Tuesday, September 14, 2010

[Detox Blog] Day 12 of 90 - Food Addictions

Food Addiction

Julia Ross, author of The Diet Cure says in her video that in 2007 a study at The University of Burdeaux found that...

Processed sugar is four times more addicting than Cocaine and it has same effects as opiates like Heroin.

...And sugar is a lot more readily available, and has many, many more addicts.


I think I need to own up to myself that I'm a food addict. I started my journey towards becoming a raw foodist long before I'd ever heard of such at thing. At ten years old I could have told you; "Soda gives me a headache and makes me feel tired." At twelve I could have told you, "I crave pasta all the time, it's addictive." And fourteen I could have said; "It's all the pizza, soda, and chicken wings that are making my skin breakout."

I've grew up in an educated household, even if we did live in a ghetto neighborhood. My mother explained me about insulin and the pancreas for the first time when I was perhaps eight or nine years old. But as I worked through my early teens I experienced the damaging effects of what I ate first hand.

I was saying to my husband last night, "I miss chips. I used to eat chips all the time. If I averaged together all the chips I've ever eaten and spread them evenly throughout my life, then I'd have eaten about seventy-five cents worth of chips every day of my life." And it's true. Before I stopped eating all sugars, I was eating Doritos a lot, which are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other disgusting things. If those chips were once a food, they certainly are not any more.

After I quit sugar, I turned to corn chips and plain potato chips. I used to believe there was nothing wrong with eating all the oil, salt, and cooked potato I wanted. I had baked potatoes often for dinner, or boiled potatoes, and I called it healthy because I ate it with the red skins on. I didn't think anything of the butter I slathered on it because I had read that butter is actually full of good cholesterol and despite my entire family's love of real butter, none of us have cholesterol problems.

I took the step up to organic potato chips and would enjoy a luxurious bag of classic sea salt organic kettle potato chips on a regular basis last year... Now I'm facing needing to buy a dehydrator so I can make something similar to a chip from seeds and nuts, lest I go crazy and relapse into bad habits.

I took one baby step at a time for years before getting to striving for 100% raw foods. If you had told me this was the destination point seven years ago, I wouldn't have believed you. I would even touch a salad as a kid. In my early teens my idea of a salad was ice berg lettuce, a few baby tomatoes, croutons, and a store-bought vinaigrette. When I quit all sugar, I learned to make my own vinaigrette, which was a great step in the right direction. I also learned to make my own croutons. That's something that hurts to give up: home made croutons. They were of such excellent quality and flavour.

Now my idea of salad is quite different; anything from spinach, shredded raw beets, scallions, lettuce, and raw nuts to avocados, heirloom tomatoes, mache, onions, baby greens, romaine, and my home-made-vinaigrette.

I have not heard of anyone who went raw overnight from the SAD (Standard American Diet); rather people are generally non-poisonists first (like myself) or vegetarian. I wasn't a vegetarian, personally. I switched to locally-raised, grass-fed, "organic" meat when I learned about steroids and living conditions of the animals I was generally eating. But I discovered that even that meat gave me an upset stomach unless it was preceded by a nice large salad. And so that's what I did; I ate a salad, and then I ate my meat. It was an example of incorporating raw into my diet, and I didn't even know it yet.

Because of this many-year journey, I've been thinking of writing my own step-by-step plan to get someone from SAD to Raw. This step by step plan would be devised in the same way that my own steps naturally happened. At each phase I saw a huge change in my health, and I can expect those same steps to affect others on a similar chord.

An excerpt from an article talking about food addictions:

Chocolate bars are loaded with salt, sugar, caffeine and fat, up to 300 calories per bar. Like a body demanding heroin for its balance, the body will crave sugar, salt and fat. Take candy from a sugar junkie, and look out! Quitting causes withdrawals. Remove sugar, processed fat or salt from your diet, and you will crave them. You will go through the discomfort of facing withdrawal similar to the withdrawal from drugs.

Strawberries and bananas don't cause cravings. You never feel guilty about eating too many cantaloupes. You never hear little voices in the back of your head saying eat, eat, eat cantaloupe. No, because natural foods balance the body and physical cravings are caused by biochemical imbalance. Street drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, salt, saturated fat, refined starch and refined sugars cause cravings because they imbalance the body's chemistry.

Food allergies can also cause an addiction-like dependence due to homeostatic disturbance. Your favorite foods are usually the ones to which you are addicted. You usually feel better immediately after eating the food that you are addicted to, but shortly afterward the allergic reaction produces a feeling of irritability. It causes flatulence, nausea, depression or headaches. Milk, wheat and eggs are the most common allergic foods. Each contains large protein molecules with strong glue-like bonds. If the appropriate enzyme necessary for digestion is not available, these protein molecules enter the blood undigested. The immune system attacks these fragments as if they were invaders. Homeostasis has been imbalanced, and if these foods are continually eaten, the body will need them for homeostatic balance, causing an allergen-based food addiction."

- From article "Your Food Addiction is Great for Business"

Even if I'm no longer addicted to refined sugars I find that all I ever want to eat is fruit, fruit, fruit, fruit... I look down into the cup of green slosh made from fresh vegetables and I down it because I feel so good afterward, but... It's not enjoyable to drink. At least, not to me. My lucky husband thinks green drinks taste good. But then, he's never been overweight, and doesn't crave fruit, fruit, fruit all the time like I do.

This doesn't seem to be a problem for all raw foodists, and perhaps it's not even a problem for most. I have met a good number of raw foodists who make dessert after dessert which are often frozen. I can't imagine that freezing enzymes is better than cooking them. Although, I've met what seems to be a greater portion of raw foodists who love cabbage casseroles, raw succotash-like dishes, complex salads with many bitter greens and so forth.


If only I loved vegetables and felt addicted to them!

In her blog, Miranda Martinez says;

Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. Even a tiny amount of the allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms such as digestive problems, hives or swollen airways. In some people, a food allergy can cause severe symptoms or even a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

When you eat a food you're allergic to, your body gets inflamed. Your body thinks it's under attack. If your body feels it's under attack, it releases an anti-inflammatory hormone: cortisol (result: hypertension, fat storage, hold water). This reaction also releases endorphins, which gives you feelings of euphoria. So releasing cortisol becomes addictive, you associate the food with pleasure and this addictive behavior it's pleasurable. Then you become addicted to the food you're allergic to. You like eating it!

This food induced sense of euphoria comes from several chemical mechanisms in your brain. First of all, the sheer pleasure of tasting your trigger foods stimulates your brain's pleasure pathways and the release of dopamine and endorphins, (again, the chemicals that makes you feel exhilarated). You also get a quick surge of energy as the sugar hits your bloodstream. Unfortunately, that energized feeling lasts only as long as the sugar rush. Once your blood-sugar levels drop (about an hour or two later), you're left feeling drained and out of sorts. You're like an addict looking for another fix.

And that's how I feel about apples. I shouldn't feel that way about apples.

Of course, I also feel cravings for brown rice, french fries, cooked and buttery lima beans, and the old "granny version" of strawberry shortcake which is strawberries over hot fresh white biscuits with heavy rich cream poured over them...

Oh how I long for the days when I was only cutting out sugar and white bread! Then I had whole-grain biscuits with cold chopped strawberries on top with organic half and half on top and I thought I was doing good. Except! I knew it still wasn't good for me because without that salad first, I was in for a mighty night of pain. (Stomach bloating, headache, inability to sleep, leg cramps... All that if I didn't eat a salad first. Sound familiar? That's a lack of enzymes folks.)

But then, the craving food addict in me asks... Why can't I have that whole-grain hot biscuit with no sugar added to it with strawberries and organic cream? I could even get raw cream for it! Why can't I have it if I eat that bowl of salad first? Why stop with a salad, even? Why not a green drink and some enzyme pills? Wouldn't I then be able to digest the raw cream and biscuit...? And thereby negate the entire issue?!

But here's the problem. I don't know the answer to those questions, and the damn addict in me won't stop asking.

I would distract myself with fruit balls, except that I'm not supposed to be eating dried fruit. I'm supposed to be detoxing myself of yucky stuff that had built up inside me throughout my life, and I'm thinking about treats...

And that's the scoop. Raederle misses potato chips quite dearly...



According to David Wolfe, in this video, chewing helps relieve stress!

Perhaps that's why I keep craving potato chips. Thinking about it now, I can remember in previous relationships before I met my husband that I often went straight for the bag of chips I had tucked away in my bedroom whenever I was feeling down about something.

Double Aha!

According to Gabriel Cousens in this clip: it's not about the enzymes, but rather the fact that raw foods trigger or "turn on" as Dr. Mark Hyman would say, the anti-problem genes. The genes that prevent us from getting cancer, diabetes, and so forth. The genes that keep us young.

Which would answer my strawberry shortcake question, don'tcha think?


  1. I'd take what Gabriel Cousins says with a large pinch of salt... From a glance at his website, he looks like a master at writing the kind of bullshit that is all too common in fields like raw foodism.

    In particular, there's a load of bullshit science in there. Take this paragraph as an example:

    "From a quantum physics point of view, photons never become old; they have the same quickness as time. Sun photons transfer a high degree of order (anti-entropy energy) into the pi-electrons of our biological system. The more light we absorb into our system, the more health-restoring and anti-aging energy we bring into our human organism."

    Some things he does there:
    1) "photons never become old" - at the subatomic level there isn't really any "getting old" for any particle. Individually, the particles have no entropy. (Actually I'm not sure if this is strictly true, as photons will "red-shift", expanding as the universe expands.)
    2) the mention of a "quantum physics point of view" is unnecessary - the same is true from the viewpoint of any of the branches of science. It's simply an attempt to confer legitimacy to the statement by invoking the mysterious authority of "quantum physics".
    3) "the same quickness as time" - a nice, but probably not helpful, metaphor.
    4) "Sun photons" - suggesting that photons from the sun are different to any other photons (of the same wavelengths). An attempt to set the sun up as having special powers (which is sort of does, but not through radiating special kinds of photons).
    5) "Sun photons transfer a high degree of order (anti-entropy energy) into the pi-electrons of our biological system." - they do what now? How exactly are these photons ordering our electrons?
    6) "(anti-entropy energy)" - entropy is loosely defined as the flow of energy from areas of high concentration to low. So you can transfer energy, increase order and decrease entropy (this is basically how the sun powers most life on earth). But it's the direction the energy is flowing in that determines whether a process increases or decreases entropy. Photons carry electromagnetic energy.
    7) Light being the key anti-ageing factor. I thought it was genes "turned on" by raw food?

    A couple of other things I liked in there:
    "highly charged single electrons"
    - all electrons have the same charge (-1)
    He seems to think there are "electron rich foods" with lots of free "electron energy". I'm not sure what he means by that. Generally your foods have a balance of atoms with too many and too few electrons - that's why the molecules stick together - and generally they have the same number of electrons as proton, cancelling out any charge (otherwise they'd be full of static electricity).

    Oh, and finally, he can't help mentioning a little product he developed, that you might be able to buy elsewhere on his site...

  2. Well, I only believed what I was hearing in the video about genes being turned on or off because I had read about that in detail from Dr. Mark Hyman. That said, the website you linked does seem to be a bit wordy and overly "showy" for no reason whatsoever. Anyone trying to sell you a product that you consume that should solve all your health problems is generally full of shit. It may solve some problems. It may solve a lot of problems when combined with exercise and raw vegetables. But no magical pill, powder, serum, juice or whatever you that buy from anyone is as powerful as growing your own veggies, throwing those fresh-picked veggies in the blender and drinking it right away. If they tell you that their product is better than that, they either are clueless or they are liars, or both. Thanks Tim, you're perceptive as always.


What brings you here? What are you thoughts? Do you consider yourself a raw foodist? Approximately how much of your diet is raw? Do you consider yourself healthy? What would you like to see more of on this blog? Will you be back? Is this too many questions?