Everyone who knows me know I eat really well because I believe what I take into my body in regardless of what form (food, water, air and energy from people and environment etc) do have a big impact on my well being.
But I am also not perfect. I do slip sometimes. A couple of days ago was the perfect example. I was so busy during the day I didn't eat much. When I got home from picking my daughter up from school and made dinner I was so hungry! We had a good healthy dinner and then the dessert time... There was brownies in the fridge, left over chocolate cake and we made chocolate sauce to cover frozen strawberries and blueberries with. And we ate them all.... I don't buy any packaged desserts or sweets and all of these fantastic raw desserts were what I made. But It doesn't mean that we should consume them like this, especially before going to bed! The chocolate gave us the high and we were running and dancing around like crazy girls with Destiny Child (!) and even after we went to bed we were so wired up and couldn't go to sleep.
Next day I woke up so early and thought to myself. That was amazing... it reminded me how food can have such incredible effects on us.
So for breakfast, This is what I had.
bitter green juice with umeboshi extract
kale, daikon, ginger, lemon juice and 1 tsp umeboshi extract.
Highly palatable foods (low-nutrient, high-calorie, intensely sweet, salty, and/or fatty foods) are readily available, and it produces the biochemical effects in the brain that are characteristic of substance abuse. It works like the drug.
Many of us have experienced this. One taste of these foods and then feeling the intense demand from our brain, saying "MORE!" These feelings come from the dopamine reward system. Dopamine helps control our motivation and pleasure. It enables us to to see the reward and to take us toward them.
When people have low level of dopamine (due to many reasons, such as disorders, long term abuse, obesity etc.) they are less sensitive to the dopamine effect and tend to over consume for the emotional HIGH. There is a study that suggests overeating diminishes the reward from palatable food, driving further overeating and future weight gain.
Our addictive behaviors varies by genetic predisposition and emotional state. Nevertheless, highly palatable food has physiologically addictive properties that will make almost anyone experience a lack of control. “Just one bite” doesn’t work because that single bite activates the dopamine reward system, causing the brain to demand more.
I am not saying to cut down these foods from your diet all together. I feel that as long as you realise the effect that can have and know how to balance it out, a bit of slip from usually nutrient focused diet is not too much of a problem. Just enjoy and get back on the track of things.
If you do have a really big problem with addiction like behaviour, then I feel that you should stay away from it all together.
Also it is important to look at the reasons behind these behaviours. Is it emotional or physical? Are you getting everything your body and mind needs from inner health as well as foods you are taking.
When you have a food craving ask yourself this. Is my body asking for something it needs, or is it remembering something it's addicted to?
As a guideline only I have listed possible cause in food cravings for certain foods.
CRAVING FOR SWEETS craving a simple sugar foods such as cookies, icecream and other quick blood raiser can mean two things.
You may be experiencing withdrawal from processed sugar and craving for the sugar high. Or your body may be needing more glucose in your body. Try fresh fruits and vegetables and if you are having legumes in your diet it will give you the starch that the body needs and also the fibre to stabilise your blood sugar.
CRAVING FOR SALTY FOODS Even though our sodium requirements is pretty low it is possible that you may be low in sodium. If you eat lots of potassium rich foods, sweat more the needs for sodium increases. Stay away from table salt but have celery, seaweed, raw cultured vegetables. It can also be an addiction to salt.
CRAVING FOR RICH FOODS calorie dense foods such as cheese, butter, nut butter, fast food and heavy dessert can be due to simply more calorie needed. If you are on vegan or raw diet especially the diet can be quite bulky and low in calories. Include higher calorie foods that are also healthy, such as avocado, banana, root vegetables, coconut, olives and nuts and seeds.
CRAVING FOR CHEESE AND GLUTEN PRODUCTS Both dairy and gluten-containing grains contain opioid peptides—amino acid sequences that affect the brain in the same way opiates do, targeting your endorphin receptors to give you fell good hormones. The problem with this is it is very addictive and also bring many problems nutritionally to many people.