Over dinner one day a friend of one my clients asked me a very interesting question:
Why is it that people crave things like doughnuts and sweets and not life giving, cancer fighting foods like spinach and broccoli?
I simply said that's an awesome question and that I've asked myself that questions many times. In fact I also went on to say that although I'm a trainer I have many of the same struggles with food that most people have. It has always perplexed me why I crave sweets and not a bowl of spinach and broccoli. I mean how can this be that foods like broccoli, spinach, carrots etc? which provide nutrients that are vital to our well being don't addict us like junk food does. I just have to walk by Crispy Creme doughnuts and I start fantasizing how delicious those little suckers will be.
In recent months I've come across some insights as to why many are addicted to or crave junk foods. Hopefully this information will at least motivate you to keep these foods out of your house. Outside of your house you will be tempted with many opportunities to eat these lifeless and addicting foods.
World famous health & nutrition expert, Paul Chek calls this the "you can't eat just one syndrome". First he explains in his "You Are What You Eat" audio series that junk foods or non-foods are foods that:
1. Offer very little or no nutrition at all.
2. Force the body to the use its own nutritional stores to assimilate and digest the food.
It's amazing that you are eating to nourish yourself with food but with non-foods you are actually depleting yourself of more nutrients thus creating a need for more nutrition.
These same non-foods also cause you to overeat and possibly become addicted to these foods.
The reason is as the foods enter your mouth your brain can sense if there is actually any nutrition (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc.) present in these foods. If there isn't then the brain simply signals you to keep eating until it finds nutrition. The problem with doughnuts, cookies and that soda pop is that there will never be any nutrition in that food.
So what happens is you simply eat the whole box of cookies, or slurp down 20 oz of that soda. This then creates a big problem with your blood sugar because you've just taken in a great amount of worthless sugar which skyrockets your blood sugar level and forces your pancreas to secret an enormous amount of insulin to bring your blood sugar back down.
Your blood sugar then plummets to very low levels and you feel horrible and guess what? Hungry again! And what better way to bring your blood sugar level back up than with good old worthless sugar laden nutrient-devoid junk food!
Can you see what I'm getting at here:
These non-foods actually cause an addictive cycle similar to hard drugs and alcohol! In fact Paul Chek even talked about how scientists found that the addictive mechanisms of sugar and hard drugs are actually very similar.
You get high and feel great and then you crash and feel worse than ever and crave the same substances that got you high in the first place. This to me is amazing and very scary. Eventually what also happens as with hard drugs and alcohol is that you need more to get the same high.
Now look at what's happening to you… You're eating a food that gets you high, robs you of valuable nutrition, makes you sick, gets you fat and on top of that makes you crave more of it.
The same reason you crave non-foods is the same reason you don't crave spinach and broccoli. One could easily slug down 20 oz of soda, but try doing that with spinach juice and you are likely to throw up. The reason for this is because with the brain will sense the enormous amount of nutrition coming in with the veggie juice and say it's enough. We naturally eat until we are satiated and it doesn't happen with non-foods but happens easily with real foods.
With real foods you eat, feel good, don't get bloated, don't get high, don't crash, don't overeat, and just plain nourish yourself.
So how do you protect yourself?
First let me say that we start off at a very big disadvantage. The very clever and powerful food companies find many places to put their non-foods in products and the labels will even say that these foods are healthy, low fat, "good for weight loss" etc? They are also very good at marketing to children. Remember, children will become the adults that eat these foods so what better time to reach them than when they're young.
I myself grew up on powdered ice tea, soda, crackers, pasteurized milk (which is also a non-food), and many other sweets. I also ate some real food like rice, vegetables, avocados and meat, but I've always had way too much access to non-foods.
The first thing is to not keep any non-foods at home. This is especially important for your kids because I believe it is easier for them to become addicted. Trust me and we all know this, but once you step outside, you will be bombarded with temptations to feast on non-foods.
I've looked at many of my client's kitchens and not one of them has passed my inspection. Many don't even pass a second time (that's how powerful these non-foods are). I mean if scientists can compare sugar to hard drugs shouldn't that open our eyes.
Make use of a juicer and juice a few days week. Most people don't get enough vegetables in their diet and juicing is one of the easier ways to do so. My favorite juice drink is spinach, kale, cucumber, and green apples (I wished I craved it though).
Keep healthy snacks in the house like quality fruits, cheese and yogurt. It is more expensive but isn't your health worth it. I mean it really saddens me when someone can drive to up to McDonalds in a 50,000 dollar car. They could easily have a 20,000 dollar car and just eat better quality food.
Get tested to find out what types of foods you are suited to… We are all unique in that we require different amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats and getting tested can help us figure out which type we are suited to.
Eat real food… Take the time to make yourself quality meals at dinner time. Beef, chicken, turkey and eggs make great protein sources. Brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, salads and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates. Don't forget to include high quality fats and oils in your diet as well like butter, coconut oil, nuts, avocados, cod liver oil, and extra virgin olive oil.
If possible try to buy organic meat and vegetables. They are more expensive but offer more nutrition then commercial foods.
Empower yourself: You've just read this journal because it can possibly help you. Keep doing so! You have the power to be better. Don't ever forget that!
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