Please reblog if you are a vegetarian/ vegan blog!
Been vegetarian or veggie-inclined most of my life (thanks in part to earthy-crunchy gardening California parents), although being married to the hardcore carnivore below had unfortunate effects on my diet. Between what the research seems to indicate about the health effects and my continuing Zen practice, I’m glad to be back to a plant-based diet.
You don’t have to be entirely one, but I want to find you guys! Thanks!!
… You could say that.
I’m a little of everything :) (Animal rights/ human rights/ awesome pictures)
Give yourself time when adjusting to a healthier way of eating
A common problem when trying to shift to a healthier way of eating is that the food just doesn’t seem appealing. This makes it hard to truly believe that the new way of eating is something you can actually live with. Imagining a future of endless food drudgery where nothing tastes good will sap motivation from any but the most committed.
Research seems to indicate that this isn’t because there’s anything wrong with the healthier food — we’re just addicted to the unhealthy stuff. From the article “Rats Fed on Bacon, Cheesecake, and Ding-Dongs Become Addicted to Junk Food”:
Scientists found that rats with unlimited access to junk food quickly became addicted. They constantly munched on the junk food through the day, becoming substantially overweight and turning into compulsive overeaters. Meanwhile, the rats with limited access to the food held their hunger, preferring to binge-eat in a limited time than consume healthy rat food. These rats gorged for 60 minutes, consuming 66 percent of their daily calorific intake in just one hour and soon developed a pattern of compulsive binge eating.…
The researchers found that rats that overate had altered brain chemistry. Initially, each time they ate a Ding-Dong or rasher of bacon, they got a shot of the feel-good chemical dopamine. But just like human drug addicts, they soon had to increase their dosage to get the same dopamine rush. As the pleasure centers in the brain became more and more blasé, and less responsive, the rats quickly turned into compulsive overeaters. They were motivated to keep eating to get their fix [The Vancouver Sun]. Specifically, Kenny and his colleagues found that overeating decreased levels of the dopamine 2 receptor in the rats’ brains; human drug addicts have also been showed to have reduced levels of dopamine 2 receptors.
The altered brain chemistry also seemed to make it difficult for the rats to switch away their unhealthy eating habits–in other words, they were hooked. When the rats were eventually barred from eating junk food and given only what researchers called “the salad bar option,” they took an average of 14 days before they would even consider eating healthy food. “I was really shocked at the magnitude of the effect,” Kenny says. “They basically don’t eat anything. If that translates over to us as a species, that’s a major problem” [Scientific American].
So if you’re moving towards healthier choices in your life, give it time. Take it slowly, keep trying new foods and new recipes even if you don’t love them the first time you taste them, and don’t waste energy on beating yourself up for “backsliding” or “failing” or anything like that.
In my experience, one’s tastebuds really do start to rewire themselves, and one’s preferences change if one does or doesn’t eat something regularly. I used to have a monster-sized sweet tooth, but as I keep steering away from refined sweeteners and processed foods, I find I really can’t handle the sweet things I used to. More importantly, I find that simpler flavors and whole foods are tasting really good to me.
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