Over the years I have been inspired, blessed and honored to participate with individuals on their miraculous recovery from eating disorders, binge eating, overeating, alcohol abuse and white sugar addiction. In the last ten years powerful studies have been done on the brain that strongly suggest that using a diet of nutrient dense Living Foods has the ability to heal brain chemistry and help re-wire the craving brain. Understanding how this is even possible requires that we first explore the anatomy of the brain and how it handles stress.
Our body chemistry is complex. To keep it simple I’d like to concentrate on the important role of the neurotransmitters ‘dopamine’ and ‘serotonin’. These neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers in the brain that control how we think and feel. They directly affect our mood, how we make decisions and our ability to handle stress. These two chemicals, manufactured from our foods, have a different effect on behavior and make us feel sad and anxious or calm and emotionally balanced.
Dopamine is an excitatory, a motivator. It’s role is to get the job done. While Serotonin is an inhibitor. It stabilizes, helps control appetite and balances excessive levels of excitatory neuro-chemicals. In a perfectly balanced body these neurotransmitters orchestrate hunger, craving and satiation like a harmonious symphony.
Deep in the center of the brain lies the limbic system, also known as the reptilian brain. Other parts of the brain have evolved over time. But this ancient survival part of the brain still performs functions much the same for our species as it has for hundreds of thousands of years. The incoming data concerning our internal and external environment, as well as our emotional state, is processed here. The information is then relayed to the nucleus accumbens. Now what makes the relationship between these two brain centers so important is that when we are in stress mode the limbic panics and the nucleus accumbens releases dopamine. The amount of dopamine released depends on the intensity of the stressor. The greater the stress, the greater the rise in our dopamine levels.
As the brain floods with dopamine, we become obsessional and overloaded. Dopamine disrupts homeostasis, causing inappropriate hunger and cravings. It is called ‘the gotta have it’ chemical. Dopamine loves excessive shopping and gambling. It is in command when we down a dozen cups of coffee when we’re feeling crazy, six glasses of wine when were feeling unhinged, eat a third helping of food long after we are full, or head out into a driving snow storm for a sugar fix.
What stops this craving behavior is it’s sister neurotransmitter, serotonin. 95% of serotonin is made in the intestines. Serotonin constrains dopamine’s actions and gives us a feeling of well being. Serotonin creates bio-balance and is responsible for regulating mood, appetite and sleep. This is Nature’s antidote.
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Together, excitatory and inhibitory neuros perform an intricate balancing act to give your body energy and solace when you need it. The Yang and Yin of the universe. An imbalance in either can have effects on mental health, digestion and sleep cycle
However, if the stress is prolonged and feels inescapable, we can exhaust this delicate system. We can burn through serotonin faster than the body can replenish it. Our serotonin levels can be forced to work at a dysfunctional level, sometimes barely producing any serotonin at all. Over time, if the serotonin landscape is never allowed to return to baseline, it becomes extremely difficult to set and keep long-term goals that require delayed gratification.
Consequently we can remain in a high dopamine state for years, craving and repeating impairing behaviors which create a non-stop loop. An ongoing whirlpool of disconnect. Over the long term this erodes at our self esteem, disturbs our inner peace and keeps us from reaching our ultimate potential….
If you have been living on the emotional edge, you are probably sporting deficient neurotransmitters. To reclaim our Holy Rhythm the first step is to fully understand that rebuilding, repairing and maintaining all our neurotransmitters to their highest level requires high level nutrition. Repair is not magic, repair is a conscience effort. Choosing foods that make you proud of yourself can open you up to a new level of awareness and joy.
USING FOOD AS MEDICINE:
Feel Like You Tanked Your Transmitters?
It Can Happen To The Best Of Us.
Add These Neuro Stimulating Foods To Your Diet To Boost Your Serotonin And Dopamine Levels….
> Brazil Nuts
> Raw Chocolate
> Kale, Spinach, Broccoli
> Sweet Potatoes
> Raw Almonds
> Grapes, lemons, oranges
Chaos is no friend of good health. We all have our own scenario of control to tame our lack of control. We have had a difficult day, we’re stressed, we’re ravenous and we break our self-imposed rules. The frustration of constantly relapsing overshadows our sense of self. I know this advice seems as old as time. But the body works best when we create order. Eating an organic diet of 80% living foods and 20% healthy cooked foods helps create mental stability, rebuilds and balances neurotransmitters and, best of all, allows us to experience daily self love and happiness…..
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