junk food diet

Diet Choices: Moving Beyond the Want Culture

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I Want versus I Need

I received a message the other day in my Facebook migraine group from one of the members. I am sharing this message (with the migraineur’s permission) because it brought home a few points that most of us don’t ever think about.  (There is minor editing and emphasis for clarity).

“Last night I had an awesome breakthrough in my nutritional paradigm. I was hungry and wanted something good to eat. My first thought was “what would taste good right now?” Then I thought, “what does my body NEED right now?” Huge, right? So, I looked at my food journal and noted that I was a little low on protein and fat, so I made myself a nice 150 gr salmon steak with a cream and butter sauce. So, delicious, more importantly, it was just what my body needed. Why was this such a breakthrough?

Because Angela’s [Stanton Migraine Protocol®] is (or should be) so easy to implement. I find the hardest part, for me, is overcoming the mental conditioning of the last 30+ years: ‘fat is bad, fat makes you fatter, sicker, slower. Animal fat and protein will damage your heart, your kidneys, your liver, and your brain. If you want to live become a vegetarian’. And, of course, calories are king. ‘Every calorie counts. Limit calories to lose weight. If calories eaten exceed calories burned you will get fatter’. It goes on and on.

All my life I have heard (and still hear) this on TV, in newspapers, in magazines, not to mention form my friends, family, medical professionals, and even from complete strangers.

Because of all of that, when I [am] preparing a good [migraine] friendly meal, my brain looks at my daily food log and begins to panic. ‘Good God’ it cries ‘look at all that fat, look at all those calories, are you trying to kill yourself?’

Before the initial panic can set in to a full-blown anxiety I must stop, take a deep breath, and remind myself that all that propaganda is messing with my mind. Calories only matter as a guide to how much fat, protein, and carbs you should be eating. Other than that, they are completely meaningless. Fat is not going to make me fat, quite the opposite, in fact. Fat is good for the brain, the heart, and the rest of the [body].

It will take more time to overcome the 30+ years of brainwashing; [it] will not happen overnight, but I will eventually overcome. And so, will anyone who is willing to ignore [the] ‘conventional wisdom’ and eat healthy animal fats and proteins.

Thanks Angela Stanton for helping me (and hundreds if not thousands of others) to overcome the blatant brainwashing of the 20th and 21st centuries’ nutritional paradigm.”

I found this post an eye opener and a long-awaited awakening of my migraine group members (and people everywhere) since they are not familiar with the details that makes us eat what we want rather than what we need. The food recommendations of the US government, even today, are mostly grains, fruits, and vegetables, minimal skim milk if any, minimal meat and fish if any, and fat is not even on what has been named “My Plate,” which is our current nutritional guideline. My Plate is an improvement over what was the Food Pyramid in the 20th Century.

With the birth of the misguided Seven Countries Study of Ancel Keys in the 20th Century, the entire world changed: people suddenly began to get metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Even heart disease—the prevention of which was the original goal of Keys–remains the leading cause of death in the US. The food pyramid failed to perform and, instead, created a massive metabolic syndrome epidemic that brought with it a host of other diseases that were unknown or rare before: Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, early onset type 2 diabetes which used to be reserved for the elderly and now affects 3-year olds.

Why Do We Eat Grains, Carbohydrates, and Sweets?

Foods, such as grains and carbohydrates recommended by nutritionists are addictive—Wheat is an Opiate! Processed carbohydrates are addictive (bread, pasta, rice, cereal, canned fruits, juices, smoothies, vegetables of all kinds are all carbohydrates, not just candies and sugar). Scanning studies show just how addictive they are and how cravings are generated in people as a result of eating them. Research also shows that the easy availability and constant craving for these foods can modify our brain by changing our perception of satiety and make us continue to eat even when we are already full.

And this brings us to the migraineur’s point, which is an indirect explanation of the biggest problem we face today: we eat what we want to eat and not what we need to eat.

We live to eat rather than eat to live.

Our body needs very different foods from what we have available to us cheaply e.g. pastry, canned and prepared foods, fast foods, soft drinks, sweets. Our fruits and vegetables are bred to be the sweetest and the biggest. Our drinks are flavored and sweetened. Everything is large, sweet, and addictive. Even today, type 2 diabetics are told to follow a high carbohydrate diet, which we know is the cause of type 2 diabetes. Carbohydrates spike insulin and that leads to insulin resistance, e.g. type 2 diabetes.

It is difficult for me to accept that something as simple in cause-and-effect as the metabolic process of carbohydrates is and how that leads to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) could defy the understanding of the entire scientific, medical, and nutritional community, and yet it does.

The migraineurs in my Facebook group understand that to become migraine free, they need to change their diet. The human brain is made from fat (over 60% of it) and cholesterol (25% of all cholesterol in our body is in the brain). Therefore, eating low fat anything is akin to shooting ourselves in the foot. Just consider the diseases that have appeared and increased in incidence in parallel to our adoption of a carbohydrate based diet. Diseases like, Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, cancer, and many others, can be linked to diet. Most, except cancer, show signs of myelin damage (myelin is made from cholesterol and is damaged by glucose). Myelin health is the most important factor in brain and body health. To find cancer, researchers inject glucose into our blood—glucose is cancer food.

While most people prefer or want to eat sweets and grains, what they really need to eat is butter and other animal fats, whole fat dairy, whole foods they cook themselves with good sources of meat and fish, low carbohydrate fruits and vegetables, and no grains at all. I am glad that more migraineurs are able to differentiate between what they “want” versus what they “need” for their healthy pain-free and disease-free body.

Can you differentiate between what you want versus what you need?

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Image by Sergei Belozerov from Pixabay.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines.

As a migraineur, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself.

She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis.

The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life.

Because of the success of the first edition and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest.

While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles:

"Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access
"Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access
"Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access
“A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, membership required to read it.

Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers.

For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook

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