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The Truth About Eating for Joy, Eating for Stress

healthyWe’re all guilty of stress eating or indulging in our favorite sweet treats from time to time. However, adding emotion to eating can be dangerous and unhealthy. Nora Gedgaudas, author of PRIMAL FAT BURNER, shares why shifting toward a fat-burning diet and away from a dependence on sugar is so important.

The way we relate to food psychologically and emotionally is another change from our evolutionary history. With day-to-day survival no longer at stake for the majority of us, and abundant food supplies fairly cheap, food has morphed away from its original purpose— sheer sustenance and quality nourishment—and has instead become a mere source of entertainment and comfort, and a way of filling our personal voids. The entire meaning of food has expanded, and as a result many gaps (or would that be booby traps?) have appeared, all too easy to fall into. Never before in our evolutionary history have we expected meals to be novel, convenient, and titillating. None of these things is entirely negative, but these expectations very often get in the way of making good choices. How often has someone subverted your nutritional goals by admonishing you to “live a little” and indulge in whatever dessert they like best? Emotion and rationalization can make all kinds of trigger foods or sabotaging foods momentarily acceptable!

As a clinical nutritionist, I advise clients to hold on to a bigger picture perspective: is living about a getting a brief high from a fleeting indulgence, or is it about enjoying ongoing energy, clarity, and real symptom-free health because you made consistent, quality choices that actually support the health of your body and brain? And when it comes to the catchphrase “everything in moderation,” by what (or whose) standard might the term moderation be defined . . . or rationalized? Who today can afford (much less enjoy) “moderate” inflammation, endocrine disruption, health, immune dysfunction, or health compromise?

Using food emotionally becomes even more dangerous in conjunction with stress—especially the chronic stress that is a norm for virtually everyone today, and which in and of itself leads to its own state of dysregulation. Blood sugar spikes from sugary or starchy meals, the resultant floods of insulin, and the constant high levels of cortisol from an overactivated fight-or-flight mechanism generate frequent, rapid surges and crashes that are inflammatory and anxiety-producing—causing more stress! All of this helps our sugar-burning metabolism to become even more firmly established, and makes our cravings for sugar (to deal with stress) even stronger.

Shifting to a principled primal fat-burning diet is supportive in multiple ways. You feel more satiated and more clear-thinking as you eat, able to automatically make better food choices along the way because your eating is no longer propelled by an uncontrollable appetite or cravings. An effective state of ketosis also stabilizes your nervous system and clears your emotional lens, allowing you to handle stress better, free of the constant overarousal of the nervous system. When irritating and antigenic foods are removed as well, this stable state typically gets even better.

And by the way, good, nourishing food full of healthy natural fat is titillating and extremely enjoyable to eat—try drizzling duck fat on your veggies or sinking a spoon into a rich coconut curry and tell me that it isn’t! Primal Fat Burner helps you to make more consistently conscious, wise choices about the food you put inside your living matrix. It can help shift even a hardened carb- and junk-eating habit.

Check out the 5 principles of primal fat burning.

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