Advice For Food Addicts Who Want To Go Raw
(Kansas City, MO, USA)
I want to be a raw organic vegan for many reasons - health, environment , etc.
I do well for awhile, but being a food addict I inevitably fall off the wagon and begin eating the foods I crave - gluten, cheese and other milk products, soda, etc.
I am slightly overweight right now. I have managed to lose about 15 pounds, but am starting to put some back on. I've never been more than 20-30 pounds overweight, but it has gone up and down within that range many many times.
Was it difficult for you to leave your S.A.D. diet behind?
What tips do you have for someone struggling with the strong cravings for unhealthy foods?
There are two aspects to food addiction - the mental and the physical.
On the physical side, the junk foods you are eating are literally addicting in the same way that heroin can addict a user.
There's only one way to break that physical addiction, and that is by refusing to partake while flooding your body with satisfying healthy foods.
Luckily, studies show that it only takes about a month or two of complete abstinence to get free of these food addictions.
Read more about breaking free of food addictions here
. The Big Mistake:
Unfortunately, most people can't manage to stay on a raw diet for two months, so they never fully get free of their physical addictions.
The reason is very simple - they're failing to take in enough calories from fruit.
Usually because they're in a rush to lose weight or because they're unaware of how low in calories and high in bulk most raw foods are, people start raw diets and dramatically undereat on calories.
The result is that they start cravings foods, particularly calorie dense ones which tend to be unhealthy.
They binge, they feel bad, and the process continues.
It's critical to understand exactly what makes up a healthy raw diet, and then learn to eat sufficient calories.
Check out my book, Raw Food Weight Loss And Vitality
, to understand how to implement a raw food diet that works and supplies you with sufficient healthy calories.
The Mental Side Of Food Addiction:
For some people, the desire to eat unhealthy food is not entirely physical.
Ever hear of comfort foods? They're universally heavy, starchy, fatty foods which numb you due to the large amounts of energy it takes to digest them.
Taken to the extreme, we have Thanksgiving in the United States, during which people stuff themselves with these heavy "comfort" foods, stagger to the couch, and usually fall asleep.
At the very least they feel a bit groggy.
The digestive load is so great that it makes you sleepy.
More generally, when you're eating these heavy foods you're not processing emotions. Emotions and mental assessment take a degree of energy that your body finds hard to manage when it has such an energy-draining digestive load to handle.
Thus, the "comfort" in comfort foods does not really make you feel better, but rather strips you of the ability to feel your pain. These foods numb you.
People learn to seek out this numbing to escape their emotions, be they feelings of guilt, unease over their bodies, etc. Sometimes, people simply want to hide from the world, and unhealthy foods allow them this illusion.
How do you escape the urge to escape through unhealthy foods?
I think the first step is to recognize exactly what you're doing. Recognize that you're numbing yourself and seeking escape.
I've long found that it's helpful to ask myself, "does this food serve ,e?" when I'm considering what to eat.
The answer is always going to be no for unhealthy foods, if you're familiar with just how bad these foods are for you.
Learn to sit with the emotion you're feeling. Feel it, process it, understand what's behind it, and accept it for what it is. Numbing it with food doesn't work.
I talk more about controlling cravings for unhealthy food and some of the techniques I used in this article
Learn how to eat a healthy raw food diet here