Author Topic: The Non-Addictive Food Diet  (Read 22738 times)

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #15 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.  

Quote
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:
Quote
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.  
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 02:00:16 PM by Heidi »

Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #16 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.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 05:52:34 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #17 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.

Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #18 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, 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!
« Last Edit: June 03, 2010, 10:26:31 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #19 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. 

Quote
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.

Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #20 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 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.  
« Last Edit: June 07, 2010, 01:06:42 PM by Todd Becker »

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #21 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.

Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #22 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!

Offline jared33

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #23 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!

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #24 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. 
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 05:27:09 PM by Heidi »

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #25 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. 


Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #26 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.

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #27 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.

Offline Heidi

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #28 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. 

Offline Todd Becker

  • Administrator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 442
Re: The Non-Addictive Food Diet
« Reply #29 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!