There are several foods worth discussing, some are part of our daily life added to enhance our diet or defined as socially acceptable mood-altering substances. All of the extreme foods can set up a craving for the other and potentially create an endless cycle. For example, after eating any sugar for a while, the body craves salt; and vice versa. Though this extreme balance is more like a see saw.
Refined sugar (Sucrose) is an empty food that leeches important vitamins and minerals e.g. calcium, from the body. Why do you think they add extra vitamins and minerals to the sugar-coated cereals?
It is well known as a leading cause of dental, metabolic (diabetes, thyroid imbalances) and digestive conditions. It creates heat in the stomach and over time a reduction in digestive function. If refined sugar was introduced to the market today, it would probably be taxed in a similar fashion to tobacco and alcohol; or even a controlled or banned substance.
Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, heroin or morphine. When you consume sugar, it acts the same way in your brain as substances like heroin and cocaine. Once it hits your system it triggers the production of dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is known as the “feel good” hormone. It gives you a sense of wellness and makes you feel good. This reaction is also the reason that people can become addicted to a substance.
Heavy meat eaters often crave sugar and sweet foods due to their emptiness; which offsets the fullness of meat. Sugar as mentioned previously can also cause salt cravings, the warming energy of sugars is counterbalanced by the cold energy of salty foods.
Whole sugars e.g. honey, maple syrup, molasses, barley malt, raw sugar cane are much better for the body, though should be consumed sparingly due to their empty nature.
Salt (Sodium, Na) is necessary along with potassium to maintain a healthy balance of the cells in our bodies and good skin condition. Naturally excess consumption of any salt will lead to the development of water retention, arterial hardening, high blood pressure and kidney disease (to name a few).
Many of our foods contain their own salt, fish, seafood and seaweeds being an obvious source. Look for the hidden salt in your processed foods – sodium bicarbonate, sodium hydrogen carbonate, sodium nitrite. Personally, I don’t advocate a no salt diet.
One indicator of inadequate salt in your diet, is the development of muscular cramps. And if you have ever had a leg cramp at night; you will do your best to avoid it. If you are prone to sweating, stay hydrated and increase your intake of salt slightly – eat a packet of crisps. Though when adding small quantities of salt to the diet use whole, unrefined rock or sea salt that has a balance of other minerals.
Caffeine is a powerful substance that is naturally found in a number of plants naturally, though consumption comes with a price. Regardless of whether you drink tea (that includes green tea), coffee or colas for the taste or effect.
It depletes the body on all levels, leading to dependency, mood swings, stomach acidity, depression, changes in bone density and gynaecological issues.
In time, excess use leads to adrenal exhaustion, it may take years for this to develop; and then it occurs suddenly. Many drink coffee or tea to get them through the day and push through tiredness. Though it’s a vicious cycle… you drink coffee (or tea) to feel awake, focused and alert; and then you are unable to sleep. Include different liquids to quench your thirst, drink water or fruit juice in water; or herbal teas.
Though those that frequently drink more than 4 caffeinated drinks a day (coffee, tea, colas, Red bull) and are frequently tired, have poor immune systems, or drink coffee or tea at night and have no difficulty falling asleep – It may also be an indication a person is near to adrenal exhaustion. So if you find yourself feeling slightly sub-human before coffee (BC) in the morning, or feel the afternoon grumps coming on… It may be time to reduce your coffee (or tea) consumption.
Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and nicotine all create Heat and irritation in the body due to their very stimulating nature.
In meat eaters this creates excessive amounts of Heat. However with a vegetarian diet, stimulants can provide the Heat that the body craves when given a very Cooling diet. This can be one of the major reasons why it is incredibly difficult for vegetarians and vegans to quit smoking or reduce coffee/tea consumption.
Without a change in their diet, vegans and vegetarians can find it more difficult than people who eat meat to reduce or eliminate extreme foods. Additionally, due to the sugar content of alcohol it creates the same issues as sugars in the body.
Tobacco (nicotine) restricts the peripheral circulation (hands and feet) and this leads to excessive coldness in the extremities.
It also impairs our ability to breath naturally, robbing all of our cells in the body of oxygen and nutrients; which causes a weakening of the whole body. Depending on how much a person smokes and their energetic constitution, can determine if a person develops any respiratory issues. Conditions associated with smoking include emphysema (COPD), cancers, heart disease, Raynauld’s disease, fertility issues, impotence, premature aging.
If you feel it is time to quit smoking, then do. You will find that eating a healthier diet will help reduce cravings and allow your body to gently detox. As well as supporting yourself from the inside, make sure you get support from your family and friends around you.
The Health organisations around the World would advise we abstain or minimise our consumption of these extreme substances. Yet they have been a part of culture and society for thousands of years. Salt and sugars (carbohydrates) are a necessary part of our diet; just in moderation.
Caffeine, Alcohol and Nicotine have been a part of many cultures for thousands of years. Discovered and used for their psychoactive effect on our bodies and minds. Yet they were used for religious or ceremonial purposes. It is only when coffee and tobacco were taken from the Americas to Europe that their sacred use has been lost.
Though there are many people who have had religious experiences after their first coffee or cigarette in the morning!.. What we need to ask is why so many people keep trying to escape their lives? Only to come down or sober up after reconnecting with that perfect bliss. Deep down within us, we know their is an energy, intelligence or Spirit to connect with. We need to remember to awaken ourselves from a deep, deep sleep and know that we are the ones we have been waiting for.