Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Carbs in the Cold

So the cold weather has settled in on the field area for my job. Last week brought us a 13-degree (F) morning, 22-degree days, and a constant low-hanging fog that lasted about 7 days, obscuring everything further than 100 yards away. That's the longest I've gone without seeing the sun in Utah.

I felt like the apocalypse was coming, because every day we'd wake up in a cloud, with no sign that it would ever subside. However, on day 9 of the shift, the sun finally made a spectacular appearance and blasted away the fog, leaving us with sweeping views of the Uinta mountains to the north, the rock cliffs to the east and west of us still blanketed in snow, and a beautiful blue sky. The temperature only slightly increased with the arrival of the sun, and then became even more biting with the entrance of the wind that threatened to bring our first big winter storm.

Along with the weather, I've noticed a change in my appetite in the field: I've been craving CARBS. Lots of them. Almost immediately upon arriving in the field, I want what my co-staff are eating: Pop-Tarts (I never even liked these before), mac & cheese, king-size Snickers bars, granola and oats (known in our groups as "G-n-O"), and dense cups of beans and rice ("B-n-R") loaded with sharp cheddar cheese.

As soon as I return home, these cravings are gone. Right now I want to make a big pan of roasted brussels sprouts, devour a huge grass-fed burger with no bun, and snack on leftover stir-fry. I started to think that there had to be some primal answer to why I'm craving carbs when I'm living in the cold, and that I shouldn't ignore them, stubbornly clinging to a low-carb diet in the field. So I sent a question to Mark Sisson of Mark's Daily Apple, and he answered in his "Dear Mark" column. He explains it way better than I could, but essentially he says that yes, we do need to eat more carbs while living in the cold. Hurray! Here's the link to his response!

Now I just need to make sure I can keep them "healthy" carbs and resist the urge to go find gluten-free Pop-Tarts. Stay tuned for a post on carb-dense options that would still fit a paleo diet.

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