“The last week has been bad. I’ve had a terrible stomach upset after Diwali and all my symptoms have returned. What do I do?” said the email on my screen.
It wasn’t the first email like this. Every since Deepavali came and went, nearly all patients have been on a downward slope. People who were a living example of a healthy lifestyle less than a fortnight ago were now hiding junk in their kitchens, unable to overcome their cravings.
I have two questions to ask.
- Why does a festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil, leave all of us with terrible health?
- Why does a single day of bad food give us cravings we can’t overcome for more than a week?
Let’s talk about the second question first.
One day of bad food = how many days of craving?
“I don’t have any motivation to eat healthy anymore. I didn’t want to touch anything oily or sugary when November began, but after Diwali I just can’t stop eating junk”
How long do the effects of One Bad Meal actually last? In our experience, five days on average!
Here’s what happens when you eat two Gulab Jamuns (because, admit it, who eats just one?). In 10 minutes, about 40 grams of sugar hits your digestive system and gets into your bloodstream.
In 20 minutes, your pancreas respond by pumping insulin into the bloodstream. The liver goes intro overdrive, converting all the sugar it can lay its hands on, into fat.
In 40 minutes, your brain is on a sugar high. You feel great. You feel happy. You feel excited. You eat some more.
In an hour, your body’s hard work has paid off and all the sugar is cleared off from your blood. But, many of your organs are still in overdrive because of the overstimulation, and continue sucking up sugar from the blood. Blood sugar levels drop. You feel hungry again. You eat some more.
And the cycle continues.
Oh, and by the way, the excess sugar and all the chemicals it contains are now leaching calcium from your bones and filtering it off into your pee. I’m not making this up. The more processed food you eat, the more acidic your blood gets. Calcium from bones is a buffer system for bringing the blood pH closer to alkalinity. It gets leached from your bones and is excreted in urine.
Why does sugar make me crave for more?
“I was doing fine till Diwali, but after the festival I’m too tempted to eat. I’m unable to control my cravings now.”
So what’s the issue? Why does some sugar make you crave more and more of it? The logic is quite easy to understand. How long does it take to eat your way through one sugarcane stalk? About 30 minutes.
Do you know how many gulab jamuns you can cook from the sugar in a single stalk? Just FIVE!
And, how many minutes does it take to eat 5 gulab jamuns? Two to three minutes.
When the huge load of 30 minutes’ worth sugar hits the blood in less than 5 minutes, every cell in your body has to go into overdrive. And when this happens, the cells make mistakes. Toxic by-products are released, machinery gets damaged, precious enzymes are used up. This causes a lot of damage.
Sugar is addictive too. Nature designed our brains to love sweet food, because anything sweet in nature means we’re getting amped up on calories to work and survive. It only makes sense that the more sugar there is, the more your brain will love it! See the video below to know more about why sugar is addictive.
Processing causes pain
Any sweet you find in nature – fruits, nuts, stems and roots – will have plenty of protective chemicals too. Vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients – antioxidants. These chemicals are used by our cells to make sure the sugar is burnt in the right way, and whatever damage is caused to the cell is repaired immediately. Our sweets cannot do this, because they’ve been stripped of everything except the sugar!
“My spondylosis stiffness and pain have come back and it’s terrible”
You would have read countless articles and blogs about how processed food causes inflammation and pain. Most of our patients can tell you how true this is. Refined sugar is inflammatory – and addictive. Here’s a video that explains all the problems associated with refined sugar.
What do I do?
An important root cause of our problems is that we are disconnected from our instincts. How do you get back to your instincts?
The answer is simple.
First, start enjoying your food. Nature has designed food to be tasty. Try eating a gulab jamun with closed eyes. Keep all your work aside for a couple of minutes. Completely concentrate on the taste of the gulab jamun as you eat it. Chew it slowly, chew it completely to a paste in your mouth. Keep it in your mouth for as long as you can without swallowing it, to enjoy the taste of the sweet. You can try this with any sweet. But please try it.
How does it taste? How much are you able to enjoy it? Do you feel like eating more? If you do, go ahead, pop another one in your mouth and thoroughly enjoy it.
Now, repeat the same experiment with a fruit – any fruit. Do you feel a difference? What do you feel? Sign up for our free online course to understand your relationship with food better, right below: