies.

5 – Vitamin Deficiency

Sources of Vitamin B12

If you are deficient in zinc, vitamin B12 or magnesium then some of your cravings will likely revolve around getting more of these nutrients into the body!

And guess what contains a lot of zinc, vitamin B12 and magnesium?

You guessed it … red meat!

Red meat contains a great balance of all these nutrients.

Ever wonder why wolves and other predators can survive on wild animals?

The simple answer is that they have a great balance of nutrients in their diet which allows them to hunt and survive.

Sometimes it even seems like red meat really is the food of the wolves! 😉

But on the topic of red meat, does having lots of vitamins and protein make red meat a great thing for you to eat?

Why is it bad to eat a lot of red meat? 

It’s not always the red meat that is bad for you, it’s how much of it you’re eating!

What is a lot of red meat? Well, generally speaking, a lot of red meat is anything over twice week.

We could get into more specifics about how much red meat is ‘bad’ for you but I think simple is better. Having red meat around once or twice a week is a good rule of thumb.

And why is this bad for you?

Well, red meat can contain high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol which has been linked to heart disease!


What should I eat if I crave red meat?

If you crave red meat, why not try to eat it?

Well, the key here is having a balance of nutrients. If you are going on a binge and stuffing your face with beef then yeah … that’s super unhealthy!

But if you’re only having one or two steaks in a week why not get some lean meat from the butcher instead of fatty steak at the grocery store?

Lean mince has fewer calories than normal steak but can still provide lots of protein!

Plus there are so many awesome recipes out there that use lean beef as their main ingredient. Beef chili anyone with a dash of spice if you’re craving hot sauce?

Food cravings for red meat – summary

So, why am I craving red meat?

Well, there could be a number of reasons. You might not have enough iron in your diet and your suffering from anemia or you may be pregnant and craving protein to support the growing fetus inside you.

Maybe it’s just time for a break from veggies and fruit so that your body can get some much-needed vitamin D! Overall meat is one of the best foods that are filling and healthy so go ahead!

Whatever the reason behind this sudden change in cravings, we hope we’ve helped shed some light on what might be going on with one simple answer.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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