In this final installation in our series on how to kill junk food cravings, we’re going to provide you with some ammunition to strengthen your mental motivation to stay healthy.
Understanding the fundamentals behind cravings can help you avoid detrimental foods. The following are some chemical causes of cravings, and how they can be overcome.
Reason 1: Serotonin Deficiency
Low levels of serotonin are associated with higher cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates. (Source: Dr Gabriel Cousens MD)
Solution 1: Avoid psychedelic drugs, exercise, get sunshine, and take an L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP supplement
The body synthesizes serotonin in the following manner:
L-Tryptophan (an amino acid) –> 5-HTP –> Serotonin
- If you’d like to try taking supplements, check with your doctor first. Dr Gabriel Cousens, MD recommends taking 500mg of tryptophan each day before bed, as it can have drowsy effects. The dietary equivalent would be 100g of pumpkin seeds. He also recommends taking 100mg of 5-HTP before bed.
- A 2002 study published in The Lancet found that the rate of production of serotonin by the brain was directly related to the prevailing duration of bright sunlight, and rose rapidly with increased luminosity.
- There is some evidence that exercise has an effect on serotonin levels.
Reason 2: Too Much Dopamine
Appetite and sugar cravings are affected as a result of ingesting too much dopamine from the following sources:
- caffeine (coffee, Red Bull, tea, etc)
- sugar (desserts, agave, honey, etc)
This is partially due to repeated use of a substance, which causes a decrease in the number of dopamine receptors. (Source: Dr Cousens MD)
Solution 2: Manage Your Dopamine
Evidence exists that suggests it’s possible to repair dopamine pathways through a healthy diet filled with nutrients and abstaining from substances which temporarily elevate dopamine: caffeine, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, nicotine, and other drugs.
Reason 3: Glutamine Deficiency
Glutamine is 1 of the 20 amino acids, and a deficiency can lead to an increased craving for sugar foods, advises Dr Cousens.
Solution 3: Eat more glutamine, or supplement
- Dietary sources of L-glutamine include cabbage, beets, sprouted beans, spinach, and parsley.
- Since the 1950s, researchers have found that glutamine supplements can help to control alcoholics’ desire to drink. If you choose to supplement, Dr Cousens suggests taking 500mg once or twice daily.
Reason 4: Low Endorphins
Endorphins can also play a role in cravings, says Dr Cousens.
Solution 4: Exercise, Laugh, & Have Sex
Engage in activities which increase endorphins, such as physical exercise, laugher, and sex, as endorphins may be released during orgasm.
Reason 5: Consuming too much sugar and alcohol
Sugar and alcohol are highly addictive substances which lead to move cravings for the same.
Solution 5: Eat Raw
Dr John Douglass MD PhD of Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center in California prescribed a raw food diet to his patients and saw that addictions to alcohol and nicotine lost their addictive power over people on these diets. (Source: The Live Food Factor, page 164).
Selected Motivational Insights
Here are a few of the findings that have motivated us, at the House of Verona, to stay as healthy as possible.
- It’s possible to change your genes: Dr Dean Ornish, MD, has been vocal in the fact that our genes are not our fate. Genotypes are genes which we’re born with, and do not change. Phenotypes are genes which are affected by environmental factors. what you eat, how much you move, and how mentally healthy you are can make a huge difference.
- Raw food increases IQ: An informal university experiment was conducted under the supervision of a professor, where a control group ate normally for 2 days, and an experimental group ate only raw foods for 2 days. An IQ test was taken before and after the experiment was conducted. Those who were eating only raw foods for 2 days found that their average IQ was increased by 40% (Source: The Live Food Factor, page 165).
- Sugar ages your body dramatically: Dr Brian Clement ND, an outspoken critic of sugar in all of its forms, shares the following on his website: “Over the years, I have spent hundreds of hours viewing microbes and mutagens on Petri dishes. Whenever I added any form of sugar, be it fructose, sucrose, dextrose, etc, every disease was stimulated and grew.”