Training Our Cravings

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Is it a conspiracy?  Many of our favorite supermarket snacks are made with just the right amounts of sugar, salt, fat, and other chemicals to make us want more.   One study determined that Oreos stimulated the brain in similar ways to cocaine and therefore could be just as addictive.  That seems a little extreme, but I do believe that the more we eat certain foods the more we will crave them.

So make a habit of choosing healthy, whole foods and soon enough that’s the food you will crave.

A Study at Tohoku University in Japan determined that cravings are influenced by our environment.  The authors stated “These findings suggested that the craving for some kind of food is influenced by the tradition of food products and cultures.”   In other words if we raise our children to eat healthy, wholesome foods, there’s a good chance that it will be a habit they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and will be passed down to the next generation.

Another study in 2014 confirmed the same theory. A study at University of New South Whales Australia concluded that junk food can alter behavior by causing lasting changes in the brain’s reward circuiting, an alteration that triggers obesity.  Get informed: http://www.newsweek.com/junk-food-addictive-avoid-trying-new-foods-266803

Now that we know; we should make better decisions. Let’s do it; not only for us but for our children!  It will take time to train your cravings so in the beginning implement a few tricks to discipline yourself:

  • Avoid the inner aisles of the grocery store and only shop on the outside of the store.
  • Limit those inner aisles for an occasional special treat after you’ve already conquered the cravings.
  • Strategically choose reading material that will inform you of the disturbing, gross stuff in processed foods.  Did you know that a chocolate bar has an average of 8 insect parts?
  • Make healthy snacks more convenient by preparing them ahead of time.  Cut up some of the peppers and keep them handy in the fridge with hummus.
  • Bring the healthy choice with you to avoid the snack machine or fast food.  Pack sugar snap peas and mandarin oranges for you and the kids when you will be on the go.

Good luck and happy cooking!