I am at the great family resort with the
family. We have unlimited access to free food and drinks, all the time. First day,
everybody gets crazy, taking way too much food than he could possibly eat. Everybody
has its weakness: the ice cream, the soda, the wine, cakes or just more of
everything.

On the second day, I try to limit myself
by choosing to fill the small plate from amazing buffets. My first small plate
is very healthy. After all, I really love vegetables. I feel good about myself
and decide that I can have another plate with cheeses and fruits. It tastes so good.
I still feel good about myself and cannot stop thinking about the dessert
buffet; just a small treat – I am on holidays after all. Then I go for two
plates of dessert. I am frustrated but I can’t fight my brain.

“When a person consumes sugar,
just like any food, it activates the tongue’s taste receptors. Then, signals
are sent to the brain, lighting up reward pathways and causing a surge of
feel-good hormones, like dopamine, to be released. Sugar hijacks the brain’s
reward pathway. Over-activating this reward system kickstarts a series of
unfortunate events — loss of control, craving, and increased tolerance to sugar.”

I have been in this food game for a long
time. I know I should keep fighting the
craving and if I do not give up too much to the addiction, I will get “clean” again
pretty fast when I get home.

After couple of days, I start observing
others. Our children are not overloading their plates anymore. They even drop
the ice-cream and choose the fruits. My soon to be teenager fills his plate
with vegetables. The other one proclaims that he does not want the dessert. They
even choose water to drink. Amazing! What is happening? I feel content, because
I realize that my children still have self-regulations and their brain is not completely
addicted yet. But for how long?

Our
brain is always “on.” It works hard 24/7, even while we are asleep. This means
our brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods
we eat. Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and
antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress. Diets
high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain.

Serotonin
is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods,
and inhibit pain. About 95% of serotonin is produced in our gastrointestinal
tract. So our digestive system does not just digest food, but also affects the
degree of inflammation throughout body, as well as mood and energy level.

I really love and enjoy everything about
food, the taste, the pleasure, the nutrition…. I am fascinated how our food
habits define our cultural identity. I work with food, attempting to innovate
better and hopefully healthier solutions.

Most of all I respect the power of food.
We cannot survive more than a week without food. On the other hand, too much food can make us sick.

Still, I
cannot fight my brain. But I can keep trying.

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/06/sugar-brain-mental-health_n_6904778.html

Amela Koluder / TENERIFE