Alexandra talks on how to embrace your cravings and reclaim your health.

Introduction:

Alexander Jamieson is a holistic health counselor and a natural foods chief. She was the co-creator of the documentary Super Size Me and is out with a new book out entitled Women, Food, and Desire. Alexander talks to Jason on bacteria, GMO, cravings, and much more on today’s show.

Key Takeaways:

[1:25] What does gut health really mean?

[7:20] There are four root causes to cravings.

[17:45] Is there a difference between what we’ve been doing to plants for centuries versus what Monsanto does to food? Alexander talks GMO.

[20:55] According to organic food standards, food labeled organic can not be GMO.

[21:50] Check out the Environmental Working Group website to see what fruits and vegetables have the most/least pesticide and herbicide.

Mentioned In This Episode:

http://www.ewg.org/

womenFoodandDesire.com

Tweetables:

Always look at who supports the research.

Organic standards say the food can not be genetically modified if it’s labeled organic.

Really ask yourself what is the cause of this craving that I am having right now?

Transcript

Jason Hartman:

It’s my pleasure to welcome Alexander Jamieson to the show. She is a holistic health counselor, a natural foods chief, and co-creator of the hit documentary Super Size Me. She’s co-author of the best seller, The American Detox Diet: Feel Better, Look Better, and Lose Weight by Cleaning Up Your Diet and author of the new book, Women, Food, and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body. Alexander, welcome, how are you?

Alexander Jamieson:

Thank you. I’m great. Good to be here.

Jason:

It’s good to have you and you’re coming to us today from New York, right?

Alexander:

Live from Overcast, Brooklyn.

Jason:

Live from New York. It’s Tuesday afternoon. Rather than Saturday night. So, you talk a lot about the gut and the importance of gut health, you know, what does all that really mean?

Alexander:

Well, our gut health, your digestive system, it is the seat of your health. If it’s in good shape, everything else is going to be in good shape. If it is ill, if it is leaky, if you have constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating. If you have constant digestive trouble, all the other areas of your health and your energy are going to be degraded and that’s one of the first places I look when people come to me as a health couch, as a nutrition coach, how is your gut? How is your digestion. Do you have any stomach pain? How’s your elimination? When we can start healing that, everything else starts to feel better, but it’s not just about changing what you eat, it’s also changing how you eat and how you handle your emotions.

Jason:

So, I was surprised when I was traveling a few months back and I was kind of feeling a little bit under the weather and I walked into a GNC store and said, you know, do you have an immune booster. Thinking he was going to give me Echinacea, Goldenseal, vitamin c, he says, take this probiotic. I was kind of surprised at that.

Alexander:

How forward thinking for a GNC. No, it’s absolutely true. We are nine to ten times more bacterial than we are human. You know, bacteria in yeast cells are much smaller than human cells and there’s a lot more of them than there are of us.

So, we have this symbiotic relationship with the bacteria in our body and because of our modern life style and our modern diets and our overuse of antibiotics, we are unfortunately creating a happy home in our body for the “bad bacteria and yeasts”, so what a lot of people are experiencing like you might have been experiencing is that their immune system is constantly low. They get a lot of colds and flues, they have a lot of food allergies, seasonal allergies, aches and pains, head aches, brain fog, all of these things can be connected back to an imbalanced microbiome or your bacteria in your body and your gut is really their main domain, that’s really where they like to live the most. Although they are spread throughout the body, all around our orifices, in our brain, everywhere, they’re everywhere, but they really like to hang out in the gut. So, when your immune system is low, it’s always a good idea to add more good bacteria to your diet.

Jason:

Okay, so, can we have a problem and still feel fine, Alex? I mean, assuming our elimination seems normal and good and we don’t have any stomach pain, could we still have a problem and not know it?

Alexander:

Well, there could be other symptoms that could be going on. I think a lot of people unfortunately have become used to feeling less than 100%. Most people are walking around feeling, you know, not great, but they are used to it. So, they may not really associate how they feel with, wow, something is wrong here. You know, people don’t get enough sleep. They are tired, they need caffeine to get through the day. Well, that just seems to be kind of normal, right, everybody’s like that. Well, no, not everybody’s like that. We’re not born with a human need for caffeine. It’s something..

Jason:

You know, that’s kind of an interesting question and we don’t need to go on a big tangent on this, but I just want to ask you. Is caffeine bad for you? I just wonder ever study that says coffee is so good for so many things. I wonder if it’s sponsored by the coffee industry association.

Alexander:

Always look at who supports the research, right?

Jason:

It’s just so hard to tell anymore. I mean, it really is.

Alexander:

It is hard to tell, you know what, everyone’s right and everyone’s wrong. That’s the challenging thing about nutrition and health is that there are some things that are not good for a lot of people and those sames things like coffee or caffeine can actually a help or a drug that helps someone in certain situations. So, I can’t say that coffee is bad or good. It depends on the person and what goals they have and what state of health they are currently in.

Jason:

So, where do we go from here? I mean, how do we know if we have a problem? If we can’t necessarily feel it, if we, you know, I assume everybody gets cravings, don’t they? Or is that not normal?

Alexander:

I think it’s true. I think everyone has cravings. We are craving creatures. We have desires and this is where it gets a little uncomfortable for people to talk about cravings, because cravings are considered kind of bad or weak, you know. If you want something that seems to be, you know, out of bounds or off the plan, then there’s something wrong with you or you’re a weak-willed person, but actually, humans just desire. They want and that’s what has kept the human race going. You know, we crave pleasure, we are pleasure seeking machines. That’s what human beings are and that can be food, that can be experiences, that can be intimacy. It can be learning.

It can be all kinds of different things, so cravings in my view are not bad. They are actually a message from your body that something is out of balance. Your body is always craving homeostasis. It wants to be in a happy middle somewhere and if you’re having certain cravings and you start to realize, wow, these cravings might actually be keeping me off course from my big life goals or wow, I’m starting to get sick, are these cravings helping me or hurting me. Then it’s time to look at the underlining root cause of cravings.

Jason:

Okay, so tell us about some of those root causes.

Alexander:

Well, I see that there are four root causes and the first goes back to the bacteria in our gut health. The first is bacterial cravings. So, like I said, there’s ten times more of them than there are of us and they can communicate with our nervous system, with our body via the vagus nerve. They produce neurotransmitters. They are like, I used to joke and call them the puppet master or the beast within. These bacteria are actually running the show a lot of the time and science is starting to show this that we have a predominance of candida yeast cells in our body. Those candida yeasts and other bacteria crave sugar. That is their fuel. So, if you are trying to get off sugar and you can not and you experienced terrible pain, aches, headaches, depression when you go off sugar. That might be pointing to a candida overgrowth and if you take away their sugar, they start to die and they make you feel really bad. Their die off feels like a dying in you. So, that’s a bacteria root cause.

Jason:

So, what do we do about this candida then? I mean, lots of people crave sugar so you’re talking to a huge audience now, myself included, by the way, especially when it’s in the form of chocolate.

Alexander:

Oh absolutely and chocolate is the perfect bridge food to talk about when it comes to cravings because we all crave sugar. It’s a very human craving. It’s actually built into us. It’s our only taste preference that we’re born with, because if you didn’t crave sugar as a baby, you wouldn’t eat enough. Mother’s milk is sweet and sweet foods in nature are safe to eat. So, it’s built into humans to life sweet so that we can keep eating and growing and thriving.

Jason:

But not too much of them. I mean, even if you eat a lot of fruit. You can really spike your blood sugar too much with just fruit, you know, natural fruit, right?

Alexander:

Absolutely and anyone who has candida overgrowth, that’s really the only time I tell people you have to go off sugar. You have to balance your bacteria in your body and to do that, you gotta get them under control and you have to go off sugar and usually that means all fruits for a period of time as well.

Jason:

Okay, so in order the words to stop sugar cravings, we need to stop sugar? Stop consuming sugar?

Alexander:

That’s only if it’s a bacteria root cause and you will have other symptoms like yeast infections for women, other skin outbreaks, you’ll have puffiness, bloating, headaches, brain fog. You’ll find that if you don’t eat sugar constantly, then you’ll start to get those, you know, those die off symptoms that I talked about.

Jason:

Before craving sugar, this maybe a reason, how do we know, I know you said there’s four areas, so I want to make sure there’s time to get to all of these, but you know, the broad question is how do we know if we have these problems that you’re talking about?

Alexander:

Well, for the bacterial root cause for candida, you might experience any symptoms of yeast infection. For women there’s discharge. Men might have less discharge, but they might have a lot of white coating on their tongues, bad breathe. Again, any kind of skin outbreaks, rashes, ache as well.

Jason:

So, we can just take a blood test or something?

Alexander:

It’s not as easy with blood tests. There are stool sample tests. Usually for women they will go to their gynecologist and get diagnosed that way.

Jason:

What kind of test is this called? Like, what is it called?

Alexander:

You know what, I can’t tell you the exact name, but if you go to any functional medicine doctor or any gynecologist, they’ll be able to do a pap smear, they’ll be able to do the appropriate blood tests for you.

Jason:

Functional medicine doctor, right?

Alexander:

Yeah.

Jason:

That’s good to know. Alright. So, we talked about sugar, but there’s more.

Alexander:

We are talking about chocolate and chocolate is a perfect bridge food to talk about the next root cause of cravings, which is nutritional cravings and your body will actually crave when it is not getting the nutrients, minerals, and trace elements that it needs. A lot of us are over fed, but undernourished. We got a lot of calories and a lot of food, but not the nutrients that we need. So, your body may continue to crave food because you are not eating a nutrient rich diet and one of those nutrient deficiencies that so many people, especially with women and I see higher and higher number for men as well, because of our refined diets that aren’t as nutrient rich. Women are experiencing terrible rates of magnesium deficiency. What do you think one of the most delicious foods we can get magnesium through?

Jason:

It’s chocolate right?

Alexander:

It’s chocolate.

Jason:

Well, so I gotta go have my magnesium everyday.

Alexander:

Absolutely and it is actually a supplement that I encourage women to take, especially my serious chocoholics. Like, if they know they need to reduce their chocolate intake, take more magnesium, eat more magnesium rich foods like hemp seeds and chia seeds. Get more of that mineral into your body and they naturally see their chocolate cravings reduce.

Jason:

Why are you dividing it by gender, though? I mean, guys love chocolate too. I love chocolate.

Alexander:

So this information applies to men and women, absolutely. Most of the people who come to my website and follow me are women, so I sometimes put only female words into what I’m talking, but this applies to men as well, certainty. Our biology is the same. Women seem to identify themselves as emotional eaters more often, although I believe that we are all emotional eaters. Humans are emotional creatures and I think men just don’t have that connection to defining themselves as emotional eaters as women do.

So, when we talk about the next root cause of cravings. It’s emotions. What is going on in your life? What stresses, anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, depression, and what’s happening in your life that might be causing you to seek comfort. The part of your brain that lights up when we feel loneliness, real loneliness, is the same part that lights up when we feel physical pain. So, pain and loneliness, they are really tied together and many of us feel disconnected or aren’t in a relationship and that can lead to emotional food cravings.

Jason:

So, I heard that when someone is suffering a breakup and they are feeling sad, eating chocolate is kind of the natural thing, because some of the chemicals in chocolate duplicate the love chemicals, that response that goes on in one’s brain. Is that really true or is that an urban legend.

Alexander:

Ummhmm.

Jason:

It is true. Okay.

Alexander:

Well, it feels as close to love as you can get through food.

Jason:

So, chocolate is probably a lot less expensive than love.

Alexander:

It might be true unless it leads to type two diabetes and then you’re in trouble.

Jason:

Fair enough, fair enough.

Alexander:

Theobromine in chocolate, it’s a very unique compound found in food. It’s not quite caffeine, but it gives us this rush that feels very much like love.

Jason:

Is it only chocolate? Is that the only food?

Alexander:

It’s the biggest dose. It’s the largest dose.

Jason:

Do you want to make any distinction between the healthy dark chocolate and the not as healthy or maybe not healthy at all light or milk chocolate.

Alexander:

Yeah, milk chocolate and white chocolate do not have the same levels, for sure. Dark chocolate, which has, you know, I would say 65-85% coco in it is going to really give you that hit that you’re looking for. So, when you’re going for chocolate, get the best quality kind you can. None of the fillers, none of the fructose, you know, the high-fructose corn syrup in it. You don’t need the soy or the corn or anything of that other junk in it, just go for the straight up chocolate with really healthier sweeteners in it.

Jason:

Taste wise though. I like the lighter chocolates better than the dark.

Alexander:

Well, you know, what’s wrong with that? When I talk about emotional cravings. Like, we have so much anxiety and guilt and right and wrong and judgment wrapped up with our food choices. If we could just enjoy and eat the things that we like and really be there for them without the judgment around it, then we wouldn’t be so drawn to them, then we could naturally enjoy the healthier foods.

Jason:

It sort of wouldn’t be, it’s kind of like the taboo conception when you make something wrong, everybody gets attracted to it. Is that what you’re saying?

Alexander:

Absolutely.

Jason:

Well, okay, so what other kinds of emotional eating do people do? I mean, I have heard that term used before, but I never really investigated it much, you know, certainty when you are in a cold place, you know, people crave comfort food, warm food, but that’s not really emotional eating, is it?

Alexander:

That’s more of the physical root cause and that is the final root cause of cravings is physical. You know, a food emotional causes could be anxiety, fear, boredom, and really disenchantment. I feel like disenchantment is a big one. Not really being in a career that you love, being “stuck” in your life, feeling like you don’t have a lot of choice or that you’re trapped in some way. That can cause a lot of emotional craving.

Jason:

So, what do we crave when we have these various emotions. I mean, is there a specific food tied to it?

Alexander:

Well, there are foods that can answer the first two root causes. Nutritional and bacterial. When it comes to emotional and physical, we’re often looking for something to relax us and something to give us a nice dopamine hit, so that can be the starchier foods. The foods with cheese. Cheese has  akzo morphine in it, which is an opiate-like substance, which is really relaxing and if we’re really stressed out, over scheduled, we’re constantly traveling or commuting and life is really stressful, we are going to need some way to calm us down. Most people aren’t practiced in medication, stress released techniques, or getting the consistent physical movement throughout the day that can be a good source of relaxation.

Jason:

Good, good stuff. So, what about GMOs? Everybody’s talking about GMOs nowadays. Maybe you can make a distinction for us, Alex, is to what the difference is, if any, between the stuff we all learned in eighth grade science class, maybe, I think that’s when I learned about it, where, you know, we have been genetically tampering with food and vegetables and flowers for centuries, haven’t we? This is not a new thing, but maybe, Monsanto has taken it to a whole new level, I’m sure, right?

Alexander:

Well, there’s a difference between putting two plants next to each other and grafting a branch on to a tree to grow a new kind of fruit. There’s a difference between that, like cross-breeding, and taking a gun, an actual gun, and putting genes from one species, like a mammal under the tip of the gun and shooting it, literally shooting it into a totally different species like plant. That’s genetic modification. You are forcing, you are shooting a bullet with genetic material from a completely different species into another being, so it’s very, very different.

Jason:

So, what’s an example of that? I mean, what are they doing? They are making these crops pest resistant and roundup is a whole big issues and, I mean, this stuff is pretty scary. We’re definitely playing God and maybe our body just doesn’t recognize these foods and know what to do with them, right?

Alexander:

Well, if you look at the example of what’s happening with butterflies and bees and we’re taking bacteria and forcing it into corn, a totally new bacteria forced into corn, which is suppose to act as a pesticide and a natural herbicide and then the butterflies and the bees go and pollinate and there’s huge amounts of die off. We’re having a crisis in terms of numbers of healthy bee hives in this country and there’s very good science that we are ignoring in the United States that’s being used in Europe to keep GMOs out of the fields there.

That they show animal studies, animals having real trouble with their digestive systems, increased rates of cancer and obesity, so if we look around and we really can’t figure out why we’re having all these health problems, maybe we should look to what Europe is saying, hey, we’re not going to do this, because it’s causing lab rats and other animals to have all these health problems.

Jason:

Very disconcerting, for sure. I mean, anything we can do about that? There’s no GMO labeling anywhere in US so far that I know of required yet.

Alexander:

Unfortunately the only way to be sure you’re not getting GMO in your food is to buy certified organic everything and that can be a little bit more expensive, but if you can stretch yourself to widen your food budget to protect yourself and your family, I really think that’s most important.

Jason:

But can it be organic and GMO at the same time? I mean, those are different things entirely, aren’t they?

Alexander:

You know, so far, organic standards say the food can not be genetically modified if it’s labeled organic.

Jason:

Okay, good. Good. So, just buy organic and then you’re good, but the hard part is it’s not the vegetables and the fruits so much, it’s the meats. That’s where it gets a little tougher doesn’t it?

Alexander:

Well, the meats aren’t, they are not labeled in the same way that, you know, fruits and vegetables are, so the best thing to do is buy grass fed beef, wild caught salmon; you know, otherwise farmed salmon can be genetically modified, wild caught seafood, free range chicken, and you know, you have to do your homework when it’s buying these animal products. Dairy, meat products, and fish, because it’s not super clear about what is safe to eat. So, you know, maybe do a little bit of homework. Go onto the environmental working group website. Search around there. They are going to help you make the best decisions when you go to the store.

Jason:

Okay, environmental working group. Can you tell us about that organization?

Alexander:

Yeah, EWG.org. They have a couple of great apps that you can get on your phone. One is called the dirty dozen and the clean 15. Dirty dozen, you can put right on your phone or download it and keep it in your wallet and it’s the list of the top 12 fruits and vegetables that are the most, when they test them, they have the most pesticide and herbicide residue on them. So, those 12 fruits and vegetables, you should definitely buy organic. The clean 15, those have very little to none residue left on them, so they are safer and you can save some money buying those conventionally raised.

Jason:

Excellent stuff. Alex, is there anything that you want to mention that I didn’t ask you about as we wrap up?

Alexander:

Yeah, you know, I really want to go back to cravings. I feel like so many people are in a war with their bodies. Their frustrated by their body. Either they have had a tough time losing weight or they’re trying to overcome a health concern, and I believe that having compassion and a lot of love for your body and start listening to it.

You know, really ask what is the cause of this craving that I am having right now? Maybe it’s not just I want some sugar, maybe there’s a deeper question or a deeper need behind that and if you start looking at it and really questioning and giving yourself what you need, more pleasure, more play, more fun, more rest, more good nutritious food, you’ll find those sugar cravings really relaxing and having a full life filled with the things that you really want.

Jason:

Great advise. Alex, give out your website, if you would.

Alexander:

So, you can go to WomenFoodandDesire.com and you’ll see info on my new book and then you can get to my blog. So, WomenFoodandDesire.com

Jason:

Again, now, that website has tips that apply to men too, right?

Alexander:

Oh, absolutely and I have to say, men have picked up this book because they say, wow, well, I like all those three things. Women, Food, and Desire, that sounds right up my alley, but actually, I have had several men write to me and say, you know what, this really helped me understand my eating and it helped me understand my wife or my partner or my girlfriend in a way that I hadn’t understood before. So, if there is any kind of emotional eating going on at home, then this is a great book for either person.

Jason:

Fantastic. Alex Jamieson or Alexander Jamieson, thank you so much for joining us today.

Alexander:

Thank you.

Announcer:

This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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