Facebook4Tweet0Pin0Submitted By: Ava Waits is a Nutrition Mentor Certain foods are seducing you each day, by triggering the pleasure center in your brain.One of my teachers, Neal D. Barnard, M.D., is the author of Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings–And 7 Steps to End Them Naturally. He writes:“Certain foods appear to stimulate the release of opiate chemicals within the brain. These are chemical cousins of morphine and heroin. They are not as strong as illegal drugs, but appear to be strong enough to keep us coming back, especially when we are stressed, tire, angry, or alone. Not every food does this. The groups that do are sugar (and sugar-fat mixtures, such as butter cookies, as well as foods that produce sugar rapidly), chocolate, cheese, and meat.It appears that they actually stimulate the brain in such a way that it is easy to get hooked and tough to break free, even if you find yourself gaining weight or lapsing into health problems.”So we’re being seduced, and the seduction is very real if you are about to spend Valentine’s Day unsatisfied in relationships, overworked, and frustrated by the state of your health. It’s easy to turn to comforting and addicting food when pieces of your life are unbalanced.Here are ideas to make these seductive foods a better date. I won’t ask you to painfully give up the relationship that you have with these foods. Simply upgrade the ingredients, keep whole vegetables and grains in your diet, and infuse your meals with an enjoyment factor. Put intention behind how you present these foods to yourself.1. Sugar ~ Currently, the sweetener I most recommend is coconut syrup, which is the sap from coconut tree blossoms. It’s high in Vitamin C, and has a brown sugar flavor. Some agave syrup brands are blended with corn syrup, so I stay away from agave at this point. Raw honey is another great sweetener.2. Chocolate ~ Choose a raw chocolate bar, instead of the processed and sugared bar you’ll find in most stores. Raw chocolate is high in serotonin and tryptophan, which defend against stress. It also has high amounts of fiber, iron and Vitamin C. Try a chocolate truffle on a beautiful small plate, served with a cup of tea.3. Cheese ~ Choose organic dairy, since chemicals from conventional dairy production become concentrated in milk. I gave up cow dairy several years ago, because I kept getting sore throats, colds, and coughs. It turns out that goat and sheep dairy work well in my body, so I’ve switched to dairy products from these smaller animals. Cheese is a side dish, not a main course. When I crave cheese, I’ll melt a couple pieces into a corn tortilla on a stove top pan and eat it when it is still melted. You can also create a gorgeous arrangement of cut vegetables, gluten-free crackers and just a few small slices of cheese on the side.4. Meat ~ If you consume meat products, find a local meat farm and support them. When you buy from a local farm, you can be sure of humane animal practices. You also get to step back in time, and instead of meat suffocating in plastic, your cut will be handed to you in classic butcher paper.Holidays are meant to be fun and exciting. I will be eating organic dark chocolate on Valentine’s Day, and I plan to thoroughly enjoy it. Food is not the only path to happiness and health though, and that’s why you can’t rely on these seductive foods to stay happy. The rest of your life must be in balance. If you’ve felt melancholy at some point this winter, a little lost, heavy, groggy or dull, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a new opportunity I will be announcing shortly. It’s all about luscious eating, enjoyment, and bringing the perfect opportunities into your life.© 2011 Ava Waits~~~~~~~~~~~~Ava Waits is a Nutrition Mentor and Global Nutrition Concierge™ at www.ParisianPicnics.com. She helps her clients to embrace a European attitude toward food, where meals become a pleasure to prepare, and health becomes a priority. If you’d like to sample her gentle and enjoyable approach to nutrition, please visit her website for more tips, recipes and videos.