Tag Archives: food addiction

5 Positive Lifestyle Changes for the New Year (Part 4)

Are you in a rut? Are you feeling like you’re losing your “touch”? Is complacency becoming the norm? Maybe what you need are some basic lifestyle changes. In the coming days we will review five suggestions for the New Year to help improve your health and overall wellbeing – helpful advice that may also initiate a sense of self-renewal and give you more energy, which in turn will give you a whole new outlook on life.

To review part 1, click on: Go on a cleanse or detox diet.

To review part 2, click on: Improve your dietary choices

To review part 3, click on: Find a daily activity that insures you’re getting enough exercise.

Here’s part 4…

4. Pick one habit or trait that is detrimental to your health and eliminate it.

Bad habits often have a huge effect on your life and what makes these habits so challenging and hard to change is the reality that they usually aren’t based on well thought out choices and decisions, so using logic to eliminate them is oftentimes unproductive. Think about it; for instance, everyone who smokes cigarettes knows without a doubt they are bad for them, but that knowledge doesn’t help them much when the try to quit. They require a bit of strategy to overcome.

Try these strategic tips to help get you rid yourself of these habits and get your life and health back on track:

Replace a bad habit, rather than simply trying to drop it. You must have felt some benefit to the habit or you wouldn’t have allowed it to become a part of your life. Consider substituting something positive as a replacement for that which was given up. Examples: When craving a cigarette, sit down and breathe slowly and deeply, visualize yourself inhaling smoke rather than clean air, you’ll be amazed at how effective that can be. If you are in the habit of being a couch-potato after dinner, instead of plopping down in front of the TV, take the dog for a walk or find some other semi-pleasurable chore to engage. Use your imagination, you’re bound to come up with some sort of practical substitution.

Don’t take on too many things at once; deal with one challenge at a time. Perhaps you’ve decided you want to quit smoking, improve your diet and start an exercise program…all that would be overwhelming and you’d probably cave on all three. Pick just one; give yourself a month or so. Then, once you have a handle on that, add another one and give that a month.

Have patience with yourself; don’t be in such a hurry. Think how happy you’d be if you could get rid of your four worst habits. By dealing with one habit at a time as recommended above, that’s only four months, which is a relatively short time if you consider how long you’ve had each habit.

Learn to recognize the triggers that prompt bad cravings and/or your addictive tendencies and remove them. If your intention is to improve your diet, get rid of all the junk food in your house and go to the bathroom or simply walk away when those tempting TV commercials come on. Most habits don’t have a much of thought behind them, they’re a lot like reflexes without sensory stimulation they have little power.

Tell any friends who may be sympathetic and supportive. These friends can help you reach your goal by reminding you should you stray from your purpose.

If you’re going to start a regular exercising regime, be consistent; schedule yourself so that you do it at the same time each day. Many find this to be much easier than trying to exercise 3 or 4 times a week.

Stay motivated, keep reminding yourself that there’s no better feeling than knowing you have control over your life. Your self-esteem will soar as you realize you’re a victor and no longer a victim of your bad habits.


Healthy Holiday Indulgence

This is the time of year when we get together with family and friends who are probably less aware of, and surely less sensitive to, the dietary choices we’ve made in regards to the impact food has on our overall health. During this time cravings for the unhealthy foods we’re offered everywhere we go can be a powerful challenge to our coping skills. It can also be somewhat troubling to know how to properly respond to questions (or even criticism) without trying to convert those around you.

Although we know better, we can still have unhealthy cravings. And there’s a thin line between craving and addiction (see THIS POST). It’s critical to keep in mind that healthy eating habits are an advantage, not a deprivation over the holidays. Knowing that you are choosing not to pollute your body with the toxic food ingredients that surround us all during these festive occasions will keep you on track and may even be an inspiration to others – who knows, perhaps they’ll learn to embrace these differences rather than resent them.

You gotta love the old adage, “Nothing tastes as good as health feels”, which prompts us to remember that yucky, lethargic feeling we used to get after indulging ourselves with sugary, salty, fatting, msg-laden foods.

In an ideal world, we would be surrounded by delicious, healthy, nutritious, hypo-allergic foods; especially at holiday time when everyone wants to feel their very best in order to make the most of their celebrations with loved ones. So in the spirit of the holidays, over the next couple weeks this blog will feature a variety of nutritious and satisfying plant based recipes that will help us stay on the path to optimal health and wellness.

We’ll start with these recipes, but stay tuned there’s more to come.

Appetizer – Mushroom-Almond Pate (serves 4 – 8)


  • 1 cup almonds, ground
  • 2 oz. (approx ½ stick of Earth Balance vegan butter substitute)
  • ½ lb. portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ tbs. salt
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ cup water


  • Melt the Earth Balance, add the thyme and sauté the mushrooms.
  • Add the water and allow the mixture to season and cook off a bit.
  • When the liquid is about halved, remove from the heat add the ground almonds and puree to a fine pate.

Serve with warm pita triangles or crackers of your choice.

Lentil, Walnut & Celery Salad (serves 4)


  • 8 ounces lentils
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cumin to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Cook the lentils with the salt, cumin and a bay leaf until just tender but not too soft depending on what sort of lentils they are.
  • Drain and cool (discard the bay leaf).
  • In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and add to the lentils.
  • Shake together the vinegar and oil and pour over the lentils.

Can be served warm or cold.

Entrée – Tempeh Bourgogne (serves 4)


  • tbs. olive oil
  • pkg. (approx 9 oz.) tempeh, sliced in bite sized pieces
  • package (8 oz.) mushrooms, sliced
  • large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or more if needed
  • 2 tbs. Braggs Aminos
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (optional), cut in small pieces
  • 1 tbs. arrowroot flour or cornstarch


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add the onions and saute until semi-clear.
  • Add the chopped red bell pepper and sliced mushrooms.
  • Lightly saute the vegetables.
  • Add the tempeh pieces and saute until golden brown.
  • Add the wine, Braggs and seasonings.
  • Shortly before serving, mix the cornstarch in a bit of red wine and add slowly this to the mixture in the frying pan, stirring until the sauce thickens.

Serve this with cooked potatoes, either mashed, or boiled.

Non-GMOs after Prop 37 (Video)

You and your family may be on the wrong side of a bet – there are those who are working hard to see that the odds are not in your favor!

When the United States government ignored the repeated warnings of scientists (even its own) and allowed untested GM (genetically modified) crops into our environment and our food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health and wellness of all living beings and future generations were (and now are) put at risk by a technology still in its infancy.

After over two decades, both physicians and scientists have uncovered a gloom trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And ironically, when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

Watch the following video where TV News reporter Anita Lopez spoke with longtime non-GMO advocate Jeffrey M. Smith, who sees the possibility of a silver lining in Prop 37’s shocking failure at the polls. Smith is author of “Seeds of Deception” and “Genetic Roulette”,   books that examine the dangers of GMOs.

Also, check out: NonGMOShoppingGuide.com

Serious Health Threat – Autointoxication

A great reason to embark on a regular cleansing or detox program

People in North America are now beginning to realize that this is the very foundation for holistic nutrition and medicine which is increasingly being practiced here in the west and has been practiced in the orient for thousands of years.

Auto-Intoxication is epidemic in our society, and it has to do with the gastrointestinal diseases that we develop within us as a result of the amounts and types of food that we eat. The human suffering and the social, medical, and economic costs of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders that have become so common in the US and Canada are nothing short of gargantuan, representing a huge share of our annual health care expenditure, as well as being responsible for a large loss of productivity.

Up to 100 million North Americans suffer from intermittent forms of digestive diseases, and the estimated lost work, lost wages, and medical costs comes to over 50 billion dollars per year. It is also estimated that some 200,000 workers miss work every day due to digestive problems.

Let’s take a minute to discuss Autointoxication

When the eliminatory system of the human body is not in top-notch working order, particularly if it has become sluggish or clogged, it cannot properly process foods and eliminate food wastes and toxins. Medical science has finally acknowledged that 85% or more of all adult Americans suffer from some form of intestinal stasis (i.e., constipation, sluggish bowels, IBS, etc.). This virtually guarantees toxic build-up in the colon which, over time, inevitably results in one or more forms of serious illness or chronic degenerative disease. Intestinal stasis sooner or later causes the wastes and toxic by-products from the foods we eat to build up to such an extent that they start to become putrefactive. In turn, this putrefactive build-up in the colon becomes a veritable breeding ground, encouraging the rapid growth of huge colonies of toxin-producing, disease-causing bacteria (e-coli is one good example) along with a host of known toxic chemicals and waste products.

When the digestive and eliminative systems are not properly working to rid the body of this accumulating putrefactive build-up in the colon, the resulting toxins are then absorbed from the colon into the bloodstream, and are carried back into every part of the body. This process of self-poisoning is known as “auto-intoxication”. In a nutshell, because of intestinal stasis, the body ends up chronically poisoning itself with its own wastes and toxins instead of carrying out its designed purpose of eliminating them.

This process of continued self-poisoning inevitably results in candidiasis and a dramatically weakened immune system, which can lead directly to such common ill-health conditions as chronic fatigue and body weakness, nervousness, depression and mood swings, skin disruptions such as acne, rashes and boils, ulcers and other gastro-intestinal disorders, headaches, arthritic joints, swelling of hands and feet, chronic allergies, bronchial problems, cardio-vascular irregularities (arrhythmias, high blood pressure, etc.), pathological changes in the breasts, premature senility, epilepsy, and many other serious and debilitating problems.

Health statistics also show that more North Americans are hospitalized due to diseases of the intestinal tract than for any other group of disorders. The medical costs of these diseases are estimated to be $20 billion or more per year.

The annual cost of prescription and over-the-counter drug products used for digestive tract diseases is approximately $2 – 2.5 billion dollars per year, and has grown at a steady rate of 10% over the last decade.

The following is an estimate of some of the most common costs, and adequately demonstrates the fact that these diseases present a significant public health problem, which contribute substantially to our overall health care costs:

  • Laxatives – $900 million per year.
  • Antacids – $1 billion per year.
  • Antihemorrhoidals – $250 million per year.
  • Anridiarrheals – $100 million per year.

Cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum are the second most common forms of cancer in North America, exceeded only by lung cancer. This year alone there will be approximately 150,000 new cases diagnosed, and approximately 60,000 related deaths. Perhaps as many as one out of every 10 North Americans will die of these two diseases.

The following are some of the other very common diseases and disorders that are directly related to the Colon: Constipation, Appendicitis, Gastritis, Diverticular Disease, Hemorrhoids, Benign Tumors, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease.

Because the body is amazingly resilient, impaired digestion, poor absorption and a general deterioration of the intestinal tract can go for years without producing any definitive symptoms. When symptoms first appear they are usually general and non-specific and can include: decreased energy, headache, fatigue, reduced resistance to infections and minor digestive problems, such as bloating, gas, belching, indigestion and constipation. Most of us either ignore these early manifestations of bowel dysfunction or suppress them with antacids, gas relievers, laxatives and numerous other drugs peddled by the pharmaceutical industry.

As the bowel function continues to deteriorate, other serious (but seemingly unrelated) problems may appear. They range from asthma and allergic reactions to arthritis and cancer. They include auto-immune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus. Chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and hives are also common.

In short, faulty digestion, poor absorption, altered intestinal permeability, bacterial imbalance and massive amounts of auto-intoxication can be traced to most chronic conditions known today. Some of us may not develop serious life-threatening diseases from the intestines, but almost all of us will suffer from auto-intoxication caused by fecal matter buildup. The risk increases with every passing year as we consume more meat, white flour, refined sugars, saturated fats, coffee, antibiotics and prescription drugs.

The Basics of Cleansing & Detoxification

As a follow-up to the last blog post “Are You Addicted to Food?”  this article will focus on detoxification as a means to break that vicious cycle and embark on the path to optimal health and wellness. Note: In the following text the words detoxification (or detox) and cleansing are interchangeable.

Cleansing is like a knife that cuts away much superficiality, getting right to the heart of the matter. Effectively, any good detox program will work on deeper levels than most of us realize because they are able to break up our daily patterns; those patterns upon which we have become so dependent (our comfort zones). When those patterns of pleasure or selfish indulgence are disrupted, we are left with our own internal resources. If those resources are bankrupt during a cleanse you will come face to face with a vacuum that only your inner self (or Divine Providence) can fill.

Any of these detox programs will shake up the physical body, and we may be appalled at how much the body will squirm and resist. But it is high time that the body be put in perspective with the role of our own inner (spiritual/essential) self. Cleansing dethrones and places the body under the jurisdiction of our will. It is this creativity of a freed will which lifts us above our animal instincts and releases us from the cages of our monotonous and empty routines.

In addition to eliminating toxins from the body, cleansing accomplishes two purposes that many are unaware of. First, it will reveal how much the physical appetites have taken control of our emotions. And secondly, it will serve in breaking the body’s habitual cravings and the power they hold upon the will.

You may be surprised at how much your body can detoxify itself in only 24 hours, and a longer cleanse (of three days or more) will invariably bring to the surface deep seated fears which affect thinking and decision-making. It does this by challenging that complex human instinct called self-preservation. This instinct has been created in every living thing on earth, including us. But, we are able to choose to “recreate” ourselves, building a new life which will not be controlled by old habits and base instincts. Because of our ability to make these life changing choices, we will have the power to recreate ourselves into a radiant being of a higher and grander design than that of our former life.

Cleansing compels us to face the chaos of addictions, compulsive behaviors, depression and internal pain. It’s like pressing the pause button of life, and quietly observing how crazy and detached we have become to who we really are.

So, more than help us to detox our bodies and lose those extra pounds, a good cleansing also clears our mind, purifies our soul and frees our spirit for a better reception of the healthy, spiritual life intended for us. This blessing is our birthright and all we have to do is remove the obstacles we have placed in our own way.

*In conclusion: There are a lot of analogies that could be drawn in regard to cleansing and spirituality. We prune our trees, weed our gardens, separate the wheat from the chaff, etc., etc. Its human nature to think of getting “there” because we are “here” and “here” is not as good as “there”. So if we are overweight, we want to be slim. If we are profane, we want to be divine. We want an instant cure, an instant shapely body, an instant awakening. But, ask yourself, what about the enjoying the trip, what about rejoicing in the process? This is what cleansing AND spirituality both have in common.

Mother Nature and Divine Grace give us opportunity to learn from the simplest things. Take an apple tree for example, it lies barren for the winter, leaves and flowers appear in the spring, the flowers develop small fruits which grow until they’ve reached their optimal size…then they RIPEN! How cool is that?

Are we satisfied being mere trees? When cleansing our bodies we begin to flower; literally, we begin to give off a fragrance, a beauty, a radiant quality, and then if we continue to heal and nourish ourselves the way nature intended…we too will RIPEN! When fully ripe we are truly receiving our Creator’s blessing and then we become a blessing to others.

In summary, cleanse to heal, heal to nourish, nourish to grow, grow to ripen, ripen to receive our inherent blessing and then become an instrument of that blessing to help others. This is a way I see it possible to save ourselves, and in turn to save the world.


Are You Addicted to Food – Think Again

The silent epidemic of food addiction has become a worldwide problem, and if you answered the title question “yes” and are indeed addicted to food, (as most of us are, or were at one time), the blame does not rest entirely on your shoulders but there is still much you can do about it.

A little research shows that food addiction is similar to drug and alcohol addiction.  Very often for a food addict, processed foods, refined sugars, factory farmed meats and saturated/trans fats become what alcohol is to the alcoholic, or cocaine to the cocaine addict.

When eating food in these groups, the addict sets the phenomenon of “craving” into motion.  Like the drug addict, the food addict experiences withdrawal when attempting to cut down on the foods that trigger cravings.  They can experience both physical and emotional withdrawal such as tremors, cramps, depression, teary periods and even self-hatred.

Food manufacturers have done an exquisite job of recognizing and tapping into our cravings, using persuasive ads and alluring packaging to keep their products tumbling into our shopping carts. These foods contain chemical compounds that stimulate the brain’s secretion of opiate-like, “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin, which drive our cravings for them.

One way to end the dependence on these trigger foods is to complete a good Detox Program. Once the addictive substances are out of the body, the physical cravings leave and the struggle isn’t as bad as it once was. These physical cravings do subside and you will have a second chance; and a choice whether to reintroduce the foods that caused the problems in the first place back into your diet. The emotional and mental cravings will still be lurking in the background, but with the establishment of a healthy diet and a lifestyle committed to changing old habits they will eventually be overcome.

Food addiction is hard to break, and in addition to the lack of cooperation from the commercial food industry and our elected officials we have other issues to deal with. For one, food is socially acceptable and people reward themselves for almost every imaginable occasion by indulging. We are encouraged (at least here in the US) to show how much we appreciate a meal by the amount we eat. We are taught to “clean up our plates” at every meal. Fast foods are all too convenient in this busy world, but even if we go to a decent sit down restaurant, we can almost guarantee we will be over served; with the average main course totaling  1000 calories or more; and that does not count drinks, salad, appetizers or desert.

Just watch the movie “Woodstock” or any of the music videos from the early 70’s and it’s amazing, – you can’t find any obese people in the audiences; check out the average concert audience today! This is what is happening to America. Let’s get ourselves right, keep ourselves right and then help others to get a grip!

In conclusion: Habitual eating patterns are hard to break and like almost all addictions they’re based on some sort of association and this is often below the radar of our conscious attention. Food frequently reinforces our comfort zones and makes us feel good, so when we want to relax or break free of stress we often grab a bite to eat.

One of the best practices to break this trend is the Buddhist practice of “Mindfullness” or conscious attention. Bringing “Mindfulness” into play before we put anything in our mouths helps us to learn to attune to our bodies and distinguish between real physical hunger (where your stomach is rumbling and you physically need to eat) and psychological hunger (where cues such as emotions, settings, social occasions and sights and smells of food encourage you to eat). Physical hunger is a useful and appropriate cue to eat – psychological hunger is not.

“Mindfulness” also enables us to eat much slower, actually savoring and thoroughly enjoying each bite of food. Eating in this manner gives our brain time to register the sense of fullness. It is a proven fact that it takes about 20 – 30 minutes for our brains to register this sense of fullness, no matter how much we put in our stomachs during that time. People who eat slowly and mindfully are much less likely to overeat.