"I'm Hungry!"

Hunger can serve us well. Physical hunger reminds us to eat. You don't even have to think about it. After a period of time without taking in some nutrition, certain things start happening. Maybe your stomach growls or you start to feel the hungry feeling in your gut. This happens without any choice on your part, or calculation, or decision making process. You get to a point when you feel hungry. You eat, and the hunger goes away…for a while. You are physically dependent on food. So am I. This time of year though, our dependence is not illustrated as much as our addiction to food.

This addiction leads us to all kinds of choices regarding food. We become partial to certain tastes. I realize that, for the most part, I can't explain why it is that I can't stand Brussels sprouts, but I really do like cabbage. The point is that once we recognize which foods we really like, and which foods we don't, we start making decisions about the food, about the addiction. How much to eat, how often, where to go eat and who to take with us. Many of us struggle to control the use of foods that are "bad" for us and make us gain too much weight. Eating in a healthy manner is work. It requires attention and a commitment.

Emotional hunger is real. You may have heard the phrase, "They are starved for attention". Just like food, I believe, we have a dependence on emotional connectedness with other human beings. This dependence causes us to search for companionship, intimacy, and love. This is not bad, in and of itself. We are hardwired to want this. The trouble happens when we are driven to meet those emotional needs, no matter what the negative consequences may be, or whether those relationships are nurturing or not.

Our hunger for achievement or recognition can fuel our contribution to society in many good ways. We become good employees. We become willing to go the extra mile. But, we can also become overly competitive, and driven to be recognized for our contribution in all of our relationships. A simple "thank you" is not enough for us.

We can get into a mess trying to satisfy our hunger in ways that don't work. The word "balance" comes to mind. If what you have been doing to satisfy your hunger hasn't been working, it may be time to reassess. How about giving your sponsor, your counselor or both a call?

-- Rick B.

Brain Food

Before you eat another bag of chips or drink a can of coke, think again. Junk food is not only bad for your waistline; it's bad for your brain. "When excessive amounts of sugar and caffeine are consumed by the body, it prohibits the brain from properly processing insulin", says Farzeen Sukheswalla, registered dietitian at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. "The pancreas has to work harder to process unhealthy foods, causing your blood sugar to crash, which ultimately drains the brain of energy."

According to the American Academy of Neurology, eating fruits, vegetables, aromatic herbs and spices, grapes, lean meats, fish, and olive oil may protect brain cells, slow degeneration and add a few years to your life. You may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, dementia, or other neurological conditions by incorporating adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins into your diet.

Try adding these brainpower boosting foods to your daily meals:

  • Berries - Especially strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry
  • Fish - Especially salmon, sea bass, halibut and mackerel
  • Nuts - Especially walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts
Adapted from UTSW Med.

Dr. Candace McDaniel
8021 East Thornton FWY, Suite A
Dallas, Texas 75228

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