If you’ve been eating the Standard American Diet of fast food, boxed food, canned food, convenience meals, and instant anything for most of your life, your entire body chemistry has been altered. I’m always telling people to kick the junk food habit but I know it’s much easier said than done. Even though I preach about waking up and kicking it out of your life for good, it’s not very healthy to go cold turkey.
Junk Food is a Drug
Quitting any type of drug cold turkey can be very damaging for your health. This includes cigarettes, alcohol, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, caffeine, and junk food. For years or even decades, your brain chemistry has been used to one set or sets of chemicals to function and get through the day.
Right now, if you eat the Standard American Diet, you’re literally hooked on a drug. Heavily processed food is loaded with neurotoxins, carcinogens, mutagens, endocrine disruptors, and excitotoxins that alter the way your brain functions and the way your body feels.
Food additives like monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup interfere with your leptin levels; hormones responsible for letting you know when you’re full. When you stop eating foods containing them, you go through withdrawal and become agitated, shaky, and anxious because your blood sugar is all out of whack and your body thinks you’re starving.
Don’t Quit Junk Food Cold Turkey
Since junk food is a drug, giving it up cold turkey will most certainly cause you withdrawal symptoms. Food additives like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, food dyes, etc. are all designed to be addictive and physically painful to stop eating.
Food manufacturers have designed these food-like products this way to continue selling their product. When you quit junk food cold turkey, you’ll likely experience fatigue, headache, nausea, irritability, anxiety, shakiness, and extreme food cravings.
Not only will this withdrawal make you feel terrible, it will make you feel as if there is no way you can cut junk food out of your diet. Within a day or two you’ll “cave”, binge out on an entire cake, and feel horribly guilty afterward.
This is no way to quit eating junk food. It’s like torture.
Quit Junk Food the Right Way
Getting rid of the junk food in your diet is one of the absolute best things you can do for your health. To do it the right way, start slowly. Cut one or two processed foods out of your diet each week, trading them in for healthier alternatives. For every snack cake you get rid of, eat an apple. For every instant soup you stop eating, prepare a fresh soup from scratch at home.
When you live a lifetime eating food-like products instead of actual food, you’ll have a lot of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. One of the primary deficiencies will be healthy fat. The reason you’re hungry all the time and can’t stop craving junk food is because of the taste. Many salty, savory-flavored snacks mimic that flavor of meat and fat; foods your body naturally craves.
To cut down on junk food withdrawal symptoms, get plenty of healthy saturated fat in your diet. Start eating organic butter, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, and walnuts regularly. Despite what you’ve heard, saturated fat is good for your health. It’s the trans fats in processed foods you should be avoiding.
Anyone who eats more junk food than whole food is likely to have a severe magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is a vital mineral that is responsible for proper neurological function. A magnesium deficiency often causes anxiety, irritability, muscle twitching, and insomnia. A chelated magnesium supplement can help ease these feelings and prevent junk food withdrawal symptoms.
Just because you’re giving up junk food doesn’t mean you can’t ever snack again. Start reading the food labels on all the foods you usually buy. When you see how many foreign-sounding and unpronounceable ingredients are in your food, you’ll understand why putting them into your body could harm your health.
There are healthier alternatives to the bagged and boxed snacks you like in the health food aisle. Potato chips, protein bars, chocolate, candy, and soda found in the natural and organic aisle are made with far less ingredients and the ingredients they do use are much healthier.
While your body detoxifies from all of that junk food, you’ll likely experience a withdrawal symptom here and there. You might feel more tired than usual and a bit cranky. Drink plenty of pure filtered water and de-caffeinated tea to help flush your system of synthetic chemicals. Spend quiet time reading, meditating, and sleeping. Your body is doing a lot of repair work and that kind of thing takes time.
Don’t quit junk food cold turkey. I know what I’ve said in past posts and while some people have done it and been successful, the withdrawal symptoms are no fun and can be harmful to your health. Just being aware of the difference between food and food-like products is a huge step in the right direction. Go slow and go easy on yourself. You’ll get there. One step at a time.
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