In the early 80s, I started a holistic day spa, which was the perfect setting to observe lifestyle behaviors of repeat clients and their family members.
In 2001 the World Health Index published a global report. There were three facts stated in this report that terrified me.
1. The number one cause of death in America was medical intervention.
2. The USA spends more than double than any other country on health research.
3. The USA ranked number one in the world for chronic diseases that are food and stress related?
I knew that diseases that were food and stress-related didn’t have to exist. For twenty years I studied cultures that lived healthy and happy consistently past one hundred years old, some living 127 years without any disease in their body. I was obsessed with finding answers on how to eat to stay healthy because I was plagued with horrible food addiction. No matter what I did or how hard I tried I could not control my weight. I started with anorexia, and by 17 years old had transitioned going back and forth with bulimia and obesity for most of my life. What I didn’t understand is why most of my clients were not interested in learning how to support their long-term health.
In 2009 David A. Kessler, MD published, The end of overeating. Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. Kessler exposed the food industry, and why many of us have no control with caraving junk food that is leading us to premature death. This information lifted my guilt and shame about my eating disorder. The cultures that lived to be over 100 years old did not have diseases, food addictions, or junk food.
Jerilyn Brusseau, the creator of the Cinnabon, stated recently, “If someone today asked me to create the world’s greatest cinnamon roll, I’d probably think differently about it.” Twenty years ago, it was a once-in-a-while indulgence. I wasn’t so worried about obesity among kids. Now I am….I’m very concerned that kids are growing up eating too many things like Cinnabon every day of their lives.”
The food industry works hard to create the “Blissfull Bite”; addiction and the World Health Index Report in 2001 displayed the results of a country that doesn’t know how to eat food that is nourishment and life-affirming.
In the last post-Addiction to Junk Food, we discovered Cues. Cues associated with the pleasure response, demand our attention and motivate our behavior by stimulating the urge that leaves us “wanting.” Food industry specialist, attend Symposiums to learn how to engineer that blissful bite. The large restaurant chains work very hard to create a “hyper-palatable,” “multisensory,” experience with every bite. The more rewarding the stimulus, the stronger the learning experience, that creates the automatic behavior. This continual cycle of cue-urge-reward is creating an unconscious, over consumer that keeps coming back for more. It’s not about grabbing a bite; it’s more like the bite grabbing you. Scientific advancements have now determined that the multisensory, blissful bite excite and alters our brain chemistry. A cue triggers a “dopamine-fueled urge,” which we now know, alters the brain chemistry just like cocaine or heroin. The urge drives us to the food. Once we eat the food, it stimulates all of our opioid receptors. The combination of the dopamine and the opioid release, creates the unconscious, overeating cycle. We won’t stop eating even if we are full.
The multisensory bite is critical. Gaetano Di Chiara, an expert in neuroscience and pharmacology, at the University of Cagliari, explains, “The complexity of the stimulus increases its association to the reward.” Elements of that complexity include tastes that are familiar and well liked, especially if they aren’t always readily available. The multitude of sensory imputes, and the learning associated with having had a pleasurable experience with the same food in the past strengthens the cue-urge-reward cycle.
When layer, upon layer of complexity, is built into food, the effect on our brain chemistry intensifies, and the association toward particular foods becomes more powerful. Take the soda pop as an example, it’s not the sweetness alone that accounts for the full impact of soda pop. Its the combination of the sugar, temperature, and tingle. We have all experienced a flat, warm, syrupy-sweet, soda. It’s easy to take one sip and toss it. However, it is not so easy to walk away from the perfect combination of temperature, sugar, and tingle. It’s the tingle that stimulates our trigeminal nerve, offering explosive stimulation in the striatum. The Striatum is the region in the brain that decides whether you want to go after something or not. It plays a key role in forming our connections and associations to a particular stimulus.
How intense is the pleasure response?
It starts with the opioid sensory receptor. We, humans, are all hardwired the same. We digest our food, eliminate our waste, circulate our blood, regulate our body temperature and body fluids. We are a community of 65-trillion cells. We are a living, vibrating organism, functioning due to our networking systems regularly communicating, renewing, adapting, learning and developing for our survival. Each one of those 65-trillion human cells has two million tiny antenna respecters embedded into the cellular membrane. These little antennas are responsible for picking up and sending out signals to the brain. Scientific discoveries have determined through receptor mapping, that humans are hardwired for pleasure. We have more opioid receptors than you could ever imagine. The food industry uses our own brain chemistry to target our pleasure centers. Laboratory studies show that rats that had become highly addicted to junk foods would run right past their nutritional food pellets, willing to forgo a painful electric shock over, and over again, in order to achieve their reward- the junk food.
The answer is to my eating disorder is potatoes- Read More