Helping your kids make healthy choices can be stressful. I talk about this a lot on my blog, but I am a mother first and a nutritionist second, so I think it is really important. My girls love to remind me that compared to their friends, they eat extremely healthy. They usually love to remind me about this when they are reaching for ice cream or chocolate after dinner.
I make a really conscious effort to support them both living a healthy lifestyle and also for them to have a healthy relationship with food. I don’t ever want them to feel deprived or guilty about food- even I have my indulgences! But I am very sensitive to their sugar intake as I know that even a little sugar here and there can lead to a lifetime of dependency and addiction to processed, disease-causing sugar-filled foods.
I was reading about how you can instantly reverse sugar cravings with amino acids and I decided to try it out on my daughters. I am personally not a big sweets girl (but give me salty foods any day!) so I didn’t think it was worth experimenting on me.
I gave my girls 500 mg of L-Glutamine between each meal (for a total of 1,500 mg each day) and Thorne’s 550 mg DL Phenylalanine each day. We all noticed the difference instantly, literally that day they were less interested in sweets. Now the container of dark chocolate covered almonds is barely touched for weeks on end. It used to disappear within days!
We have been raised to think that food cravings come from a simple desire to eat that specific food. But most of the time, it’s a signal from your body that there is a deficiency of some sort, a nutritional need or an imbalance in your body and/or brain chemistry. Women especially are affected at more than twice the rate than men because we produce less serotonin and we have more hormones working against us.
A lot of our emotional distress is triggered by malfunctions in the body that can be reversed and depleted with simple nutritional changes. The most important thing is to look at your diet. Red meat is a major source of amino acids. A lot of people who eat a vegetarian diet have brain chemistry imbalances because they are not getting any amino acids from their diet. Grass-fed red meat has as much Omega 3 fatty acids as a piece of salmon and adding lean, organic red meat choices to your diet every once in awhile could be hugely beneficial.
On top of a healthy, non-processed diet, if you think you need help getting your emotional eating under control, I highly recommend adding some amino acid supplements to your diet.
What’s an amino acid?
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and turn into neurtransmitters in our bodies, such as tryptophan, serotonin and tyrosine which are the brain’s hormones that affect our mood, energy, sleep, libido and ability to concentrate. Recent research is also linking amino acids to the hunger-stimulating hormone, gherlin. High levels of gherlin results in amino acid imbalance and contributes to increased hunger and lack of satiety after meals.
Here are my favorite amino acids + how they can help:
L-Glutamine: When you’re feeling a sugar craving, you can pop open an L-glutamine capsule and place the powder underneath your tongue and the craving will immediately be shot down- that’s how quickly and efficiently this works! Then you can take another pill in between meals to avoid those cravings coming up again. I recommend taking this in conjunction with L-Phenylalanine (below).
L-Phenylalanine: This amino acid is an important part of the production of several neurotransmitters and also contributes to increased endorphin levels. This is a great supplement to take to help with chronic pain or injuries or to help with any sort of addictive behaviors. It can also help suppress your appetite and increase alertness. As many of you know, exercise also boosts endorphins which will trigger the same benefits.
L-Theanine: This amino acid blocks the binding of l-glutamic acid to receptors in the brain. This is a particularly useful amino acid to take when you feel you are stress-eating. It will calm you down and increase mental clarity, bringing you back to that pre-stress state where you didn’t want to eat every candy bar in sight.
L-Tryptophan: Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids your body needs and plays a huge role in the production of nervous system messengers related to relaxation and restfulness. People deficient in tryptophan are extremely prone to overeating, obesity, anxiety and depression. I encourage my clients to get enough trytophan from food sources such as spirulina, spinach, sunflower seeds, salmon, cashews, kidney beans and split peas.
5-HTP: A lot of people suffer from low levels of the amino acid GABA. This can incite feelings of anxiousness, depression and heightened emotions which of course can lead to emotional eating. 5-HTP deals with the emotional imbalance, boosts your mood and will in turn cut the emotional eating that happens as a result. Research has shown it’s as beneficial as Prozac in dealing with mood and depression without all the heavy side effects.
The cool thing about amino acids is that if you have a deficiency, you will notice the change the instant you start taking them. You don’t have to try it out for a month and see if it works for you- literally within the day you start taking them, the results will show. Now if you do not have an amino acid deficiency, these supplements will not help with your cravings, but at least you will know immediately.
I believe in indulging every once and awhile but emotional eating is destructive, pointless and harmful to your system. If you’re going to indulge, it should be for a special occasion, not just because a deficiency in your body is demanding carbs. I have seen the unbelievable results my daughters got from taking amino acids and I think you will be amazed at your own personal results.
I want you to live a healthy life that you feel you have total control of. How will you tackle your emotional eating this week?