The Root of Our Cravings and What Not to Eat
For most hungry people, a thick slice of carrot cake is going to be more tempting than a broccoli crown. That's one reason healthy programs like this one are seeing mixed results. I'm completely supportive of the program. We all need access to healthy food before we can eat it. Education comes next- how to prepare it and why whole foods are healthier than Spaghetti-O's and Kool-Aid.
The kicker lies in the fact that even if we live next door to a Whole Foods Market, our bodies' cravings are for the most easy-access calories possible. This article by the Detroit Free Press highlights the fact that no matter how informed we are, we often buckle to our cravings rather than making the healthiest choice. It's not Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, or Ronald McDonald that cause childhood obesity. Since when did 7-year-olds dictate the grocery shopping?
Why, for most of us, is it so much easier to resist an apple than an éclair? Science has determined that food addiction is very similar to the addiction factor of illegal drugs and that's hard-wired into our brains. Our systems were designed to love easy-access calorie sources. That survival instinct made plenty of sense before supermarkets came along. The human condition in a modern world of sedentary desk jobs, televisions, and an abundance of cheap foods designed to appeal to our cravings make living healthily a formidable challenge.
So far in The Chronicals of Dietopia, we've covered my sordid history with food, the Abs and Warrior diets, Vegetarian, The Zone, Fruit Fasting, and Rice Fasting. I'm working toward my most recent revelation and current nutritional slant, but before I share that (and point out some really interesting correlations between dietary philosophies that seem diametrically opposed at first glance) let's look at what not to try.
The companies manufacturing processed foods make billions on cheap junk food that helps keep us fat; they make billions more on expensive chemical-based 'foods' that have little to no caloric or nutritional value.
Unlike the junk-food industry, calorie-free foods hardly sell themselves on taste. My buds have always detected the difference between a calorie-free candy bar and a plain old Snickers. A diet soft drink can't pass as high-fructose delight. It's pre-wrapped convenience and delicious looking pictures coupled with the promise of zero calories, or a suggestive brand-name like 'Slim-Fast' that sell cardboard candy bars. Rippling Photoshopped physiques of models on billboards, websites, and TV commercial help inspire false hope in those carefully crafted sawdust and aspartame composites.Continued on the next page