Getting Stronger: Discussion Forum

Discussion Topics => Diet => Topic started by: Heidi on April 29, 2010, 11:29:12 AM

Title: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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 (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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: jared33 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Moonbeam 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: SUGARDUDE 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Moonbeam 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.  ;)
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker 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 (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/04/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 (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/05/opponent-process-theory/) 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.



Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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. 
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker 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.

Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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 (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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker 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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi 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 (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/ (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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Moonbeam 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 (http://newsletter-antiaging-systems.com)
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker 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 (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 (http://gettingstronger.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Conklin-2002-Cue-Exposure-and-Addiction.pdf) 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 (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/04/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 (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/05/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.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on May 21, 2010, 01:58:25 PM
Hi Moonbeam, I wasn't able to get your link.  I'm on a really old computer.  I'll try again later when I'm on a better one.

Hi Todd, I totally meant to post my last post on the SLD forum over here as well.  I just ran out of time.  I’ll add it to my previous post up above.  

Quote
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.
I am totally fascinated by the common mechanisms, too.  I’m also biased towards a non-drug approach.  But I think it’s good to develop as many options for people as possible.  A pharmaceutical or supplement might be better for some people.  I would love to correspond with David Sinclair and pick his brain for non-drug ideas related to food addiction.  

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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!
I think that they are developing a protocol for naltrexone and food addiction.  They are combining it with another drug for that.  They also said that the naltrexone does work for other addictions.  In fact people have to be careful that it doesn’t block positive endorphin producing pursuits such as exercise.  This is what they recommend to strengthen those connections:
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Other behaviors that are reinforced by endorphins can also be extinguished if they are performed while naltrexone is present. Some of the clinical trials have found that interest in sweets, sex, and vigorous exercise has been reduced by the treatment. We don’t want this. We want to extinguish only alcohol drinking and, if anything, build up the other behaviors. This can be accomplished by selective extinction. Patients list before treatment what activities they enjoy. The therapist checks the list, marks the ones thought to be reinforced by endorphins, and advises the patient to try to avoid doing these things while naltrexone is in their system. Then, after alcohol drinking has been extinguished enough that it can be avoided for a couple days, the patient is told to have a weekend without naltrexone and without alcohol. On Monday they know they can go back to drinking (with naltrexone). Meanwhile, Saturday is a washout day, giving time for the naltrexone to leave the body. On Sunday the patients perform some of those liked behaviors they have been avoiding. Since the opioidergic system is supersensitive after many days on naltrexone, these behaviors will be very gratifying and reinforcing. Thus the other behaviors are strengthened, while alcohol drinking is selectively extinguished. This also tends to improve the general satisfaction with life, whereas some studies have reported mild dysphoria from continual naltrexone – when it is in your system all the time.


Quote
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.
I hope that you’re right about the Enlightened Tasting gradually ramping up the level of endorphins.  I know that some endorphins are released just by smelling and tasting the food.  So I’m not sure exactly what the Enlightened Tasting is blocking.  You have a much better scientific understanding of this than I do, and can articulate it well.  I tend to rely on intuitive understanding to fill in what I lack in mental understanding.  I have this really strong inner sense of what to do and when to do it.  I’ve learned to trust and follow that sense, but it’s reassuring and supportive to hear rational explanations that back it up.  Also, when following a clear inner sense, it’s a process that is alive, creative, and unfolding.  You have to wait and observe what happens and then respond freshly to that.  My mind can get preoccupied and bogged down with figuring out things advance, and making up back-up plans.  
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on May 30, 2010, 10:52:59 AM

Quote
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.

I hope that you’re right about the Enlightened Tasting gradually ramping up the level of endorphins.  I know that some endorphins are released just by smelling and tasting the food.  So I’m not sure exactly what the Enlightened Tasting is blocking.  You have a much better scientific understanding of this than I do, and can articulate it well.  I tend to rely on intuitive understanding to fill in what I lack in mental understanding.  I have this really strong inner sense of what to do and when to do it.  I’ve learned to trust and follow that sense, but it’s reassuring and supportive to hear rational explanations that back it up.  Also, when following a clear inner sense, it’s a process that is alive, creative, and unfolding.  You have to wait and observe what happens and then respond freshly to that.  My mind can get preoccupied and bogged down with figuring out things advance, and making up back-up plans.

You raised a really good question here, Heidi, which caused me to rethink my analysis. After reconsidering, I think that deconditioning and the Sinclair Method do not work by means of directly changing the level of endorphins. Instead, there is evidence that, by blocking or extinguishing certain pathways, they act to increase the number and sensitivity of opioid receptors throughout the brain in general, and they also specifically reinforce newly formed alternative neural reward circuits.

I'm still researching this, but I think the likely longer term effect of pleasure-blocking tactics (such as naltrexone or Enlightened Tasting) is to cause the brain to upregulate or increase the sensitivity of its opioid and serotonin receptors (such as the mu opioid receptor and the 5HT1 receptor). Depressed people have been shown to have less sensitive and fewer 5HT1 serotonin receptors:
   http://www2.med.umich.edu/prmc/media/newsroom/details.cfm?ID=236

Engaging in pleasureable activities or use of antidepressants can temporarily raise serotonin levels, but this does not help to increase receptor levels or sensitivity. Likewise, addictions have been shown to lead to a loss or downregulation of mu opioid receptors, making them more "hungry" for any endorphin (e.g. dopamine or beta endorphin) they can get.

The better answer is to upregulate (increase the number of) or sensitize the mu opioid receptors.  Vigorous exercise and other brief, intense effortful or unpleasant activities can do this over time.  Similarly, with Enlightened Tasting and other types of cue deconditioning, by withholding or preventing the pleasureable response, the brain responds homeostatically by increasing the number of receptors and increasing their sensitivity. After a while, two things happen: (1) it takes less of the stimulus to give one pleasure; (2) the general level of well being or happiness is increased, because a lower basal level of circulating endorphins or serotonin results in an overall higher level of signal to the brain's pleasure centers.

The key thing to keep in mind here is that it takes time -- weeks or months -- for brain receptors to increase.  This is very much analagous to how dieting and exercise to reduce insulin levels results in an upregulation of insulin receptors and insulin sensitivity.  So by cutting back on food and carbohydrates in particular, one becomes more easily satiated.  And likewise, this takes weeks or months to occur

This is the key point about homeostasis that so many people miss with their "setpoint" theories.  They may be right about the tendency to return to your starting point if your receptor density does not change.  But we can bring about long term changes in "set point" by increasing the number and sensitivity of our receptors in various tissues.  The paradox is that we must "deprive" the receptors of stimulation for a long enough time to allow the body to respond by growing more receptors, and becoming more sensitive.

It's also not just receptors per se, it is also entire pathways.  Neurological pathways for addictions and other habitual behaviors do not change overnight.  But by using reinforcement, gradualism and patience, we are actually rewiring our brains by redirecting the reward circuitry and changing the sensitivity and density of brain receptors responsive to reward chemicals.

The key point here for anyone embarking on change is, in a word: PATIENCE.  The changes we need to bring about are not immediate increases in the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, and insulin) but rather increases and sensitization of the receptors and circuits that respond to them. This takes weeks or months of exposure to a new behavioral pattern in order to take hold.

I may come back to this topic of biochemical transmitters versus receptors and circuits in a forthcoming blog post.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 02, 2010, 04:51:11 PM
Todd, I’m not sure how much the Enlightened Tasting is blocking pleasure.  It doesn’t block the pleasure of tasting and smelling.  But it does block the flavor calorie association. 

I’ve come to prefer Enlightened Tasting more than actually eating desserts and junk food.  (I still much prefer to consume healthy, nourishing food – those foods leave me feeling good.)  Every once in awhile I still want to eat a piece of bread.  But most of the time the Enlightened Tasting alleviates my cravings and leaves me feeling satisfied.  After I do it I still feel good.  If I ate that kind of junk food, it would leave me feeling crappy.   When I thoroughly indulge in Enlightened Tasting, I end up reaching a state of over saturation.  The food and process ends up seeming gross and disgusting.  But those feelings pass in a matter of minutes.  Had I actually eaten all that crap, I would feel stuffed and gross for hours. 

I’ve come to feel that the food that I’m addicted to isn’t real food.  It’s food manufactured solely for addiction.  I use to think that it was okay to indulge in dessert and treats.  But doing this process has me acutely aware of the subtleties that go into creating addictive food substances.  Even the packaging is filled with lies and deception.  Originally my goal was to be able to eat desserts without being addicted.  But perhaps I’ll stop desiring those kinds of foods completely.  I’ll have to see where this process leads me.  I know I’m moving in the right direction.  It will be interesting to see where I end up. 

I’m not sure yet, if the Enlightened Tasting will function as a replacement addiction and I’ll then have to wean myself from it.  It is obviously but gradually working.  I can tell that I’m much less addicted than I use to be.  I’ve lost my desire for lots of kinds of junk food.  It’s an incredible relief to not be as addicted as I use to be.  I look forward to no longer having any food addiction.  This method has been incredibly easy for me.  If need be I could sustain it for a long time.  But I’m hopeful that after awhile I can let go of it as a tool. 

I’ve had this food addiction for a really long time.  The foods that are the hardest to decondition are the ones that were deeply reinforced in childhood.  At this point I have no problem being patient because I can feel how well it’s working.  In the beginning I felt like I was taking a big risk, but the Sinclair Method, Todd’s posts, and my success so far have been really reassuring. 

I’m no longer focused on losing weight.  I make sure that I’m eating enough good healthy food.  Originally I had thought that I wanted to go a few pounds lower than my goal weight.   But now that I’m here, I’m more concerned with maintenance than losing more.  It’s nice to have my focus solely on eliminating my addiction.   It’s easier being singly focused.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on June 03, 2010, 10:16:50 AM
Todd, I’m not sure how much the Enlightened Tasting is blocking pleasure.  It doesn’t block the pleasure of tasting and smelling.  But it does block the flavor calorie association.

I probably should have used a better word than "blocking"; what I meant was not a total block, but rather a degree of inhibition or reduction in intensity. My thought is that classical extinction techniques (such as Enlightened Tasting, cue deconditioning, or pharmaceutical extinction approaches such as the Sinclair Method) are able to inhibit or diminish the intensity of hedonic responses to cues (aroma, taste, sight or preceding routines), to the point that our response to these cues becomes "normal".  By deconditioning, we are not eliminating the pleasure in eating, we are merely reducing the power that triggering cues have over us.

Is this same thing as weakening the flavor-calorie association? Some might say this is semantics. But, as I argued in my post on Flavor control diets (http://gettingstronger.org/2010/02/flavor-control-diets/), I think that we don't have within our digestive systems or brains any direct way to measure "calories" in the abstract. The only way we detect ingested food is by means of food's physiological effects (such as hormonal responses to blood sugars and lipids) and psychological effects (such as the effects of blood sugars, fats and hormones on neurotransmitters that cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with the hyothalamus and other appetite-regulating regions in the brain). The only additional point I'm making in my post above is that extinction works by changing the prevalence, sensitivity, location, and circuitry of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain.  This can manifest itself both as a generalized change in overall satiety/hunger, or as changes to specific appetitive cues, as you describe with Enlightened Tasting.  When specific cravings are diminished, the food may remain pleasant, but just less reinforcing. In terms of brain physiology, this is plausibly a result of a weakening of specific brain circuits, and on a cellular level, in terms of reduced binding of serotonin, dopamine and other opioids to specific receptors within those circuits.

We can specifically decondition those circuits associated with specific cravings, but we can also reduce those cravings by increasing the overall number and sensitivity of receptors throughout the brain. A surplus of pleasure receptors effectively serves to "compete" with the receptors localized in specific pleasure circuits, reducing the power of those specific cravings. It's almost as if we have a need for a certain level of pleasure to make life tolerable.  If we get enough pleasure in general, there is less need for stimulation of the specific craving circuits. If we are deficient in pleasure receptors (as has been found with depressed or stressed individuals), then specific craving circuits take on far greater salience, and can lead to addictions.

I’ve come to prefer Enlightened Tasting more than actually eating desserts and junk food.  (I still much prefer to consume healthy, nourishing food – those foods leave me feeling good.)  

This is a really nice insight, Heidi. As long as the Enlightened Tasting is only displacing junk food, and not healthy food, it seems like a way to get some of the "hit" of junk food without suffering the damage. Some people who don't understand the full context might not understand what you are doing, based upon mere appearances, but it makes perfect sense to me.

I look forward to no longer having any food addiction.  This method has been incredibly easy for me.  If need be I could sustain it for a long time.  But I’m hopeful that after awhile I can let go of it as a tool.

One thing I'm interested in here is how long you think ET needs to be continued. I used ET myself and found it helped me. For example, it did help me hasten my successful experiment with cutting back on alcohol. I tasted and spit just like wine tasters do, and it definitely suppressed my urge to drink (while not removing the pleasantness of taste). After about 2 or 3 sessions, and combined with reducing my intake to 2 days per week, I didn't need ET anymore. But in the case where you have strong cravings or food addictions, deeply reinforced as you say, do you think Enlightened Tasting has to be continued for a long time, like weeks or months...or forever?  Or do you think that eventually you could conquer the food addictions, stop ET, and continue with moderate consumption of the desserts, bread, and other previously craved items?

I’m no longer focused on losing weight.  I make sure that I’m eating enough good healthy food.  Originally I had thought that I wanted to go a few pounds lower than my goal weight.   But now that I’m here, I’m more concerned with maintenance than losing more.  It’s nice to have my focus solely on eliminating my addiction.   It’s easier being singly focused.

It's great to see how this has helped you focus on good health!
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 05, 2010, 04:16:13 PM
Quote
Is this same thing as weakening the flavor-calorie association? Some might say this is semantics. But, as I argued in my post on Flavor control diets, I think that we don't have within our digestive systems or brains any direct way to measure "calories" in the abstract. The only way we detect ingested food is by means of food's physiological effects (such as hormonal responses to blood sugars and lipids) and psychological effects (such as the effects of blood sugars, fats and hormones on neurotransmitters that cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with the hyothalamus and other appetite-regulating regions in the brain).
This makes sense Todd.  My big question is: is the food only addictive because of its physiological and psychological effects, or is flavor, taste, texture, and smell addictive by itself?  Will the body continue to release insulin in response to the flavor and taste, or will it learn to no longer do that because the flavor and taste of addictive food is no longer being followed by consumption?   I’ve learned through all my nose clipping that food is still addictive even when the flavor (smell) is removed from it.  Which are the key physiological and psychological elements that are driving the addiction?  It makes sense that over time the flavor, taste, and texture will become hollow and undesirable, if they are no longer being reinforced by actually food consumption.   

Quote
As long as the Enlightened Tasting is only displacing junk food, and not healthy food, it seems like a way to get some of the "hit" of junk food without suffering the damage. Some people who don't understand the full context might not understand what you are doing, based upon mere appearances, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Thanks for bringing up about people not understanding the full context.  It makes me wonder if I’ve emphasized the key point enough.  I’m only doing enlightened tasting with addictive food, while I’m simultaneously eating and thus positively reinforcing all kinds of healthy non-addictive food.  I want my body to crave foods that are good for it, foods that have vitamins and minerals that it genuinely needs.  I think that processed food, which is manufactured to be as addictive as possible, has really messed up our systems.  Even though these techniques of nose clipping and tasting and spitting food appear to be really aberrant, they are helping to restore my body to its more natural and healthier way of functioning. 

Quote
One thing I'm interested in here is how long you think ET needs to be continued.
The thing with my food addiction is that I’m addicted to most sweets and many carbs in general.  So far I’ve had to individually decondition each food.  There’s a store that I go to that always has free chips to sample.  Today when I went there they had a new kind of chip.  It was waffle shaped with a balsamic seasoning.  I was tempted to try them and then ate a lot of them once I did.  They didn’t resemble any of the chips that I’ve already deconditioned in terms of flavor, looks, and seasoning, so I was easily hooked.  I had no desire to even try the potato chips and corn chips.  There was a brand of vegetable corn chips that I never had before.  I tried one or two and had no desire for more.  Before I started this experiment I would have eaten lots of all the different kinds of chips.

So to answer your question, I think that if I just needed to decondition a few foods, it would be a comparatively short easy process.  Also, I want to get to the place where I don’t have to exert any will power.  If I have to work hard to avoid temptation, then that’s a sure sign that I’m still really addicted.  I have no idea how long it will take, but on the Sinclair Method web site they said it would take at least 3 months, but more likely 6 or 7, and for some people a year or more.  I think it takes 6 months to a year to really establish and deeply engrain a new way of functioning.  I’ve been seeing gradual progress so I’m not too concerned about how long it will take.  I’m hoping that I’ll naturally reach a point where the enlightened tasting is no longer needed.  But I’m just following this process and learning from it as I go along. 

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Or do you think that eventually you could conquer the food addictions, stop ET, and continue with moderate consumption of the desserts, bread, and other previously craved items?
Originally I was hoping to be able to moderately eat those foods without having addictive urges being triggered.  But now I’m wondering if it’s good for me to be eating those foods.  I’m thinking that it might be best for me to no longer desire those foods and consume them.  I’ll see what happens over time.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on June 07, 2010, 01:02:11 PM
My big question is: is the food only addictive because of its physiological and psychological effects, or is flavor, taste, texture, and smell addictive by itself?  Will the body continue to release insulin in response to the flavor and taste, or will it learn to no longer do that because the flavor and taste of addictive food is no longer being followed by consumption?   I’ve learned through all my nose clipping that food is still addictive even when the flavor (smell) is removed from it.  Which are the key physiological and psychological elements that are driving the addiction?  It makes sense that over time the flavor, taste, and texture will become hollow and undesirable, if they are no longer being reinforced by actually food consumption.  

In Pavlovian terms, the food as it is digested is the US (unconditioned stimulus), because it is "naturally" reinforcing, while the flavor, taste and other cues are the CS (conditioned stimulus) that elicit a conditioned response by virtue of becoming associated with the UC. The classical Pavlovian view focuses on the US (the cues), but I think that both the US and the stimulus have the potential to become addictive, since both can become strongly reinforced. If we look one level deeper, to the level of neurotransmitter circuits, both the UC and the CS will elicit various physiological responses. I don't think addiction is explained by a single physiological response such as insulin, but rather by a complex web or cascade of them. These can include differentiate energy metabolites (glucose, fructose, fatty acids, ketones), energy partitioning hormones (insulin, leptin, grehlin, melatonin, glucagon, growth hormone, etc.), and opioid type hormones (serotonin, dopamine, beta endorphin, etc.). These each have slightly different, but complementary functions -- some are directly related to food ingestion or release from storage tissues or the liver; others are regulated by meal timing, by sensors in the gut or olfactory system, or more directly by psychological conditioning of cues. (For example, sometimes an urge to eat can be brought on just by time of day; other times by specific food cues). These neurotransmitter signals work almost like buyers and sellers in a complex market economy, and the brain eventually integrates what it is "hearing" from all of them.

I think you are absolutely correct that addictions don't go away merely by being left alone. Karen Pryor goes into this in her great book on animal behaviorism, that I described on the Psychology (http://gettingstronger.org/psychology/) page of the blog.  The addictive behavioral patterns and their underlying "circuitry" remain in place, just dormant until reactivated. You discovered that with your nose-clipping experiments.  And this is also the flaw in the abstinence-only approach of AA. Unactivated habits are still habits. The only way to really change them is to purposely apply a stimulus and then recondition by extinction or re-direction, by techniquies such as Enlightened Tasting, the Sinclair Method, or my Deconditioning Diet.

I want my body to crave foods that are good for it, foods that have vitamins and minerals that it genuinely needs.  I think that processed food, which is manufactured to be as addictive as possible, has really messed up our systems...The thing with my food addiction is that I’m addicted to most sweets and many carbs in general.

While I believe that deconditioning is valuable for specific habits or conditions, it sounds like you may have an underlying sugar/carb addiction. It is very possible that a bona fide nutritional deficiency may explain this, at least in good part.  If that is the case, I wouldn't count on deconditioning alone to root out the addiction.  I've read a bit on sugar addictions, and it turns out that deficiencies of B-vitamins, chromium, magnesium and zinc are responsible for many sugar addictions, and many people have found this type of addiction disappears very quickly -- in a few weeks -- once they take these supplements.  I made this same point to Sugardude, and I think he has followed up on it.  Perhaps you've already looked into this, but I thought I would mention it.

So far I’ve had to individually decondition each food...if I just needed to decondition a few foods, it would be a comparatively short easy process.  Also, I want to get to the place where I don’t have to exert any will power.  If I have to work hard to avoid temptation, then that’s a sure sign that I’m still really addicted.  I have no idea how long it will take, but on the Sinclair Method web site they said it would take at least 3 months, but more likely 6 or 7, and for some people a year or more.  I think it takes 6 months to a year to really establish and deeply engrain a new way of functioning.  I’ve been seeing gradual progress so I’m not too concerned about how long it will take.  I’m hoping that I’ll naturally reach a point where the enlightened tasting is no longer needed.  But I’m just following this process and learning from it as I go along.

You may be right that this could be a long process. You are wise to allow as much time as needed for the extinction to be robust.  Here I go back to what I read in the paper by Conklin and Tiffany:  extinction is most successful when the exposures are frequent, with varying interstimulus intervals, in a variety of contexts, and involving realistic settings including behavior components.  It sounds like the Enlightened Tasting certainly has the behavioral components.  
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 11, 2010, 11:23:47 AM
Thanks Todd for mentioning about the potential for an underlying nutritional deficiency.  I haven’t supplemented with chromium, but I’ve tried all the other supplements that you’ve mentioned.  It would be wonderful to discover some simple and easily remedied underlying nutritional cause.

Also thanks for explaining what I’m doing from a Pavlovian point of view.  I guess I’ll have to wait and find out over time if the enlightened tasting becomes addictive in and of itself.  Also, I’ll have to wait and see if it actually leads to extinction and a permanent shift in circuitry.  It definitely is a long slow process.  There are so many things that I haven’t deconditioned.  I had been hoping that my body would generalize more.  But mostly it’s been item by individual item. 

It seems like with chips and crackers that I’m getting to a place where I’m no longer desiring them in general.  Yesterday I went to the store that has the free chip samples.  It was before dinner and I was really hungry.  There was one new kind of chip.  I hesitated before trying it, which was a good sign.  There was a feeling like I really didn’t want any chips.  I was glad for that feeling.  I tasted the new kind of chip.  It was good in some ways and not so good in other ways.  I was relieved that I didn’t have an addicted response.  I was able to walk away after eating just one chip.  It was another small but hopefully significant success.

Today I ate out for work.  They had warm homemade bread.  I debated whether or not to eat it.  I did end up eating it and it tasted okay, but not amazing.  I had no desire for another piece.  I was amazed and relieved.  This diet is really working!  Warm, freshly baked bread with butter has always been a HUGE addiction for me.  I can’t believe that it just tasted okay, but not fantastic.  My mind can’t believe that my taste for bread has actually changed that much.  It’s strange having something that you’ve always been crazy about, no longer be that appealing.  Weird but wonderfully so.  I’m grateful for the success.

Sweet baked goods are taking longer to decondition than starchy carbs.  I keep buying new dessert items.  Having something new to decondition usually ramps up the cravings.  It typically takes about 3 enlightened tasting sessions for the heightened craving for that particular item to settle down.  Then it can take many more sessions for the food to lose its appeal.  There are a few items that are taking a very long time to decondition.  With those items the texture and combinations of sugar, fat, and salt are especially seductive.  The addiction remains hooked into those elements even after the flavor has lost its appeal.

I read a little more on the Sinclair Method web site.  They said that it takes a minimum of 3-4 months for extinction to occur.  If someone has success before then, then it is not due to extinction.  For most people it’s more like 6-7 months.  I’ve been thinking a lot about habits and long term changes that I’ve made in my life.  I’d say that it takes 3-4 months to really establish a new pattern.  And then it seems to take 6-7 months before that new habit becomes really deeply ingrained.  Then maybe it takes a year or more before it becomes so natural that I no longer think about it.  After a year or so it becomes really hard to remember the old pattern and how things use to be. 

Also, I read a thread on the web site discussing whether it was best to just keep drinking and taking the naltrexone as much as desired, or whether it was good to make a conscious effort to cut back on one’s drinking.  The responses were in alignment to what I’d been feeling with the enlightened tasting.  People suggested waiting 3 months or so until cravings had somewhat subsided, before making more of conscious effort to shift one’s habit.  Once the cravings have subsided it doesn’t take much in way of willpower. (Willpower typically doesn’t work so well.) When cravings aren’t so strong, then there’s a feeling of having a choice. 

I have been purposefully allowing myself to do enlightened tasting as much as I want.  Mostly I do it once and sometimes twice a day.  Sometimes it’s very brief, just a few tastes of one item.  Often it’s longer and I do a series of items.  I usually try to wait an hour after eating before doing enlightened tasting.  Once I feel like my cravings have really subsided, then I’ll work on cutting back on the enlightened tasting.  I’m hoping that my desire to do enlightened tasting will just naturally wane over time.  We’ll see how it goes.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on June 12, 2010, 06:45:17 PM
Heidi,  this is great to hear of your progress, but it is even better to hear about the powerful lessons you are learning.  I think these lessons can help all of us in different ways.  I think most of us, myself included, find sweet baked goods especially appealing. So it's not surprising these are taking longer to decondition, especially if you were really addicted to them.

I'm coming to agree with you more and more that deconditioning takes time, and that it shouldn't be rushed. Some foods or addictions may take 3 months to decondition, others might take 6-7 months or even a year, as you and others are reporting. And I think you have a good point that intense cravings have to first subside before one can exercise deliberate choice. Sheer willpower cannot resist overpowering cravings. Still, there is a point at which any deconditioning or extinction will be somewhat uncomfortable, and choice must be exercised. I don't think there is such a thing as extinction without feeling some discomfort. Perhaps there is no discomfort with the Sinclair Method, which uses "pharmaceutical extinction" to totally block the opioid receptors. My question then is:  does the Sinclair Method commit you to taking naltrexone for the rest of your life when you drink (or do whatever you are exinguishing)?  Or is it possible at some point to shift over to moderate behavior and phase out the naltrexone?

If Enlightened Tasting works long term, I think it is superior to both abstinence and to pharmaceutical extinction, because it will have permanently re-wired your brain circuits and hormonal chemistry so that you have normalized your behavior and have the freedom to manage your behavior without taking medication or avoiding anything.  That's quite an accomplishment!
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: jared33 on June 14, 2010, 08:38:02 PM
I read a little more on the Sinclair Method web site.  They said that it takes a minimum of 3-4 months for extinction to occur.

Heidi, this Sinclair Method sounds interesting to me. Do you think that the naltrexone could help with any addiction, not just alcohol, drugs or food?  If it is so good, why aren't we hearing more about it?  And since it is a drug, are there any bad side effects?  It seems almost too good to be true.  I also wonder, since it is based on blocking pleasure, whether it would also interfere with the other pleasures in life. How does your body know which pleasures are the additictive ones you want to give up?  If we take it to combat food cravings, do we have to give up sex?  Not sure I want to do that!
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 15, 2010, 05:14:16 PM
Jared, I answered your question in the post at the top of this page on May 21.  It’s tricky with naltrexone to not extinguish other desirable pleasures.  

Quote
Still, there is a point at which any deconditioning or extinction will be somewhat uncomfortable, and choice must be exercised. I don't think there is such a thing as extinction without feeling some discomfort.
I’m hoping that the discomfort will be a natural progression – that the enlightened tasting will become unappealing and unnecessary.   So far it’s been moving in that direction.  But I’m also willing to tolerate some discomfort if need be.

Quote
My question then is: does the Sinclair Method commit you to taking naltrexone for the rest of your life when you drink (or do whatever you are exinguishing)? Or is it possible at some point to shift over to moderate behavior and phase out the naltrexone?
I think that some people have given up drinking, and no longer have cravings or take the naltrexone.  I imagine that someone who was motivated could do what you suggest.  Mostly, the forum promotes always taking the naltrexone before drinking.  For someone with a really severe drinking problem, occasional drinking with naltrexone is not a bad outcome.  But yeah I agree, ideally you rewire your brain circuits and hormonal chemistry.  It takes a lot of discipline and persistence to do this.  Those traits are natural for me, but for a lot of people it's really a challenge.  Or perhaps some people aren't motivated enough.  Right now I'm really motivated to extinguish all addictions.  Hopefully I stay motivated. 
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 15, 2010, 05:16:36 PM
WARNING: really gross and disgusting info to follow – continue reading at your own risk. 

It would be wonderful to discover some simple and easily remedied underlying nutritional cause (of my sugar cravings).

Well, ah – this may turn out to be a simple and easily remedied underlying cause, but it wasn’t what I had in mind when I wrote the above quote.  It turns out that I have parasites, roundworms to be exact.  One came out looking like a very dead piece of spaghetti.  Totally disgusting, but not as much so if it had been alive.  Before that I had had strands of mucus that I wrongly assumed were from psyllium, flax, or chia seeds. 

I did a lot of research on parasites.  It turns out that they are a lot more common than you’d think.  You don’t need to travel to some far off country to get them.  Some people recommend that you get yourself (not just your pets) wormed regularly.  Here’s some info for anyone who wants to deworm themselves: http://www.naturalhealthtechniques.com/SpecificDiseases/parasitesintestinal.htm

My theory is that I’ve had them for awhile and that my dietary changes from following this non-addictive diet starting killing them off.  I’ve stopped feeding them the simple carbs and sugar that they crave, and have been unwittingly eating foods that harm them such as carrots, beets, black walnuts, and wild greens.  But I don’t really know for sure.  I got some prescription medication.  I researched natural remedies, but it sounds like drugs work a lot better and are pretty safe.  I’ll be curious to see if my cravings lessen or if my health improves.  So far nothing has changed, but it might take a week or two to notice a difference. 

The new update to report with my enlightened tasting experiments is that the texture of some of my most addictive foods is starting to be less appealing.  Also, I keep thinking that something is going to taste really good, but then the flavor changes to unappealing really fast. 

So far my most addictive foods are things that go back to childhood.  They aren’t the foods that I crave as an adult.  This is an unexpected discovery.  The things that I crave now have their roots in childhood addictions that I’d forgotten about. 

Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on June 20, 2010, 04:39:17 PM
Well that certain explains a lot!  My mother-in-law used to have saying about voracious eaters that they "eat like they have a tapeworm".  Your observation certainly gives a more tangible meaning to that.  I never realized how prevalent this is.

Sugar is a food not only for parasites.  It also feeds many other pathogenic infections.  I noticed that I when I went low carb and cut out most processed foods, that I don't get colds, sore throats, or respiratory tract infections anymore. And sugar even feeds abnormal cell growth. A connection between sugar and cancer has been known since Otto Warburg showed in 1931 that cancer cells require glucoses for anaerobic glycolysis, and ketogenic diets have been shown to halt and reverse a number of specific cancers, including brain cancer. 

Whereas, humans can thrive on a very low sugar diet.

Glad you figured out the parasite problem...and it's good to know you'll soon be rid of it.  It will be interesting to know if this permanently alters your cravings.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 24, 2010, 02:43:54 PM
Well Todd, I assumed the same, but unfortunately I've had no change in appetite and cravings. However, I've been feeling much better.  My energy is back to normal (I'd been feeling really tired) and the wired/restless/stressed feeling that I had went away.  My cravings are definitely PMS hormonally based, and it's looking like they're not due to parasites. 

I'm off to the beach for the weekend to celebrate my parent's 50 wedding anniversary.  There will be lots of food!  I'm curious to see what temptations I've lost my cravings for.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on June 29, 2010, 04:11:49 PM
I’m still feeling better and sleeping so much better.  I’m going to do another round of deworming.  I’m still seeing questionable things.

The celebration went well.  I decided to let go of all nose-clipping and enlightened tasting for the 3 day event.  Also, I decided to exert no will power and just let the 3 days be a natural test of where things are at with my non-addictive diet.

Day 1: I ate a very healthy sandwich on multigrain bread.  It was delicious!  I think it was the first sandwich that I’d eaten since I started the diet.  I was not at all tempted by any of the afternoon snacks that everyone else was feasting upon.  At dinner I had no desire for the roll, or any of the pasta or potato salads at the salad bar.  My lobster was delicious.  But then I ate french fries.  I haven’t deconditioned french fries at all!  There was a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which didn’t taste good at all to me – yay!  But there was also an unusual almond flavored Boston cream pie kind of cake for my niece’s birthday.  It was unlike anything that I’d deconditioned and it tasted good.  I ate a few slices.

Day 2: I ate a sandwich wrap, lots of vegies, and a bit more lobster and crab meat.  Once again I wasn’t tempted by all the junky snacks.  But then I pigged out at the anniversary dinner.  Lots of stuffing, sweet potato fries, roll and butter.  The food was exceptionally good and I overate.  I ate until I was really full but not to the point of discomfort.  Then more of that birthday cake later.

Day 3: A muffin and stuffed shrimp leftovers for breakfast.  (I usually never eat breakfast.)  There were 3 kinds of muffins.  One tasted yucky, another so-so, a third kind was good.  I probably would have like all 3 before I did any deconditioning.  My cravings were ramped up from all of the previous night’s indulgences.  The rest of the day I consumed more leftovers but didn’t over indulge.  I didn’t like the feeling of cravings being ramped up.

1st day back: relieved to be back home to my usual eating patterns.  Carb cravings are still ramped up.  I had a roll with butter and some crackers.  The rest of what I ate was healthy and non-addictive.

2nd day home: I feel like I’m back to where I was before I left.  I was pleasantly surprised by how fast I returned to my usual groove.  I was worried that I’d be craving bread and carbs for days, but that didn’t happen. 

So I was a bit disappointed that my deconditioning didn’t hold up better than it did.  But compared to previous family gatherings I did exceptionally well.  It actually was a shock to see how much junk everyone consumed.  In general I ate less.  I was more aware of how detrimental junk food is and yet dismayed at how easy it is to get hooked back into it.  My brother and nephew have type 1 diabetes.   I couldn’t help but feel that their diet was especially bad for their diabetes. 

My deconditioning of chips has continued to hold.  I’ve definitely made progress with chocolate, which is huge.  Ordinary bread doesn’t seduce me, but certain kinds of bread still suck me in.  It’s somewhat daunting how many flavors and kinds of desserts there are. 
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Todd Becker on June 30, 2010, 05:41:33 PM
Heidi, it's great to see that your deconditioning has made a significant long term difference. It think it is a good idea to "test" yourself every so often just to see whether deconditioning is working. Of course, this is a judgement call as to how much and how often to do this, because doing a "test" too early could lead to unwittingly reinforcing old habits before they are extinguished. But finding that you can stop eating earlier and avoid bingeing should in itself help reinforce a more moderate eating style.

I'm on the second week of a family vacation, and am finding it easy to maintain a reduced eating and reduced alcohol pattern. I had some cake and ice cream after dinner - enjoyed it, but a small slice and a few scoops were plenty!
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: UrsusMinor on February 20, 2011, 12:11:42 PM
Sugar is a food not only for parasites.  It also feeds many other pathogenic infections.  I noticed that I when I went low carb and cut out most processed foods, that I don't get colds, sore throats, or respiratory tract infections anymore. And sugar even feeds abnormal cell growth. A connection between sugar and cancer has been known since Otto Warburg showed in 1931 that cancer cells require glucoses for anaerobic glycolysis, and ketogenic diets have been shown to halt and reverse a number of specific cancers, including brain cancer. 

Yes indeed. PET scans find tumors by adminstering radioactively labeled glucose (usually fluorodeoxyglucose). Because of their appetite for sugar, cancer cells grab it out of the bloodstream, and they light up like Las Vegas at night.

Since this is a well-established technique, it surprises me that many doctors still question the link between sugar and cancer!
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: TysonsCorner on April 10, 2011, 12:35:23 PM
I see this is an old thread, but I find the ET technique to be very novel and potentially effective. The gist I get from reading Heidi's posts is that she was able to control a previously uncontrollable intake of carb/junk/addictive foods in a relatively easy manner leading to the reaching her goal weight. Typically, someone with a strong addiction to these types of foods has considerable trouble controlling their intake; me being one of the them. Hopefully this method will be as efficacious for me.

I've been doing ET for the past couple days. Thus far, it's worked to help me restrict my intake of foods (actually swallowing) to those that I consider diet-friendly (low carb/high protein/moderate fat). The real test would be to see if this holds for at least 10 days/15 lbs weight loss. Typically, I'll lose around 15 lbs (obviously mainly glycogen/water and likely some fat/muscle) within a week or two, but then the cravings kick in hardcore. If I can get past that point comfortably, I may be able to go indefinitely. I'll report back with my progress.

In doing ET, I haven't noticed a decrease in pleasure from addictive food flavors, but I just started. The effect it does seem to have is creates what feels somewhat like a cigarette buzz. Not sure if it from ET or not. It could have been from something else or just how I was feeling at the time. I'm not overly perceptive to these types of things.

One theoretical problem I'm having with ET is that it seems to the opposite of what I thought SGL was (which I believe Heidi states that ET is a sort of extension of). It seems that SGL advocates consuming calories without flavor, in which the idea originated from the study that showed saccharin produced weight gain in rats (flavor without calories). I'm probably messing up of the mechanics of all this, and being that it worked great for Heidi, it seems to have a lot of merit, but if this works, wouldn't using artificial sweeteners work as well? What about chewing sugarless gum? If the ET theory is correct, wouldn't artificial sweeteners subdue the need for carbs/sweets? Wouldn't they quickly become unappetizing (no insulin effect, etc.)? Hopefully, this can be deconflicted.

Naltrexone is also very interesting to me. I've wondered that if neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitors/agonists eventually cause downregulation in the long-term, could an antagonist allowing upregulation be more effective in the long term? Todd and I discussed this in the comments section of his receptor/set-point article. It would seem that LDN might mediate many of the risks of a higher dose.

Just a thought, but I think IF may work well with LDN and help to accelerate upregulation. Here's a potential protocol:

- Take LDN (maybe ~6 mg) a couple hours for bedtime
- Assuming it takes effect within an hour or so, wait until the effect has taken and engage in some addictive behavior you would like   extinguished - i.e. a small/predetermined amount of addictive food
- sleep (hopefully the LDN will promote faster upregulation of receptors during sleep...not sure if that is the case or not as I'm not sure if they are generally actived during sleep or not)
- wake and continue fasting during working hours (hopefully adding to receptor upregulating)
- Evening: have healthy food and exercise. By this time, LDN should be mostly washed out and these actions should be reinforced (4 hour half-life])
- repeat

If LDN promotes upregulation during sleep, with the short half-life, it would allow most of the negative effects of opioid blocking to be only realized while sleeping. So when you eat 18-20 hours after dosing, you don't have to over-eat to realize satiety.

I'm not sure if 6 mg is enough to blunt the effects of addictive foods. If not, then I would attempt to avoid consuming them and ET instead. I may do that either way so to accelerate fat-loss. I'm at 260 and should be about 210 (~190 lean body mass via DEXA scan), so I have a ways to go.

If I can get my hands on some LDN, I'll give this a try.

Heidi mentioned FDA trials on Naltrexone and another drug. Here's the wikipedia link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bupropion/naltrexone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bupropion/naltrexone)

I think it is a bit strange they are combining naltrexone with a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. I believe that would downregulate dopamine in the long run. It seems like contradicting philosophies. Either way, I don't think the results were that impressive relative to controls. I'd be interested to see the rate of weight loss over the year and see if nal/dop is significantly better than control in the later months. That would be a better predictive of long-term weight loss.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on April 10, 2011, 04:47:09 PM
Hi amman, I have been intending to write an update to this thread and in fact I woke up this morning thinking about what I was going to write.  I’m still experimenting with enlightened tasting.  I have learned a great deal from it.  It has been successful for me.  However, the success has been a lot slower than I thought it would be.  Some of the slowness is due to the fact that each food or combination of foods needs to be individually deconditioned.  However, much of the slowness is also due to my problem with parasites.  They are the source of most of my cravings.  Especially when they are dying their cravings (which means my cravings) increase.  I will hopefully write a more detailed post soon.

Initially ET creates an increase in cravings.  It can also create a buzz or increase in energy as you describe.  I can’t remember if I posted a link to this article on a sugar rinse enhancing athletic performance:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=sugar-rinse-raises-performance-09-04-16&sc=CAT_ES_20090416 (http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=sugar-rinse-raises-performance-09-04-16&sc=CAT_ES_20090416)
Quote
Endurance athletes rinsed their mouths with one of the three drinks during a tough workout. Surprisingly, athletes that rinsed and spat out the glucose and maltodextrin performed 2 to 3 percent better than those who got the artificial sweetener. They said they didn’t feel like they were working any harder. Then they had their brains scanned by fMRI. The drinks that had real sugar and carbs lit up areas of the brain connected to pleasure and reward. But the fake sweet water did not.


Perhaps addiction to diet soda and other calorie free substances is an addiction to some other chemical in those substances.  All of my food addiction is to food that is very high in calories.  So I don’t have any experience with this.  Are you also going to try enlightened tasting with diet soda?  I would be curious to hear the results. 

I’m happy to hear that you are experimenting with this.  I think that this technique has great potential.  It has helped me immensely.  However, very few people have been willing to try it.  Keep me posted as to how it goes.
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: TysonsCorner on April 10, 2011, 06:44:55 PM
That's an interesting study and definitely something to ponder. I feel that when I feel like I am in a good mood (either a natural high or adderall or caffeine), I have more energy and much better workouts. When feeling this way, the workouts give me that endorphin effect people describe which adds to the overall feeling. But most of the time I feel antsy and bored (ADD feelings). It seems the displeaure of working out on top of the feelings of boredom is too much. If I push through it, the endorphin effect is pretty minimal.

Going low-carb and doing cold showers has helped, but I am looking to enhance workouts/mood/energy significantly more. Maybe ET can be part of the picture (specifically in relation to better workouts). What I don't want to do is overuse ET as I assume that would cause downregulation if it indeed activates the reward pathway as the study states.

You stated ET causes an initial increase in cravings, so I assume that means you found that the increased cravings subsides? Does it eventually lead to decreased cravings for food in general (not just sweets/addictive foods), and cause and increase in the rate of weight loss? One of my problems is that when I go low-carb, I tend to substitute the carbs for a greater amount of non-carb, calorie-dense foods. So I get less appetite stimulation via insulin/blood sugar, but greater appetite via wanting to stimulate the reward pathway (or maybe low serotonin, but I'm skeptical about that as I have no feelings of melancholy, just boredom and wanting the pleasure of certain foods).
Title: Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
Post by: Heidi on April 11, 2011, 04:00:34 PM
The increased cravings were primarily for the particular food that I was tasting and spitting.  The increase was brief and only lasted for the first few times that I did enlightened tasting for a particular food.  (I also had cravings early on that I was desperately hungry and was going to starve to death if I didn’t have some addictive carbs.  I finally figured out that a lot of worms were starving to death because they didn’t get the carb fix that they needed.)  

On the whole my cravings have been very significantly reduced by this method.  My goal is to eliminate addictive cravings entirely.  Some of why it is taking me so long is that I am trying to push things towards repulsion as much as possible.  It probably sounds crazy to most people, but ideally I would like to be repulsed by all junk food, baked goods, etc.  Enlightened tasting has enabled me to stick to a very strict diet without cheating and for the most part without feeling deprived.  It would have been impossible for me to stick to these really healthy changes without it.

Quote
Does it eventually lead to decreased cravings for food in general (not just sweets/addictive foods), and cause and increase in the rate of weight loss?
I am only eating nonaddictive food that I have no cravings for.  So for me there is a markedly reduced craving for food in general and I eat and desire much less food than I use to.

I can’t vouch for short term weight loss results because my weight loss has been completely messed up by the parasites.  Right now eliminating food addiction and parasites are much more important to me than weight loss.  I find it best to focus on one priority at a time.  However, eliminating all food addiction will be great for maintaining long term weight loss goals.

I am no longer doing the Shangri-la Diet.  But I think that the combination of SLD and ET are especially powerful for weight loss.

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One of my problems is that when I go low-carb, I tend to substitute the carbs for a greater amount of non-carb, calorie-dense foods.
What are the calorie dense foods that you are substituting for carbs?  I found that I was addicted to a lot of calorie dense foods such as nuts, cheeses, cream, butter, etc.  I have eliminated all of them for now.

In terms of exercise, right now I am only exercising for pleasure.  It has been a refreshing change.  I only do exercise that I enjoy and only for as long as I am enjoying it.  Exercising this way almost always gives me a natural high and is self reinforcing.  It’s hard to imagine going back to a mode of discipline.  This feels so much better.