“I couldn’t possibly go plant based. I’m so addicted to sugar and meat it’s impossible to give these things up.”
Food addictions are real, as are many other types of addictions. As with most addictions, it takes discipline to get through to the other side of the behavior.
When I made the decision to quit drinking 35 years ago, it was not an easy decision. Yet, as I looked at the chaos drinking caused me, the short-term pain had to be better than the life I was living. I was addicted to not only the alcohol, but the resulting chaos drinking contributed to.
But if I wanted the quality of life I have today, I had to go through the pain of withdrawal. There was no way through it but to go through it.
It was the same when I decided to go plant based. If I was going to reap the benefits, I needed to embrace the fact I would have some short-term pain due to withdrawals. This included body aches, headaches, sluggishness, melancholy feelings and irritability.
Yet, these symptoms would last only a few days, maybe weeks. After that, from all the research I did, I would feel better than I had in years.
Did this happen? Yes, it did. Amazingly, the withdrawals were a lot less than I anticipated.
Why I Went Plant Based
My initial reason for starting a plant-based diet was to minimize inflammation in my right hand. As a writer, the pain was interfering with my ability to work.
I decided to “test” the power of a plant-based diet for seven days. I figured if all the hype I was reading was true, my inflammation should reduce within a week.
Within two days, the inflammation all but disappeared. Not 100% convinced the inflammation might not return, I gave it another seven days. Then another. That was over six months ago.
Since the day the inflammation disappeared, it has not returned. As if that weren’t enough, in the time I’ve been eating plant based, the results have been nothing short of amazing. Not only have I dropped an unwanted weight without dieting (35 pounds so far), my energy and concentration have improved substantially.
Intense Food Addictions
My greatest food addictions at the time I went plant based were processed sugar, bread, and junk foods (most which contained a lot of sugar). Within a few days of going 100% WFPB (whole food plant based) my sugar cravings left and have not returned.
Mind you, I eat a lot of fresh and frozen fruit. But I’m no longer sneaking a box of donuts (yes, a box), candy bars, cupcakes or whatever other type of crap food is easily accessible at the local grocery store.
Breaking the Addiction
According to Rosane Oliveira’s article on UC Davis Integrative Medicine website, “Cravings can be both physical and emotional in origin.”
She goes on to say, “From a purely physiological point of view, cravings often stem from a nutritional deficiency. Plant compounds, particularly micronutrients, are intrinsic to cellular metabolism and therefore act as a satiety switch. When we eat whole plant foods, our bodies stop looking for them. However, when we eat foods devoid of micronutrients (e.g. refined foods), our cravings kick in as our bodies continue to look for that next bite that may contain the micronutrients they need.” Full article https://ucdintegrativemedicine.com/2015/07/crushing-the-cravings
How to Overcome Cravings
You may not be able to eliminate cravings immediately. Everyone has their own timetable of how long it will take. Yet, you must admit you have the cravings and you are ready to do what needs to be done to release them. This is the first step in getting through them; realize you WILL have them.
However, to minimize their hold on you, look at the big why of making a change that will trigger your cravings.
• Why do you want to change the way you’re eating?
• Why do you want to go plant-based?
• What are the long-term benefits to a healthier eating protocol?
When you focus on the answer to these questions, it will be a lot easier to stay the course.
The reality is, anything worth having will take effort. When you look at all you will gain by the little you will give up, it also becomes easier to stick to a plant-based protocol. Actually, you give up more than a little when you go plant-based. You give up the high risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, high blood pressure, depression, and other limiters. Keep in mind, I’m not a medical professional but more every day, those in the medical profession are touting the benefits of a plant based diet.
A huge factor in making changes is having some type of accountability in what you are doing. One way to stick with a healthy eating protocol is to find someone who is also committed to this way of eating. Someone who you can share your journey with.
If you try to go this alone, there’s a greater chance you will talk yourself out of healthy eating when cravings hit, or you are detoxing. This is a fact of life.
However, when you have someone you can call, email, text or private message, you are more likely to stick with what you’ve committed to. My health accountability partner is my good buddy and colleague, Pat Fortin Mussieux. Every day we have a way to check in with one another. We often hop on the phone to catch up and we edify our successes.
Both Pat and I are 100% committed to our health and helping others improve the quality of their life through healthy choices.
Joining communities of people who have similar goals also helps. This is one reason I began the Plant Based Eating for Health Facebook Group. The group started with one person who I reached out to in the plant-based community.
Pat McAuley Was the First Member
I watched a TEDx Talk by Pat McAuley. From there, I bought his book, Eat Green, Make Green. When I started the group, I reached out to him and asked him to join. He was happy to do so. Pat was the first member of a community that now has hundreds of members.
If you are looking for a growing community of men and women at all levels of interest in a plant-based lifestyle, I would love to have you join.
The bottom-line is this; you must want your health more than you want the junk food. You also must be willing to go through the discomfort to get to the most amazing way of eating and living around. It’s really that simple.
More every day, people are realizing the benefits of a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. Will you count yourself among these progressive eaters? I sure hope so. The benefits will amaze you including your food addictions will be a thing of the past.
Beginner’s Guide to Plant Based Eating
Not sure where to begin? You’re not alone. Many people are confused by the overload of information of what’s healthy and what’s not. This is why I wrote The Beginner’s Guide to Plant Based Eating. It’s free and all you have to do is click here to access.