Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Addiction and Food

There are many different things which can be addicting--such as food, sugar, drugs, alcohol, thrill seeking, computers, TV, validation from others, exercise, pornography, plastic surgery, eating disorders, and many many others. The common denominator is that they all fill--to a certain extent--an inner need.

What makes certain food addicting? Usually it's that it contains something you desire, for example, sweetness, and yet there is little to no nourishment behind the flavor. I believe that the human body was programed to expect certain nutrients from certain foods, and the modern day processing which removes those nutrients, creates in our bodies, the craving for more of that food to satisfy the nutrient intake it requires. This is one reason. The other is the chemicals released by the brain when certain foods are consumed. Chemicals which leave us with a feeling of satisfaction or happiness.

When eating whole foods, those micronutrients are available, so they provide fuel for and nourish the body, which is the real reason we eat. Plus, whole foods have a richer, more full taste than refined foods do.

It is my personal opinion that all human beings have a hunger within them that can only be filled by the nourishment of one source, and that source is pure love for self and connection with God.

Feasting on this source brings true nourishment, satisfaction, and a feeling of peace. These feelings release chemicals in the brain, which bring feelings of peace and happiness. Feeling gratitude, for example, releases serotonin, which provides a sense of well-being.

What happens with a lot of addictions? It usually begins as a craving for those feel-good chemicals our bodies make when we're properly nourished from the true source of peace. When that nourishment isn't being met, we begin to look for outside sources to fill an inner craving for things such as love or peace.

Overcoming addiction may require more than just a good connection and feasting on God's love, but I believe it's an essential part of the equation. It would be like trying to give up completely on a white sugar addiction by not eating any food at all. We'd likely starve and die. But if whole foods are introduced, and that base nourishment is being taken care of, the process of becoming addiction free becomes a little more bearable.

To me, it makes sense to focus on receiving nourishment from "the bread of life" or Christ. When we do so, we are left feeling true love for ourselves, true love for others, more patience, happiness, peace, gratitude, and all the other things which help us live in a state of well-being, even--and especially--when life has its ups and downs.