Today’s verse comes from Psalm 78:18
“And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.”
I’m a food lover. Often times, food is merely a pleasure fullfill-er rather than a body fueler. For instance, the white chocolate chip macadamianut cookie. I immediately turn into a Homer Simpson salivating over a donut. It’s my weakness. It causes such a rush of endorphins, even just the thought of it, it could be likened to a drug. I’m talking about food cravings. Who’s with me? They’re real, they’re strong, and they’re dangerous. But where do they come from?
Some years ago I sat under the teachings of an Oxford based neuroscientist as he outlined a lecture on the ‘theology of addiction ‘. In his discussion, he pointed out that our brains were created with a purpose of remembering pleasure. This is actually a gift from God and has survival purposes in it as well. But, consider how the smell of a steak on the grill can immediately create pleasure. Even walking into my house and smelling a burning sugar cookie candle can cause me to crave sugary sweets! I’ve been tempted to eat the wax. Or for instance, music, if upon hearing a particular song I am transported back to some memory. This is all because of a little gland in our brain called the hippocampus. The library of pleasure and pain. It stores information throughout our life of things that bring pleasure and is triggered my sites, smells, tastes, and sounds. But here’s the important thing to know. It sits right beside another very important gland. One that secretes dopamine, the ‘feel good’ hormone of the brain. So, as I remember a delicous taste, my dopamine receptors get fired up and start producing a pleasurable sensation….a craving. I have an insatiable desire to have and partake, in order to further or increase the feeling of pleasure! Remember, this is a gift from God and it can be abused, hence drug addiction, food addiction, and sex addiction.
We have wired our brains to react to certain foods, and this leaves us drooling, and arguing with ourselves, often hating ourselves for giving in. So, how do we stop it?
You may need to re-wire your brain. It can be done and don’t worry, it doesn’t invlove electrodes. It takes some time and practice but every time you have a craving for something sweet and unhealthy, subsitute it with something like nuts, or cheeses. This will begin to train your brain that these foods please the cravings.
Also, understand that your cravings may be telling you something. Perhaps you are deficient in a certain nutrient.
After taking a chromium suppliment for a period of time, I no longer had sugar cravings. They completely went away. I find it interesting that most people have cravings for chocolate and that in recent studies shown, most people are difficult in magnesium. Could these two facts be related?
And lastly, understand this is an oportunity to build a strong food psychology. It’s not about self-denial, and penance; it’s about choice and decision. You are choosing a better route and forging a tougher mindset. You are controlling your urges instead of being controlled by them.