I've subscribed to a number of different ag related magazines over the years and my favorite one, bar none, is Graze. The content is geared toward dairy farmers who graze their cattle, but there are many other articles germane to the local food movement and grass-fed/pasture-based meat production generally. Last month's issue contained an interesting article by Allen Williams, you can actually read the article right here (it's a short and sweet, I recommend it). He cited an old study performed on two-year old humans. They were given free access to a variety of whole foods for some set period of study time, e.g. meat chunks, eggs, bread, fruits, etc. Apparently they did an admirable job of balancing their rations for protein/carbs/fat without any direction from adults about what they "must eat". It's widely accepted that livestock are able to do this - or at least that they will consistently look for the best bite available in a piece of pasture. Watching a cow graze, she rarely just stands and munches away at one spot. Typically she'll move forward and circle back, constantly taking mouthfuls in a search for the next best bite.... Two-year olds and grazing cows have in common that their search for the nutrients they need most, and their palates have not been adulterated by sugar and other processed junk (well, some two-year olds). He then went on to point up the fact that the post ingestive feedback required for this ration balancing to work is only possible when the flavor of a given food is prominent. Our modern proclivity for spices and seasonings of all sorts makes it less possible for us to "listen" to our various bodily needs. He laid the blame for this on the relative blandness of modern foods. Chicken, beef, pork, from CAFOs tastes faintly of the meat from animals of the same species fed well on pastures, but almost invariably the actual flavor is far less intense.
It was in light of this article that I ate a few heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter this past week. Rarely in my life have I experienced strong food cravings, but recently I seriously jonesed for peanut butter every time one of my kids ate some. Finally, I decided to stop being dumb and just eat some. The first spoonful was really freaking incredible. The following few still tasted good, but didn't hit the spot in quite the same way as that first one did. I've decided to chalk the craving up to some nutrient or micro-nutrient that is deficient in my diet, but that my body recognized as present in peanut butter... I don't have anything to base this belief upon other than the article I just wrote about and my experience of eating the peanut butter, but that is what I believe.