Thursday, August 15, 2013

Addicted to Junk, Rehabilitated By Water

Having just read an article entitled, Food Is the New Tobacco in E Magazine, I figure that now is probably a really good time to talk about junk food.

I know, I know... this is an environmental blog, not a food blog.

I get it. 

But the two can sometimes be merged, and now is one of those times.  You see, Jeffrey Hollender wrote about the New York Times article that appeared back in February, entitled The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.  This article focused on the science behind the food industry's success.  It mentioned bliss thresholds that needed to be met, and it focused on the three pillars of the food industry: Salt, Sugar, and Fat.

So, how exactly does this fit into the environment?

Well, we, as a nation, are addicted to processed foods.  We've gotten away from local foods, from fresh foods in general, in an effort to eat things that hit our bliss threshold.  We're doing exactly what those food companies want us to, and we're doing it without a second thought.

By harming our bodies, we're harming the environment.

But how to we break away from this addiction?

Well, I've been unintentionally doing that very thing for the past 2 weeks, so you can imagine just how apropos that article discovery was! 

The answer for me, at least partially, was water.

See, two weeks ago I decided that I wasn't getting enough water.  I elected to give myself a goal of seven 16 ounce containers of water per day.  No flavoring was allowed in the water: My goal was straight water.  I wanted to ensure proper hydration, and felt that my squeezie-bottles full of flavoring for my water was getting in the way.

It was something I had never done before, and I was nervous.  You see, I'm not a fan of tap water.  Most places have water that just tastes... bad.  

I was fortunate, though - my grandmother uses a well, rather than city water.  The taste is far superior. 

After only a week, I realized that for the majority of my life I've been dehydrated, to some extent.  

I had a difficult time adjusting to the large amount of saliva in my mouth.  My skin plumped out a bit more, causing fine lines in my face to fade. 

But mostly, I noticed a change in my eating habits.  You see, water flushes toxins from your system when consumed in its purest form.  As toxins were slowly removed, my habits changed -

Just like what would happen to an addict.

Holy crap!!!

The biggest change in my eating habits was in my sugar consumption.  While not prone to large amounts of sugar, I do enjoy a sweet treat here and there.  Since beginning my seven-a-day water routine, however, I've had very little interest in sweet products at all. 

I do, however, still crave salt and fat.  

The salt craving, though, probably has more to do with the fact that I have a tendency to have low sodium levels on blood tests than with any food addiction.  The last time I had crazy salt cravings, I had low sodium levels in my blood, so it stands to reason that the same thing is happening here.

There hasn't been a noticeable change in how much a love fat, however... fatty foods still press my happy button.  I'm clearly still addicted to that type of junk.

But water removed my desire to consume sugars. 

It has, in a sense, rehabilitated me.  The interesting side effect of this, though, is that I no longer enjoy sweetened beverages the way I used to - artificial sweeteners or sugars.  Indeed, upon drinking them my mouth begins to feel like it's drying out.  Psychological effect perhaps?

I don't know the answer to that.  I do, however, know that my little water experiment was a good one to try on myself.  My health has vastly improved simply by changing one small habit.

Are you addicted to junk, as well? 

Try water.  Even if it doesn't work for you, at least you know it won't hurt, right? 

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