Why Did I Eat That?

If you’ve ever asked yourself, ‘why did I eat that’ and don’t have a good answer, this Tanager Talk is for you. Dr Joan Ifland, a leading expert on food addiction explains how our brains react to refined foods, how these foods can harm us and what we can do about it.

To begin, Joan describes her own journey from being “crazy, sick and fat” to recovery from food addiction to a doctorate and writing a popular book on the subject and then founding Victory Meals, a diet management company.

As Joan puts it, “I could see from the research that cravings were the key.” Brain imaging shows that just like other addictive substances, when consuming refined sugars and flours, the learning, decision-making and inhibition parts of the brain stop firing and “we literally lose our minds.” But according to Joan, food addiction is in some ways even worse than other addictions because we are constantly exposed to triggers through availability, advertising and social pressure – and unlike most other addictions, it starts in childhood.

If you think you might have a problem with refined foods, look for symptoms such as elevated blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, weight gain, irritability or fatigue.

To get processed foods out of your life, Joan provides some practical advice. Start with the triggers and pay attention to when and where you are being stimulated. Get processed foods out of your home and make sure you have easy access to the right food. Do your cooking over the weekend. Victory Meals has created a video (available to download from Amazon here) that shows how you can do all your cooking for the week in just 2 hours.

And finally, Joan suggests that we ignore much of the nutritional advice that comes to us through news outlets that are in the business of creating something ‘new’. Our bodies have not changed in hundreds of thousands of years. We need proteins and plants. It’s simple.

You can hear the complete interview with Dr Joan Ifland below. You can learn more about Joan, her counselling practice and the Victory Meals program here. You can follow Victory Meals on Twitter at @VictoryMeals and join the Facebook page here. Joan can be contacted directly at joan.ifland@victorymeals.com

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