I read about dopamine in connection to food/brain reward pathways all the time.
My question is about folks trying to break free of SAD patterns/cravings. People in such a position will be trying to eat paleo whole foods that don't provide the same immediate reward spikes that habitually snacking on SAD foods would.
So, should they console their dopamine-deprived brain with dopamine hits from non-food sources in their life - taking up an exciting hobby, for example? And if so, what are some healthy ways to keep the dopamine flowing appropriately? Is this non-food dopamine drip a means toward eventually decreasing dopamine - or does it constitute a reasonable lifelong habit?
OR: is it better to get the brain to get used to a much lower level of dopamine in the first place without any replacement non-food pathways? If one goes cold turkey, what are good ways to manage dopamine withdrawal?
Have copious amounts of sex which will release oxytocins into the bloodsteam which will relieve the stressors associated with processed carb snack withdrawl.
So whenever a SAD eater feels the stress of deprivation of carb withdrawl, the sack is the best cure! And it doesn't put on weight.
When you are bored and not having any fun is when you will reach for that instant gratification in the form of a pleasant substance. We're kidding ourselves if with think that we can (or would want to) settle for less pleasure in life. It is just that it has to come from something healthy and sustainable.
When I first went paleo, everytime I went shopping I would buy a new brand/flavor of tea and use that as my "treat" so to speak. On that note, the pomegranate white tea bags from Trader Joe's are amazing. Having a new tea to look forward to and sip on after dinner replaced looking forward to dessert as I had done before. It prevented me from feeling empty/sad without my usual after-dinner sweet. Eventually, that sad feeling went away altogether.
Even now, when I'm feeling down, I have a nice hot cup of chai tea (I use Tazo tea bags, but have made my own with spices before) with a little bit of stevia and coconut milk. It isn't cheating, but it sure feel likes it. That's how delicious it is.
I would say to figure out which parts of the day you feel most down and try to have a think about it and figure out why. Then, replace that time with something healthy or fun that makes you happy. (And yes, I agree with Dexter's comment in this area as well ;))
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