Michael McCarthy graduated cum laude from NYU in Management and Finance. He worked on Wall Street since he was only 18. His experience includes working as a researcher for a famous money manager who pioneered market timing. Michael started his own investment firm at 26 and was ranked the #1 market timer in the US every year for 10 years (1994-2004). He retired from Wall Street at 36. Michael McCarthy struggled with anxiety problems for years. The anxiety was so bad it led him to get a formal education in the fields of psychology and nutrition. That is why he is so familiar with the food remedies for common addictions found in this fascinating article.

Michael explored several nutritional anxiety remedies and discovered his nutrition deficiencies. Once he resolved those issues, he was fine. He started a food company and made a Superfood Nutrition Bar he called Budi Bars (www.BudiBar.com). Budi is Indonesian for ‘Wise’ because his food is for the brain. The bar tastes like a gourmet blondie brownie full of nuts, chocolate, seeds and amino acids that together, keep you full, reduce food cravings and allow you to focus and concentrate. The bar won the New England Dessert Expo last year and it’s meant to be a tasty and easy snack to help you through the day. Enjoy this informative article by Michael McCarthy as he mentors us about how foods and addictions affect our brain chemistry.

Addiction: Enjoyment Leads to Negative Side Effects

We all struggle with some form of habit or addictive behavior that is both enjoyable and satisfying on one level yet causes us negative side effects because we do it so much.

  • Those of us who love the comfort and joy of food may eat so much that we become overweight and possibly even have negative health effects such as joint pain or diabetes.
  • Some of us love alcohol so much we become sick the next day with a hangover or even worse long term health issues like a damaged liver.
  • Some of us enjoy the pleasure of sex so much we throw caution to the wind and can end up with a sexually transmitted disease from a virtual stranger.
  • Others of us can enjoy shopping so much that we run into serious financial difficulties.

All of these activities have a few things in common.  The first is we really enjoy them to the extent that we overdo it. And we continue to do these behaviors like overeating or drinking or shopping to the extent that they cause negative side effects like poor health or financial trouble in our lives.

Figuring Out If We Have Real Addiction Problems

How do we know when we have a real problem? It’s a rather simple, personal, private assessment that is totally confidential. Ask yourself a simple question: Is the pain outweighing the pleasure?

The first thought that comes into your head is probably the most accurate answer.  If in your heart of hearts you feel that the negative side effects are outweighing the benefits you’ve made an honest answer.  Congratulations on being honest with yourself and no one has to know the answer!

The shame and guilt you may feel does not need to be announced to the world if it makes you uncomfortable.

Why Do We Overdo It?

So, why do we eat too much or drink too much or smoke too much? The answer is the same for everyone: Stress!  Stress!  Stress! When emotions become overwhelming or too difficult to stand we simply want a short vacation from all of that stress and we want that vacation right away! Since we are all individuals and unique, we relieve our stress in different ways.  Some of us really like the taste of some delicious food or the feeling we get from alcohol or the thrill of buying something.

Changing Our Brain Chemistry on Demand

We all have our ‘drug of choice’.  Whether it’s a substance like marijuana or a behavior like anonymous sex we are doing these things because it puts us in a better mood quickly. What we are all doing is changing our own brain chemistry on demand.  A good mood or a bad mood has a different mix of chemicals in the brain.  We are all doing the same thing…trying to change our brain chemistry. Since most of us are not brain doctors we are not doing a perfect job here.

What we are doing right is improving our mood on a short term basis but we are leaving a mess of side effects behind that are wreaking havoc on a potentially long term basis.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll talk about how nutrition changes our brain chemistry, and how we can use nutrition to positively change our lives

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