co-authors Daniel Gabi, Navot Cohen
"Emotional eating" is the consumption of food unrelated to hunger and satiety but driven by emotions like anger, frustration, anxiety, and guilt. Both adults and children often turn to food to address emotional voids, seeking solace, comfort, or relief from loneliness. Physiologically, eating serves to dull sensations like stress and anxiety, diverting blood flow to the stomach. This contrasts with the natural response during stress, where blood flows to the legs and brain. Additionally, eating suppresses the release of stress hormones, providing a calming effect. The consumption of sweet foods triggers serotonin secretion, contributing to a positive mood. However, this eating behavior can become addictive when used as a coping mechanism for relaxation or compensation.
Functional Medicine Approaches to Emotional Eating
Within the realm of functional medicine, a holistic perspective is adopted to address emotional eating by acknowledging the intricate connections between physical and emotional well-being. Instead of merely treating symptoms, functional medicine strives to uncover the root causes of emotional eating, considering factors such as stress, hormonal imbalances, and bacterial disruptions.
The Role of Bacterial Balance and Sugar Addiction
The microbiome, a complex community of microorganisms in the digestive system, plays a pivotal role in regulating mood and influencing food choices. An imbalance in the microbiome can contribute to patterns of emotional eating, particularly cravings for sweet and high-carbohydrate foods. Recent studies have highlighted the significant influence of the gut microbiome on sugar addiction and food cravings. Disruptions in gut bacteria, often a result of factors like antibiotic use, can lead to overeating behavior, especially concerning sweet and flavorful foods.
Furthermore, the health of the gut microbiome is closely tied to blood sugar balance and food cravings. A well-maintained gut is associated with reduced sugar cravings and more stable sugar levels. Research also indicates that early exposure to added sugar can modify the gut microbiome, independent of body weight, fostering an increased susceptibility to sugar addiction.
An unhealthy gut, characterized by an overgrowth of 'bad' bacteria, can contribute to sugar cravings and create an inflammatory environment in the body. Thus, nurturing a healthy gut microbiome through proper diet and lifestyle choices becomes essential in managing sugar addiction and mitigating food cravings.
Rebalancing the Microbiome for Emotional Eating
Functional medicine takes a personalized approach to address emotional eating by focusing on rebalancing the microbiome through tailored nutritional interventions and lifestyle changes. By delving into the underlying causes of emotional eating, functional medicine aims to help individuals cultivate a healthier relationship with food, ultimately promoting overall well-being.
The Challenge of Breaking Free from Carbohydrates and Sugars
Confronting the obstacle of eliminating carbohydrates and sugars can prove to be an arduous undertaking, intensified by the addictive qualities of these substances and the ongoing struggle for dominance within the bacterial community that thrives on them. Particularly in the form of refined sugars, carbohydrates have the ability to activate the brain's reward system, triggering the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine that induce feelings of pleasure. This neurobiological response sets in motion a cycle of yearning and indulgence, resembling the patterns seen in addiction.
Escaping this cycle requires not only a shift in dietary habits but also a comprehensive approach that addresses the psychological and emotional dimensions of the intricate relationship between mood and food. The challenge of eliminating carbohydrates and sugar is further complicated by the pervasive social presence of these alluring foods, coupled with the emotional comfort often associated with their consumption.
Impact of Emotional Eating on Family Dynamics
A family represents a connection of individuals with diverse desires and needs, united by the bond of love. A shared kitchen, a single refrigerator, a common pantry, and communal meals cater to all members of the household, whether enjoyed together or separately. While both parents bear responsibility for the family's nutrition and health, typically one assumes a more dominant role, influencing the types of food entering the home and the prevailing flavors in the kitchen. Any dietary change or nutritional shift within one family member inevitably ripples through the entire family.
Simultaneously, when a household member undergoes a change in nutrition, the family, functioning as a collective support network, experiences the impact of altered eating habits. Family therapy is often associated with addressing collective issues, focusing on crises and difficulties that affect the entire family. However, when an emotional challenge such as emotional eating is specific to one family member, the inclination is to seek individual therapy.
In the context of treating emotional eating, it becomes crucial for the therapeutic process to encompass and acknowledge the effects of the patient's dietary changes on the entire family. While family cooperation is more feasible in situations involving dietary changes due to illness, such as celiac disease, fostering a collective acceptance of changes associated with emotional eating proves challenging within the household.
The Threefold Approach
Emotional eating, sugar addiction, and familial discord can intricately weave a complex web of interdependent relationships, each exacerbating the others. Within a family setting, these patterns may foster resistance and contribute to a challenging atmosphere, potentially intensifying emotional eating.
To break free from this cycle, a collaborative effort is essential, beginning with targeted treatment for family members grappling with addiction. This entails identifying substitutes and enhancing overall vitality. Individualized work with the person undergoing sugar and carbohydrate detoxification becomes crucial. This involves cultivating open communication, fostering compassion, and providing the necessary tools to navigate challenges, both at the personal and family levels, to ensure the success of the treatment.
Sustainable change necessitates a comprehensive approach that integrates detoxification treatments, nutritional education, behavioral strategies, and emotional support within a nurturing-family environment. This holistic approach addresses the hurdles of detoxification, cravings, and emotional dependency on these substances. Acknowledging and addressing the addictive nature of carbohydrates and sweets is a pivotal step in fostering a healthier relationship with food.
To tackle this trio of challenges, Navot Cohen, in collaboration with Ricky Triglo and Daniel Gabi, has developed a specialized program. This program incorporates energy therapy utilizing the Abrahamson method for family members grappling with sugar addiction. This therapy reduces cravings, accelerates metabolism, and facilitates an easy transition to detox from sugars. Simultaneously, the program involves relearning suitable substitutes and adopting a healthy diet and energy balance. Integrated family therapy is an integral component, aiding the entire family in adapting to the change, thereby strengthening both the patient and the family unit.
Navot Cohen, with over 15 years of experience, is a practitioner trained by Ehud Abrahamson. Having established Abrahamson branches in four major US states, he holds a degree in holistic psychotherapy. Abrahamson's treatment neutralizes urges from addictive substances through an energy-based approach grounded in Bioenergy principles and Chinese medicine pressure points. Although the treatment lacks a scientific explanation, its success is evident with over 100,000 satisfied customers and a remarkable 90% success rate.
Daniel Gabi, a family therapist and emotional companion, views family counseling as a form of emotional therapy that fosters change and development through effective communication. During therapy, parents and children acquire healthy skills to strengthen family ties, understand and improve communication within the immediate and extended family, identify system strengths and weaknesses, set family goals, and guide children on how to achieve them.
With my substantial experience, I emphasize the significance of early intervention in eating disorders, given their propensity to develop during childhood and adolescence. These crucial formative years underscore the pivotal role of the family as a significant support factor. Seeking timely treatment that actively involves all family members becomes imperative in fostering effective outcomes.
Ricky Trigalo, a functional medicine practitioner and holistic nutritionist, is dedicated to empowering individuals through holistic and natural nutritional methods. Specializing in functional medicine, she balances the body's gut bacteria and hormones, guiding patients toward informed dietary choices and a healthier lifestyle. Committed to treating the root causes of health problems, Ricky believes in the power of natural remedies to nourish and strengthen the body. Her mission is to inspire positive change and promote optimal well-being through the integration of functional medicine principles and holistic nutrition.