One of the problems with an unhealthy diet is its addictive nature. Three key ingredients found in most processed food are known to be highly addictive: sugar, salt and fat. Given the challenge to avoid the junk food, how do you re-train your brain to avoid the junk food and love healthy foods?
Avoid creating sugar spikes
One of the reasons, you may be in the habit of eating unhealthy food is due to sugar spikes. If you are in the habit of eating food containing a high quantity of simple carbohydrates, such as, sugar and sweets, then you will notice that not long after eating you feel hungry and perhaps irritable. This is caused due to insulin spikes that drive your hunger pangs. As recommended in the golo diet, you want to keep your insulin levels even keel throughout the day. White sugar contains almost no minerals or vitamins, unlike better simple sugar options, such as, fructose (fruit) or lactose (milk).
Feel fuller for longer with complex carbohydrates
Eating foods that keep you feeling fuller for longer is recommended. An excellent choice is to eat a starchy complex carbohydrate such as oatmeal for breakfast. Other good sources of starchy complex carbs are brown rice and whole meal flour. Why? Because unrefined complex carbs keep more of their complexity, which means they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. When your body gets the nutrition it needs, your body feels good, and thus your brain feels good too. You are already re-training your brain to associate feeling good with healthy food.
Moderate the amount you eat
Put simply: eating excess food or the wrong sort of food leads to excess glucose and excess insulin. Your body then turns this glucose to fat. Eating modest amounts is a habit you can train your brain to do and love. The key is that if you are eating nutritious healthy meals your body is getting what it needs and doesn’t need more.
Stick to Fixed Meal Times
Keeping to fixed meal times trains your brain when to expect food. If you are used to getting a late morning snack at work. Guess what? Your mind is already anticipating that snack and you feel hungry at that time each day. Indiscipline can easily lead to grazing on snacks throughout the day. Try skipping that snack, keeping meal times on schedule and within days you will be amazed how you don’t even miss it.
Add Greens to your diet
A good digestive system helps train your brain to love good food. Green vegetables are a great source of the fibrous carbs that ensure that your digestive system is running smoothly and healthy. In addition to containing, a host of feel good vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, they contain lots of fiber which ensures your gut is healthy and clean. Greens are low on calories too which is an added bonus. Celery is so low in calories that it takes more calories to eat it than it gives you!
Your brain loves variety
Eating healthy doesn’t need to be boring. Train your brain to love healthy food again by giving yourself a full multi-sensory experience at meal time! Lots of color, smells and flavors are your brain’s way of seeking the healthy food it craves, so give it what it wants: healthy foods!