Foods That are Actually Addictive Because Science.

I’m constantly discovering new favourite foods, snacks and candies, while frequently and casually throwing out the phrase “this is SO addictive!”, or another common one, “is there crack in this?”

The word addictive is thrown around casually, but it’s serious business. Are these foods really addictive? What’s a regular craving versus an actual addiction related craving when it comes to food?

When something is truly addictive it tends to lead to us overeating, and we’re often quick to blame our own will power. For example, myself and Rice Krispie Squares? I don’t even stand a fighting chance.
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Certain foods actually contain a chemical called exorphins. These are like the opposite of endorphins, which come from the inside and are the source of feelings like that “runner’s high”.

Exorphins come from external sources, like our diets, while still providing the same feel-good satisfaction. These chemicals are powerful. To give you some perspective, drugs used to block their actions are the same as ones used to treat heroin addiction. So if you’ve ever said that a particular food is like crack, you aren’t that far off.

There are certain foods with higher levels of exorphins, many of them are what we crave and associate as comfort foods, and now I know why.

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  • Dairy
    One word. Cheese. Cow dairy contains exorphins and actually bind to morphine receptor sites in the brain. These are especially concentrated in cheese, which we probably all figured… because cheese.
  • Wheat
    Or more specifically, gluten. I don’t know how many of you have tried going gluten-free but it’s a challenge, and was a short lived one for me. Gluten containing foods have five known “gluten exorphins”, which exert this opioid effect, activating pleasure and reward centers in the brain. Many people who have given up gluten find they have less food cravings and have lost weight. But must suffer sad snacks for a while.
  • Coffee
    No surprise here, coffee is well known for its addictiveness. Beyond the caffeine we already know and love, it also contains something called cafestol, found in both regular and decaf coffee.  The morphine like effect is potent, so even decaf coffee can become / remain just as addictive.
  • Chocolate
    lovechocolate
    Epicatechin is the natural flavonol in cocoa beans doing most of the work in all the dark chocolate research. It’s been studied to protect the heart and is increasingly being added into supplements. So I guess this is actually a good one! While a little bit of dark chocolate might be good for you, it sadly doesn’t mean a lot is, too. Studies using the opioid-blocking drug naloxone, have been shown to reduce chocolate cravings, suggesting that part of the reason we love chocolate so much has to do with the opioid response in the brain. Obviously.
  • Fructose
    Fructose is widely found in packaged foods and is prominent in the American diet. It increases brain levels of endogenous morphine and stimulates the hedonic pathway, like booze! This is why it creates habits and dependancies.

If cravings or overeating is an issue, try removing these foods from your diet for 4 weeks to reset your system, or at least avoid as much as possible. It might will totally suck at first, but afterwards you’ll find you have less cravings. Also, now you know these cravings are not always about a will power battle, there is often a real, physiological explanation for them. So don’t feel so bad.

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The “Ice Cream” You Can Eat Pounds Of without the pounds showing up on you

Let me tell you about a recent discovery that I’ve been calling “fake ice cream” at home. First of all, let’s get one thing straight, I’m not saying anything bad about real ice cream. It’s undoubtedly one of the most wonderful things in the world. But if dairy makes you feel like throwing up, or if you’re like me and just want big scoops for dinner all the time, it’s probably not amazing to have it every single day. Though temping.

So hard to look away..

So hard to look away..

Now, if you are craving an ice creamy delicious dessert but don’t want to setback a diet or workout, OR even better – if you’re lactose intolerant and don’t want to feel like garbage, prepare your mind for blowage. Your key ingredient is frozen bananas.

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Aside from bananas being the quarterback of this recipe, there are also many other benefits if you’re still skeptical.

  • Bananas have high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin – the happy-maker!
  • Bananas before a workout gives you added energy helps keep up blood sugar
  • Bananas can help prevent muscle cramps
  • They can improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms
  • Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6.
  • Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.
  • High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
    -via foodmatters.tv

And before I get into, let’s just acknowledge that it goes even further than this ice cream recipe. People are doing a lot of shit to frozen bananas these days. You can make so many treats, who knew! Chocolate bananas, frozen banana yogurt pops, and this thing! But back to the “fake ice cream”.

Take a couple frozen bananas, depending on how much ice cream you want to make. It’s safe to say 2 frozen bananas will give you 2 hefty servings.

Use a food processor to puree the bananas, I use a Magic Bullet which works but takes way longer.

careful

Before you blend, don’t forget to seal it tight. But second-most importantly, this is where you can get creative with flavours! If you don’t feel like adding anything, that’s fine – banana ice cream is delicious on its own. But if you want to mix it up, here are a few ideas.
Cocoa powder = Chocolate
Frozen strawberries = Strawberry (add some extra milk to help break up the added frozen fruit)
Vanilla extract and/or Vanilla protein powder = Vanilla + protein boost
Honey = Also goes good with Vanilla
Cinnamon = Self-explanatory
Cinnamon and nutmeg = Spicier cinnamon
Nut butter = Probably the most delicious, also goes great as an addition to chocolate.

For something even more simple, you can just add chocolate chips to the plain banana mixture to make banana chocolate chip! And of course, these are just ideas – not rules. There are no rules with fake ice cream. And that’s how I like it. You can mix and match whatever flavour additions you want in order to create your own concoction!

This is so easy to make, so delicious and ice cream-like, and it’s healthy! Assuming you don’t go crazy on the chocolate chips, but hey, sometimes you gotta.

Ice cream

This is bananas! Get it? Because it’s literally bananas. Image via fancyhouseroad.com

Enjoy!

Can green bananas really help you lose weight?

drnick

Let’s be completely honest… Dr. Oz is a little weird, no? I mean is he even a real doctor? Now you may be thinking, if you hate Dr. Oz so much why were you watching the show? Well you see, I don’t have cable and my antennae allows me only a few channels, which includes the network that plays the Dr. Oz show.

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It really caught my attention when I overheard him saying that green (completely unripe) bananas can attribute to weight loss. Eating 2 a week, to be exact. His reasoning was that ripe bananas have a higher sugar content, which makes sense. But even with that considered, how would green bananas help? Wouldn’t it be the same thing to just eat something else – anything else – with less sugar than a ripe banana? If they truly do play some role in weight loss then there must be more to it than just being better by sugar comparison…

First of all, the reputation of a perfectly ripe and yellow banana need not be tarnished by their greener infant state. They still help you lose and maintain weight and offer plenty of nutrition benefits. They’re loaded with potassium and magnesium, both good for keeping blood pressure in check. Generally, fruit isn’t the best source of vitamin B6, but bananas are the exception with more than 30% of the recommended daily amount in a single serving.

bananadance

After looking into it, the difference it seems, is resistance starch. It’s the natural resistance starch in green bananas that give them that slightly tart, starchy taste. And, along with these other resistance starchy foods, they may actually enhance fat burning by breaking down stored fat to be used as an energy source. HUH.

Okay, so perhaps there is something to be said for the green banana. But at the end of the day, I feel bananas in general are a great addition to your diet.

And side note, if you have any ripe bananas you no longer want to eat, I recently made these sugarless banana breakfast cookies and they are sooo good. I added natural peanut butter and protein powder. If you do want them to have a kick of sweetness you can add chocolate flavoured protein powder.