By Molly Patrick
Dec 30, 2015,
Truth. How many bottles of wine have you double fisted so far?
Were holiday cookies dumped directly into your mouth before you had a chance to avert the mission?
How about chocolate? Has chocolate become your steady escape to happy lately?
Let’s talk about cheese. Have you been having some special moments with cheese?
We spend all year doing our best to avoid the stuff that’s momentarily fun to eat and drink, but ultimately makes us feel tired, bloated, sluggish and gross.
And then the holidays splash upon us and it’s like we’re transported back to being a teenager, when it didn’t matter how many brownies we ate, how many beers we drank, or how much Cheez Whiz we inhaled, as long as we looked cute while doing it.
As soon as Thanksgiving hits, all bets are off and we tend to give ourselves a month long free pass to eat and drink whatever the hell we want – consequences be damned!
We all have excuses that make us feel better and justify our inhalation of booze and crappy food during our month long holiday freak out.
“It’s okay, it’s cookie season. I got this.”
“I don’t want to be the lone healthy person at the party eating dates and hummus. Fuck that racket.”
“I’ve been so good all year long. I deserve a treat (or 50).”
“I’ve already disrupted my healthy eating routine. I may as well go balls out. Pass me that fucking can of whip cream so I can squirt it directly into my mouth.”
“I read somewhere that chocolate and wine are healthy, so I’d better stock up.”
“We’re all going to die someday; pass the tequila.”
“My office mysteriously turned into a bakery overnight. There’s no way of escaping sugar, so I might as well join the cookie orgy.”
Here’s the shit part about this. The food and drinks that need excuses are the same food and drinks that make us want more and more and more of them and keep us stuck in self-defeating eating patterns long after the end of the year parties are over.
These are also the food and drinks that pack on the pounds, make it impossible to lose weight and make us feel like shit as an added holiday bonus.
In contrast, the foods and drinks that help heal and protect the body are the ones that need no excuses or justifications.
“We’re all going to die someday; pass that yummy organic carrot.”
Said no one ever.
This is because cravings for unhealthy foods are triggered by biological properties in those foods. This is why it’s harder to eat healthy after a period of lots of crappy food and boozing.
Chocolate, cheese and sugar are some of the most addictive foods out there because the chemical makeup of these foods triggers biochemical effects similar to alcohol and drugs like morphine and heroin.
Let’s look at sugar.
The taste of sugar on the tongue triggers the release of opiates within the brain. These opiates trigger the release of a feel good chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a key component in the area of the brain known as the pleasure center.
Basically, dopamine makes us feel really good. This is why we reach for sugar when we’re stressed the hell out or feeling sad and / or emotional (sugar and PMS were made for each other in chocolatey, pissed off heaven).
I get it. When you’re hitting sugar hard, cravings for sugar go beyond sugar itself and extend to sugar in the form of bread, chips, bagels, crackers, muffins and pastries because these foods release a rapid surge of sugar into the bloodstream when they’re digested.
Onto chocolate (It hurts me to do this, trust me).
Eating sweetened chocolate stimulates the release of dopamine in the brain, which makes sense because of the sugar, but chocolate also contains caffeine and other stimulants. The combination of sugar, caffeine and these stimulants make it particularly hard to stop daydreaming about chocolaty goodness.
Cheese. Fuckin’ cheese, right?
Here’s what’s going on with this.
Proteins are made up of long strings of amino acids (think of protein as a string of pearls and each pearl is an amino acid). When proteins are digested, the amino acids come apart one by one and are absorbed by the bloodstream and then used to build tissues and repair damage in the body.
Dairy milk contains a protein called casein that behaves differently from other proteins. As casein breaks apart, it doesn’t release individual amino acids, but rather it breaks into short strings of amino acids.
These strings are called casomorphins, and they’re biologically active compounds that have an opioid effect, meaning they act like a sedative in the brain, producing a super happy and cozy feeling of euphoria, much like morphine, oxycodone and demerol. This feeling calls to us after it’s experienced, motivating us to have that experience over and over again.
Hence the constant battle to successfully break up with cheese.
Just like sedatives, these dairy proteins also cause constipation, which explains why eating cheese makes it hard for us to shit.
The reason why cheese is way harder to quit than milk is because cheese is just a concentrated form of milk. It takes about 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese, and during this process most of the water is extracted and what’s left is a high concentration of saturated fat and casein.
Casein is found in all mammals’ milk including human milk. It’s likely that nature designed it this way so that babies would have a blissed out time nursing in order to be motivated to come back to the teat instead of becoming disinterested and dying of starvation.
Casein is basically a built in high that ensures survival.
Humans might not be putting their mouth to a cow’s tit and sucking, but we definitely threw nature for a loop when we decided it was a good idea to consume milk after we were weaned, especially from another mammal.
I guarantee nature is wondering what the fuck is wrong with us.
Let’s land this fuckery.
Eating a shit ton of sugar, chocolate and cheese might start with an innocent excuse, but it quickly backfires into full on chemical reactions in the brain, keeping us coming back for more.
The upside is there’s not a damn thing wrong with your willpower.
The only way to put an end to crappy food cravings and to start feeling good again is to clean out your system and detox from all the crap.
Once these habit forming foods are out of your system for at least three weeks, the cravings and bloat will be gone and your energy and spark will be back. And THAT will cause long lasting euphoria, along with sliding comfortably into your skinny clothes.
Our Plant Fueled Meal Plans will get your butt on track with healthy eating and wipe out those cravings in the long run.
Today’s recipe is euphoric without the constipation.
Let’s do it.
- 1 can vegan oil free refried beans
- 1/2 cup tomatoes 80g, chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives 65g, sliced
- 1 avocado mashed with a sprinkle of sea salt and some red pepper flakes
- 1 cup packed kale 40g, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper 80g, diced
- 1 cup cheesy sauce recipe below / 265g
For the Cheesy Sauce
- 1 russet potato 1 1/2 cups/ 240g, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup carrot 130g, chopped
- 1/4 of an onion 1/2 cup/ 65g, diced
- 1 tablespoon peeled and diced turmeric 10g, or 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups water plus another 1/2 cup 475ml, 120ml, divided
- 1/2 cup raw cashews 75g, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 40g
- 1 teaspoon salt 6g
Make the Cheesy Sauce
- This is the same cheesy sauce from my Mac and Cheese recipe.
- Place the potato, carrot, onion, turmeric and garlic in a pan, cover with 2 cups of water and simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on.
- After 20 minutes, add the veggies (and the remaining liquid in the pan) to your blender.
- Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the nutritional yeast, sea salt and the additional 1/2 cup of water.
- Blend until the sauce is creamy and smooth.
- If you prefer to make the Cheesy Sauce in your Instant Pot, here's that recipe.
Once the cheesy sauce is ready, continue with the Nacho Dip.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (175°C).
- Spread the beans evenly in the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking dish and then layer on the tomatoes, black olives, avocado, kale, bell pepper, and top with 1 cups of the cheesy sauce.
- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Heat some sprouted corn tortillas on the stove or in the oven and cut them into chip sized pieces and serve.
I hope that you have a happy week. May it be filled with zero excuses.