Day 15 – Why do we overeat?


Day 15 – 10am – Snow day take two, except today I don’t have class and my kids do…ahhh, that is the sound of relaxation and homework getting done…

One thing that I have noticed since giving up alcohol, sugar and decaf coffee 15 days ago is that when I am hungry, I really am, when I am tired, I really am and I don’t try to make it go away with a handful of chocolate chips. When I feel stressed it is because I really am and I am not experiencing a physiological stress triggered by high blood sugar or low blood sugar.  All in all, I am a lot less confused.  It has been eye-opening to experience actual sleepiness as a reaction to getting woken up by my three-year old at 3 am and never going back to sleep ( yes, that happened last night), but I am still able to make it through the day and I don’t feel too awful. My normal habit is to drink some decaf coffee, which still has caffeine and likely formaldehyde, make sure that I have a lot of food on hand to give me an energy pick up and then munch on sugar throughout the day to stay awake. Inevitably, I feel terrible but I don’t feel tired, more like nauseous, foggy and pissed off .  So, this forces me to analyze why I, and I am assuming many others, get in a perpetual habit of overeating and why it feels so easy to not overeat now.  Here are my theories based on my experiences…

1. We lack nutrients – Most of us have heard all about the depleted soil that our food is grown in from years of sprayed pesticides and overused land.  This means that the apple of today is not the apple of 100 years ago.  You have to eat more calories to get the same nutrients today.  This explains why juicing gives us all such a huge boost.  In essence, we are consuming the nutrients of a large amount of plants without having to chew on them all day.  We are also injecting them in liquid, a pre-digested form, so our bodies can absorb the nutrients a lot better. I feel that it is really important for weight management to eat foods that are rich with natural nutrients (fat, protein carbs, nucleic acid, water vitamins and minerals), not enriched nutrients which is what you find in breads and cereals, and to take daily supplements for insurance.  Every single function in your body happens with the help of a vitamin and/or mineral…they act as the little helpers to the enzymes (proteins) that catalyze the reactions that allow you to think, move and act.  How is that for important?

2. We drink coffee, eat sugar and drink alcohol – All of these things spike our blood sugar and/or adrenal system causing a lot of confusion for the body.  When blood sugar spikes, our bones and teeth are forced to give up their necessary calcium and phosphorus to level out the blood. The pancreas has to produce insulin to help our cells absorb the sugar so the blood can be neutralized.  What a roller coaster!  When we caffienate, we feel very clear-headed short-term but what goes up must come down so when we drop to a substandard mental and physical level, we have to find new fuel which is either more coffee or food…often the vending machine style…and the cycle continues.  The key to consumption is to keep your blood sugar level and your adrenals resting.  If we pump out cortisol and adrenaline all day in response to what we put in our body, it sets off a domino effect of chemical reactions in the body.  The body was meant to be in “flight or flight” (adrenalin producing mode) for short bursts of time to hopefully evade a predator.  It was not meant to be switched in the “permanently on position” while we race around town with road rage while making work calls on our cell phones and trying not to crash our cars.

3. Lack of sleep – The most common reason I have for grabbing food is when I am trying to get fuel to make up for lost sleep.  It works very short term, but it never replaces sleep.  Sleep is your body’s way of healing itself and giving its systems a daily break.  If we deprive ourselves of this then we end up wearing down the systems earlier than we may want to like by 70 instead of 90 years old.  We also do not heal as quickly.  This can be as obvious as the healing of a cold or cut on your skin to more major issues and diseases.  We should sleep for 7-9 hours a night in complete darkness.

4. Stress/anxiety (this can feel like boredom too) – I have noticed throughout the cleanse that nothing in my life has changed except what I am eating and nothing feels as stressful.  However, I clearly remember 2 and 1/2 weeks ago when I would put my kids to bed and drop onto the couch and feel the immediate need to get some food.  It felt like I had been moving at 100 mph all day and there was no natural way to slow down so I have to find something to do to keep the speed limit up and that was stuffing my face, normally with sweets or chips and salsa(also basically sugar once broken down). What was supposed to be relaxation felt like boredom to me because I did not know how to turn the motor off.  Life is stressful enough.  Most of us are overworked and balancing many obligations every day so we need to be in tip-top shape to do that effectively and that means a clean clear body and mind.

5. Lack of absorption – Many of us have used antibiotics, eaten meat that has been fed hormones and antibiotics, consumed pesticide-ridden produce, been vaccinated, been eating gluten our whole life and then realized that it has eaten away the intestinal villi that absorb nutrients or survived times of severe trauma and/or stress.  (If you have done none of these, disregard number 5 and call me because I don’t think you exist).  What this means it that you may be getting only a fraction of the nutrients that you consume.  One major issue for most of us is a substandard production of digestive enzymes which break down  food from your mouth to your intestines.  An IMPORTANT enzyme that most of us have low levels of is HCL, hydrochloric acid, which breaks down protein.  Protein is what you are made of, the lining of your cells, your hair, fingernails, every enzyme….you need to be absorbing your protein.  I take HCL with each meal and a digestive enzyme pill as well.  Trust me that you will never feel great until you are absorbing what you eat.  You can buy Betaine HCL online for $16 a bottle.  You will take 1 or more pills with meals.  You figure out how many you need by starting with one and then adding on until you feel a warming sensation in your belly, then back off one pill.  You will know when to taper off of HCL becuase your normal dose will warm your belly then you remove a pill and so on until you no longer need them.  Of course, you can monitor this with blood testing with a naturopath as well (recommeded).

6. Food allergies/Chemical imbalances – Even if you are eating well, getting sleep and managing anxiety, you may still be off.  What if you have a gluten allergy which is causing you to be overly tired, achy, depressed and worse, not absorbing all of the awesome nutrients that you are mindfully putting in your body?  Or, what if you have a chemical or hormonal imbalance?  The key to not overeating is a feeling of balance physically, mentally and emotionally and if any of these issues are problems for you, it is going to be really hard to get balanced.  That is why I ALWAYS recommend having a really good naturopath up your sleeve.  Visit him/her at least once a year for a blood panel and make sure that you are in the right position to feel your best….then do what she says because she went to four years of medical school and she knows her shit.  Because I love all of you and I love my naturopath and trust her with my entire family including my children, parents, in-laws, and my own health, I am passing her info to you…she is AMAZING! Dr. Chris Booren 503-246-3919.  She is a doctor, a teacher and a guide…she will help you understand how your body functions which is a gift!

Well, those are my top 6 reasons for over-eating…We all have our own personal stuff, but those are some general reasons that you may be struggling with extra pounds.  Once you rectify the six issues above you can discover if you have additional eating issues that are emotional or psychological but you will never know for sure until you deal with the physical stuff.

So, I bet you are ready for a recipe just about now….Here goes..Made these last night and they were a hit:

Root Veggie Pancakes

1 large potato

1 large yam

4 carrots

1 onion

1 tsp salt

2 tsp mixed herbs…use you favorites, I used thyme, rosemary and oregano

1/2 c brown rice flour.

Grape seed oil or after cleanse organic butter from grass-fed cows is the BEST!

Peel your carrots(can substitute with parsnips too), onion, yam and potato.  You need to shred all of these so the easiest way to do this is with a food processor.  If you only have a hand-held grater, this will take some elbow grease.  I was able to use my cool new juicer (Omega 8006…thank you Joan) which has a shredding attachment. However you get our veggies there, you want these items finely shredded.  Mix all of your shredded veggies with your salt, herbs and flour and mix well.  Really, you can get creative here by adding spices like curry, turmeric, etc.  Make your pancakes whatever flavor you want them to be.

Then shape into patties, pat together well and put on a griddle or frying pan with a little oil.  The starch will hold your patties together once they start cooking but make sure that you have pressed them together well.  Cook on medium for about 5 minutes each side and then serve immediately with salad.  We did breakfast for dinner last night and the kids had pancakes and eggs…healthier way to do breakfast for dinner in my book.  You can dip these in whatever you like…

Recipe  by Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

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