Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Making friends with food

I was discussing my blog with a friend recently, in particular how I was surprised (but delighted) so many of you are reading this every day! He pointed out that everyone is interested in food because we have to eat every day - obvious and logical, but something I hadn't thought of.

For anyone who has an issue with food, whether it's allergies, food phobias, compulsive eating or fear of weight gain this obviously presents a big problem. If you're addicted to cigarettes and want to do something about it you can avoid them for the rest of your life, the same with alcohol and drugs, but you can't go without eating so you have to think about, see and eat food every day.

For compulsive eaters some companies, like Lighter Life, try and address this by putting people on an entirely liquid diet so they don't have to eat properly. Well that's certainly one approach but really it is more important to establish a healthy relationship with food.

That said there are some addictive foods which compulsive or comfort eaters benefit hugely from avoiding totally:

Sugar - some research suggests that sugar in it's refined form is more addictive than cocaine (the lab rats preferred sugary water to cocaine in water when presented with both!). Fortunately fructose is not addictive in the same way as sucrose so fruit and fruit sugars are usually still fine.

Wheat, dairy and gluten - if you're allergic to a food you can crave it and these are three very common food allergens. I know that if I have one slice of regular toast then I can easily finish off a whole loaf! If you have any foods you can't resist it may be worth checking if you're intolerant.

Even if you don't eat compulsively a lot of people still have a love-hate relationship with food.

Food should be enjoyed and give nourishment to the body so make food your friend - eat health giving veggies, wholegrains and lean proteins that will make you feel good but also eat food that you enjoy.

Find healthy recipes for your favourite meals - most comfort foods can be adapted to be both healthy and tasty (although I'm yet to find a healthy dairy free cheesecake recipe that hits the spot!) Reduce the quantities of fat, salt and sugar in the recipe and add in extra veggies and nuts and seeds. Regular yoga is also great for balancing appetite and addressing comfort eating, you can evem benefit from just taking 5 deep cleansing breaths before you eat.

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