Dec 202013

True Hunger or Toxic Hunger

After reading Chapter 6 “Breaking Free of Food Addiction” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, I was saddened by the fact that I eat when (and let’s be honest) I’m not hungry, or what I thought were hunger signs like a headache or growling tummy- shucks- but instead I was giving in to toxic hunger – whoops!

If you know me, I love to eat, so I keep reminding myself of what David Wolfe said, “The less you eat, the longer you live; the longer you live, the more you get to eat”.  Voila, this makes me HAPPY!! And since I plan on living a long healthy life, I’ll be able to enjoy my food for many many years!!

So, I started to really pay attention to eating for hunger rather than boredom, overeating, just because it’s lunch time, my kids are having a snack,  etc., and I started to feel the hunger in my throat, neck and mouth which is where you are supposed to feel it. WOW- who knew!

Symptoms of True Hunger

  • Enhanced taste sensation
  • Increased salivation
  • Gnawing throat sensation

So, what’s up with the belly growling and the headaches?  When we eat food, our body must then digest and assimilate the nutrients (anabolic phase). After this phase (digestion is complete) we move into a catabolic phase, in which we use the stored calories.  It is during the catabolic phase that detoxification is heightened and can cause the toxic hunger symptoms.

Symptoms of Toxic Hunger

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Mental confusion and irritability
  • Abdominal and esophageal spasm
  • Fluttering and cramping in the stomach

During the detoxification stage discomfort can arise especially if you are more toxic.  Since we don’t like feeling discomfort we give into these feelings by eating or taking an aspirin or tums etc. Or perhaps you have a cup of coffee, a diet coke or a cigarette.  Instead of letting our body rest and do its job, we mask the symptoms and continue to add fuel to the fire!

The more nutrient dense your diet, the less frequent the symptoms of toxic hunger because you are feeding your cells with proper nutrition instead of food low in phytochemicals and other micronutrients which create more intracellular waste products that will then be in need of more detoxification. You can see how this is a vicious cycle and that if you are toxic you will need to feel the symptoms of toxic hunger and move through them!

Action Plan

Stay strong!  Your body is giving you a message that you now understand as toxic hunger. It is trying to tell you that it needs time to heal. It’s OK to have these feelings of discomfort even though it can really suck!! Here are a few suggestions instead of eating, reaching for a stimulant etc.

  • Have a bath
  • Go for a walk
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Have a glass of water
  • Meditate
  • Breathe deeply
  • Listen to calming music
  • Do a word or math puzzle
  • Journal

Finally, the take-away message:

  • Eat foods that are nutrient dense (vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and proteins, some whole grains, nuts and seeds)
  • Stop snacking unless experiencing true hunger.  The feelings of discomfort like when we experience “low blood sugar” are nothing more than the symptoms of toxic hunger
  • Pay attention to our bodies – not the clock, not marketing, not what everyone else is eating around you
  • Don’t eat after dinner (more a habit than hunger) so that you can wake up hungry

Check out this super video by Dr. Joel Fuhrman as he explains True and Toxic Hunger!

True of Toxic Hunger by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

While writing this blog, my husband came to me with clear signs of Toxic Hunger and I just had to chuckle….this will be a fun adventure for the both of us…especially working through the irritability symptoms!

I look back on all the changes that I have made to my family’s diet! Around 2005 when I started changing our diets,  I didn’t know what chia seeds were, how important flax was, how awful the “calories in/calories out game” was on my mind & body, the true importance of micronutrients or what “phytochemicals” were- just to name a few.  Don’t feel like there’s no point in starting, I know it might seem overwhelming but view it as an adventure – sure there will be some bumps and bruises- but keep going- it truly is worth it!!

Check out the recipe for this Fantastic Kale Waldorf Salad!! or Cauliflower Popcorn

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tanya1Tanya Morrison has been in the Health/Wellness and Fitness Field for over two decades.  She has coached and trained many clients over the decades. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Precision Nutrition Level 1 Nutrition Coach, Pilates/Aerobics/Yoga Instructor and more. She is the creator of the Busy Mama Reboot 3 week program and the Busy Mama Detox which is a 12 week program that runs in January, April and September of each year. To find out more about these life changing programs check out the testimonials and information at Tanya also teaches many different classes at Move Your Body Studio in Bobcaygeon, and has written Healthy Snacks for Kids, Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans & Living Vibrantly with Raw Goodness – Your Guide to Juicing & Blending.



Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Ready for more healthy eating!!  Check out the three e-books written by Tanya Morrison Healthy Snacks for Kids and Living Vibrantly with Raw Goodness- Your Guide to Juicing and Blending! and Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans

Another Great resource is The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose

Is it Hunger or Appetite?  – by Thomas Lodi MD Another great video to help us understand why we are eating!!

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