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I had a private message when I got back from this morning's run regarding cravings and was it as simple as just grabbing a bin liner and throwing away the crap processed foods.

Another difficult day on a sun lounger beckons so I thought I'd share some thoughts 🤓

So cravings...I've got a plan for attacking this which I will share in part with you but before I do I think it's important you get a real understanding how all this works in your body.

Food cravings that can't be overcome will stop you getting to where you want to be with your health. That is I think a fact. Good things in life come at a price. So the simple question for me is, "do you want to destroy your health for the sake of poor food choices?"

But the bin liner and the "new beginnings" mantras never really work do they. If they did, we'd all eat healthy all the time.

So what causes cravings and how do emotions play a part?

It's not rocket science but here you go. What happens is that we become attached to and obsessed with substances, behaviours and people due to simple chemical and psychological imbalances.

The key is that food is no different.

Langreth and Stanford in their book "Fatty Foods as Addictive as Cocaine in Growing Body of Science" found that for some people the sight of ice cream stimulated the same pleasure centres in the brain that images of crack pipes did for heroin addicts.

If allowed, over time patterns emerge and we automatically associate certain situations and emotions with a particular type of food. These associations then become pathway cemented in the brain. Breaking these pathways can then seem impossible.

Something goes wrong at work or in your personal life and the food pathway kicks in and you are taken out of that painful moment. Willpower is pointless. You are too entrenched.

So what to do?

Firstly, you need to get honest with yourself. Just what are the motivations behind your unhealthy food choices?

This is tough. You'll need to sit down with a pen and paper and really explore what makes you want to escape reality. A lot of you know I don't drink. I was never someone who got drunk everyday but I didn't like my relationship with alcohol. I made changes.

Not ready to do the self-diagnosing therapy bit?

There's something else going on inside your body. The other element. They are called microbes.

Those of you that know me know that I read and study a lot. So here's the science bit...

You don't actually own your own body and you are not wholly in control of the food choices you make for yourself!

There I said it. If you read like I do this isn't news to you. If you don't, read on.

Our bodies are made up of cells which cluster together to form tissue which in turn makes organs and systems, ultimately making us what we are. Within all that however we host billions of micro-organisms commonly called bacteria. This bacteria lives in our skin, saliva and thrives in our GI tract.

I read somewhere that individually we are made up of about ten trillion cells. But we've got over ten times that number of micro-organisms living in our digestive tract with tens of thousands of different bacterial strains. So are we human or microbe? It's a question isn't it.

Before you worry though, in the main these are good bacteria. One of their tasks is to break down foods we can't otherwise digest for example. That's a thing isn't it. We are eating foods we can't digest. Wow!! How thick are we?

So we need to keep these campers happy for sure if we are to maintain a healthy ecology and optimise our individual health.

This whole piece of thinking then centres around the magic that is gut flora, food choices and the food we crave. Scientists are now showing that there is a connection between our intestinal microbial ecology and the way we think. That means these microbes are messaging the brain, effectively telling us what to eat.

Sound mad?

If you saw Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Super Size Me", you will remember his experiment where he ate nothing but McDonald's for thirty days just to see what happened.

For the first few days he felt sick and even threw up, suffered headaches and was generally unwell. Then what happened? The headaches disappeared and he started to crave the food he'd been being sick over just days before. It went further and he then started getting headaches until he'd had his McDonald's fix. Madness right?

What the f@@k happened there?

Before the experiment Spurlock was pretty much plant based in diet and this healthy gut flora was rapidly replaced with a pathogenic microbial ecology that specifically thrived on the ingredients present in McDonald's food. Ultimately then it hijacked his nervous system, sending messages to his brain and throughout his body that translated into an acute craving for more of the McDonald's foods.

So how does this translate for you?

Well it's all about breaking cycles and replacing unhealthy foods with healthy alkali-forming foods. You can't just take a bin liner to your cupboards.

You need to introduce an entirely new and much healthier microbial ecology to your digestive system. You do this through better food choices but you need your food groups to be both right and wide enough to sustain both your enjoyment and your attention. Once established, the new ecology will in turn signal your brain to replace powerful unhealthy food choices with equally powerful cravings for foods that nourish you.

Before you know it, that yearning for Pizza Hut might just disappear, only to be replaced with a desire for something much healthier.

Are your food groups wide enough?

That's another story. If you want to talk about this further please get in touch to book a session.

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