This is the first in an ongoing series on how we can lose weight, and be healthier, by changing our perception of the food we eat. Not by dieting—an action and concept that is now being shown to be a faulty method for weight loss—but by changing how we perceive food.
In psychology the perennial argument still rages as to whether we are creatures of either Nature, or Nurture. Whether we’re a product of genes going back thousands of years…or if we can dictate our own destiny. Some modern thought even points toward a symbiosis of both theories.
Let us, for now, just assume that we are the Captains of our destiny emotionally and physically. And that, perhaps, we can shape our health by consciously choosing how, and what, we eat by more than taste alone. I know, it’s crazy, but stay with me…and let’s talk food.
Many people crave food that doesn’t serve them: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and (mainly simple) carbohydrates. Often they’re the source of a short-term jolt of energy, accompanied by a brighter mood (sugar is a terrific happy drug). But over the long run this constant indulging in sugar—along with other crave-worthy consumables—damages the body. Between sugar and simple carbs (pizza, white bread, most pasta, white rice), we see weight issues, mood swings and anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, headaches, arthritis, autoimmune disease, diabetes, dental carries, stroke and many other illnesses.
Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and simple carbs require minimal digestion and therefore dump sugar into the blood. This creates huge spikes and dips in your blood sugar due to the excess insulin that is secreted, the adrenal exhaustion from the constant release of hormones, and a depletion of brain chemicals known to make you ‘feel good’. This chain of events translates into radical up and down fluctuations in your mood and energy level. That’s when insatiable urges for your next hit of sugar, in any form, grip you.
There are five main factors when measuring food cravings:
- Low blood sugar. Dips in blood sugar leading to cravings can come from irregular eating; eating too little; skipping meals or too eating many simple carbs.
- Food Allergies. Some foods create allergic reactions such as moodiness, fatigue or physical discomfort. Until you find that allergen, your body will continue to crave that very ‘substance’.
- Unresolved Issues. People often eat to suppress boredom, anxiety, sadness or anger. Eating in response to undesired feelings is the body’s well-meaning attempt to find love, safety and comfort.
- Stress-Related Eating. Using food as a response to stress invariably feeds the addiction to unhealthy foods.
- Malnutrition. Environmental toxins (heavy metals, chemicals, viruses, etc.) and overworked, even exhausted organs, can keep your body from getting the nutrients it requires. In an attempt to feed your system these essential vitamins and minerals, you’ll eat–almost anything (even as your mind is telling you it’s junk!). This well-meaning response won’t correct an intrinsic nutritional deficiency or a metabolic imbalance.
When doing a patient assessment, we examine each one of these factors as a potential source of concern. We then remedy those that need addressing with acupuncture, hypnosis and/or whole food supplements.
End of Part I