Nutrition for compulsive eaters and food addicts

Do you…

overeat regularly?

…feel that certain foods are “calling you“?

…find yourself “cupboard cruising” even though you aren’t hungry?

…feel out of control around certain foods?

I certainly did.  And in times of distress, I still do sometimes.  I’m only human.

When I first learned about the addictive nature of processed foods, simple carbohydrates and SUGAR (especially SUGAR!) the penny finally dropped.

How can you eat something in moderation when this food triggers an addictive response in your body?  Would you expect an alcoholic or a drug user to consume their substance of choice in moderation?  No!

I am not saying that all foods are addictive.  I’m also not saying that everyone gets addicted to food in the same way that I did.  All I know is that my brain chemistry is highly stimulated by crack-like foods.  When it comes to wheat and sugar, I have no “off-button”.  My dopamine receptors get so hijacked by the response to these substances that I quickly slide into craving and compulsion, until I wean myself off again by going cold-turkey for a few days.

If you knew that certain foods triggered a painful state of craving and compulsion, could you let these foods go?  Could you create some space between yourself and your substance of choice, so that you felt more peace around food?

My nutritional choices are centred around what brings me peace in mind and body.  These choices also help me to maintain a stable weight, clear skin, and healthy digestion.  The only issue is that until now, not many other people support these choices.  Learning to live with that and being comfortable asserting my boundaries and what I choose to eat or not eat is a work in progress.

So, what do I eat?

images

Plants.  Vegetables.  Fruits.  Beans.  Pulses.  Some grains, like quinoa or rice.  Herbs and spices abound.

Healthy fats.  Olive oil.  Coconut Oil.  Avocados.  Nuts and seeds (pre-soaked is best).

I also enjoy tofu, cheese and full-fat yoghurt.

What don’t I eat?

processed food

Meat and fish (I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 5.  I don’t necessarily think that these foods are addictive, I just don’t want to eat animals.)

Sugar or sugar-containing foods (which is almost anything processed!)

Wheat-containing foods like bread and pasta.

Artificial sweeteners.

Mushrooms and eggs.  I just don’t like them and I never have!  Something about the slimy texture…

This is not an exhaustive list, or a rule book to live by.  This is about tuning in and learning what works for you.  I’m also not saying that I never eat these foods, as I am only human and I live in an environment (like we all do) where crack abounds.  But I could never go back to a state of eating addictive foods as part of my regular diet.  I tried and my mental health quickly deteriorated.  So I know these foods are just not for me anymore.

This is not for everyone, as not everyone needs to do this.  For example, I feel completely at peace around alcohol.  I can take it or leave.  I can have a glass, or not, as I choose.  A bottle can sit on my shelf for months without me even registering that it’s there.  It has no hold over me as a substance.  So if you can feel peaceful around crack-like food I’m happy for you!  Keep enjoying it for as long as your body can handle it!

But if you feel compelled to eat foods that you know are going to hurt you, if you feel that you have no space between yourself and your substance, I would ask you to explore how it might feel to let those foods go.

What’s your crack?  Could you let it go?

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