Author Topic: The Non-Addictive Food Diet  (Read 19341 times)

Offline Heidi

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The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« on: April 29, 2010, 11:29:12 AM »
(I posted this on the Shangri-La Diet Forum: http://boards.sethroberts.net/index.php?topic=7603.0 but thought that it would be good to post it here as well.)

I have come up with a new diet, which I am going to refer to as the Non-Addictive Food Diet for now.  Here is what I’ve learned so far from following this diet:

1. Addictive foods are much more fattening than non-addictive food.
2. The body responds to addictive food like it’s a drug rather than a source of nourishment.
3. Which foods are addictive is unique to each individual.
4. One can do things to shift the level of addiction of a particular food.
5. Addiction can masquerade as intense hunger.
6. A diet that consists primarily of non-addictive food is healthy, nourishing, and satisfying.
7. It’s hard to overeat or gain weight when eating a diet of primarily non-addictive food.
8. The non-addictive food diet when combined with SLD is extraordinarily powerful.

I feel as though I have discovered the missing link that SLD did not address.  Weight loss has been the most effortless that it’s ever been in my entire life.  Weight has fallen off easier and quicker than it did during my initial days of SLD.  I suspect that this diet may help others who are stuck at a plateau.  Even though I discovered this diet through the enlightened tasting, I don’t think you need to do enlightened tasting to have it work.  However, I do recommend that you do this diet in combination with whatever you are doing for SLD.

The only tricky part is figuring what foods you are addicted to and to what degree.  For me this part is actually fun and enlightening. 

Everything that you eat and drink can be placed into one of three categories:
1. Food that you know is non-addictive, healthy, and nourishing for you
2. Food that you are unsure about or food that may be somewhere in between
3. Food that you know is very addictive for you

For me the beauty of this diet is that you don’t have to eliminate all carbohydrate or all sugar – just the ones that are most addictive for you.  However, you do have to stay observant and aware in order to figure out for yourself, which foods fall into which category.  If you just start making changes to eat more of the food that you know is not addictive and avoid the food that is most addictive, then over time the rest will become clear.

For me most sugar and sweeteners are very addictive.  However, carrots, beets, molasses, and a lot of fresh fruit is not.  (I haven’t had a chance to test out many kinds of fruit yet.)

For me lots of chips, crackers, and bread are very addictive, but different kinds are addictive to different degrees. Whole grain bread is much more addictive for me than white bread. (I don’t really like most white bread.  It is still addictive for me, but not to the degree of hearty dense whole grain breads.)  I think that most whole grains if eaten plain are not addictive for me.  (However, I haven’t had a chance to test a lot of them out yet.)  If eaten with butter they are more addictive.  If I sweeten them, then they become highly addictive. 

I recently went to a pancake breakfast.  I brought whole ground flaxseed with me.  I ate my pancake with butter and flax, but avoided the maple syrup.  This made the pancake far less addictive than it would have been with the maple syrup.   

Vegetables even when doused in butter are not addictive for me.  Potatoes doused in butter are very addictive.  But potatoes mixed into soup are not.  Pasta mixed into soup is not addictive.  Eating very small amounts of pasta with lots of vegetables and sauce is okay for me, too. 

Extra sharp cheddar cheese is highly addictive for me, while blue cheese is not.  Melted cheese and cheese sauces are very addictive.  Plain ricotta cheese is fine, but sweetened ricotta cheese is not, even if I sweeten it with a non-caloric sweetener.  Cheesecake and cheese pastries are very big addictions for me.  I recently bought some goat cheese with cranberries and nuts thinking that it would be too strange to be addictive.  Well, I was wrong.  The goat cheese tasted sweet and was very addictive for me.  I suspect that most people would not be addicted to it though. 

Eggs even when cooked in butter are not addictive for me.  But eggs with melted cheese are addictive to a certain degree and so is egg salad. 

Plain cream and all things coconut are addictive for me.  It’s now blatantly obvious why platinum calories would not work for me. 

I rarely drink alcoholic beverages, but I now know why they can sabotage someone's AS (appetite suppression) and most people’s diet efforts.  The body responds to them as a drug rather than a nutrient source.  I feel that the body responds to food that you are highly addicted to in the same fashion, even if those foods have some nutritional value.

I had no idea that I was addicted to this much food until I did this diet.  I am not overweight and SLD has kept my cravings and eating of addictive food to a bare minimum.  However, I did crave and eat dessert after every meal.  And I regularly ate whole grain bread and creamy things.  Mostly I channeled my cravings into healthier options such as unsweetened chocolate with raisins.  It is only when I tried to give up all addictive food, that the full extent of my food addiction became apparent.  What an eye opener it has been.  Now when I eat food that I am addicted to, I feel a physiological response in my body.  I feel like a drug addict craving a fix. 

I have discovered that when I am tired I am most vulnerable to addictive food.  I crave sugar and carbs then.  A number of times I have come home thinking I was really hungry.  But when I tried to find something healthy and nourishing to eat, none of my non-addictive foods were appealing.  All I wanted was something sweet or starchy.  My body was not actually hungry!  I was astounded to realize that it was a false sense of hunger.  It sure did feel like real hunger to me.  Instead of eating, I did some enlightened tasting and the hunger went away.  I would like to get some L-glutamine to try at those times as well.

Eating non-addictive food has been very pleasurable.  I eat when I’m hungry and the food tastes good.  I eat until I am completely full, satisfied, and content.  I don’t feel deprived.  I feel incredibly empowered from the knowledge and changes I am making.  This diet has been more enlightening and healing for me than SLD.  However, I wouldn't have been able to do this diet without combining it with SLD.  SLD has muted my cravings enough so that this kind of experimentation is possible.  When I nose clip an addicted food, it is still addictive but less so.  Nose clipping did not eliminate my addictions, it just muted them.  For me addiction is not completely rooted in the flavor of a food.  It is goes deeper than that.

I feel very motivated to completely heal my life long addiction to food.  I hope to fully decondition my body’s reaction to addictive food.  Avoiding addictive food doesn’t cure the addiction.  It’s too easy to channel the addiction into another food that seems healthier.  I feel like I have the tools to actually heal the addiction, but it’s going to take more time and experimentation.

Offline jared33

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2010, 12:48:20 PM »
Heidi, this is awesome!  Your diet makes a lot of sense, and you obviously have put a lot of thinking and self-experimentation into this.  I'm eager to try it.

One thing I'm still not clear on is how exactly you can tell a particular food is addictive, or highly addictive vs. a mere craving, or not at all addictive.  Is there a simple test you can do to see how you react to the food?  Does it have to do with the intensity or enjoyment of the flavor somehow? If you could give some more guidelines in terms of a simple test, that would help me get started.

Also, I understand that your diet starts out by identifying and eliminating addictive foods. But you also say that avoiding addictive food doesn’t cure the addiction, and you want to eventually decondition or reverse the addictions, right?  So at what stage in the diet do you do that, and how do you go about doing it?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is so interesting and novel.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2010, 12:57:22 PM by jared33 »

Offline Heidi

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2010, 04:14:41 PM »
Thanks Jared for your enthusiastic response.  No problem about the questions.  You ask good ones. 

I wish there was a simple test.  I’m hoping to come up with a list of questions that people could ask or attributes that people could look for.  I just haven’t come up with those yet.  For me the addictive food didn’t fully reveal itself, until I tried to eliminate it.  Then all the patterns escalated and became clear. 

For weeks before I started the diet, I just kept observing what was going on with my eating.  SLD wasn't working for me as well as it had been, and I was trying to see what the problem was.  The biggest problem that I noticed was that even though I was full from a meal, I still “needed” and craved a dessert.  So I just started there. I didn’t have specific food cravings.  SLD had suppressed those.   

The best thing to do is just start with what you think is addictive and non-addictive.  Then observe what happens when you try to eat non-addictive food and eliminate addictive food.  Non-addictive food can be very pleasurable and it tastes really good when you are hungry.  But then it satisfies you and you don’t want more of it.  I love a good salad, for example.  But once I’m full I don’t want to keep eating more salad. Addictive food has some kind of hook to it.

In terms of the deconditioning, I think it happens all along as part of the process.  I think that the enlightened tasting is really helping with that.  Observing cravings is also helping to decondition.  Also, I often delay doing the enlightened tasting or skip it.  My priorities are first to lose a little bit more weight.  So I’m just focused on doing that as easily and effortlessly as possible.  Exerting too much willpower never works for me.  I always rebound back to the problem.  Enjoying the process and not feeling deprivation makes things much more successful for me. 

Once I’m done losing weight, I plan to focus more directly on the deconditioning.  My goal is to completely undo the addictions – that’s right.  Usually if you just keep following a process, the next step to take keeps revealing itself.  I have ideas for next steps but I have to see what to do next when I get there.

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2010, 03:57:11 AM »
Heidi, I know what you mean by addictive or non-addictive, but I have called it binge food vs. non-binge food.  For example, roasted salted nuts are binge foods (I could eat the whole can), but plain raw nuts are not (I eat a small amount and am satisfied).  Usually it has to do with processing--I can't think of any natural foods I would binge on.  I have found one kind of bread that is safe--it is a very dense, dark german rye bread which is sliced very thin.  I can keep a loaf of that for several weeks or longer, just eating a slice very occasionally when I have something that would go good with a piece of bread.

Something that I can use (when I'm in a disciplined mode) to get a "fix" when craving a binge food is to substitute the natural alternative.  It's not quite the same but it kills the taste without leading to a binge.  For example, honey is not a binge food (it's hard to eat a whole jar of honey!), but it's so intensely sweet it can kill the cravings other sweet things.  Or a small square of very dark chocolate, also hard to binge on, can be a good substitute.

As long as I have the discipline to make the substitution and be aware of how the addictive craving really is diminished by it, it works well.  I know you are trying to totally get rid of yours, and you probably have already done what I'm saying, but I thought it might help.  I think the key is sticking to foods that aren't processed at all or as minimally as possible.  The farther the are form the natural state, the less the body recognizes that you've had enough, or something like that.

Offline Heidi

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2010, 05:08:03 AM »
Hi Moonbeam, your description of binge or non-binge foods is exactly what I’m referring to.  However, I haven’t had the success that you’ve had in making substitutions.  I then get addicted to the substitutions, though the addiction is not quite as strong. 

I also used honey and other strong sweeteners to kill my cravings for other sweet things.  I have a thread about it on the SLD forum: http://boards.sethroberts.net/index.php?topic=6463.0  It definitely worked well but it didn’t cut to the root of the craving, and I think that it might have reinforced my need for something sweet. 

Thanks for the suggestions.  It’s really helpful to hear what works for other people.  Substitutions might work well as long as the substitution is one that doesn’t turn into an addiction.  I might try substituting carrots, beets, and fresh fruit when I’m craving something sweet.  I agree that unprocessed food is less likely to be addictive.  But a few unprocessed foods are binge foods for me.  It's hard to imagine carrots becoming a binge food.  It will be an interesting experiment to try.  Thanks.

Offline SUGARDUDE

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2010, 07:29:54 AM »
For me it's easy to know what foods are addictive. The problem is actually not eating them.

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 07:11:11 PM »
Hi Moonbeam, your description of binge or non-binge foods is exactly what I’m referring to.  However, I haven’t had the success that you’ve had in making substitutions.  I then get addicted to the substitutions, though the addiction is not quite as strong.

I don't mean to imply that I'm always successful.  Sometimes it has worked, and it feels like it should always work, so I don't know why I sometimes relapse.

Quote
I also used honey and other strong sweeteners to kill my cravings for other sweet things.  I have a thread about it on the SLD forum: http://boards.sethroberts.net/index.php?topic=6463.0  It definitely worked well but it didn’t cut to the root of the craving, and I think that it might have reinforced my need for something sweet. 

I understand.  I'll check that thread out.  Maybe that's why I don't seem to keep it up either--it's diminished for the moment, but ultimately reinforced. 

Quote
Thanks for the suggestions.  It’s really helpful to hear what works for other people.  Substitutions might work well as long as the substitution is one that doesn’t turn into an addiction.  I might try substituting carrots, beets, and fresh fruit when I’m craving something sweet.  I agree that unprocessed food is less likely to be addictive.  But a few unprocessed foods are binge foods for me.  It's hard to imagine carrots becoming a binge food.  It will be an interesting experiment to try.  Thanks.

No, I don't think it's possible to binge on carrots, but it doesn't seem like a good substitute for sweets.  If you can make that work, it would be great. 

For me it's easy to know what foods are addictive. The problem is actually not eating them.

Food is much harder to deal with than any other addiction, because we can't abstain from eating.  Have you tried anything crazy?  Here is an idea (not original with me):  give somebody that you can trust $1000 (or whatever is a sum of money you don't want to lose; make it 10K if you want).  Tell them to donate the money to a cause that you despise if you eat anything on your forbidden food list.  Pick any group you absolutely can't stand, it doesn't matter who.  That should be some motivation for you.  ;)

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2010, 06:46:51 PM »
I think that food cravings have categories, and that it’s only necessary to decondition the category as opposed to every individual food within that category.

The body responds to addictive food like it’s a drug rather than a source of nourishment...when I eat food that I am addicted to, I feel a physiological response in my body.  I feel like a drug addict craving a fix.

Non-addictive food can be very pleasurable and it tastes really good when you are hungry. But then it satisfies you and you don’t want more of it...Addictive food has some kind of hook to it.

Heidi, I think your Non-Addictive Food Diet is brilliant! You've observed something I had not seen before -- that food cravings can be very specific. Even within a food category there can be very specific preferences, so we might like some carbs but not others, some proteins but not others. Certainly we've all heard of a few very prevalent cravings like chocolate. But you've found that these specific food cravings are much more widespread, that individuals may have many different and varied addictive foods, and that it takes some investigation to figure these out. For most people, though, it is probably only a limited number of foods that pose problems. These foods, as you say, are drug-like and have a "hook" to them. This hook is conditioned physiological response that can lead to binge eating and makes it hard to stop eating them, even when we are not actually hungry. This seems to be the case, for example with Sugardude's relationship to sweets.

I don't think I have any strong food addictions, but I experienced a faint echo of food addiction when I was at the ballgame on Friday. I bought some caramel coated popcorn (like Cracker Jacks) as a snack. I usually don't care that strongly for this. But I found that the more bites I took, the more my cravings grew, and the more I ate! I let myself go with this for a while, and the cravings really got strong. Then I did a little experiment and decided to stop and wait out the cravings. Within 5 minutes, the cravings had died out and I realized I was full. But I also realized I could have chosen to keep following the cravings and I could have eaten the whole bag if I followed my cravings. What I realized is that the pleasure of eating can start out mild and intensify during the act of eating itself! The "hedonic" pleasure of taste becomes overpowering, and the gaps between bites result in cravings that demand to be quenched by more eating. It is like a fire that is being stoked. The stronger and more intense the flavor, and the more frequent, the more the cravings build.

Your thinking and writing about food addiction, as well as that of others like Moonbeam, Jaye, Sugardude and Jared33, have encouraged me to look more into addictive psychology. Some of what I found is in my post on overcoming addictions, but that post deals mainly with deconditioning techniques like cue exposure, which can work on a behavioral level. Yet I think it is important to even go deeper, beyond the purely behavioral level, as you have, and try to understand the very nature of addiction itself, by looking at what makes it so compelling, leading to a increasingly intense pleasure in eating, and an increasingly uncomfortable "pain" when one tries to stop eating during a craving-driven binge.

Over the past week, I researched this pleasure/pain aspect of addiction, and I have just posted another piece on a very interesting explanation of how addiction works, that was developed in the 1970s. Richard Solomon's opponent-process theory of emotion and motivation provides what I think is a very useful framework for understanding how addictions get started in the  first place, the role that sensory intensity and frequency play in generating addiction, how tolerance develops, and how cravings and withdrawal symptoms can become increasingly intense and irresistible.  I think the opponent-process theory also offers some creative ways of stamping out addictions, and possibly also provides also a physiological explanation for how one can use strenuous, stressful and unpleasant activities (like intense exercise, cold showers, intermittent fasting) to indirectly generate a more satisfying, non-addictive type of sustained pleasure that cannot be accessed by pursuing pleasure directly through eating and other sensual pleasures. I think the resulting "background pleasure" may also help to reduce addictive cravings.



« Last Edit: May 06, 2010, 03:59:26 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline Heidi

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2010, 04:35:47 PM »
Hi Todd, congratulations on your run!  That was quite an accomplishment. 

Thanks for your supportive response to my diet and your new insightful ideas.  I was especially stimulated by your ideas around using painful or uncomfortable situations to increase pleasure.  I’ve done that unintentionally through bee sting therapy.  Long periods of meditation is another example of an uncomfortable activity that sometimes leads to more sustained peace.  Also, I think breathwork (very fast heavy breathing for 45 minutes or so) might be another example.  I’ll have to mull the idea over for a bit to see how else I can apply it.  I feel like a bit of a wimp, especially in regard to cold showers.

During the time that I’ve been eliminating my addiction for food, I’ve been intentionally increasing my time spent doing pleasurable activities that give a natural high.  I’ve been feeling like addictions are an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to access deeper, more pleasurable states of consciousness.  I’ve been trying to access that kind of state or feeling directly through healthy activities, rather than going for the addictive substitution.  Hooping, dancing, breathwork, foraging in the woods, sex, listening to a relaxation tape are some examples of non-addictive activities that give me more genuine sustained pleasure.  (Sex can easily become another source of addiction.  But I am fortunate at this time in my life to have a healthy relationship that is a regular source of satisfying non-addictive pleasure.)

I don’t know if you saw it, but Seth wrote a great blog post on a woman using a two pronged approach to quit smoking. http://www.blog.sethroberts.net/2010/05/01/new-way-to-quit-smoking/  (He also has a number of recent blog posts on people snacking on plain butter, which is a good example of platinum calories in action.)  I feel like the woman’s approach to quitting smoking is identical to what I’m doing with food.  It was very affirming that this two prong method could be applied to other addictions.  The two things together are much more powerful than either one by itself.  I thought that it could also be applied to addictions such as drinking and coffee.  For example, someone could drink a non-alcoholic beer like beverage and nose clip the actual beer, or drink decaffeinated coffee and take a separate caffeine pill.

Someone could also do the non-addictive diet with a different combination of techniques than what I’m using.  For example, taking oil could be substituted for the nose clipping and your deconditioning diet could be substituted for the enlightened tasting.  But I think that a two prong approach is more powerful and thus more helpful for people with strong physiological addictions. 

Sugardude, you have my full empathy.  I’m glad that the glutamine is working for you.

Moonbeam, I think that substitutions may be helpful in small ways.  I’m trying to draw on any resource that I can.  I’ve been purposefully eating sweet non-addictive vegetables such as carrots, peas, winter squash, and beets as my source of sugar.  Those foods seem incredibly sweet and satisfying to me now. 

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2010, 02:46:08 PM »
Hi Todd, congratulations on your run!  That was quite an accomplishment.

Thanks. The run proved to me that I could do something I would have thought impossible a year ago. Now I've set for myself a goal to improve my speed and endurance so I can improve my race performance.

Quote
...I was especially stimulated by your ideas around using painful or uncomfortable situations to increase pleasure.  I’ve done that unintentionally through bee sting therapy.
...I’ve been feeling like addictions are an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to access deeper, more pleasurable states of consciousness.
...I don’t know if you saw it, but Seth wrote a great blog post on a woman using a two pronged approach to quit smoking...I feel like the woman’s approach to quitting smoking is identical to what I’m doing with food.  It was very affirming that this two prong method could be applied to other addictions.

You'll have to tell me about bee sting therapy.  Sounds painful!  But I'm finding myself thinking a lot these days about the relationship between hard, uncomfortable accomplishments and the sustained pleasure that results. This simple idea has so many applications, and it really helps to understand, while you are going through the initial discomfort, that the resulting benefits will continue to expand and the discomfort will continue to diminish, if you just stick with it.  I also think it is important that the "pain" be meaningful, and somehow relate to a sense of objective accomplishment, rather than being some perverse type of masochism as an end in itself. I can justify the occasional discomfort of fasting, or the strenous discomfort of running of lifting weights because they are inherently good for me.  (I'll have to think about bee stings! But I know you'll explain that one to me!).

Your point about addictions being an unsuccessful search for pleasure is right on. People are most vulnerable to addictions when there is a lack of pleasure in their lives, or a level of stress that they are unable to channel into hormetic self-improvement. That's one of the reasons I'm excited about the prospects of using the judicious application of stress to induce a level of "background joy" in our levels, a level that is sufficiently elevated and sustained that it literally crowds out any space for addictions to take root.  This seems to me perhaps a way to get at the root cause, so that we don't have to go after each addiction individually and watch them sprout back as new addictions, like the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice.  I agree with you that each addiction is separate in someways, but don't you agree that they might be connected at the root, in the need to address this "deeper need" that you pointed out?

I read Seth's post on the smoking cessation technique.  That's a very interesting application of SLD, because of the role of flavor.  I think the role of flavor can be generalized to be "environmental cues", so it is a classic deconditioning approach.  I also agree with you that double-pronged or multifaceted approaches to behavioral change are the most effective, because our behaviors are inherently complex and therefore will respond best to be shaped by pushing on more than one lever.  You've certainly proven that by your very creative and dynamic combinations of complementary methods.

« Last Edit: May 08, 2010, 02:57:01 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline Heidi

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2010, 02:02:20 PM »
Quote
You'll have to tell me about bee sting therapy.  Sounds painful!  But I'm finding myself thinking a lot these days about the relationship between hard, uncomfortable accomplishments and the sustained pleasure that results. This simple idea has so many applications, and it really helps to understand, while you are going through the initial discomfort, that the resulting benefits will continue to expand and the discomfort will continue to diminish, if you just stick with it.  I also think it is important that the "pain" be meaningful, and somehow relate to a sense of objective accomplishment, rather than being some perverse type of masochism as an end in itself. I can justify the occasional discomfort of fasting, or the strenous discomfort of running of lifting weights because they are inherently good for me.  (I'll have to think about bee stings! But I know you'll explain that one to me!).
Todd, Apitherapy or bee sting therapy is excellent for arthritis and other inflammatory or autoimmune conditions.  Here’s a good article about it. http://www.chronogram.com/issue/2002/01/wholeliving.htm A woman was quoted in the article as saying: “I still feel every sting after years of treatment. It does not feel good. But I’ll gladly take seconds of pain for hours of pleasure.” That's a perfect example of brief meaningful pain, leading to longer lasting healing and pleasure.

I’ve been using bee sting therapy for a variety of conditions.  With some things I've noticed clear improvement.  With other conditions it’s harder to tell how much it’s making a difference.  

The pain of the bee stings doesn’t go away, but the intense reactions of swelling and itching do.  The treatment usually feels like a strong acupuncture session, with chills and a good release.  Also, it’s helping me to cope with pain better.  Being able to say yes to and be receptive to intense but brief pain has been much more empowering than I thought.  It’s been a side benefit that I didn’t expect when I started.  I’ve been careful however, to build up slowly and not get more stings at any one time than I can comfortably handle.  

My non-addictive diet explorations have continued to go well.  So far the best benefit has been the enormously enhanced self-awareness around food addiction.  It’s been fascinating to observe exactly when and how my food addictions arise.  

My addiction tends to break down into two components: a craving for something sweet or a craving for something starchy and filling.  Mild cravings are easy to deal with, but strong cravings are more of a challenge.  Strong cravings for starchy carbs do not go away if I ignore them, and manifest as intense hunger.  The enlightened tasting does relieve them.  I haven’t had any really strong cravings this past week or so.  I’m hopeful that that level of withdrawal type symptoms is starting to subside.  

Even though I’ve done a lot of deconditioning around the flavors of many foods, the physiological addiction can be so strong that I still want the food for its sweetness and texture, even though the treat doesn’t taste as good as it use to.

I’ve been a bit looser with this diet than when I first started it.  But my level of awareness and consciousness around what I’m doing and why remains high.  When I eat a piece of bread or a dessert, I observe and remain mindful of the entire addictive context.  I think that this level of observation and awareness is immensely healing.  I’m no longer at the mercy of unconscious and uncontrollable urges.  There’s a feeling like I’m gently unraveling something that is deeply rooted in childhood and infancy.  I’m aware of the connections.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 02:14:19 PM by Heidi »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2010, 07:36:18 PM »
Heidi, thanks so much for the article. My wife has had multiple sclerosis for 20 years, so this has piqued our interest. We had no idea that bee venom therapy could help with MS. Your reference led me to the website and books of Pat Wagner, the "Bee Lady" who apparently triumphed over her MS symptoms using BVT.  I'm not totally sure I understand how it works, but it is certainly worth investigating.

I'm continuing to follow your dietary explorations with great interest. Keep us posted.

Offline Heidi

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2010, 05:45:27 AM »
Todd, sorry to hear of your wife's MS.  I would be happy to give you my phone number, if your wife wanted to talk about bee venom therapy.  I could give you a lot more information over the phone, than I could in a post.  People like Pat Wagner have done a very intensive approach.  You can go slow with the bee stings and just get a few stings until your body adapts.  Also, when you get positive results, it's easier to tolerate the stings.

Someone just contacted me about taking low dose naltrexone for alcohol or even food addictions.  They wrote about the Sinclair method mentioned here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naltrexone  I knew someone with MS who has taken low dose naltrexone.  Has your wife tried it?  I have a number of autoimmune conditions that I have suspected are very connected to my sugar/carb addiction.  It's synchronistic that the naltrexone is being mentioned to me right now, and that it's used to treat drug and alcohol addictions and autoimmune diseases.  

EDIT: The following is an update that I wrote on May 20 at the SLD forum.  I meant to post it here too, but ran out of time.  Todd responded to some of this post in his following reply.  

Things are progressing well in terms of deprogramming my cravings.  I started doing enlightened tasting with food that I was addicted to in childhood.  I’ve been using foods that are too sweet or too junky for me to want to eat, like chocolate cake (or brownies) with chocolate frosting or barbecue potato chips.  It brings back pleasant childhood memories when I do the enlightened tasting with them.  

I’ve noticed that with enlightened tasting the flavor can become more neutral, but then I’ll still crave the food for its other properties like its taste or texture.  Eventually the food stops seeming appealing.  With some foods I continue to do enlightened tasting once the food has lost its appeal, because I think I’d prefer to push the food into slight repulsion.  Although maybe I could stop when the food reaches neutrality and still be okay.

Today I had a significant breakthrough.  I’d been hoping that once I deconditioned enough foods that I would no longer desire addictive foods in general.  After I ate lunch today, not only did I not crave any dessert, but I found that the idea of eating something sweet was slightly repulsive.  It felt like a small victory.  My cravings tend to be worse in the evening after dinner or at times when I’m really tired, so I know that I'll still have to deal with cravings then.  But I’m hoping that given more time I can eliminate them entirely.  I’ve noticed that I’m much less tempted to eat addictive food at other times.  This is new for me.  Before if temptation was in front of me, then I would partake.

The woman who contacted Seth about using a two pronged approach to quit smoking (see: http://www.blog.sethroberts.net/2010/05/01/new-way-to-quit-smoking/) has been PM-ing me.  She is incredibly clued in to the conditioned mechanism of addiction, and has pointed me to some other approaches to addiction that are accomplishing the same thing as what I am trying to do.  She has been helping me out a lot with her ideas and understanding.  I hope that she will be inspired to post more, either here or on Todd’s forum.

She pointed me to the Sinclair Method of using naltrexone to heal alcohol addiction.  Naltrexone is also used in low doses for autoimmune diseases.  For awhile now I’ve been feeling like my autoimmune diseases are very connected to my food cravings/addiction.  I am excited by the idea that I might be able to heal some chronic conditions that I didn’t realize were being caused or aggravated by food addiction.

I have been reading up on the Sinclair Method.  I feel like it is very similar to what I am doing with food, except that I am using enlightened tasting instead of naltrexone.  The method promises a complete cure for alcohol addiction, except that a person always needs to take naltrexone before drinking.  I hope to be able extinguish my food addiction to the point where I no longer need the tool of enlightened tasting.  I also hope to get to the place where I can eat moderate amounts of bread and desserts without reinforcing addiction.  

Here is the forum for the method: http://www.thesinclairmethod.com/community/index.php

I highly recommend reading the FAQs:
http://www.thesinclairmethod.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19
  
If I replace food addiction for alcoholism and enlightened tasting for naltrexone, then most of what is written holds true for me.  They say that it takes a minimum of 3 months to extinguish the addictive pathways.  For some it takes 7 months or longer.  
 
Here is a quote from the FAQs that I liked:
Quote
Addictive drinking has little in reality to do with the concept of “pleasure.” Addictive drinking has everything to do with reflexive action. It happens at a non-conscious, automatic level. It takes time and many instances of drinking to strengthen addictive circuitry in the brain. Each time the person who is genetically at risk drinks, there is reinforcement to the opioid system via endorphin release. Eventually there is a broadening of existing opioid pathways into great drinking super-highways. In reality, we find that most people who truly suffer from alcoholism do not claim that they enjoy drinking. They get little pleasure out of it, much like heroin addicts do not gain much pleasure once they have become addicted. Certainly not enough pleasure to balance all the suffering caused by the alcohol or opiates. Alcohol abuse is not rational. That is also why it is a problem and why we should not confuse the terms “pleasure” and “reinforcement.”

On a not as good note, I have been a lot more tired than usual.  It might be due to allergies or it might be withdrawal symptoms.  I no longer give myself the quick sugar or carb fix for energy.  Also, I had a flare of some old health symptoms yesterday, which seemed to coincide with my breakthrough today.  

I think that the deeper emotions underlying my food addiction have to do with fear, scarcity, and not feeling nourished by life.  I am composing some affirmations to address these issues and hopefully reprogram the emotional level as well.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 02:09:43 PM by Heidi »

Offline Moonbeam

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2010, 06:49:05 PM »
Heidi, congrats on your progress!  

Bee sting therapy, that's a new one on me.  :-\

Coincidentally I just received the newsletter from International Angi-Aging Systems (an off-shore pharmacy) and they are talking about supps for autoimmune conditions, including naltrexone, this month.

http://newsletter-antiaging-systems.com
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 06:51:04 PM by Moonbeam »

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2010, 06:28:18 AM »
Someone just contacted me about taking low dose naltrexone for alcohol or even food addictions.  They wrote about the Sinclair method mentioned here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naltrexone  I knew someone with MS who has taken low dose naltrexone.  Has your wife tried it?  I have a number of autoimmune conditions that I have suspected are very connected to my sugar/carb addiction.  It's synchronistic that the naltrexone is being mentioned to me right now, and that it's used to treat drug and alcohol addictions and autoimmune diseases.  

Heidi, thanks for this link to the Sinclair Method. I'm really intrigued by it -- for both its application to addictions and autoimmune disorders. I'm posting here a link to your introduction to that method that you posted on the SLD forum, including the other Sinclair Method websites: http://boards.sethroberts.net/index.php?topic=7603.msg98354#msg98354

I spent some time yesterday reading through the site you linked to and it is fascinating. The naltrexone works as an opiate antagonist, so it blocks the pleasure pathways. So if you drink alcohol (or engage in any addictive activity) while taking the naltrexone, you are providing the stimulus without the reinforcement, and eventually the addiction is extinguished. This is classical extinction theory, but it is so clever because it allows the entire stimulatory behavior to occur -- right up to the final reinforcement in the brain, but the reinforcement is blocked.  In this way, it resembles your Enlightened Tasting and Non-Addictive Food Diet approach, which allows  the entire stimulatory behavior (the smell, taste, texture and even chewing behavior of food) to proceed as completely and normally as possible, but withdraws  the last step -- reinforcement by blood glucose and fat, and their hormonal and neurochemical responses in the brain. As Conklin and Tiffany observed in their study of cue exposure therapies, the more realistically you can stimulate the cues and actual behaviors, while blocking the actual reinforcement, the more effective is the extinction. This is all detailed in my post on Overcoming Addictions. Your method and the Sinclair Method take this to the extreme -- allowing the entire behavior right up to the end point.

If the Sinclair Method works for extinguishing problem drinking, it should work to extinguish ANY addiction. Apparently it is also effective in treating cocaine addiction.  But why not also addiction to sweets, to gambling, or to compulsive shopping?  Just pop a naltrexone while doing any of these activities!

There's even another analogy between naltrexone and Enlightened Tasting, that is predicted by Solomon's Opponent-Process Theory that I've been writing about on my blog. By preventing activation or binding of the opioids or endorphins in the brain, the brain actually compensates by more gradually ramping up the level of opioids in order to increase the overall level of pleasure.  Not immediately, but over time. In fact, this is apparently the mechanism of how low dose naltrexone works in autoimmune diseases like MS.  Apparently, in MS  and other autoimmune diseases, their is a deficiency of endorphins, which leads to spasticity.  The naltrexone first blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, around plaques.  But the brain responds by upping the general level of endorphins, which counteracts muscle spasticity.  This is all addressed at this website: http://www.lowdosenaltrexone.org/ldn_and_ms.htm .  There is also a very resourceful forum about low dose naltrexone for a variety of indications: http://ldn.proboards.com/index.cgi

It is absolutely fascinating to me to see the common mechanisms in these different approaches to extinguishing addiction and modulating the balance of pleasure and pain to forge new pathways and change our behavior by changing our brain. I'm generally biased towards finding non-drug approaches, so if we can use "hormetic stress" to stimulate endorphins, I would prefer that over administering a pharmaceutical opiate antagonist. But if the naltrexone is low dose and used only for a limited amount of time, perhaps there's no harm in it.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 08:22:32 AM by Todd Becker »