How to Find Holiday Food Bliss
Have you ever wondered why you struggle so much with sugar and caffeine you’re getting from the quick fix, on-the-go foods you put in your body every day? Do you have a trouble with just NOT being able to stop eating? Do you have to “clean your plate?” Or, do you feel guilty not finishing everything because there are starving kids in… wherever? This is do to something called The Bliss Point. And, during the holidays, it is so common to find this point with our food choices.
In addition, more than half of American adults are considered overweight with nearly 40 million people defined as clinically obese. This, of course, goes right along with the increase of prescriptions annually to blood pressure, cholesterol-lowering medication, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. The numbers are staggering! Children are at a huge risk as well because these “frankenfoods” are more available and promoted as “kid-friendly.” Children are being targeted and we fall for it! Poor diets over time rival other nasty habits like tobacco intake. Yes, it can be that bad for us.
This can set us up to fall into the vicious cycle of trying to control our food or calories, then we feel poorly, and go back to the foods to which we’ve become addicted! Well, it’s really not your fault. (Sort of). These foods are actually designed to cause us to fall into this cycle. You just have to be savvy with your nutrition knowledge and willing to put in some effort. What I’m saying is…you need to get rid of the quick-fix, all-or-nothing, dieting mentality! Just stop. Don’t worry…tips of for the holidays still to come.
You probably have heard of a few of these slogans related to food:
“I’m Lovin’ It”
“It Gives You Wings!”
And, my favorite,
“Bet You Can’t Eat Just One!” Herein lies the problem. When we eat these foods, most of us really CAN’T eat just one. And, I’m not just talking about Lay’s Potato Chips that made this phrase popular in the 80s. There is actual science behind the production of products like these to keep us hooked.
Now, I’m not saying you don’t have any responsibility. You have the responsibility to inform yourself and put the foods in your body that will actually benefit you and not work AGAINST you. I’m hoping this article is just the tip of the iceberg for you in your health and wellness journey.
Now, on to the science. Have you ever bitten into something and thought you’d just found Heaven? Food manufacturers are adding sugars to foods you wouldn’t really think would be sweet. Have you ever looked at the ingredient label on a bottle of ketchup? Go look, you might be surprised…and disgusted. What happens is that we now expect a certain taste at some level of sweetness that has become most people’s norm…now, real, healthy foods don’t seem so appealing. The first step in the vicious cycle as mentioned above starts here.
Think of this. Yoplait yogurt now has twice the sugar per serving as Lucky Charms cereal. That’s crazy considering yogurt is thought of a wholesome snack. Fat Free products are so popular for those who are wanting to reduce calories but that fat is replaced with either sugar or artificial sweeteners or some combination of both.
I realize that not everyone cares about nutrition to this level. People just want to eat what tastes good and, frankly, some populations don’t even have access to healthy foods or can’t afford even the most basic healthy foods. But that’s a whole other problem.
Here’s an example of having such a strong pull to the foods that we want when we want it. It has been said that John Lennon had a special beverage sent from New York to help him through the Imagine sessions. According to Michael Moss in the NY Times, ZZ Top, Cher and The Beach Boys had it spelled out in their contracts when making appearances and on tour. This highly sought-after product is Dr. Pepper. The makers of these foods and beverages reach out to scientists to help develop and “optimize” and then, of course, market analysis is done to see if it can make the company money.
The addition of sweeteners to achieve the perfect level of taste intrigue to the consumer is called “BLISS POINT.” This is a real thing. Food scientists and manufacturers spend millions of dollars to determine what will make consumers want to eat more. (If you would like to read more about this in detail, read “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food” by Michael Moss in the NY Times.) This, in my opinion, has made a huge contribution to health and obesity epidemic in this country. In fact, Kelly Brownell, a professor of psychology and public health and Yale University, said “As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we could make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.”
Really, I promise…the tips are coming.
WOW! The food industry being compared to the tobacco industry?! That’s big! So, it’s not just a matter of poor will-power but about a concerted effort by these industries to basically get people hooked on foods that are cheap and convenient. To reiterate, the goal of the food industry is to create “crave.” It’s a very long story so I’ll spare you the details. Again, I refer to the article in the NY Times by Michael Moss. But here’s the gist: food scientists work diligently to determine what the exact formula for a food should be in order to create this crave. For example, let’s use sweetness. When the sensory intensity of sweetness increases more and more, people tend to like that at first. But it has been found that the middle level of sweetness a notch or so down from the highest level is where consumers like the product the most. This is called the BLISS POINT. This is where we want more and more and more.
There is another guiding principle used by the food industry when they are creating products. It’s called “sensory-specific satiety.” What happens when we eat foods with a big, overwhelming flavor, our brain sends a signal to our body to quit eating. So, that’s how food and beverage products are designed…just to be not quite overwhelming to the senses so the brain doesn’t tell us to stop eating. In fact, it says, “keep eating!” This is the principle on which Coke and Doritos was developed.
I could go on and on with different examples of well-known products made that keep us eating like it’s our job. Everything from the varieties of different flavored sodas like in the Dr. Pepper or Coke lines, to Lunchables, to Prego spaghetti sauce have cost millions of dollars and hundreds of different formulas to develop. This, of course, resulted in millions of dollars in sales for the companies putting them on the market. It is business after all.
The whole point of this article is to get you thinking in a different way. To understand that at some level, your addiction or draw to these foods is not really your fault. But now that you know different, you can do different.
You can get a handle on your processed, junk food habits by enrolling now in my Beginner’s Guide To Whole Food Eating online program. Join now knowing you’re doing something great for yourself beginning January 7th, 2018. Join NOW by clicking here: Enroll Now
This post was inspired by the article written by Michael Moss in the NY Times – click here
HERE YOU GO…10 TIPS FOR HOLIDAY FOOD BLISS
- If you have one thing that you really would like to indulge in over the holidays because it only comes around this time of year, go ahead and just plan it. Just have some and move on…no need to beat yourself up and attach negative vibes to that. Just enjoy.
- Focus on the proteins, veggie carbs, and fruits, and use healthy fats like butter or coconut oil for cooking and baking.
- Ditch the quick fixes and make your favorites as “clean” as they can be with real, whole food ingredients.
- Go toward the nuts and olives rather than chips and dip.
- Use celery and other veggies as your chip if there is a dip you just can’t avoid.
- When holiday baking, use dark chocolate rather than white or milk chocolate to boost nutrition
- Bring your own healthy dish to parties and gatherings to share.
- Drink water. Stay hydrated.
- Get your sleep. It’s easy to let your sleep schedule slack when you’re busy with the holidays but maintaining good sleep will help you avoid the stress that can surround the holidays as well as help you make better choices with regard to foods.
- Avoid the processed foods due to all the reasons outlined in this article. As the end of the year approaches, I promise you’ll feel so much better for staying away from these “foods” and your health and body will thank you for it.
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