Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
9 Dec

The Psychology of Giving Up Junk Food

sweettemptationIt’s probably the biggest thing that makes some people hesitate in going Primal. Sure, they appreciate the logic and sensibility of the Blueprint lifestyle. They value the chance to improve their health and effectively lose weight. They love the idea of having more energy. They salivate over the prospect of bacon. But then comes the proverbial wrench in the plan. “What about bread?” they ask. (Sometimes it’s diet soda, pasta, pancakes, pizza, Skittles, etc.; I’ve heard it all.) Against all powers of wisdom, self-interest, and rationality, how is it these isolated, deeply entrenched cravings hold such sway over our lifestyles – and diet decisions? Is a baguette really so enticing that it determines a person’s willingness to live a healthier, more vigorous existence? Is the de-grained life really not worth living?

It’s a common refrain I hear: “Oh, I’d love to go Primal, but I just couldn’t give up my breakfast cereal.” Okay. It’s got me thinking lately: what is it about the psychological power of (non-Primal) favorite foods?

Ever watched “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” (usually featuring the typical junk food categories)? Of course, the guests play it up for the camera, but the expression behind some of their descriptions parallel that famous When Harry Met Sally scene. Really? This level of enthusiasm for a hamburger? (I won’t say it.) Even a few of the most diehard PB converts I know still hold the torch for some pre-Primal item. Some people get attached, I guess.

Yes, there are the obvious factors that apply to most people’s favorites: the ubiquity of these foods, the subsequent convenience, the cheap price (e.g. Pizza Hut’s “Feast for Five” bucks – feast being their word). For some of us, these favorite foods (past or present) are part and parcel of our social landscape or our work environs. Then there are the more complex influences: ethnic, family or community traditions right down to low and lowly marketing forces. Finally, there’s taste. Although, as I’ve said before, most people find these foods all taste the same once they give their taste buds a chance to recover on a Primal diet of naturally-occurring foods.

So, why are some things easier to give up than others? If you told most people tomorrow that the key to good health involved forgoing asparagus, I can’t imagine most folks would consider it a major impediment to their success. Why isn’t giving up bread, diet soda or cereal the same? How does it involve more than a simple switch of intention? Why does giving up a single favorite food feel like serious deprivation for so many people?

It’s true that our tastes are established earlier than we ever thought. Experts have found that a mother’s diet during pregnancy already begin to habituate a baby’s taste. Researchers believe this happens because the habituation early on helps teach children which tastes are “safe.” If the mother has survived eating foods with these flavors, they will, too. If you come from a family in which people routinely ate a lot of pasta, you likely developed the taste for it earlier than you can remember.

We also develop deep-seated emotional associations with certain foods through early and/or recurring memories surrounding them. On a timely note, holiday traditions tend to play into these associations in a big way. Any meaningful experience can create these connections, however. Was there a special dish you always made with a parent or grandparent? Did your extended family all go to the same pizzeria at every visit? Do you and your spouse have a routine from early in your relationship that influences how you enjoy time together today?

These associations can play out in unconscious ways, eliciting cravings or overshadowing your efforts to develop a taste for healthier, Primal fare. If you’re still carrying the torch for old favorites, it can be harder to fully enjoy newer Primal tastes.

Then there are the temptations of the present. Experts say mental imagery – that which we conjure ourselves and that which we’re presented with (in ads, etc.) – plays a sizeable role in our cravings. Have you ever found yourself victim to an ad’s suggestion? Even if you normally wouldn’t touch a particular food, those marketing folks have a fantastic way of making it look good.

Our moods, of course, can influence our vulnerability to old favorites. Many of us have indulged in emotional eating, and carbohydrates figure into this equation all too strongly. There’s a legitimate serotonin boost from a carb binge, but then comes the inevitable crash and then the ongoing habit. Our desire for comfort foods, researchers have found, only increases with additional stress. (On a side note, experts have even found trends of favorite comfort foods (PDF) in men and women and in older and younger folks. Men as a whole tend to crave warm and hearty foods. Women for their part had more of a penchant for sweeter snack foods. Younger groups also tended to choose more snack rather than meal type foods.)

In terms of strategies to lessen the feeling of deprivation and associated cravings, researchers confirm the out of sight, out of mind approach. Proximity matters in a big way. The more of a hassle it is to get to that favorite temptation, the less likely you’ll bother with it. Their study includes the old candy dish at the secretary’s desk scenario. Yet, battling those mental images matters, too. If your favorite food is all over the TV commercials, find something else to do on the days or evenings when you’re more prone to suggestion because of stress or a down mood.

When you do become taken in by a sudden urge to indulge, some research suggests that taking a brief walk can help. If the cravings are more than an occasional inconvenience, you might want to ask whether there’s something hormonal going on or if you have a nutritional deficiency. Particularly if you have a history of disordered eating, you might choose to explore some professional counseling. Finally, some research shows that acupuncture can be an effective complementary measure for reducing ongoing cravings.

You might ask where the 80/20 Principle is in all this. Well, it depends. If your favorite food can be adapted to fit a Primal profile or if you can indulge moderately on an occasional basis, then you might not have to forgo that favorite altogether. If one taste of a non-Primal favorite food sends you on a downward spiral, however, it’s another story. As people get further along in their Primal journey, the slippery slope phenomenon isn’t as powerful, but for some it remains so. Know yourself, first and foremost.

There’s a potential bit of a catch here, however. Even if you know you can always go back and have it, a lot of folks – having been fully Primal for a while – find that the side effects are too great to bother with. They realize that it’s not worth trying anymore, even for special occasions. Nonetheless, some feel a bit of grief with the acknowledgment. In these cases, however, know that the food was destroying your body long before you ever gave it up. You simply know what it feels like to live without the low-grade symptoms now.

That’s the final message here, I think. A favorite food offers momentary pleasure and maybe a meaningful bit of nostalgia. But what is your life without that favorite food? More energetic? Less congested? More restful? More even-keeled? Less medicated? Just as happily reminiscent. Just as meaningful. Your taste buds are but one small part of you. If your whole body could vote on each food you put in it, what would it tell you? Learning to live Primally is about learning to listen to your body, recognizing its story, and valuing how our physical habits feed the spirit as well as the body – the vitality – we bring to each day.

Now it’s your turn. Readers, have you had struggles with old favorite foods? Do they still have a hold on you? Does the lingering preference ever trip you up, or have you found your peace with it – maybe by indulging once in a while with moderation? What do you see as the major challenges behind giving up a favorite food?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nice mark. Definitely deserved some sharing!

    Ahmed wrote on December 9th, 2010
  2. I find that most cravings are really for something I can eat, at least under 80/20. If I crave pizza, it’s mostly for the toppings. The crust is wonderful, but I can live without it. Same with craving a triple burger with cheese and bacon. I wish I could eat the bun, but I have no trouble asking the waiter to leave it off.

    I must admit that I had already fought the wheat battle a few years ago. But before Primal, I would sometimes indulge, mostly from laziness, e.g. not picking out the croutons from a salad.

    I should also say that I eat some white potatoes, white rice and corn tortillas in moderation, i.e. a serving or two of one of them about 5 dinners per week. I am doing well and see no reason to give them up.

    All of the no-no junk foods taste just as good as ever to me. They just don’t control me.

    Harry wrote on December 9th, 2010
  3. I’ve been rather successful in giving up the grains, but the hardest for me has been pasta, which I love in all its various guises. I try to limit my pasta intake to about once every 10 days, so perhaps it falls into the 80/20 category, but I’d love to be able to cut it out for good.

    gordon wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • I made a delish lasagna yesterday using very thin layers of scrambled egg in place of noodles

      aimless wrote on December 10th, 2010
  4. I haven’t found it difficult to drop grains but I don’t live in my home culture which I think makes it much, much easier for me.

    My husband who hates the fast food joints with a passion and vowed never to take our kids there would routinely take them to Krispy Kreme until I pointed out that it wasn’t healthy or in line with his beliefs.

    It had never crossed his mind because Sunday morning doughnuts was what his family did.

    I have also started to notice since going Primal that there are even primal foods that are like drugs for me – for example, grapes, nuts. I can’t stop eating them if I start. I’d never noticed this before.

    Alison Golden wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Alison,

      I share your feelings about Grape-Nuts cereal. One thing I’ve discovered is that even though it’s been touted as “healthy” and only has a few ingredients, it’s sweeter than many of the highly sugared kid’s cereals!!

      Chris wrote on December 9th, 2010
  5. Before I started the Primal diet, for 9 months I had been on a very healthful weight-loss diet. I ate more vegetables than I ever had before, and stopped eating anything made with white flour. I found that getting off white flour made the mid-afternoon slump go away, as well as the craving for sweets.

    So by the time I discovered the Primal diet, I was half-way there in terms of weaning my self from my beloved bread and pasta. By that time, eliminating grains from my diet completely was not really a problem. After three weeks, my heartburn went away, and I felt clear-headed for the first time in memory.

    That was enough to make me avoid grains on a daily basis. I eat organic produce, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised chicken and turkey(which I hadn’t before going primal. From day to day I don’t miss the old favorite foods, and I go by the 80/20 concept in regard to eating at restaurants and having holiday meals or going to parties.

    Maybe giving up bread wasn’t hard for me because I had already given up one form of it. As someone who once considered bread an essential food, I am fine without it.

    Paula wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Agreed, Paula. My afternoon sleepiness went away completely when I gave up flour. I also had digestive “issues” that are also gone.

      Natalie wrote on December 9th, 2010
  6. I gave up soda years ago back in college. I was drinking a few 20oz bottles a day and just decided to see if I could give it up cold turkey one Sunday night. Haven’t drank it since. Same thing with breakfast cereal (and I LOVED cereal). Chips, pretzels, Doritos, etc were never my thing, so they weren’t hard to give up. But now I’m still working on giving up the desserty sweets. That’s been a struggle, but I am getting away from them … just slower than I wanted.

    Kevin wrote on December 9th, 2010
  7. I’m Sicilian, need I say more?? I always fending off the constant pasta and bread-i-licious dishes my family throws at me. It’s no big deal though when you learn some kick-ass recipes like primal pancakes and pizza! On the other hand homemade chocolate chip cookies are the devil.

    Ashley North wrote on December 9th, 2010
  8. It’s only that artisan wholegrain organic sourdough, toasted and slathered in butter… I can’t resist when it’s in our kitchen. Just one slice with a giant veggie omlette and a big rasher of bacon… and espresso. 80/20?

    kem wrote on December 9th, 2010
  9. I still have issues with donuts. My husband loves them and buys them. They are always around the house. It SUCKS. I love them so much, and I don’t have any side effects when I fall off the wagon which makes it much more difficult. I think if i felt like i was going to throw up or had bad headaches after I would eat crap, then it would make it easier.

    Carly wrote on December 9th, 2010
  10. I have failed to fully convert, but one food that definitely gets me: Popcorn. And once I start eating it, I shovel mouthfuls as fast as I can eat them until suddenly the whole bowl is gone. What’s worse, is it really upsets my gut, and I know this while I’m eating it. Ugh. Evil popcorn!

    Sara wrote on December 9th, 2010
  11. I am totally Primal….18mths-also being a Type 1 diabetic and follow Dr Biernstiens food lists for Diabetics- no fruit………I MISS Fruit but I feel like crap when i eat it with BGs all over the place….lol…..So I dont indulge at all -not tempted- just accept that I miss it.

    Sue wrote on December 9th, 2010
  12. Three Words: Sour. Patch. Kids.

    I have to literally put my hands in my pockets when I walk by them in the store.

    Then again, I’ve only been primal for about 3 weeks.

    John wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Your sweet tooth does progressively dial down with a primal diet… That’ll help. If and when you do indulge, pay attention to that point where they don’t taste so good anymore, then toss the rest. My husband finds he hits a limit after just a couple sips of soda,for example.

      Jenny wrote on December 11th, 2010
  13. I find that as long as I stay Primal, my blood glucose levels allow me to resist temptation very easily (although I have occasionally been known to SNIFF the Friday morning office doughnuts!) Was never really a sweet eater, but man, did I love me some pizza! Now, when a craving hits, I work out a substitute…the “meatza” is great; we make a fantastic (maybe not primal but definitely ultra low-carb) cheesecake, and although I’ve made satisfying parmesan/flax/sunflower crackers, GG’s Scaandinavian Crispbread is a daily staple.
    My philosophy is to enjoy the food that is NATURALLY low carb & primal..don’t try to duplicate the high-carb tastes you THINK you want with poor imitations; you’ll be disappointed (well, other than the occasional hook-up w/Dreamfield’s spaghetti).
    My Nesco dehydrator is my best friend (nothing beats home-made jerky) and I’ve lost over 70 #s in
    2 years; 20 more to go, but that’s the wine I can’t seem to give up!

    Mickie wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Lol!! I totally sniff the Friday donuts! I think they smell better than they taste, anyway.

      Meesha wrote on April 25th, 2012
  14. Get a bad systematic and chronic candida infection! That stopped me!

    spazchicken wrote on December 9th, 2010
  15. quick recent experience –

    for 2 months i’m 90%- 95% off (or more depending on item) wheat, white sugar (using xylitol and raw honey when necessary), off bread, off any oil but coconut or olive, off most of the no-no veggies, and off my life-long cookie munching (i’m a healthy 56).

    few days ago during a incident-related stress, i did a poorly judged “self-medication” – chomped some sugary chocolate bar and 3 Rachels gluten-free BUT with lotsa **sugar** – immediately got nauseous, irritable and realized it

    – on just 3 not so big cookies! i used to down a box of these no prob –

    so – insulin sensitivity must be up, and i learned…

    …the cookies will not be there on top of the fridge next time (they’ll be still on the store shelf…)

    ;-)

    moksha wrote on December 9th, 2010
  16. People use junk food as a replacement for sex – no doubt about it. Ever hear how people talk about certain foods? try it. The next time someone is talking about thier favorite food it sounds an aweful lot like….well, you know.

    Sex everyday keeps the junk food away :-)

    Mike Smith wrote on December 9th, 2010
  17. Maybe we should revamp that Kate Moss quote into something more useful. I’d propose “Nothing tastes as good as *healthy* feels.” I get a lot of psychic benefit, not just enjoyment of taste, out of eating fresh veggies or salads, and knowing that I’m helping my body.

    On the other hand, all of my family’s special occasion and ‘comfort’ foods were SAD, and speaking of SAD, I do suffer from inherited seasonal depression (Vitamin D helps, but it doesn’t cure, especially if life stress hits me at the same time). Given the family history of comfort eating, I do pretty well on Primal eating most of the time, but under stress I have a mixed track record of resisting the urge to splurge on definitively non-primal foods like donuts, pasta, burgers, etc.

    On a brighter note, I’ve found a really good substitute for corn chips if you like them (or crispy fries) with chili. A good hearty helping of chili (sans beans, preferably), smothered in shredded cheese, goes down real nice if you use pork rinds in place of chips. Of course, it does help to really smother that chili on there, to make sure that the taste is, (ahem), consistent. But the little added crunch can’t be beat, and it’s an easy, hearty ‘snack’ for those cravings, to say nothing of convenience. Make a big pot, buy a big bag, and hit it for most of the week.

    Bennett wrote on December 9th, 2010
  18. Someone posted about how her brother views food as a means to fuel your body… I’ve been saying that for years. Most people (in my opinion) view food as a means of entertainment. We grill, have family over, go to dinner, order takeout, etc…, all the while eating to their hearts content, without thinking what they’re ingesting is doing to their bodies. I’ve mananged to drop the entertainment thing for the most part, although I have to admit, earlier this year I injured myself in the gym, twice… and the second injury really put me down. I spent spring and summer recouperating and gaining weight (back to viewing food as entertainment)… that’s when I found this site. Thanks to everyone here, I’m back on my “warpath” to getting healthy, only this time, I’ll be even healthier. 7.3% body fat (again) is on the horizon. :)
    Chaz

    Chaz wrote on December 9th, 2010
  19. funny, I was craving big fluffy blueberry buttermilk pancakes this morning. Other than that oatmeal would be my weakness, I love it. I very rarely miss things like bread, cake, crackers or chips. There are so many great primal substitutes to most of the grain based foods, and I enjoy knowing that they won’t make me ill. I honestly think that I wouldn’t be able to even finish a plate of pancakes without feeling horribly ill later, its simply not worth it.

    Ani wrote on December 9th, 2010
  20. Great! Now, how do I get my beloved family members (and everyone else I care about) to read this post? I’m betting they’ll be as reluctant to read this as they are reluctant to give up their grains…

    wilberfan wrote on December 9th, 2010
  21. Now I may be the only on crazy enough to do this, but when I am craving something sweet and utterly delicous, I go to one of those big box store bakery areas. where they have the custom cakes, the cookies, cupcakes, cheesecake sampler dish’s, basically anything you could want. And instead of buying them, i can look at them, close my eyes and imagine the texture and sweetness of eating them. i do this for like 3-5 min. after that amount of time i feel like i have eaten it, and the ‘sugar crash’ happens and i think about how sweet it is, how quickly it would all turn to fat, how it would make me groggy to eat it, how expensive it is for how nutritionally empty it is. so i feel better by not eating it, but i also feel like i did eat it because i could visualize it so clearly and strongly.

    Add that to the theory of avoidance lol

    Cameron wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Nope, you’re not. This reply caught my eye because I end up, not intentionally mind you, wandering through the baking section of every store I go in. Just breathing it in and looking at everything I used to eat, I never indulge, but reminisce and I can taste and feel them in my mouth. It is something I catch myself doing quite often and kind of laugh at myself when I do.

      Joshua wrote on December 10th, 2010
  22. Having recently completed Diane Sanfilippo’s “21 Day Detox” program (successfully, I might add, this article makes all the sense to me. I have found that I’m even less interested in grains & starches and sweet carbs than before. When people ask about my eating habits, they always say they can never do without _______. I always tell them I had the same cravings/wants before I made-the-decision-to-change.

    michelleb wrote on December 9th, 2010
  23. I have been able to forgo most temptations but as part of my 80/20 I have a really hard time passing up a dark stout or super hoppy IPA. Mostly microbrews or anything sam smith brew from England!

    daniel I wrote on December 9th, 2010
  24. I’m half Italian, half Japanese; it should be obvious what I struggle with. My parents and sister were more than happy to empty my pantry of pasta and 25lb bags of rice. I now invest in my local CSA and bask in the bounty of fresh organic produce.

    Bryan wrote on December 9th, 2010
  25. I have a hard time this time of year! I have always loved my Christmas cookies. But I figured out what I really like, its the baking…the all being in the kitchen, and setting out cookies for Santa (which we probably won’t do, maybe a Primal Chocolate Truffle for him instead!) My way to get around it, I bake for my churches cookie walk. So I spend all day with my favorite old cookie recipes, pack them all up in fun Christmas tins, and then bring them all to my church for them to raise money. Of course we all have one cookie, but that’s it!

    This is most defiantly the hardest time of year, but I have to thank the Primal Blueprint Cookbook for offering tasty dessert to satisfy our nostalgic needs!

    Joanne wrote on December 9th, 2010
  26. Removing grains from my diet has over the long haul proved harder than I thought. They are just everywhere, and as a high calorie eating/burning athlete, I am ALWAYS hungry.

    The less often I eat grains now, the worse I feel when I do indulge.

    Nathan wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Eat a lot more healthy fat.

      Kelda wrote on December 10th, 2010
  27. I love to cook, and now that I’ve gone Primal, I get to make wonderful foods from all the great recipes out there, as well as my own ingenuity. That being said, I wonder why humans (or maybe it’s just Americans?) always feel the need to find a replacement or substitute for something that we either cannot or should not have. For example, after being diagnosed with Celiac and lactose intolerance, the gluten free group I joined spent hours going over what kinds of bread or flour we could use to substitute. And we obsess about sugar substitutes– stevia v. splenda v. aspartame, etc. Why can’t we just go without? I think IF is a great way of practicing this. Fast for a day or so, then make sure to eat the good Primal stuff, then fast again. Pretty soon, junk food and substitutes won’t matter, eating the good stuff will!

    Sara wrote on December 9th, 2010
  28. refined carbs: cookies, muffins, scones. The usual coffee shop fare. I’m a college student and spend a fair amount of time studying in coffee shops and am a sucker for the pastries. Funny thing, as soon as I have one, it leaves me craving sugar for the next 24-48 hours.

    Andy wrote on December 9th, 2010
    • Exactly. I’ve never liked sugar a lot, but pasta, oh yeah. Now that I rarely eat it anymore, I’m never hungry. Sometimes I find myself being a bit foggy, and I think ‘why, what’s the matter, why am I feeling faint?’ and then I realize ‘oh, I haven’t eaten in 16 hours, that must be it’. It’s really strange being able to miss meals and either not notice or not care.

      Ulla Lauridsen wrote on December 10th, 2010
  29. I’m finding the hardest thing to give up at the moment is mixers for spirits – cola with my Morgans Spiced….tonic with my gin…We don’t particularly drink very often at home – maybe once a week where we have wine – great rich reds or our beloved cava (accepting that it’s sweeter than red) – but when we go out I can get a bit bored of wine and like to have spirits. I also like a lot of mixer in my drink (and ice) – keeps it nicely diluted – which just means more diet or ‘full fat’ junky liquid!!! I switch between naturally and artificially sweetened as both trigger the insulin response and weight gain for me – I can never make my mind up which is ‘worse’ so spread the load…! I went out for my office Christmas ‘do’ yesterday and probably had 2 litres of the stuff… :( Am out for a belated birthday tomorrow and will have the same problems then… Giving up bread, grains, pulses/legumes, just about all milk, pasta, pizza, fries, rice, baked sweet things, junky chocolate…easy… Mixers with my favourite spirits… Tough one! (To be absolutely honest I also still drink water flavoured with small amounts of sugar free squash (cordial) – there’s only so much plain water I can drink – even if it’s sparking or has lime in there….).

    Jacquie wrote on December 10th, 2010
  30. Hi Mark,

    A small suggestion: There is A LOT of interesting information and articles on your webiste and reading it all is simply hard to get down to. Also, scanning new articles isn’t that easy as information is spread over a lot of words. So one thing that would be really helpful would be a short one paragraph summary or “In conclusion:” either at the top or bottom of each page.

    Thanks for leading the primal way!

    Cordially,
    Rasmus

    Rasmus wrote on December 10th, 2010
  31. I went Primal 6 months ago and lost 30 lbs., back to my athletic HS weight in my 64 old body. I don’t eat grains with one proviso. I will eat 1 or 2 buttered Wasa Sourdough crackers with 3 sunny side up eggs for breakfast, fried in a coconut/butter melt. I’m betting that Wasa’s sourdough process eliminates most of the bad things about grains (phytates, lectins, etc.)and the net 7 g of carbs/cracker is acceptable for me. This breakfast combo for me satiates any cravings and is very convenient as I purchase them from the local food market.

    Considering the psychological element of this satiation, as a child my mother would cook me sunny side up eggs for breakfast in her cast iron pan with real butter, a good thing, and would instruct me to make sure I ate toast with it so the egg yokes would not make me nauseous, a bad thing. Wow, talking about an implanted life long psychosomatic reaction to a otherwise very healthy breakfast. The sourdough cracker has eliminated the problem.

    JackG wrote on December 10th, 2010
  32. The Dolorian in “Back to the Future” needed high power uranium for the Flux Compasator to work, in the past. But when Doc returned from the future, it ran on garbage and it did not even need roads.
    So maybe if we adapt to all the garbage that is around us, maybe we can run on it more efficiently and maybe even fly in the future.

    BTW: I enjoy the Primal Blueprint and the thought behind it. Thank you for putting effort into educating people.
    I also enjoy my 20 percent!

    What is worse in your opinion, to eat gluten or to eat “unhappy” meat?

    Carl-Philipp wrote on December 10th, 2010
  33. Much has been written about the benefits of high cocoa chocolate. The problem is making it palatable without any sugar. I satisfy my chocolate cravings with an easy to make drink using 100% Natural Unsweetened Cocoa such as powders made by Ghirardelli or Hershey. They are of the un-Dutched variety, Dutched cocoa being cocoa treaded with sodium hydroxide to make it mix in liquid, easier. Yuck!

    For 2 cups (1 cup is too little for me):

    1 heaping teaspoon cocoa
    1.5 cups of hot water
    0.5 cup coffee from your morning brew
    0.5 teaspoon stevia
    Heavy cream to taste

    I will sometimes add a 1/4 teaspoon of of cayenne pepper powder to add a nice kick.

    JackG wrote on December 10th, 2010
    • I do something similar:

      1 cup coffee (I use organic)
      .5 oz very dark chocolate (Lindt 90% or Scharffenberger 99%, for instance), cut into shavings
      2 T organic half and half
      1/8th to 1/16 t (to taste) each of:
      cinnamon
      cayenne pepper
      ginger (could also use fresh grated)
      SweetLeaf Stevia to taste

      Tasty!

      Wilma Flintstone wrote on December 10th, 2010
  34. I was just thinking about what my dietary “wishlist” would be. Right now I miss very dark chocolate (at least 85%), baked granny smith apples, daiya cheese, and coconut ice cream. It’d be nice if there wasn’t so much trash talking on cashews too, but, alas, Candida is a hungry beast.

    But the cravings really do subside after just a few weeks, and things like broccoli, zucchini, etc become delicious. If you asked me to give up broccoli, I’d be mad.

    nutritionut wrote on December 10th, 2010
  35. I’ve been paleo for about 4 years now and never found giving up carbs to be very difficult- but I do still struggle with cravings for NUTS! I can go through a jar of almond butter like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. The best solution I’ve found is the out-of-sight method, because once I start it is all down hill. (and it throws off my digestion for days and days!) I think I may be super lectin sensitive…

    Anyone else go nuts for nuts?

    Adina wrote on December 10th, 2010
    • Yep, roasted almond butter, can’t have it in the house. On a turn around night where I stay up as late as I can so I can change from day shift to go into night shift the next evening, I will destroy half the jar with carrots or my finger. I’ve done this more times than I’ll admit. What’s half the jar? Like 2100 calories? Haha.

      Schasm wrote on December 10th, 2010
    • Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that. Very hard to keep the calories down. I buy only walnuts, almonds and macadamias. Cashews are not safe in my presence, or maybe vice versa! No peanuts allowed, either. Of course, they’re not actually a nut and that might be why they’re addictive.

      Carol wrote on December 10th, 2010
  36. Back in the day I used to cook 2 POUNDS of whole wheat pasta for my family of four, and we ate the WHOLE thing! I thought I was feeding them nutritious food. While we were all very active, and none of us were overweight, my husband and I both had high blood pressure, and I suffered from non stop headaches and joint pain.
    So nearly 3 years ago, I decided to try a low carb approach. (I have now “evolved” to a more primal approach.) Anyway, initially, I thought I would have to find some way to include pasta. I never bothered, because for me it was amazing how the cravings melted away. However, I have purchased a product for my mother in law called miracle noodles. They are made from soluble fiber from a japanese yam. I think a serving is listed as 1 carb. She really likes these with her favorite pasta sauces.

    kateD wrote on December 10th, 2010
  37. I’ve been enjoying a few items as bread/cracker substitutes. They also happen to be raw and vegan. They’re pricey but I use them sparingly. The Love Force products are probably the cheapest:

    Brad’s Raw Chips (about $8 a package): http://www.bradsrawchips.com/ (I like the “Cheddar” and “Indian” flavors best)

    Rayo de Sol Gluten Free Essene Breads (about $10 a loaf): http://www.rawrayodesol.com/products.php
    (I’ve enjoyed the “Havest” and “Rye” so far) They’re the size of cocktail loaves, more or less.

    Love Force Raw Organic Breads (about $5 a package): http://www.loveforce.net/products/food/index.htm
    (I’ve had the “Sun-Flax Rye” and loved it. It’s somewhere between a bread and a cracker, hard but chewy).

    Wilma Flintstone wrote on December 10th, 2010
    • Thanks for the kudos, Ms. Flinstone! We love that you love our products!

      Kate wrote on December 13th, 2010
  38. I operate under the 100/10 rule.

    100% perfect and 10% cheating.

    Dan wrote on December 10th, 2010
  39. I finally have it under control. Before I found Final Blueprint, I had lost weight using South Beach Diet. I was good for a while, but then old habits began creeping back. Maybe I had way more rice than I knew I was supposed to have with dinner. Or, maybe I indulged in a brownie binge, telling myself I’d be back on the wagon the next day only to find it easier to have more goodies because I did the day before, and what’s one more day?

    I began struggling to keep off the weight loss, I saw a few pounds creeping back on after all the hard work I had done to get rid of it. I had begun at over 150lbs and 37% body fat, and got down to 125, about 23% body fat- but was then creeping up to 130 again. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but if you’re tall and thin (after losing your weight) and like when your jeans fit like a glove, 5lbs makes a big difference.

    It was very frustrating and I began yo-yo-ing badly. I could barely maintain 127- I was excercising every day for an hour- grueling workouts, to try to offset the desserts and extra carbs. But I could not out-excercise the food, even if I was fanatical.

    Near the end of last year, I googled something about food and Primal Blueprint popped up. I began reading, and I ordered the book. I read it, and decided that New Year, I was going Primal. I went 100% Primal and the extra pounds dropped right off. I got real lean and fit into a size 2! Not anorexic, and not starving, either. I allowed some very dark chocolate after dinner sometimes. I very rarely allowed it, but did occasionally have rice, corn, or beans, but very, very rarely. Once a month for rice, once every 2 months for corn. Beans here and there.

    6 months in, I was at a wedding and saw bananas foster. I felt I could trust myself with it- I knew this wasn’t the kind of thing where I’d go back again and again, like an addict. That’s when I realized there ARE certain foods I do that with. So right then, I realized it and I banned those things, forever. No cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, or ANY cake like thing or flour containing dessert. Things that I know I can have once and be satisfied, like a little ice cream or a piece of chocolate, or a pudding- fine. I know I won’t go back to have 5 more bowls of ice cream like I would cookies.

    I’ve done very well with this ban. I am going on one year since going primal and at all times I’m in the 85%-95% range. When I went primal, my weight settled around 123 and I have weighed this all year, fluctuating only mildly. I went from yo-yo and extreme frustration and struggle to maintaining a consistent weight so easily.

    So, I am almost reaching the anniversary of when I gave up those hostage holders- the cake, cookies, brownies. And I do not bake anymore, either. I bought a cake for my son’s B Day this year and did not have any. (I had some candy, though, which suprisingly made me SO sick.) I don’t bake because it’s not fair to expect that from me- I thought about it and I’m not going to feel obligated because of holidays.

    Anyway, I don’t miss them. They occasionally look good, but, I don’t actually want it.

    Sharon C. wrote on December 10th, 2010
  40. Yes, my sweet-spot is my mom’s homemade peanut butter cups.. I also love making them for special occasions, and I tell myself I won’t eat one, but then I do. And then I eat another. And another, and another until I feel sick and eventually get sick. And then I’ll have a downtime where I feel like I absolutely need another one. I swear, sugar is worse than crack. (Not that I would know). For me, personally, it’s better to stick to the course and never give in. I just don’t seem to have the ability to only try a little bit.

    Brian Kozmo wrote on December 10th, 2010

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