Tag Archives: drinking

The true cost of unhealthy eating

A ferocious hunger gripped me as I looked inside of my bag for the salad I brought to work.

Damn! I had forgotten it on the kitchen table.

I work at a TV station, which requires more time out in the field doing interviews and covering events and less time sitting in a chair staring at a computer screen three steps away from a vending machine.

Since I started the paleo diet, I continued my healthy eating at work, packing a lunch, usually salad topped with homemade chicken salad and some almonds and spanish peanuts as a snack throughout the day. I noticed how much energy I had, how, even when I was hungry, I could still go, go, go. I was less cranky, more focused. My mind seemed less clouded.

Before I started the paleo diet, I would sit at a desk after lunch and get that”2:30 feeling” that is advertised on 5 hour energy drink commercials. My eyes would droop, my mind would wander, the front of my face would feel numb with sleepiness.

Unfortunately, the day I forgot my salad, the photographer and I stopped at Krystals on the way to an interview. I devoured three Krystal “chicks” which are chicken sandwich sliders. I thought the chicken was grilled, but it was fried. The sandwich was more bread and mayo than anything else.

I had instant satisfaction after I ate the “chicks.” Tummy full, I felt high off of my first bite of bread in several months.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks; That 2:30 feeling. I fought to stay awake on the thirty minute drive to the interview. My mind seemed unclear, my thoughts would start and then trickle away into drowsiness. This was a feeling I hadn’t felt since the start of my diet.

I felt disgusting. This “food” I ate could hardly be called fuel. Yet people eat it everyday.

“Every day, 2.2 million Americans complain of being tired,” according to WebMD.

This is why.

Combined with alcohol and tobacco usage and not enough sleep, diet not only affects your waist size, it affects your mood.

It is a shackle that gratifies you instantly, addicts you, then abuses you.

“At least one-quarter of American adults eat fast food everyday,” Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, said in an interview with CBS.

 “In 1970, Americans spent about $6 billion on fast food; in 2000, they spent more than $110 billion. Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music – combined,” he writes in Fast Food Nation.

Americans like it fast, easy and fried. But it is killing us.

About one-third of U.S. adults are overweight. But more shocking is that approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese, according the CDC.

An adult can make the choice to consume foods that are blatantly bad for them. But now, the younger generation is suffering because of the choice of the parents.

A study done by The New England Journal of Medicine reports that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

A McDonalds value menu cheeseburger may only cost $1. But  this is the true cost of unhealthy eating.

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Filed under Alcohol, Feature, Features, Food, Health, News, Opinion, Paleo Diet, People, Personal

I just can’t give up the alcohol

Photo Credit: babelwine.com

I love to drink.

And not just socially. I get home and have a glass of wine. Or I go to the beach and bring a six pack of tropical beer. I would hit up happy hour at least twice a week and then still had time to go out on the weekends.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hard partier. I maintain a 3.7 GPA, have taken over 16 credit hours for the past four semesters and have had internships and jobs. I’m not an alcoholic…at least not yet.

Lately I’ve been noticing that the glass of wine I have at night, has turned into a bottle of wine. Easily. And with barely any sense of buzziness.

Then, that bottle of wine turned into a bottle and a half of wine.

That’s when I put a cork in it…literally.

I decided to stop buying alcohol for my house, and instead only go out on weekends. So far, it’s been a success.

Alcohol is not part of my paleo diet, but it’s just one thing I can’t give up. I gave up the bread, the cereal, the milk, oh the cheese. Sadly the cheese. But I just can’t give up the alcohol.

But is it a matter of can’t or won’t?

In the wake of a hangover, I was sifting through The Chart, one of my favorite places to read about health issues, and I stumbled across an article on “how the brain can make quitting alcohol harder.” Different people release different levels of opioid when they drink, leading them to perceive alcohol as more pleasurable than other people do.

This hardly sounds shocking. Studies have been done on alcoholics and brain chemistry for awhile.

But what really interested me about the study was that the “participants were 13 ‘heavy social drinkers’ and 12 healthy control subjects. Women considered ‘heavy social drinkers’ usually consume 10 to 16 drinks per week, and heavy-drinking men typically have 14 to 20 drinks per week.  Those in the control group drink fewer than five drinks per week among women, and seven drinks per week among men.”

And the “heavy social drinkers” would “have on average two drinks a day, which isn’t necessarily going to lead to dependency.” The article also mentioned, “It’s important to note, however, that this study did not involve alcoholics.”

I felt like this article was speaking to me. I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I was a heavy drinker.

The scary part of this study is that I pretty much conditioned my brain to love drinking. And in turn, it now reacts on its own.

“It’s hard to stop because part of your brain has learned that drinking is important and compels you to continue,” the article says.  “Your brain is telling you this is something important to you.”

The brain is truly a complexed wonder.

“The orbital frontal cortex makes them subconsciously learn to want that rush of pleasure again – making them seek and crave alcohol in a way they’re not even aware of.”

I’ve already taken a step in the right direction by limiting my intake. But I guess I’ll always subconsciously have the urge.

 

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Filed under Alcohol, Feature, Features, Food, Health, Paleo Diet, Personal, Science