For those of you who don’t know, I have been dieting for a show and I am currently at about 6% body fat. To summarise the way I consume carbohydrates in my diet: they are essentially clustered around training. So if I have a non-training day, the only carbs I am getting are from green vegetables which amounts to a very negligible amount of carbs on those days.
Yesterday, whilst consuming my post-training meal, I was reflecting on just how tasty the meal was. Literally I couldn’t have been more excited or pleasured by my meal and this prompted me to write this post. So let’s get down to business. It might seem like I am going off on a tangent, but just keep reading and it will all make sense in the end.
Those of you who are not well read on the subject of illicit drugs (I love reading about pharmacology and related topics), may not be aware of the affects that meth-amphetamine elicits on the dopamine receptors in a user’s brain. Dopamine in a major player in the reward pathways in the brain and thus by providing a drug that directly taps into that system, one such substance can provide an exceptional amount of stimulation to the user. Like any pathway in the body, constant overuse will result in its down regulation. In the meth addicts case, this down regulation is so profound, that is not uncommon for recovering addicts to find absolutely no stimulus or pleasure in the world. Their brain has been revving at such a high rate, that pleasures that you and I find stimulating are not even a bleep on their reward system’s radar. For these recently recovering addicts the world has become comparatively grey, pleasureless and tasteless.
So at this stage of the post, you might be wondering what all this has to do with the opening few paragraphs? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. Let’s continue.
Food (sex and other activities) also tap into the same reward system of the brain, which of course makes sense, right? It is essential we be motivated to seek out calories that will contribute to our survival. But for a significant majority of the world’s population, having a lack of calories for survival has long since passed to be an issue, yet this reward mechanism for food persists. Furthermore, for westerners, not only do we live in a world where there is plenty of food, we also live in a world where a lot of the food is high stimulus (and high calorie). This is where the story comes together – How can the stimulus that your brain gets from a clean meal with veggies, ever compare to the stimulus from a high sugar, high fat, fast food meal? It can’t. And this is why the title states that your brain has been hijacked. The correlation between how the fast food addict’s brain sees health food and how a recovering meth addict brain sees the world could not be any higher.
Anyone that knows me or works with me, will know that I will ride people’s asses about their food choices and rightfully so. I live in a world where I love the healthy food that I eat and I literally get a buzz from eating it, why? Because I earn my food and I don’t hijack my tastebuds & brain with high sensation, low quality bullshit food on a frequent basis. This way, when it comes time to eat, my brain is really excited by consuming the healthy food that makes up my meal. This suggests that if you find healthy food boring, then it most likely because you have been eating the wrong foods for too long and you have habituated to poor eating. In this case your sense of taste has been warped and distorted, much like the meth addicts brain no longer finds pleasure in everyday life.
I just want to get it through people’s head that fast food and junk food are crap food, no matter what way you justify your reasons for eating it. We should all be concerned how over the last 30 years that these low quality/high sensation foods have crept their way into our lives, into our diet and hijacked our beliefs on what is normal and tasty. The thing that should be of the greatest concern is the way in which people have developed a sense of entitlement for eating these types of food, yet then get all depressed and defensive about their body composition, or worse attack people that eat healthy and stay in shape.
I challenge everyone to think about this, look at what you’re eating and the motivation behind your food choices. If you are unhappy at all with your body’s fat levels and/or regularly eat take away, fast food, sweets or junk food, then I suggest this article has a lot of relevance for you. Don’t be passive to your cravings; instead make conscious decisions that contribute to your health and your future, and realise that your current cravings can be crafted and reshaped over time.
We did not evolve to eat the way the majority of the current generation eats, and I challenge everyone to get in touch with their bodies and get back to being healthy. Reconnect with the pleasure of eating healthy food. It may take a while to readjust, but I assure you it will happen and your body will thank you for it.
All the best,