To get through our busy days, most of us are unconsciously eating whatever is easily accessible. The problem is that most readily available processed foods are low in nutrition yet high in calories.
Our cells demand nutrients such as protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, plus multitudes of vitamins and minerals, and they send signals to our brain (brain stem or lizard brain) that triggers hunger, food obsession or food-seeking behavior, slowing down our metabolism.
In turn, our lizard brain triggers the temporal part of the brain (mammal or monkey brain) to make us desire food on an emotional level and creates anxiety if we are lacking or missing it. Once we get what we want, we receive a huge surge of dopamine, signaling reward, which only reinforces such behavior.
Since most of us are not neuroscientists, we don’t really know or care about how our brains work. We interpret those signals simply as a need to eat, so we go out and get whatever is quick, cheap and tasty, and import all those nutrients and energy directly into our cells.
But the more food of that kind we eat, the more we feel incomplete.
The brain still says: “I did not get the nutrients I need” or “I don’t feel satisfied.” We are eating calories, but our cells are still crying out for nutrients, hence the feeling that something is missing. Because of this, we usually eat far more than we need. Over 40 percent of the average American diet consists of empty calories: things like pasta, pastry, chips, white breads, candies, sweets, sugar, white rice and processed foods.
For example, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, roughly 1,200 of those come from nutritious foods, the rest have very little or no nutritional value. But 1,200 calories are not enough to deliver all the nutrition our bodies require. Hence, most people are nutrient-deficient, but still carry extra weight. This is not helped by dieting either.
The solution is to eat better quality foods and supplement them with high-quality nutritional products. You will find that you are naturally eating less, because your cells get what they need, and your brain is not operating from scarcity and lack, so it is not sending you looking for food. This causes less anxiety and other emotional food triggers, and even speeds up your metabolism.
Better eating habits lead to greater energy levels, sustained good moods and an improved ability to focus throughout the day. Most people notice that they become more productive and less cranky within just a few weeks. Things keep getting better from there.
Arthur Gazaryants, L.Ac., M.S.
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