Nutrition

Dietary Crackhead

I recently read an article about “Dietary Crackheads and Obesity” and was very interested.  Although the term “crackhead” maybe extreme, I believe the effects of sugar, flour, and refined grains have on the brain maybe surprising to you.  The problem with these carbohydrates is that when we eat them they induce addiction cgrainschemistry in the brain, which makes us want them more.

Through the fall and winter we indulge ourselves with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter treats and foods. These extremely pleasant, grand meals and treats may fill us with great memories and happiness but they also trigger the reward system of our brains limbic system.  Fulfilling the reward gives us pleasure so we continuously seek this pleasure with sugar and refined grains.

How many of us have to have bread with a meal, a sugary drink throughout the day, or something sweet in the evening? These cravings are not just your specific taste in foods but your brain seeking its daily or hourly fix.  Whenever we are craving for these foods the addiction chemistry is working overtime in the brain.

Trust me, you are not alone when it comes to eating with your brain. After long days at work or stressful weeks, I feel my limbic system craving brainchocolate and sweets. Many nights I sit and eat M&M after M&M without contempt. When this happens to you there are a few tricks that can calm our cravings.

If you are like me, I do my cleaning, housework, and chores on the weekend.  I also do not indulge in sweet delights as frequently on my days off as I do during the fast passed, stressful week days. Our brain and  also responds to physical activity and completing goals. Doing yard work or housework has an appetite suppressing quality and produces a reward much like snacking on high carbohydrate foods.

Next time you feel your reward center telling you to eat that candy bar or have another piece of bread try going for a walk or performing a small task that you are putting off until the weekend.  Also, remember you are not alone nor should you feel guilty for giving in to your cravings. The first step is admitting and then working towards replacing the cravings with activity.

Yours in health,

Dr. Justin Hildebrand

Nutrition

The Pros & Cons of Organic Foods

Shopping and eating organic is one of the largest evolutions of our modern time.  More organic food items are showing up in grocery stores every day and farmers markets are popping up in cities everywhere. What is the real deal when it comes to organic food? Let’s weigh some pros and cons on eating organic.

Pros:

  • The food is pure, fresh, and in its most natural state.
  • There are no harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides used, so food and handling is safe for you and the farmer.
  • Foods that are organic, claim to be more nutrient rich and contain higher levels of anti-oxidants and other vitamins and minerals.
  • Organic meats, cheeses, eggs, and dairy products are supposed to be completely free range and void of antibiotics and added hormones

Cons:

  • Organic foods tend to be quite expensive and on average cost almost 60%more for produce and almost 100% more for meat and dairy products.
  • Recent studies have found that nutrient levels in organic produce equaled that of non-organic produce.
  • Another recent study found that organic produce still contained pesticide residue although it did contain less than non-organic items. The study found that 25% of organic produce had at least trace amounts of pesticides, while 77% of non-organic produce had the same levels of pesticides.

Still confused? I know I am. The idea of buying healthy more nutrient-rich food for yourself and loved ones sounds great, but the price you pay for these “healthier” food can be ridiculous at times. The list below helps remedy this problem. I have listed the top 12 most contaminated, pesticide-rich foods that you can buy in the grocery store, along with the top 12 least contaminated foods.

Next time you go shopping take this list with you and weigh the pros and cons, so you can make the most educated choice for yourself and your family.

12 Most Contaminated Foods

*  Peaches
*  Apples
*  Sweet Bell Peppers
*  Celery
*  Nectarines
*  Strawberries
*  Cherries
*  Pears
*  Grapes (Imported)
*  Spinach
*  Lettuce
*  Potatoes
12 Least Contaminated Foods

*  Onions
*  Avocado
*  Sweet Corn (Frozen)
*  Pineapples
*  Mango
*  Asparagus
*  Sweet Peas (Frozen)
*  Kiwi Fruit
*  Bananas
*  Cabbage
*  Broccoli
*  Papaya

Yours in health,

Dr. Justin Hildebrand

Information from http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214  and http://www.insideyourdiet.com/886/the-pros-and-cons-of-eating-organic-food