I am at the great family resort with the family. We have unlimited access to free food and drinks, all the time. First day, everybody gets crazy, taking way too much food than he could possibly eat. Everybody has its weakness: the ice cream, the soda, the wine, cakes or just more of everything.
On the second day, I try to limit myself by choosing to fill the small plate from amazing buffets. My first small plate is very healthy. After all, I really love vegetables. I feel good about myself and decide that I can have another plate with cheeses and fruits. It tastes so good. I still feel good about myself and cannot stop thinking about the dessert buffet; just a small treat – I am on holidays after all. Then I go for two plates of dessert. I am frustrated but I can’t fight my brain.
“When a person consumes sugar,
just like any food, it activates the tongue’s taste receptors. Then, signals
are sent to the brain, lighting up reward pathways and causing a surge of
feel-good hormones, like dopamine, to be released. Sugar hijacks the brain’s
reward pathway. Over-activating this reward system kickstarts a series of
unfortunate events — loss of control, craving, and increased tolerance to sugar.”
I have been in this food game for a long time. I know I should keep fighting the craving and if I do not give up too much to the addiction, I will get “clean” again pretty fast when I get home.
After couple of days, I start observing others. Our children are not overloading their plates anymore. They even drop the ice-cream and choose the fruits. My soon to be teenager fills his plate with vegetables. The other one proclaims that he does not want the dessert. They even choose water to drink. Amazing! What is happening? I feel content, because I realize that my children still have self-regulations and their brain is not completely addicted yet. But for how long?
Our brain is always “on.” It works hard 24/7, even while we are asleep. This means our brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods we eat. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. About 95% of serotonin is produced in our gastrointestinal tract. So our digestive system does not just digest food, but also affects the degree of inflammation throughout body, as well as mood and energy level.
I really love and enjoy everything about food, the taste, the pleasure, the nutrition…. I am fascinated how our food habits define our cultural identity. I work with food, attempting to innovate better and hopefully healthier solutions.
Most of all I respect the power of food. We cannot survive more than a week without food. On the other hand, too much food can make us sick.
Still, I cannot fight my brain. But I can keep trying.