Originally published January 26 2009
The Top Three Ways Raw Food can Help Release Food Addiction
by Angela Stokes
(NaturalNews) Healthy children do not naturally start to reach out for highly processed, addictive 'foods' such as bread, cakes or hamburgers; they are mainly interested in fruits. Eating 'franken-foods' is learned behaviour. Most of us are actually exposed to addictive foods like refined sugars from pre-birth, while we're still in the womb. Then, after passing our first few months post-birth being raised usually on breast milk (which is frequently packed with toxins from the mother) or 'formula' milk powder, we are trained to start eating processed baby food. For most of us, it's a spiral into more and more toxicity from there. By the time we reach adulthood, we're thoroughly 'hooked on cooked' toxins and immersed in our emotional dependency on them; it's easy to see why it might feel challenging to let go and choose something different to eat.
So, what's in these toxic foods that we get addicted to? What stimulates the physiological addiction? The next time you see some packaged, processed food, take a look at the ingredients list. If you can't pronounce some of the items in that list, the chances are very high that your body also doesn't know what to do with these chemical ingredients. Eating these kinds of foods regularly might be thought of as a way of slowly embalming yourself. People often find it hard though, especially at the start, to consider as 'toxic' the foods they've loved and even thought were good for them.
If you do have toxic processed foods like this in your house, it's a great idea to remove them immediately, if you can. (Only if they are yours of course - leave your housemates to their own food choices). You are also very likely malnourished and de-mineralised if you're eating such things, so your body constantly asks for more food to try to get some nutrients. Ironically, most people take that as a cue to eat even more of the 'only foods they know': de-mineralised, toxic junk food, which just clogs them up even more. Large amounts of refined sugars and simple carbs especially help people 'cope' with stress and discomfort by spacing out into sluggish, sleepy, stuffed and drugged states. This is the first way in which eating more raw food can help us release food addictions: when you start eating more genuinely nutritious, mineral-rich raw food, your body finally gets more nourishment and will start asking for more of this healthy fuel, instead of processed junk. You are giving your body healthier choices to orientate towards.
The fact that foods such as bread, pastries and wheat pasta are toxic and addictive is rarely, if ever, emphasised in mainstream media, so most people never question the strength of their ties to these foods. It's often not simply these foods on their own that cause health issues for people - it's also the things they're processed or consumed with, such as pasteurised dairy products, factory-farmed meats, trans-fats and so on. If you find it hard to accept the idea that you might be physiologically addicted to foods like wheat, consider the fact that a smoker or alcoholic is not drawn to repeatedly use their 'drug' of choice from any kind of biological need. The body doesn't need cigarettes or alcohol. They are just addicted, in the same way as people eating refined sugar or drinking coffee.
There is no physiological benefit to you from consuming these things (in fact quite the opposite), yet you may feel repeatedly drawn to consume them. It is fundamentally an addiction, like any other. Yes, of course you need food to survive - however, you do not need to eat white sugar and wheat. Completely omitting these kinds of substances from your intake allows your body to finally move to a more vibrant level of health.
Not all foods are physiologically addictive. There are many natural, delicious and healthy options available. Fresh, living, raw foods like pears, broccoli and alfalfa, for example, are not usually linked to physical dependence. This is the second way in which raw foods can help us to release food addictions: the vast majority of raw foods are not addictive. How many people do you see with a chronic kale addiction...? Switching over to a mainly raw food lifestyle can therefore make a huge difference for people in terms of liberating them from compulsive eating. Take away the toxic foods you're addicted to and you're half-way to freedom.
However, because raw foods simply don't 'tick the same boxes' in terms of addictive properties, if your diet has been highly processed until now, switching over to mainly or totally raw can feel quite harsh in the beginning. Raw foods don't create those drugged responses we have come to associate with comfort, reward or satisfaction. Suddenly the coping mechanisms we've been using to deal with discomfort for decades are gone. We might liken this to being on anti-depressant medication for 34 years, then suddenly removing it - it's quite a shock to the system. It's like having a safety net pulled out from under your feet or the smoky veil of processed food addiction grabbed down from before your eyes. Whichever way you look at it, the new landscape can seem pretty challenging. The 'comfort' element of eating is largely gone and we find ourselves, for perhaps the first time ever, actually feeling our emotional discomfort directly, rather than using food to self-medicate (shoving it down, finding 'comfort' and ignoring our feelings). We might reach out for heavier raw foods like masses of nuts, seeds, gourmet raw pizza and so on to try to bridge that gap, yet even these don't sedate us in quite the same way as our old toxic food 'friends'.
This is the third way that eating raw can help us release our addictive patterns; we create and open up the space for new opportunities, once we're no longer 'self-medicating' with food. We can choose to explore our real emotions, find genuinely fulfilling patterns for ourselves and make invigorating fresh choices, with all of our new-found raw energy. You can get ACTIVE to turn things around for yourself. The fresh foods can help us to an extent, delivering us from a place of hazy addiction, to a new crossroads, then action on the emotional/spiritual aspects of your life is what will really help you to move on and heal on all levels.
It's time for some major re-programming to release yourself from reliance on food as your 'safety net' and to start finding other things in your life that feel rewarding, satisfying and comforting to you, beyond the food. There are many ways to enjoy life other than through stuffing our mouths with food; reach out to others more, get involved in your community, re-ignite your interest in hobbies, get creative, laugh, sing, dance and most importantly, have fun. Remember, the menu of life is abundant with positive possibilities...may you enjoy your journey to the fullest...
About the authorAward-winning author Angela Stokes lost an amazing 160lbs with a raw lifestyle, reversing morbid obesity. Her most recent book 'Raw Emotions' explores raw food transformations beyond the physical level.
30-year-old Angela went raw in May 2002 and her life has since dramatically transformed. Her website, www.RawReform.com shares her remarkable story of recovery, along with guidance and inspiration for others. She shares videos, before/after pictures and also blogs almost daily (http://rawreform.blogspot.com). Angela offers books, retreats, consultations and lectures internationally on raw foods.
In February 2007, she completed a 92-Day Juice Feast and her book on this subject has inspired thousands of others to delve deeper into juicing. Originally from England, Angela received awards at both the House of Lords and the National Lottery to support her research and work. She can be contacted at [email protected]
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