Treat or Trigger


A few days ago I posted about how I was treating myself to my "every great once in a while treat" cup of butter coffee.  Well, it's 4 days later and I've found myself at the Picnik trailer with a butter coffee in hand every day since.  Yep. Coffee is a trigger food for me.

We've all been there.  You're in that health food groove. You're feeling good. You're in control. You rock. And the that little voice starts up. "You can totally handle a treat. You've earned it.  Just a little one."  Next thing you know you're face planted in a chocolate cake or, in my case, gulping frothy butter coffee which may taste oh so good, but leaves me feeling oh so bad- physically as well as mentally.

Sometimes moderation just isn't going to work. There are certain foods out there that are going to  lead you to make poor choices all day long. That will make you feel out of control. That will leave you feeling depleted physically and mentally. I call these trigger foods.

Triggers foods are called that for a reason. They set off a chemical reaction in your body that trigger cravings for a never ending supply of foods that do not do your body good and restart that cycle of toxic eating. 

The idea of removing these trigger foods can seem overwhelming. In many cases people have an actual addiction to trigger foods. The thought of removing a certain food may make you angry. Or frustrated with yourself for not having "will power".  But what if we shifted our way of thinking and reached deep to figure out what it is about these foods that's drawing us in. What are we REALLY hungry for?

 Is eating those foods really bringing you pleasure? Or do you find yourself feeling guilty, out of control or down on yourself?  I don't know about you but I want the foods I eat to leave me feeling positive, strong, energized and healthy.

Are you missing something emotionally or physically that's making you crave sweets, or alcohol, or caffeine, or whatever your trigger food is? Have you been skimping on those healthy fats or veggies that satisfy your body's nutritional desires? Or are you missing something emotionally and reaching for sweets to replace the sweetness that's missing in your life?

For me, coffee, and caffeine in general, gives me an extra burst of energy. At first. But when I really think about it, that energy is short lived and is followed by a bit of crankiness and then extreme tiredness. Not worth it. It also makes me feel high and happy for about an hour. And then that hour ends and I'm left with a craving for more. 

When I'm honest with myself, I can recognize that there are plenty of other things I can do in the morning that bring me happiness, without the taxing effects on my adrenals and mood that coffee has, and that don't leave me craving more caffeine or sugar when I crash a few hours later.  And these are the things that I have been skimping out on lately while working on building my business.

Extra cuddle time with my boyfriend, a long walk along the lake, sitting outside on my deck sipping chicory tea, a good workout, down-time with a good book- these are all things that leave me feeling happy and fulfilled. 

Removing your trigger foods and replacing them with things that are nourishing to your body and soul will leave you feeling in control, content and fulfilled.

As a nutrition practitioner I do walk the walk, but I also sometimes trip along the way.  What I've learned to do is to use these trips as an opportunity to learn where to place my feet so that I don't trip in the same place again. So I'm saying goodbye to my butter coffee and hello to empowerment.

I'd like to challenge you to really dig deep the next time you are craving something that you know will trigger a pattern of unhealthy eating. Sit with your discomfort, examine that feeling. See what you get out of it and if you can uncover one hidden emotion or physical feeling that is creating this craving. I'd love to hear about what you find.