"Food" for thought

There was so much information at this conference I went to earlier this week.  For me it was like being in heaven because we discussed addiction, addiction to food, eating disorders, and nutrition as a part of the holistic treatment for them.  We also discussed relationships and sex addiction, something I haven’t studied a lot, but as it turns out there appear to be a lot of correlations to eating disorders and food addiction.  So in case you haven’t seen me say this, not sure how I wouldn’t have, but addiction is addiction is addiction. 

Seriously, there is a commonality to every addiction in the types of behaviors and thinking that we see and in the way the brain functions or doesn’t function.  Okay that being said here are just a few interesting things I wanted to share that perhaps you can follow up on and see how it might fit or work for you.

  • For the brain to function properly and to be able to heal itself it must have a few things, one of the key things is….glucose.  Yep, a form of sugar…relax don’t panic you don’t have permission nor should you go down a candy bar.  All energy or fuel aka food that we take in turns into glucose.  Runners know that carbs are the basis of energy needed to run.  This is often the excuse to carb load aka pig out, but this isn’t always necessary to the point that some runners will do it.  There are a ton of resources out there on how to do it in a way that will actually help you.  
  • Sugar is addictive- In fact there are so many names for sugar that if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake and avoid the things that are harmful check out Sugar Has 56 Names by Robert H. Lustig MD, it’s an ebook that he says is in Kindle form so you can take it with you to the store.  He maintains as a culture we are pretty much sugar addicted or sugar abusers.  I think that he is right and that there is a lot of room for improvement for everyone here.  He offers some good ways to go about this and a lot of thought provoking information about it.  He and a group of other professionals are involved in a “non profit that provides medical, nutritional, and legal analysis and consultation to promote personal and public health v.s Big Food”.  Seriously this man is such a huge resource of knowledge and I wish we had, had more time to hear him speak on the topic of sugar and how it relates to individual and societal obesity.
  • In order to process the nutrients in a way that will allow your body to use it fully you NEED fat and protein.  Let me repeat that you NEED FAT, I’m not talking over doing fat or fried fatty goodness (you know what I mean), but healthy fats like in avocados, olive oil, nuts/seeds, and fish.  In fact you need to focus on the foods that are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  
  • You should eat every 3-4 hours (a fact promoted by a lot of trainers and dietitians already) in part because it encourages your brain to heal.  This is particularly helpful if you are in recovery from addiction because of the way it allows the brain and body to heal.
  • Sleep is essential!- That is when the brain and body heals and uses glucose the most to heal the brain.  It also plays a huge factor in stress levels and the hormones associated that when out of balance will increase the storage of fat in a way that results very negatively.
  • Your gut is important!  If you suffer from issues with digestion and if you have problems with anxiety/depression you need to take care of your gut!  90% of your Serotonin is stored in the GI tract.  Serotonin is a huge part of feeling good naturally, we need this stuff and your gut is connected so you have to take care of it! If you are impacted and your gut isn’t well there is a possibility (something you should check out with a nutrition specialist/dietitian) that it could mask mental disorders.  There are a few places out there that you could get treatment from that can help sort that out. The meadows and 5 Sisters Ranch are a few places to start all depending on what type of help you need.  Probiotics are a good place to start, if you want to get hard core check out fermented foods.
  • There are a few supplements that you might check out as well (again some guidance would be good to make sure it is right for you).  B vitamins, Omega 3’s, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, and if you have liver problems you might consider Milk Thistle.  

Anyway there are so many wonderful things I am learning and some great things I will be following up and studying.  I also got the book The Brain Fix by Ralph E Carson RD PhD that had a lot of this great info to read over.  When I finish it I will write a book review and share some key things on here.  The pictures are from the talk given by Victoria Abel MA MNT at Decision Point Center and who is the owner of the Center for Addiction Nutrition.  Again she was very knowledgeable and offered great “food” for thought. There is a lot of healing that needs to happen not just in the psyche but also in the body when you go through addiction and related traumas.  I have to say that it is one reason I love running, because it is just therapeutic in so many ways. Of course although I highly promote exercise and nutrition for helping to heal the body and soul, therapy with a trained counselor is essential.  It is a part of ending the cycle of addiction and relationship issues.  It’s part of how you start to recognize and do something about the probable traumatic experiences that you have gone through if you are an addict, have an eating disorder (including binge eating), and are love/sex/relationship addicted.  Just as therapy alone will not treat the whole problem nutrition/exercise won’t either.  A trained professional or team of professionals can give you the best chance at recovery through a holistic approach.  I hope this helps, makes some sense, and perhaps leads you in the right direction.

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