Addictions (7 Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions)

Conquer food addictions & reach your new year's resolution.

Common causes and steps for change in your life.

Author: Leonardo Riera, Herbalist & Certified QRA Practitioner

Few people are actually aware that they have an addiction. If you are seeking change in your life (such as eating habits) and can’t seem to make it, perhaps there is an addiction you may or may not have noticed before.

There are two general types of addictions: mental and physiological.

Mental/Emotional:

The Problem:

The foundation of breaking free from this type of addiction is to understand the emotional nature of the addiction, which oftentimes requires the listening ear of a discerning, loving friend or therapist who can help the person navigate through difficult emotions.

Food is a common coping mechanism that people can use to deal with unpleasant feelings. Depression, boredom, stress, anger, loneliness, relationship problems or tiredness can prompt a person to seek the comfort of an addiction. Whenever we’re out of our comfort zones, there can be accompanying feelings to self-medicate and bring oneself back into the comfort balance.

Another factor that fuels addictions is not knowing how to say “no”. This usually arises from a lack of security in one’s identity as a person. In social situations this sometimes results in feelings of inadequacy, fear of starting an argument or not fitting in. Avoiding social meetings that will disrupt your change of plans, or pre-arrangements with the inviting party to avoid feelings of inadequacy may be possible solutions. The key here is to prioritize your goals.

Society often teaches us that success and accomplishment are rewarded with foods. A celebration almost always has food, and this is fine, but this can become an issue when the emphasis of the party or feast lies on the food rather than fellowship with others.

Belief systems can also keep a person bound in addiction. For example:

        •       “I’m Italian, so this is the way I eat.”

        •       “I’m from X country/culture, this is how we are.”

        •       “I inherited this trait/personality, this is who I am.”

        •       “Health foods/organic foods are a scam.”

These are all lies that keep us bound without being able to change. In truth, these lies are simply excuses that compromise our goals. All that is needed for change is intention.

Here is the formula for success:

100% intention + 0% mechanism (method) = 100% results.

If you truly have the intention, you will find a way to accomplish your goals.

Possible solutions:

Contrary to what most of us believe, the brain is malleable – it can change habits, even later in life. This has been studied in humans and proven time and time again. As long as there is the intention and the desire, change is always possible.

We must learn to change and reframe our perspectives in life by replacing lies with truth. Belief systems are mainly established in 2 ways:

        •       A significant emotional event

        •       Repetition

Here are some examples of lively belief systems:

        •       I’m not a victim of my past; I am now the person responsible for my own health.

        •       When faced with a choice, have ‘go-to’ statements such as: “Is this the person I want to become?

Other tactics that may help:

        •       Journaling:  Spend some time in your day meditating about why you did what you did today, and write it down in a journal.  Another idea is to start writing a list of things that you really like to do, and things you don’t like or rob you of peace and joy.

        •       Create a plan and find strong social support that will help you move forward.

        •       Have an accountability partner; a person that you fully trust to confess everything to. Someone who will love you unconditionally regardless of your secrets. This same person can then serve to encourage you to make the desired changes. This person can also serve as social support.  If you don’t have anyone, a licensed therapist may be helpful.

        •       Use of natural supplements that provide support in overcoming addictions.

Physiological:

The Problem:

There are two main obstacles that keep us physically bound to addictions. The basic premise is that eating a diet of processed foods can, over time, lead to imbalances in the body that cause ailments, starting with a decreased digestive capacity. 

1.     The Industry: 

Corporations spend billions of dollars every year in order to get you to buy (and over-consume) their products. 

The food industry, in the process of trying to make money, does not usually consider the health of its customers. Even though the packaging, the advertisement and the customer service representative may say otherwise, the fact is that most food corporations are in it for the money and not for the customer’s health.

A former commissioner of the FDA, Dr. David Kessler, said that “the food industry’s first priority is to make foods highly palatable and appealing, by loading food with multiple layers of salt, fat, sugar, and then packaging them attractively, in order to keep the customer coming back for more.” Why? Layers of fat, salt and sugar stimulate the neurons and release dopamine (the pleasure chemical in the brain), which in turn cause a person to remember when, how and what made them experience pleasure. Because processed foods are mostly designed to induce pleasure, they can easily support food addiction – or turning to comfort foods when faced with unpleasant emotions.

Additionally, the food industry uses flavor enhancers that over-stimulate taste receptors and encourage overeating. One well-known stimulant is called monosodium glutamate (MSG). This ingredient is a well-known neurotoxin. Since consumers started avoiding products with MSG for its well-known toxic effects in the brain and nervous system, the food industry started to label the ingredient in other legal ways.

MSG is often found in the following common ingredients:

        •       Anything “hydrolyzed”

        •       Yeast food, yeast nutrient

        •       Buillon or broth (typically)

        •       Most flavors, even “natural” flavors

        •       Almost anything “enzyme modified”

        •       Yeast or malt extracts

2.     Yeast/fungus and parasites:

Unfortunately, yeast overgrowth and parasites can also cause food addictions.

Processed, sugary foods and starches are the typical foods that feed yeast in an imbalanced body. When yeast is out of balance and a person avoids eating these foods, the yeast often produces toxins that cause a craving for them. When the person obeys the craving, the yeast then produces an additional toxin that makes the person feel good again. This is a reward mechanism that can keep a person bound to poor eating habits, and it’s common in those who are fussy eaters.

Yeasts and parasites rob our bodies of vital nutrients, often resulting in complex symptoms that are seemingly unrelated. Yeasts, parasites and bacteria also cause damage to the lining of the intestines, further depriving our capacity to absorb nutrients and causing other kinds of biochemical imbalances as a direct result of toxins produced by poor digestion.

Possible Solutions:

        •       Eliminate exposure to sources of advertisement, or just the advertisement portions (i.e. television and magazines).  The billions of dollars spent by corporations in research are partially invested in psychological tactics for creating ads that make a person crave their products.

        •       Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach.

        •       Shop at grocery stores that don’t offer loads of junk foods and advertisements, such as a Fresh Market or Farmer’s Market.

        •       Always avoid artificial flavorings and sweeteners. Overstimulation of the neurons leads to the distaste for natural foods.  Abstaining from these can reverse the distaste.

        •       Read ingredients labels carefully and think about the meaning of what you read. Since you become what you eat, would you like to become that? This may be stressful or very time consuming at first, but after awhile it will become second-nature and can become a quick process.

        •       Don’t get tricked into buying ‘low-fat’, ‘low-sugar’ or ‘calorie-free’ packaged products. Many of these foods are processed and contain other additives that make up for what’s missing. Calorie-free foods usually have calories, but the serving size makes them low enough so they don’t have to legally label the calories.

        •       If the addiction is severe, consider visiting a psychologist or registered dietitian who can help.

Other solutions to help rebalance the body:

        •       Do an intestinal or liver cleanse.

        •       Eliminate foods that promote yeast overgrowth such as white flour and sugar.

        •       Do a heavy metal cleanse under the supervision of a licensed physician. Yeast overgrowth is sometimes the result of the accumulation of heavy metals in the body.

        •       Use supplements that have antifungal or antiparasitic properties such as cloves, wormwood, garlic, oregano and thyme.

        •       Use supplements that aid the digestive system or soothe the digestive tract.

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