Feb 14, 2013

Lack Of Education Leads To Compulsive Behavior

As a Nutritional Practitioner, I see a lot of clients who complain about being addicted to food. This addiction, according to them, is likened to what an alcoholic or mild drug user suffers from: compulsive eating behavior, binging, unnatural responses or actions, lying, etc. Most of this is said to be triggered by emotions, negative life events, boredom, or depression.

I agree that there are similarities with food addiction to other addictions; such as obsession with a substance to alter mood or outlook, overt or harmful behaviors, or lack of self-control. But rather than blame the substance, we have to look at what triggers the response to the condition.

Many people are on destructive (restrictive) dietary paths which result in nutrient deficiencies. Indulging in fractionated carbohydrates, junk foods, canned and boxed foods which contain either starches, sugars or simple carbohydrates, only sets up a further strong psychological drive for more of these foods. Why? Because they boost our immediate outlook through higher glucose conversion and temporary energy. But like other destructive substances, the end result is very short lived.

Refined Foods Don’t Lead To Good Health

As a society, we live for instant gratification. Rather than eating foods which give us long term energy, we desire a quick pick-me-up, even though we know the cycle has to be repeated over and over during the day, leaving us exhausted. Part of the problem is what manufacturers tell shoppers. Words such as diet, whole, goodness and so on are meaningless in light of what the food endures during processing.

In Canada, whole wheat is not “whole.” As much as 70% of the nutrients may legally be destroyed through removal of much of the kernel, which reduces shelf life. Whole wheat is not a whole grain – period. It is a product which, through loss of many of the nutrients (wheat germ and wheat germ oil), as well as bran and middlings, is now a fast absorbing energy food which spikes blood sugar. But still, our government says the end product remains good for us. In effect, manufacturers legally (yet immorally) lie to us, desiring profit more than our good health.

Educate Yourself

Much of this can be remedied by education. With the availability of the internet and more authors writing about whole food nutrition, we should be able to find proper information on the subject. However, the excuse I frequently hear is that, “I don’t have enough time.” My answer is always the same: “Do you have the time to get sick?” Because once a person is on their sickbed, they cannot earn money, nor can they enjoy the fruits of their labor. Balanced nutrition is not an option, but a necessity to “keep the ability to be busy.”

Another angle is our relationship to food. Do we understand that restricting nutrients sets us up for psychological cravings? Most diets are about weight loss, rather than good health. Authors care more for immediate results, because this brings in income. Yet most of the poor souls reading these books don’t equate their subsequent weight gain (once off the diet) with the diet itself. Diets are a sham, which is why your 20 pound weight loss ultimately results in a net 40 pound gain. This is a protective mechanism of the body to an unnatural restriction of needed substances – a sure plan for long term failure. It’s an addictive cycle: We desire the short term weight loss rather than thinking about the end result. This is somewhat like the steroid user, or the person taking diet pills. Yes, there may be immediate dramatic results, but in the end, we suffer even more.

Don’t Worry – Make Decisions!

Dietary rules also get us thinking too much about what should be an enjoyable experience. All this weighing and calculating is a drain on a pure pleasure – the enjoyment of wholesome food. We should be able to look at a food and immediately understand if it is good or bad. Has it been refined? Then there is a great chance it is not healthy. I don’t care at all about what we are told to the contrary. I have thousands of clients who have had success with this approach. It does not lead to worry about food, because it merely entails making in immediate decision. We do this daily with our jobs. If you do “fall off the wagon,” get up and try again.

Those who eat to manage compulsive behaviors or emotions need to realize that whole foods also satisfy. Sweet, salty or fatty foods may increase serotonin or stimulate dopamine receptors in the brain, giving a temporary feel good situation. But they always result in a subsequent crash. On the other hand, whole foods do the same, though not as strong in the short run. Wouldn’t you like to feel good in the long term, without getting depressed, run down, sad, or suffer anxiety? Fractionated foods WILL increase these feelings and set the person up for a vicious cycle of weight gain, ill health and and increased emotional disorders.

We Are To Blame

As a society, we are too dependent on psychological help. Everything is the fault of someone else, something or some situation. We don’t look at ourselves, our actions and our outlook on situations. Though some will define this approach as simplistic, it is because they have been taught to feel this way; are in the business of treating people affected by these situations, or profit from them.

You are not addicted to foods, and neither are you powerless over them and have to practice abstinence. We have been given a brain to use, but we don’t do so in many instances. The biggest predictor of weight gain (or ill health), is a level of self restraint. Don’t succumb to eating amnesia (unknowingly putting hand to mouth from a bag, box or plate). This is nothing more than mindless eating. Sit, relax and enjoy, but don’t stop thinking about what you are doing. You wouldn’t do it crossing the street (for fear of getting injured). Why do it through long term self poisoning?

Choose well, don’t diet, and don’t indulge in foods which injure the body. I have hundreds of articles on this blog which go into more detail about what I have written here. Read them and educate yourself about balanced nutrition.


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