Now you might be thinking, “Bread addiction? Seriously?”. I know, it sounds a bit ridiculous. But I think it’s an issue worth talking about.
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved carbs – primarily bread and pasta. And when I was growing up, the food pyramid said that you were supposed to get more servings of breads and grains than any other food group. Which was definitely an issue. But I’ll talk about that another time.
Anyway, as I got older, bread and pasta became a huge part of my diet. And I mean huge. So as the new studies gradually came out showing how bad gluten was for your health, I found myself in a battle that I couldn’t seem to win. Even though I had evidence that eating as much bread and pasta as I did was bad for you, I just couldn’t shake the habit.
Then, one day, I was prompted to ask a different question – was it possible that there was a deeper reason I ate so much bread?
And it turns out, there was.
As a child, I remember whenever I would go to the grocery store with my family, the first thing we’d look for was the french bread. Whenever it was fresh out of the bakery, they would put a hot rack at the front of the store – and we would grab a loaf of fresh, warm bread and munch on it as we did our grocery shopping.
I also remember that pasta wasn’t something we ate a lot of growing up, because my family is Filipino. So whenever we ate spaghetti, in my mind, it was a rare treat. And whenever it was my birthday and I got to pick a place to go eat for dinner, 9 times out of 10 it was Olive Garden…because seriously, endless breadsticks? Yes please!
Those experiences and the feelings of comfort and joy that came along with them gradually became associated with those foods. Bread and pasta became psychological triggers of comfort and joy in my mind. So later on in life, when I found myself feeling down or depressed, I would turn to eating bread and pasta as a way out.
Once I was able to deconstruct this, I began to notice how many times I was eating bread or pasta to fill an emotional void in my heart. And once I began to notice, I was gradually able to cut down on the amount of bread I was eating. Now, I still enjoy bread on occasion – but I lean towards higher quality bread, and I no longer need it as a “comfort” food.
I say all of this to make a point about food addiction. Food addiction can be viewed as a physiological process, and it’s often joked about and not taken as seriously as other addictions. But my addiction to bread was taking a toll on my heart – I was using it to fill a void and barring my way to deeper healing.
So it might be worth thinking about the foods you’re addicted to, and looking at it from a different angle. Instead of asking, “How can I stop eating this?” you might try asking yourself, “Why do I keep eating this?”
And maybe that will be the start to your way out of food addiction.