Friday, February 5, 2016
The Mind And Addiction
I just finished the second half of a #StuffedAvocado I brought home from the restaurant on Tuesday night. After finishing the last morsel, I said aloud to myself, "that was SO good!" And I think about how that's my reaction every time. 20-30 minutes before finishing my lunch I found myself resigning to the fact that I'm not gonna go out in the snow for food even though I "feel like I want something with bread in it, and I don't really want a stuffed avo right now..." I've been cutting out sweets from my life lately, but I constantly find my mind telling me how much I want a snack. The more research I do into the food that I eat, the more I learn about things like pleasure centers, chemical receptors, and the functionality of the brain. It's public knowledge so it's easy to come across wide swaths of analysis on the data, and after a time, you find your research intertwining with drug research. It's natural for it to take this course since so many drugs are chemicals synthesized from plant matter: Cocaine from Coca; Heroin, Opium and Morphine from Poppey; Aspirin from Willow. When I was in high school I read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle." A story about life for immigrants in a big city around the turn of the 20th century working in meat processing plants in Chicago. It harkened back to learning about Robber Barons - the industrial giants who forced slave-wages/conditions on the masses by controlling oligopolies in their industries through financially leveraging politicians to control public policy. I remembered that throughout history it has been shown that corporate and public interests are often not aligned. In a capitalist society the main goal of a corporation is to run as efficiently, and thereby as profitably, as possible. This means that if the head of a corporation is ONLY concerned with fulfilling their duty to the company, when a subject arises that is good for the company but bad for anyone (or everyone) else, they will choose in favor of the company. For example: if a food company is researching plant matter and finds out that adding a certain kind of sugar to their batter will trigger chemical receptors in the brain that control cravings and thereby make the consumer crave it once they've tried it, but that same sugar does not metabolize properly and turns rapidly into fatty tissue, the food company exec will move forward with the added sugar so as to protect the profitability of the company, despite the negative effects of the product. So as I finished my stuffed avocado, I thought back to how certain I was that I wanted some bread, maybe a snack, and that my avocado wouldn't be satisfying. I sat, overwhelmed with a feeling of satisfaction from my meal, trying to remember this feeling so I could start to reprogram my synapses. It's amazing the hold these foods have on me. I can physically feel the craving, but as I continue to acknowledge them I believe they'll continue to be undone.