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Saturday, September 24, 2011

What is Neuroadaptation?

This term refers to the process  of our senses getting used to sensations because of the way our sensory nerves and brain interact.  When we ease into a tub of very hot water, we slowly adapt until the temperature feels normal. When we enter a room with a humming fridge, we soon get used to the irritating buzz and forget about it.  We all eventually get used to accustomary smells, sounds, sights, tastes, and tactile sensations.  

Unfortunately  taste buds have maladapted (gotten used to ) to our industrialized diet of high sugars, fat, and sodium.  A diet without the stimulatory effects of the Standard American Diet (SAD) tastes bad.  A health promoting diet of no sugars, less animal fats, less salt is not as enjoyable to the palate used to the excess stimulation of refined foods, artificially concentrated delights, and hormonally  engineered meats. "Ice cream is an extraordinary invention for intensifying taste pleasure- an artificial concoction of pure fat and refined sugar". (The Pleasure Trap by Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhammer)  French fries and potato chips are by far the most popular vegetable in our Western society.

A major obstacle in changing to a "clean" diet is this concept of the neuroadaption to artificially intense foods.  A change to  less stimulating foods can result in a reduced pleasure experience, hence many people continue to crave their former diets.  

Scientific research shows that re-sensitization of taste nerves can take 30 to 90 days of consistent exposure to less stimulating foods.
And during this period most people experience less pleasure from eating food. It requires more motivation and self-discipline to re-calibrate the taste buds, hence the frequent relapses to former ways of eating.  Most Western citizens are addicted to processed foods and many feels that a switch to clean food is being condemned to less pleasurable eating.  

Some people manage this "food addiction" by allowing their palates to detox. Experiences have shown that a one week water  only fast is enough to re-calibrate the taste buds. After this detox week,  clean foods can actually tastes better than artificial and processed ones.

Others,  just knowing, that food will once again become pleasurable in one to three months,  is enough to stay on course.

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