Sweet, Salty & Fatty
“Persistent biological signals lead us to overeat sweet, fatty, salty foods while keeping us malnourished. “ – Melissa & Dallas Hartwig, It Starts With Food
Our psychological responses to the food we eat have been adopted from our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Because of this, our taste buds play a large role in dictating the type of food that we crave. Here is a breakdown of why we crave certain foods based on what the taste meant for food foragers:
Sweet = safe source of energy (vs. bitter foods which were not safe to eat)
Salty = water conservation when water resources were not consistent or reliable
Fatty = a dense source of calories and a slow energy burn over a long period of time
When our hunter-gatherer ancestors came across foods with these flavors, neurotransmitters sent signals of pleasure and reward to help them remember that those were the foods that led to nutrition.
With the birth of the Consumer Packaged Goods industry came highly processed and engineered fake-foods that capitalized on the responses that our bodies and brains naturally had to sweet, salty and fatty tastes. These fake-foods contain all of the flavor that our taste buds have been trained to love, while lacking the nutrition that our bodies need.
Our body signals are being used against us! Instead of allowing sweet, salty and fatty tastes to lead us to nutritious, whole foods our brains have been re-wired to crave things like candy, potato chips, cookies and jalapeño-flavored Cheetos.
The Union Fitness Nutrition Challenge allows us the opportunity to eliminate processed foods, cook at home more regularly and mindfully choose food at restaurants that source whole, natural ingredients. This is a vital first step into kicking food addictions and developing a lifestyle that promotes a healthy psychological response to food.
Recipe: The Clean King (Paleotized Elvis Burgers)
4 Strips of Nitrate & Sugar Free Bacon
1lb Grass-Fed Ground Beef
¾ Tsp salt
½ Tsp ground black pepper
¼ Tsp crushed red pepper
2 Bananas, sliced
½ Cup sunbutter, almond butter or cashew butter (no sugar added)
Mix together the ground beef, salt, black pepper & crushed red pepper. Split up the beef mixture into four equal portions and shape into burger patties. Place an indent in the center of the patty to promote even cooking. Set aside. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon until crispy, then set aside on a paper towel to drain. Empty the fat from the pan, and place back on the burner on high heat. When the pan is very hot, cook the four burger patties on one side for 5 minutes, then flip and cook for 3, 4 or 5 more minutes depending on if you want them rare, medium or well-done, respectively. Remove the patties and set on a plate to rest. Empty the fat from the pan and add in the banana slices to caramelize, about 3-5 minutes. Assemble the four burgers: beef patty, bacon slice, bananas and nut-butter.
-Cara Matsukane, member at CrossFit St. Paul