How to Train Your Brain to Crave Healthy Foods

How to Train Your Brain to Crave Healthy Foods

This is a post from the guys over at Beach Body. The creators of programs like P90X, Insanity and TurboFire.

If you want to learn more, check out the book Train Your Brain: Your Food Matters

Now I’m going to let Denis take over…

By Denis Faye

True story: I was a fat kid, peaking at about 225 pounds by age 18. In my more socially awkward moments—and there were many—junk food was my best friend. Or so I thought. When my algebra class crush would gave me the “just friends” speech or a so-called buddy would jokingly call me “Fatso,” nothing said acceptance like a pint of Rocky Road and half a package of Nutter Butters.

Junk food vs. healthy heart food

Today, I weigh about 160 and I’d love to tell you those urges are behind me. Sadly, they’re not. On bad days, it takes a concerted effort not to pig out. My name is Denis Faye and I am a junk food junkie.

Given our nation’s exploding obesity and diabetes rates, you very well could be too. The good news is that with a few tricks and a little hard work, together we can keep those sugar monkeys on our backs under control.

Why we’re hooked on garbage

NachosIt’s safe to say that junk food addiction is a very real thing. The first place to look for proof is the ever-mounting pile of scientific evidence, including a recent study out of Sweden showing that the hormone ghrelin, which activates the brain’s reward system and increases appetite, reacts similarly to sugar and alcohol.

Then there are the increasingly decadent foods we have 24-hour access to. In his book The End of Overeating, Dr. David Kessler theorizes that manufacturers have, over the years, engineered the balance of fat, sugar, and salt in junk food to the point of making it irresistible. He refers to our gluttonous response to this crackified food as “conditioned hypereating.”

Most of this current thinking revolves around physiological factors, such as the fact our brains are hardwired to seek out highly caloric foods as a “feast or famine” instinct left over from caveman days. Unfortunately, human beings are slightly more complex than our primitive ancestors. By adulthood, most of us are a hodgepodge of neuroses and psychoses for whom a Twinkie has become a security blanket, so this urge to splurge will never completely vanish. Sure, you can retrain your body to crave healthy food, but your psyche may never stop seeking validation, Hostess® style.

How to keep that addiction under control

DonutLuckily, a well-trained body goes a long way towards helping a slightly off-kilter mind. For example, if I were to force down that aforementioned slice of Sara Lee® heaven, I’d get physically sick. After years of clean eating, my digestive system has lost its ability to handle the toxic effects of a sugar hit like that, not to mention the preservatives and additives. Thanks in part to these newfound “limitations,” today I can walk away from the cake or limit myself to one or two bites—but that’s taken years of training.

But it wasn’t easy. If you’re going to break a sugar habit, it’s going to take time, patience, and willpower. But take it from a guy who used to work his way through an entire box of Cap’n Crunch® for breakfast: If I can do it, so can you. Here’s where to start.

    1. Clean all the junk food out of your home. Think of the stereotypical image of the woman getting dumped by her boyfriend and climbing into bed with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s®. If that tub wasn’t in the freezer to begin with, odds are that our protagonist would have instead settled for a soak in the tub.

      There’s also “unconscious eating” to worry about—when you just grab a bag of fried carbs while you’re sitting in front of the tube and stuff your face for no reason. If you don’t have access to the junk, the only bag you’ll be able to grab for will be filled with baby carrots. If someone brings some junk over for a dinner party, enjoy it with them and dump the rest when they leave.

    2. CookiesMake 80% clean. Relax with that other 20%. Just because your kitchen cupboard no longer looks like a movie theater concession stand doesn’t mean you can’t live it up sometimes. If most of your diet is super tight, you’re doing great, so cut yourself some slack. When I made my first big push to clean up my diet, Friday was Cookie Day. I ate like a saint 6 days a week, but every Friday I had a giant chocolate chip cookie and a latte.

      Knowing I had Cookie Day to look forward to made all the celery on the other days much more palatable.

    3. Make a comforting ritual out of eating healthy. The fact that Cookie Day was a ritual was also quite helpful. Unhealthy eating is often ritualistic—something comfortable and constant that you can depend on. Not only can you have your own Cookie Day—a conscious, controlled, weekly moment of indulgence—but you can replace unhealthy rituals with healthy ones.

      For example, I used to drink at least two servings of alcohol a night. I’d have wine or beer with dinner and then another one when I was sitting around reading or watching TV. When I realized that second drink wasn’t doing me any favors, I replaced it with a cup of herbal tea. The 21-days-to-form-a-habit thing has no scientific backing, but eventually a behavior pattern will set in. In my case, after three weeks I stopped missing that second beer. Then, after a few more weeks I really started craving the calming, peaceful feeling my cup o’ chamomile gave me. Now it’s a nightly ritual.

    4. Almonds and Nutrition BarCarry healthy foods with you at all times. If you carry a purse or a backpack, throw an apple or some raw nuts in there. In this Fast Food Nation, it’s pretty easy to find yourself in situations where you’re hungry and, shucks, you just have no choice but to buy a donut because that’s the only thing you have access to.

      You don’t have that excuse if there’s a snack in your pack. Here are a few to consider:

      • Fresh fruit (Apples and oranges travel well!)
      • Dried fruit (It all travels well!)
      • Raw nuts
      • Whole-grain crackers
      • A Shakeology® packet
  1. Discover new, yummy fruits and veggies. There’s a lot of weird, healthy food out there. Sometimes, we avoid fresh produce because either we’re either bored of the same old oranges or there’s a stigma associated with particular produce. Dad just forced you to eat asparagus one too many times. If this is a problem for you, buy fruits and veggies you don’t recognize. If you don’t know how to prepare it, do an internet search for “(produce name) + recipe.” You might stumble on a new flavor that completely blows your mind.

    For me, that magic fruit was the cherimoya, or “custard apple.” They’re green and scaly on the outside, thick, white, and creamy on the inside, with a rich taste as sweet and satisfying as the richest sorbet. My mouth is watering just writing about them.

  2. Fresh FruitBinge on healthy foods. I’m probably the only person who will ever give you this advice since it’s a wee bit questionable. Every once in the while, something emotional triggers me and I need to eat junk. Someday I might completely conquer this urge, but not yet. When I feel this happening, I hit the fridge and “pre-binge” on healthy foods, mainly raw veggies. Sooner or later, the ice cream or chips come out, but by that point, I’m so full of broccoli or spinach that I’m not physically capable of doing too much damage. Dysfunctional? Maybe, but a vast improvement over the alternative.

You might be one of those lucky souls who just decided to walk away from the candy counter and never looked back. Good for you. I’m not one of those people. Eating right is much easier than it was 20 years ago, but it’s still a process. That said, the rewards are innumerable, so why don’t you set down the pudding pop, grab a peach, and join me?Resources:

  1. Kessler, D. (2009). The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. New York, NY. Rodale.
  2. Lally, P., Van Jaarsveld, C., Potts, H., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world.European Journal of Social Psychology, 1009 (June 2009), 998-1009. JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD.
  3. 3. Landgren, S., Simms, J. A., Thelle, D. S., Strandhagen, E., Bartlett, S. E., Engel, J. A., & Jerlhag, E. (2011). The Ghrelin Signalling System Is Involved in the Consumption of Sweets. (M. Mattson, Ed.) PLoS ONE, 6(3), 9.


Related Articles
“Sugar Addiction Detox 101”
“10 Tips for Controlling Your Inner Cookie Monster®
“Spring Cleansing: 5 Great Reasons to Do a Detox”

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat. Or, if you just can’t wait, log onto the Information & Education section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards for questions, answers, and scintillating conversation.

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Original Article: Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie: 6 Tricks to Kick the Habit

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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How a Former Language Educator Can Make You Sound Like a Local

Benefit of Learning a Second Language

If you’ve ever been watching a movie and seen one of your favorite American actors speaking a foreign language as if he or she has been speaking it their whole lives, you may feel like you’ve seen a miracle happen.

The truth however, is that it is simply a way of using your brain in a way that you aren’t used to. It’s the same as when you first learn how to do anything else.

Until you learn a secret to cut your time in half, you’re going to struggle with doing anything.

For example, in July of 2012 I spent a little over a week in Costa Rica.

It was one of my goals or missions to learn how to surf while I was on this trip.

Chris Hughes surfing in Costa Rica

Holla, learned how!!

I’ve heard from a lot of people who have tried to learn how to surf that it’s something that is extremely difficult.

Personally, I don’t like listening when people tell me something is hard. I laugh a lot of the time when people tell me things are difficult.

While I didn’t get up and ride the first 2 waves I hopped onto ( I tipped the board forward too much), the third time I was up and riding like I’d always done it.

What was the secret?

Honestly, I’d watched some videos on YouTube and asked questions to experts.

I learned the little shortcuts that would cut the learning curve down for me.

The same is true with anything you do, you find the shortcuts and you save yourself a LOT of time.

The National Security Agency and other important government organizations have purchased this rapid language learning method: the Pimsleur Approach, which has proved to be the fastest way tolearn a new language.

The benefits of learning a second language

Your brain is already wired to learn a language in 10 days. You just need to activate it.

In today’s global society, learning a foreign language is crucial, whether you need it for work or pleasure. With the right tools and training, you’ll be able to connect with new friends and business acquaintances more effectively thanks to your new ability to speak, listen, learn and improvise in another language. And it is much simpler than people think.

Learning a second language


What’s fascinating about learning languages is that native-speakers typically use only about 2,500 distinct words and phrases on a daily basis.

A guy by the name of Dr Paul Pimsleur created the Pimsleur Approach, he spent his lifetime studying these language building blocks. By focusing specific languages on learning those 2,500 words, you can cut your learning time down by months. Speaking to the locals and communicating isn’t about how many words you know, but rather which words you can use.

The Pimsleur Approach effortlessly locks new language material into your brain after only one listen. And it only takes one 30-minute lesson a day.

The Pimsleur Approach to learning a second language

The entire Pimsleur Approach is what language learning should be: quick, fun, and easy! You’ll absorb your new language effortlessly without any reading, writing, or computer use. The Pimsleur Approach has a 100-percent guarantee: Speak in 10 days or you don’t pay.

Who is Dr. Pimsleur?

Dr. Pimsleur was a language educator for more than 20 years. He noticed that children have an amazing ability to learn new languages quickly. He spent his life developing this course to let you, as an adult, learn a new language as easily as a child would. You might not realize it, but you’ve already learned one language using the Pimsleur Approach. Your first language.

Learning a new language can be quick, easy and affordable with the breakthrough Pimsleur Approach audio training.


Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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Vibram Five Fingers and the Barefoot Running Movement

Have you ever heard of these crazy shoes? The Vibram Five Fingers have been making a huge scene lately and for a good reason.

These shoes are at the forefront of the barefoot running movement.

Learn More About Vibram Five Fingers Here

What’s the deal with the barefoot running movement?

There are a lot of different reasons for this movement finally making a mainstream appearance. With how content spreads on the internet, it was simply a matter of time until more people started sharing the benefits of running barefoot.

It also helps when a company like Vibram Five Fingers comes around and makes a community that people can join. This community is all about people moving to living naturally with walking barefoot or wearing the Five Fingers to feel like you are walking barefoot.

You can check out some more articles about the barefoot running movement below…

What About Running Completely Barefoot?

You can learn more about running barefoot at


To learn about why barefoot running works and how to get started check out the article below:

“Since the launch of Vibram FiveFingers® in 2006, the concept of minimalism, and minimalist running in particular, has spawned a recurring public debate. So, how are we supposed to do this minimalist/barefoot thing? The truth is, there isn’t a single correct approach – it’s probably more complicated than that. However, as one of the prominent leaders in this movement, we want to give you Vibram’s take on it. We believe that moving and running in FiveFingers can make us healthier, happier, and more connected to our bodies. We hope the following information will help you discover how YOU can safely explore the joys of natural movement.” Read more here… Why Barefoot Works

Recommended Books

Barefoot Running Step by Step

Barefoot running has garnered lots of attention due to the mega-bestseller Born to Run while products like the Vibram® FiveFinger Shoes have tripled in sales and top athletic companies like Nike® and Adidas® are declaring barefoot running the next big thing. However, barefoot running involves more than simply taking off your shoes and hitting the track and Barefoot Running Step by Step teaches runners how to train their feet and body to run barefoot properly and in a way that will dramatically reduce injuries.

  • Separates the facts from hype
  • Improve your strides
  • Improved endurance
  • Fewer injuries


Recommended Book

Born to Run

born to run book coverAn epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
Isolated by Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

  • Learn the running habits
  • Pushing your body to its limits
  • Inspire your body

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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How to Unlock More of Your Brain Power

Brain Power is something that we are constantly trying to improve.

It seems like a lot of the products that are being released are out there to help you think faster, improve your memory, comprehend information better and to truly unleash your brain’s full potential.

Do stupid things faster with more energy

Even signs like this are being sold on Amazon. (I laugh every time I see this)

More and more information is becoming available on how to unlock more of your brain power so I thought it would be a good idea to create a resource to help you improve your brain power.

Below is a list of things you can do to unlock more brain power:

  • Cultivate ambidexterity. You always brush your teeth and eat your food with the same hand. Take notice of this and switch it up.  You can also start juggling today which helps ambidexterity.
  • 5 Why’s. When stuck on projects, ask yourself 5 “Why’s”. This will help you to get more detailed on your answers and brings more of your childhood curiosity back into your life.
  • Think positive thoughts. You’re already thinking all day anyway, why not think positive thoughts?
  • Eat Brain Foods. You can learn about brain foods here and why you should start to incorporate them into your diet.
  • Listen to music. Music has a profound impact on your life and if you listen to the Baroque style of music and do work, your productivity will soar through the roof. Baroque music pulses between 50 to 80 beats per minute. Baroque music “stabilizes mental, physical and emotional rhythms,” according to Chris Boyd Brewer, “to attain a state of deep concentration and focus in which large amounts of content information can be processed and learned.”
  • Train Your Brain. When you take the time to train your brain, everything becomes possible.
  • Learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language is one of the best things you can do to unlock more of your brain power. It will also make you more intelligent and a better communicator.
  • Start a blog. Learning to write has had a profound impact on the way I view the world. I never used to enjoy writing and now use it as a tool for personal growth and to share what I learn. You can learn to start a blog in 24 hours here.
  • Learn to speed read
  • Commit to lifelong learning. Never stop learning. If you can, try to learn something new every day.
  • Admit your problems out loud. I wrote a blog post all about my weaknesses to not only admit them to myself, but to free myself from these limiting beliefs I had about my weaknesses.
This is just a starting point to unlock more of your brain power. The more activities like these that you do, the more of your brain power you will be unlocking. 

Do you have any experiences that helped you unlock more of your brain power?

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

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What is The Reptilian Brain?

In the deep of the human brain there exists a very ancient layer called the Reptilian Brain (Reptilian complex), which controls the most instinctive behavior of the human being. This Video explains his nature, his origin and the devastating repercussions in the society due to his constant over-activation.

The reptilian complex, also known as the R-complex or “reptilian brain” was the name MacLean gave to the basal ganglia, structures derived from the floor of the forebrain during development. The term derives from the fact that comparative neuroanatomists once believed that the forebrains of reptiles and birds were dominated by these structures. MacLean contended that the reptilian complex was responsible for species typical instinctual behaviors involved in aggression, dominance, territoriality, and ritual displays. Source: Wikipedia Triune Brain


Neuromarketing: How to Appeal to the Reptilian Brain

If you’d like to learn more about the reptilian brain and marketing to it check out these resources:

Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought

– Neuromarketing presentation part 1: understanding the old brain and the 6 stimuli

Brain Sell: Harnessing the Selling Power of Your Whole Brain



Do you have any experience with selling to the reptilian brain or learning with your reptilian brain?

Chris Hughes

Chris is an Internet Entrepreneur, Juggler, Traveler and loves learning. Chris is out to enjoy life while building profitable businesses that allow people to have more fun in their lives.

Connect with Chris on Google+.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook