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The Power of the Carb Crash

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Our modern diet is horrible on our bodies, we all know this.  Yet, all of the junk that we consume is hard to avoid and difficult to resist.  However, it may be easier to appreciate how too many carbs, additives, preservatives, sweeteners and chemicals can impact the body and mind by looking at the short-term reactions as opposed to the long-term risks.

Going Up

One of the biggest problems associated with carbohydrate and sweetener overload is that we get very high from them in the beginning.  Literally.  Numerous studies of brain scans have shown that we actually respond to bad foods in the same way that drug addicts respond to their next fix.  The same is also true for many alcoholics and nicotine addicts as well.  Our dopamine levels soar, our brain becomes over-active and we get flooded with good emotions.  We feel warm and fuzzy, happy and in many cases, on top of the world. 

Going Down

Unfortunately the carb rush doesn’t last long.  Usually, about a half-hour after we indulge, we start to get sleepy, lethargic, apathetic, cranky, sedentary and hungry again.  Additionally, just like with the addictions mentioned above, the joy we feel diminishes as our bodies build a tolerance.  So, we need more carbs and sugars to give us that feeling that our bodies end up craving.  For those who have a real food addiction, it can actually alter the chemistry in the brain and create a real dependence that can take a long time to overcome.

Withdrawal

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One thing that is common after going on carb binge is that people can feel hungover the next day.  Maybe it’s hard to concentrate or they feel a bit more groggy or moody than usual.  Reports of people not thinking clearly or having difficulty focusing are common.  The funny thing is, once they drink a soda or load up on carbs again, they feel better.  Until they crash again. 

The reason this is so important is that not only does a poor diet lead to long-term health problems that are completely avoidable, but it can have a serious impact on our thoughts and emotions right now as well.  Not only that, but the biochemical reactions that occur in our bodies and minds can make it difficult for us to be on top of our game as we trudge through the normal course of our day.  However, this often goes unnoticed because we’re surrounded by bad food and people who suffer from the same condition.  Consequently, this “normal” is actually misleading. 

So, we are lethargic, depressed and unfocused.  What do we do?  We drink lots of caffeine, sugar or take prescription medication to offset what is happening to us because of our diet.  At the end of the day, we end up compounding the problem by not pursuing the proper solutions.  Now imagine being in an unexpected survival situation without access to all of those yummy foods and drinks that make us feel good. 

Not only do we need to cope with the fact that our brain is screaming for the next fix, but we need to manage the situation at hand and make good decisions.  Consequently, a habitual poor diet can have a direct relationship with how we cope with a crisis.  Unfortunately, good eating is low on the list of so many preppers who feel it’s their God-given right to eat what they want.  To a certain extent this is true.  However, most of these sentiments stem from the fact that poor eating is just part of our culture and way of life, so it seems normal.  It isn’t, and our bodies are not designed to absorb our modern diet for a prolonged period of time.

The point is that it’s important to start making dietary changes now so that you don’t suffer later when being on top of your game matters most.  Keep in mind that most of us stock up on healthy foods for emergency situations.  However, we will face a withdrawal crisis if we are suddenly removed from the junk food that we habitually eat now. 

We’ve talked about this before, but it is worth mentioning over and over again.  We are what we eat, and our success in the field during a survival situation will depend largely on how we think, feel, react and resist illness and disease. 

Learn a lesson from the carb crash, and start introducing yourself to more fruits, vegetables and grains on a daily basis.  Increase your intake of good, whole foods and decrease the junk over time.  You don’t have to cut out the bad all at once.  You can transition and start to develop better habits.  This isn’t a zero-sum game here.  Rather, it’s all about getting the brain and body back on track to performing the way it’s designed to perform. 

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