Last week we began our exploration of the issue of â€˜Food Superabundanceâ€™. I pointed out that the easy availability of food in our society is something that previous generations would have found very hard to even begin to comprehend. It is unfortunately the case that the fact that most North Americans do not have to give a second thought to where the next meal will come from is a decidedly mixed blessing. No one can lament the fact that actual instances of starvation have largely been eliminated. The rising incidence of bad food choices, obesity and food related health problems is a bit more difficult to get excited about however.
It is my opinion that food superabundance has a particularly negative effect on those struggling with the effects of ADD/ADHD as the kinds of food that are the most abundant are often precisely the kinds of food that should be avoided because of their effects on human attention and brain function. So how to best live in this world where it is much easier to be a contented â€˜grazerâ€™ than the â€˜lean mean hunting machinesâ€™ that we were designed to be? Some suggestions (continued over two weeks) for doing so are the following:
Listen to your body: Our bodies have very specific ways of reacting to the oversupply of food. The most obvious sign that you are overindulging is obviously the one that you see as you get on the bathroom scale every morning! The signals that your body are sending goes way beyond weight gain however. The following can sometimes (although not necessarily always) be messages from your body that you should change your eating patterns:
A bad taste in the mouth: This can often be due to the prolonging of the digestive process due to excessive amounts of food.
Heartburn: Heartburn could have many underlying reasons but can in many cases be blamed on overeating.
A heavily coated tongue: A coated tongue can often be natureâ€™s way of signalling the fact that the nutritional system is overcrowded and that intake should be reduced. This is because it is an indication that the tongue has been â€˜roped inâ€™ to assist with the dispatch of waste products.
A â€˜muddyâ€™ skin: This occurs with â€˜big leagueâ€™ overeating and is a sign that the body has to get rid of so much waste products that it attempts to release some of it through the skin!
Dull eyes: If too much bile is released into the bloodstream it can affect the whites of the eyes, usually by making it dull or giving it a greenish tinge.
It should be emphasised again that all of the symptoms mentioned above can have causes other than overeating. The point is, however, that excessive food intake should at least be considered as an option if you experience any of them.
Avoid the â€˜Temples of Superabundanceâ€™: One of the most visible results of the food superabundance in our society is the proliferation of â€˜fast foodâ€™ outlets. It is no secret that many of these establishments work on the principle of the lowest common denominator by offering the largest possible portions at the lowest possible price. This is mostly done at the expense of quality and nutritional value. It does not make sense to â€˜rejoiceâ€™ in the fact that you got so much food for so little if you have to count the cost in terms of negative nutritional and emotional outcomes afterwards. I realise that going out for â€˜fast foodâ€™ is almost a ritual in our society but we really need to begin counting the cost of this habit. This is especially true in the case of families who are struggling with the management of ADD/ADHD in one of its members. The average fast food meal could almost have been custom designed to exacerbate ADD/ADHD as it usually contains:
- Highly refined carbohydrates at the top end of the Glycemic Index
- Very high amounts of saturated fats that could seriously impede brain function by limiting the absorption of â€˜goodâ€™ fats.
- High levels of sugar, guaranteed to shoot blood sugar levels through the roof and set the â€˜Blood Sugar Rollercoasterâ€™ rolling.
- High levels of caffeine in soft drinks. This could lead to a worsening of ADD/ADHD symptoms or even to an ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis (Due to sleep deprivation being mistaken for the condition)
- Many different kinds of additives and preservatives that could interfere with natural digestion and absorption processes.
The list above should make it clear that limiting your â€˜fast food visitsâ€™ to special treats, rather than twice weekly occurrences, can be one of the easiest ways to tune out of some of the more destructive effects of food superabundance.
Please check back next week when I will continue with some more suggestions on how you can live a nutritionally balanced life in a superabundant world. See you then!