I started this blog in January of 2012. At first, it was just a creative outlet, a place to experiment with recipes, food photography, and blogging. Here’s what it looked like way back then!…
Funny saying – serious topic. If you struggle with frequent cravings, check out these posts:
Yesterday morning, I was doing a writing exercise that asked me to think about painful places I don’t want to return to, and how that relates to my current writing. As I mulled over possibilities, one that came back to me was late 2009, when my dad was dying. At the same time, my mom was slipping deeper into the grip of Alzheimer’s, and our kids were either away at college or soon to be there.
So many exits, all at once. All that loss brought out something in me I hadn’t experienced since my teenage years: eating because I just wanted to stop hurting — even if it was just for 30 minutes.
A new study has assessed which foods are more addictive to humans. The authors argue that, like drugs, foods that are highly processed and unnaturally combined start to become more “potent,” and, therefore, addictive.
Following are excerpts from the original article on Forbes.com:
For instance, chewing a coca leaf doesn’t give a very strong high, but condensing it into cocaine and making it snort-able sure does. So too with foods whose elements are refined and combined in various clever ways – food labs spend lots of time on these calculations – until they become very “high-potency.”
“Addictive substances are rarely in their natural state,” the authors of the new study point out, “but have been altered or processed in a manner that increases their abuse potential. For example, grapes are processed into wine and poppies are refined into opium. A similar process may be occurring within our food supply.”
The ranking [that the study produced] suggests that it’s really the combination of fat and carbs that makes food addictive. And this is probably because our brains are not used to coming across foods that are both high in fat and high in sugar – natural foods are usually high in just one or the other.
So putting these two ingredients together into some wondrously unnatural and magical combination makes the brain go wild. “It is plausible that like drugs of abuse,” say the authors, “these highly processed foods may be more likely to trigger addictive-like biological and behavioral responses due to their unnaturally high levels of reward.”
So, maybe your struggle to eat well isn’t just about willpower! Maybe that junk food has a built-in addictive quality.
Want to know more about addictive foods? This book — It Starts With Food — by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig delves into it, also giving you the tools you need to break free from what they call “food without brakes” — amped-up foods that trigger cravings for more, more, more.
Find this and other informative books here.
All these terms can be confusing! Here are the official descriptions for the various U.S. food labeling terms, directly from usda.gov:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color, and that is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).
NO HORMONES – pork or poultry:
[By U.S. law], hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”
NO HORMONES – beef:
The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.
NO ANTIBIOTICS – red meat and poultry:
The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements, and are monitored by the government. Unless noted below, organic products must meet the following requirements:
- Produced without excluded methods (e.g., genetic engineering), ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.
- Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
- Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
- All ingredients must be certified organic.
- Any processing aids must be organic.
- Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.
This is a shared post from my sister site, Start Where You Are Today.
Researchers are learning new things about diet and nutrition that are turning the tables on some of the advice we’ve been hearing so long, we believe them as hard cold facts. Are you believing one or more of them?
Unlearn this: What I eat influences my body chemistry.
Learn this: This one is not really new news, but I think it’s a core truth that we don’t really comprehend: What you eat doesn’t just affect your body: it literally becomes your body chemistry! And your body tissue, bone, blood, muscles, brain, hormones, etc. And the fuel you run on. The food you eat is disassembled in your digestive system, then reassembled to make you. This is why what you eat is so important!
Learn more: Want it all spelled out scientifically? Here’s an 11-minute video from Kahn Academy, explaining the basics of metabolism:
Unlearn these: Eating fat is what makes you fat. Low fat = healthy. Eliminate as much fat as possible from your diet. Saturated fat is especially bad.
Learn this: Your body needs fat! It uses fat from your diet for energy, for making cells and other important parts of your body, and yes, some of it is stored as fat. (However, carbs are also stored as fat!)
Also, most grocery store products labeled “Low Fat!” have amped up sugar and other unhealthy carbs to compensate for the lost fat; definitely not a healthy move!
Learn more: A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which concludes that “there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.”
Unlearn this: Eating high cholesterol foods is bad for your health.
Learn this: New news, as of Feb. 2015 — “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel — The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food.” While about one quarter of people may be cholesterol-sensitive, for most of us, medicine is now saying it’s not the problem we once believed.
So how did we get convinced that cholesterol was so bad? Some misunderstandings about how body cholesterol gets made, and its exact role in our circulatory system. Oh, and the fact that in one early, influential study, the researchers used rabbits. Turns out, rabbits are unusually vulnerable to a high cholesterol diet!
Unlearn this: It’s all about calories in, calories out.
Learn this: How nutrition affects our health is incredibly complex, so it’s too simplistic to say it’s all about one thing. But if it were, it wouldn’t be about calories in/calories out! And it would be definitely be more about the content of your diet. Over the long term, you will lose more weight, keep it off, and be healthier eating 1700 calories a day of whole, nutrient-dense foods than you will on 1200 factory-manufactured, “low fat” calories a day. And it will be easier, because you’ll be more satisfied!
To learn more: Four Biggest Myths About Calories, CBS
Trying to plan a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal?
- What size turkey should I buy? How much turkey per person?
- What’s the easiest way to roast turkey?
- How to carve a turkey?
- Save yourself last-minute panic with this make-ahead turkey gravy recipe. I’ve used it; it works!
|Image from farmflavor.com|
- How much ham should I buy?
- What temperature should ham be cooked to?
- How far ahead should I buy the ham?
|Image from campbellskitchen.com|
- Make-ahead crockpot green bean casserole. Save your oven for other things, and save some day-of panic: Here’s the classic green bean casserole that everyone wants for Thanksgiving, tweaked to work in a crock pot / slow-cooker, and with optional make-ahead instructions. Classic green bean casserole for crockpot.
- Low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes. If you’ve tried mashed cauliflower and been disappointed, maybe you just didn’t add enough fat! Try this recipe.
- Roasted vegetables timetable. The number one must-do side dish at our house — besides the turkey, of course. Oh, and pumpkin pie! Okay, the third-most popular dish: roasted vegetables. A slow roast works oven magic, turning onions, carrots and bell peppers into sugar-free candy-sweet goodness! Here’s a timetable for roasted vegetables: what goes into in the oven when, to make everything come out perfect.
All foods: How much per person?
- Here’s a thorough chart from Good Housekeeping, showing per-person serving recommendations for 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 and 24 people, for 10 popular holiday foods. It includes turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and more. View the pdf.
Holiday meal planning checklists and calculators
- A one-month to day-of Thanksgiving meal planning list from Food Network.
- An Excel spreadsheet that you can plug your number of guests into (including how many are vegetarians!), and it tells you how much food to buy. The page where you download it is a little confusing; just scroll down until you see this:
Would you rather have pictures?
|Image from The Savory|