You know how you make those little mini-resolutions several times a year to “eat healthy” and “lose weight” and “give up potato chips” and “stop eating fast food”?
First of all, why do you keep making those same resolutions over and over? Well, because presumably, they didn’t work the first time.
And why didn’t they work the first time? Because, as hard as you tried, you kept craving the very foods you were trying to give up. And what about those “healthy” foods you were supposed to be eating instead? Ha! You wanted nothing to do with those cardboard, tasteless, sorry excuses for food! Right?
Think about it. You were good the first day. You made it through without one, single potato chip, one ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie, or one greasy, cheesy, yummy piece of pizza. You were SO proud of yourself! You even made it through the second day okay. Heck, maybe even the first week.
But then… dun dun duuuuuun…
You’re sitting there innocently, eating your healthy salad like a good, disciplined human, when a sultry slice of pizza walks by. You get one whiff of it and suddenly you’re off on planet pizza. All you can think about is that hot, greasy, cheesy, doughy, yumminess!
Before you know it, you’ve tossed that salad into the trash, run twelve blocks to your favorite pizza place – in heels, no less – and are scarfing down a slice. But, one measly slice won’t do. No, no. You want the whole pizza! And don’t even think about leaving without that ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie! Or, two. And, on the way back to work, you’ve gotta stop and get your favorite blended coffee drink because you can’t just walk by and not get it. That would be downright rude! And--- hold the fort! What the heck is going on here?!
Well, aside from the fact that it’s a natural human reaction to want the very things you’ve decided to deprive yourself of, there’s something else going on here:
You, my friend, are a slave to your taste buds!
You know, those 10,000 or so little nubby things on the edges of your tongue that detect flavors like sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. And when they get ahold of something they like, boy do they let you know it! They practically demand that you bring them their favorite foods! And, they’ll get you up at 2:00am if necessary.
Now, considering the amount of valuable real estate they occupy compared to the rest of your person, it’s rather amazing how much control they have over you.
And, your eyes are no help. No! They are practically accomplices to the taste buds’ sinister plans. It doesn’t matter how much room there actually is in your stomach, which is about the size of your fist, your eyes will flat-out convince you there’s room for more!
But, there’s something even more sinister going here than just a battle between body parts. The makers of your favorite junk foods and fast foods know full well just how crazy addicted your taste buds are to their products, and they use that to their advantage. How? By adding flavor enhancers called excitotoxins to these foods to make them even more addictive. Excitotoxins are toxic chemical substances like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame that excite the brain cells so much that they literally explode and die! Hence, the name.
Not exactly the kind of thing you want to do to your brain – or the rest of your body. The problem is they are so addictive they just grab ahold of our eyes, our tastebuds, and our minds, and will not let go until they get what they want! There’s a reason there are slogans like 'No one can eat just one'.
So, what to do?
First, I want you to look in the mirror, stick out your tongue, and say, “Taste buds, you are NOT the boss of me!” (an ambulatory challenge in and of itself). Then, I want you to tell your eyes that they are absolutely not bigger than your stomach! If they would but just take a look at themselves, they would see.
Once you have put your demanding body parts in their place, remind yourself that the makers of your favorite fake foods do not have your best interest at heart. Their goal is to make money, not keep you healthy. On the other hand, real foods made with wholesome, organic ingredients that you can actually pronounce will satisfy your hunger gently, not give you that anxious gotta-have-it-now feeling. There are plenty of ways to dress them up with herbs and spices that make them delicious and nutritious without being addictive and brain damaging.
And remind yourself that you can teach an old taste bud new tricks.
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