Let’s Talk About Food Addiction

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Let’s talk about food addiction. This has become a very interesting topic to me recently. At first, I was like, “No, I don’t have an “addiction”. That sounded too harsh. But as I read the book, The Hunger Fix by Pam Peeke, MD I knew I needed to face the reality. Many of us do have food addictions. And we are not solely to blame. The food industry uses our instinctual pull towards sweet, salty and fatty foods to make their products so desirable we literally cannot help ourselves from over doing it.

Dr. Peeke suggests to begin addressing food addictions by first detoxing the body and avoiding all added sugar, processed foods, eating out and any trigger foods that you may have. I decided that now was the perfect time to try the Ultimate Reset 3 week cleansing and rejuvenating system. I’ve just made it through the first week and I’m feeling remarkably light and energized. I’ll be sharing more about this cleanse in a future post.

Here’s an excerpt from Bethesda Magazine that explains some of the science behind food addictions:

“Evidence in recent years has suggested that some foods may, in fact, hijack the brain’s reward system in susceptible individuals, much as cocaine, heroin and other drugs do.

Groundbreaking studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans have demonstrated that when people with food addictions are shown pictures of and/or eat sweet, salty or fatty foods, the pleasure centers of their brains light up and stay lit up much longer than in those without an apparent food addiction. The stimulated pleasure center, in turn, triggers an intense desire for more.

“The brain scans were game-changers because they show that regardless of addiction—whether it’s to drugs, food or alcohol—you see the same changes in the reward center of the brain: The total number of dopamine receptors is way down, allowing only a small amount of this pleasurable brain chemical to get through—and thus, people experience less and less pleasure and reward,” Peeke says. “That’s why addicts of any kind need more and more of their substance to even feel a small amount of pleasure.”

When the brain is continuously flooded with high levels of dopamine, she explains, many of the dopamine receptors shut down. As a result, when you do consume the desired food, “you don’t feel as much reward, and it takes more of a hyper-palatable food to actually enjoy the original pleasure you had when your dopamine-receptor population was normal,” Peeke says. “You need six cupcakes to get the pleasure you used to get from one.” Read the rest of the article here.

If you are curious about whether or not you have a food addiction, take this quiz to find out how you rate.

JOURNAL REFLECTIONS

List your top 3 foods that you have a hard time stopping one you start. Or the ones that you have a hard time saying no to if they are in your presence, regardless of how determined you are about your nutrition plan. These foods may or may not also be the ones that cause you to thrown in the towel on trying to eat healthy for the day (or week, or month) once you’ve had them.

Think about your attachment to these foods. How do they make you feel after you’ve eaten them? How do you feel when trying to not eat them? How much energy do you spend thinking about and trying to manage these foods in your life? How would life be different if you didn’t struggle with the decision to eat or not eat these foods on a regular basis?


 If you want to more about how I help people get in great shape through common sense, real food nutrition, fun workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home and ongoing support, motivation and accountability from me and a group of peers, contact me for more info! And, take a minute and make me your FREE COACH over at teambeachbody.com!

jenJennifer Oppelt is a Certified Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner – American Association of Drugless Practitioners and a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Florida (MA37357). Jennifer has added Beachbody Coach to her list of titles as a way to offer more tools to help her clients reach their health goals. Jennifer is happily married and a mother to two children, Alchemy and Ashton. Jennifer loves spending time with family, cooking real food, fitness and is an advocate of sustainable living.

Jennifer specializes in helping new mothers lose weight and regain their energy and vitality. However, she is open to working with everyone and has a true passion for helping others. Implementing self-care routines and developing a positive body image are also important aspects of the healthy lifestyle that Jennifer advocates and encourages to all of her clients.

4 Steps to Beating Sugar Addiction vs. Cold Turkey

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In my last entry Is Willpower the Problem, or Is It Something Else? I identified sugar as a highly addictive substance, more addictive than cocaine. That’s significant when you consider the effects on your mind and body. So many people are identifying the symptoms of a sugar imbalance in themselves, known as Candida. Candida can present in so many ways – brain fog, sluggish immune system, fungal infections, skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and learning disorders; just to name a few.

This brings up the question – now that I know how bad it is, what do I do to eliminate it from my diet? So many go for the all or nothing approach; banning anything that contains sugar from their diet including fruit. This is an approach that tends to be recommended often, but it may not be the best approach for you.

Consider this, if you feed your body and brain a toxic substance every day for ten, twenty, or more years, your body may actually depend on it to function. If a person that has consumed alcohol heavily over many years just stops drinking one day, they may experience seizures and other violent physical symptoms. Yes, the alcohol is not good for them, and yes they should discontinue its use; however, suddenly stopping something your body has been receiving for many years can send it into shock. The same is true for sugar. Most people are addicted to sugar; it’s what most food companies have intended so you will buy their products. After many years of enjoying store bought cereals, spaghetti sauces, and even many brands of peanut butter your body is used to a daily dose of sugar that has accumulated into that imbalance called Candida. When you suddenly stop consuming sugar, the Candida monster inside your gut gets hungry and travels through your system looking for sources of sugar. This can create a systemic condition, and you really start experiencing unpleasant side effects such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and high cholesterol.

Every person’s body and background are different so their needs will vary, but some general ideas to assist you in cleansing your system and breaking the sugar habit are:

1. Cleanse

There are many good quality supplements that target Candida. Usually, someone in your health food store can help you locate these. As with any supplement, strive for food based so your body absorbs it more readily. A good probiotic will help your gut flora in its quest for balance. Another option is clay. Many are finding that a glass of Bentonite Clay daily will help cleanse the body of candida and its die off toxins. It is best paired with a good quality fiber supplement, and of course lots of water.

In addition, we put together a kit to cleanse the body from the inside out, and the outside in. It’s the Kalusion Candida Kit, which contains a Sugar Buster Tea to balance the blood sugar, cleanse the liver, and quiet the cravings, Bentonite Clay, and Control body oil to absorb Candida healing moisture into your body.

2. Ditch the liquid sugar

Begin eliminating sugar from your life with your drinks. Soft drinks and juices contain enormous amounts of sugar that many just don’t think about as they sip back. A 12 oz can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. Yikes! I know the diet soda option may sound like a good alternative, but artificial sweeteners are actually even worse for you, so avoid starting a nastier habit when giving up sugar. Instead opt for water, seltzer with natural flavors, unsweetened iced tea, or fruit infused water.

3. No thank you to processed foods

With 80% of processed foods containing added sugar, it’s just a good idea to avoid them all together. Opt for real foods such as the vegetables in the produce section, or the meats in the meat department. Not to be confused with packaged lunch meats, hot dogs, and sausages. If you are buying packaged foods; always read the ingredients. Strive for foods that contain 5 ingredients or less, and make sure you know what they are, and that sugar is not one of them. Also, just because the package says organic it does not mean sugar free. Other foods to be wary of are low-fat, non-fat, and gluten-free. They often have extra sugar added.

4. Enjoy the process

Have fun creating new recipes, and enjoying new tastes. You are creating a new lifestyle, and a new you. As you reduce sugar from your diet, you can taste the natural sweetness in fruits, nuts, and sweet vegetables. It’s like an awakening of the palate. Enjoy these foods again for the first time.

As with all things worth achieving, this won’t happen overnight. It’s a journey that will lead you to new places, until next thing you know you are feeling fantastic, and looking great. That’s a worthwhile trip!

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.