046-Joan Ifland PhD: Big Tobacco’s New Product That Is Killing Us All
Not that long ago tobacco was one of the leading causes of death- since then big tobacco has pivoted to another set of deadly products that have now replaced tobacco and can even be sold to children.
Today we are going to hear all about this and the universal addiction that we all face.
Joan Ifland is the CEO of Food Addiction Training and is the author of – Processed Food Addiction: Foundations, Assessment, and Recovery. She received her MBA from Stanford University, and Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Addictive Nutrition from the Union Institute & University. She was the first chair of the Food Addiction Council for the American College of Nutrition. She currently runs online approaches to recovery – Addiction Reset Community, as well as Food Addiction Education. Joan is also a food addict in recovery.
#longevity #wellness #lifestylemedicine #younger #ketosis #biohacking #RobertLufkinMD #joanifland #foodaddictionreset
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Robert Lufkin 0:00
Welcome back to the health longevity Secret show and I’m Dr. Robert Lufkin. Not that long ago, tobacco was one of the leading causes of death. Since then, big tobacco has pivoted to another set of deadly products that have now replaced tobacco, and can even be sold to children. Today we’re going to hear all about this and the universal addiction that we all face. Joan Eflin, PhD is the CEO of food addiction training, and the author of process food addiction, foundations, assessment and recovery. First, she received her MBA from Stanford University and a PhD in interdisciplinary studies with a special specialization in addictive nutrition from the union Institute and University. She was the first chair of the food addiction Council for the American College of Nutrition. She currently runs an online approaches to recovery program, addiction, reset community, as well as food addiction, food addiction education. Joan is also a food addict in recovery. Before we start the episode, if you like what you hear, please consider supporting the work we do as well as joining us on your personal health longevity journey. You can do both by becoming a member of our community. The benefits include a private messaging area, live QA sessions, weekly premier videos, product discounts, free giveaways, and much more. You can join for as little as $1 per month, and the first month is free. See the link in the show notes for more information. Now, please enjoy this interview with Dr. Joan if Lund Joan, welcome to the health longevity secrets show.
Joan Ifland 1:55
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Robert Lufkin 1:58
It’s truly a pleasure to have you on your show on the show. And I can’t wait to get into many of the topics covered in your in your book process food addiction, which is actually one of my favorites. Thank you. But before we do that, let’s just take a moment if you don’t mind and tell us a little bit about how you came to be interested in in this fascinating area.
Joan Ifland 2:25
Well, um it kind of started 25 years ago, I was a yo yo diet or and I got to that place, right regained the weight once again. I was my career had been as a corporate finance person, I have an MBA from Stanford, and I studied finance. And that’s what I should have gone back to my little girls who are 11 and 12 years old, but it was too sick from allergies and fatigue and brain fog to go back to work. And, and then I was doing this yo yo dieting and I had a miserable person. And it’s a ranger and constantly irritable and nothing worked and nothing was good enough and everybody else was wrong all the time. pretty miserable person to be around. And I was in a tough subgroup for that for codependency. And another person in the group heard it, she heard the sugar driving my behavior. So very respectfully a couple of times that year, she couldn’t sit Wait, you tried food addicts in recovering and like I was in a thin phase and like why do you think that would help? She didn’t tell me that it was the impact on the personality and I like but by the end of the year I regained the weight. So off I went got the book didn’t read the book went right to the food plan. And all these miraculous things started happening. I was 44 years old. And day four of giving up just sugars and flowers. I stopped creating. My earliest childhood memory is of manipulating an adult into giving me an ice cream. That is earliest memory. So I had cravings my entire life. I didn’t know you couldn’t have cravings. I didn’t know that it was possible not to think about food all the time. But it stopped January 4 1996. And the brain fog lifted that day. And I didn’t know that that brain fog had crept in over those years, but I sure did notice when it was gone. And the fatigue lifted. Like I was waking up tired. I thought Oh, this must just what happens when you have children that was never not tired. And it stopped and it was four days. And then within a week the allergies are That’s what kept me from going back to work is this my eyes and my nose were screaming all the time. And the the medications give me a headache, so I couldn’t use them. And then a lifelong sinus infection cleared up. And but it was in the third week that I adopted this as a career I was, I can tell you where I was standing in my kitchen. And I realized I hadn’t yelled at anybody in three weeks. Three weeks, I hadn’t yelled at anybody screamed at anybody raised in anybody. And I thought, oh, oh, that has got to have something to do with the food. Because that was the way was that top cell group. That was mad all the time. I did 10 years of personal therapy, I did have a rotten childhood was two very, very angry, volatile, sometimes violent parents. And I didn’t want to be that person for my kids. But there I was occasionally just flying off the handle. So I did go to the support group. And he did ask, do people become less irritable on this food plan and 20 heads? Oh, yeah. That’s pretty normal. Dang, why doesn’t everybody know this? So I started. Immediately, my little girls were in a little girls school. And I made my first handout. I thought this is this, everybody’s got to know this. And I said to my family, with the help of my therapist, I’m not going to buy you these foods. But I’ll give you all of these foods that you want. So these were unprocessed foods. And these were processed foods. And they sat down, we all sat down together, they circled all the foods they like, from the unprocessed and processed list. And we got all the processed foods out of the house. Those two little girls lost weight, my husband at the time lost weight, we stopped fighting. I know my husband was interviewed by PBS about all this. And that was the first thing you brought up. The girls stop fighting with each other, we stopped fighting with them. And we stopped fighting with each other.
So I adopted this as a career. I just I didn’t understand what it meant to have an addiction. So I just thought, Oh, I’m going to go around to the other moms. It’s called me my girls, they’ve lost the weight, their grades came up, they were able to focus on their homework, they became very popular because they have this really even cheerful disposition. They got elected to the officers in their little high school. And I just thought this is not fair. Other moms need to know that their their children can also pop out of brain fog and be able to focus. Nobody did it. I gave them all the handout. Nobody did it. Today, fast forward 25. Earlier in those years, I’ve written a popular book and I’ve done a PhD program in addictive nutrition in Britain, the textbook for the field and I tried to prepare Neil company. And now of course, as you know, I run online services for training. Anybody can be a health, a sorry, a food addiction recovery manager in our organization. And we’re all online, and we are all over the world. So I in the 25 years, 22 years until I got on Zoom. I tried 14 different ways to get people to stop eating processed foods. But it wasn’t until I read the textbook, then I understood what it means to have a severe, a very deeply embedded a deeply rooted addiction. And then I can see why none of those 14 things would ever have worked and why no weight loss works. And why no diabetes recovery works is because people are fighting a hidden, very deeply rooted addiction. The brain is working in a very specific way to control behavior to get those addictive substances. Yeah, so now it’s fun. Now we have a reliable method. And it works and as fun people are popping out of diseases that they’ve been told are not curable. Just it happens every day all day long. And when you get the processed foods out and then you get into a really kind, compassionate, caring community, and the stress goes out of your body That’s really fun.
Robert Lufkin 10:02
Yeah, that’s, there’s so many things that our audience would love to hear about. Maybe we could start off. Could you speak a little bit about addiction, just the basics, what is addiction and then then we’ll sort of apply that. Looking at processed foods. But okay, just an intro to addiction.
Joan Ifland 10:23
Super, super good idea. So what is an addiction? An addiction happens when the reward centers in the brain are taught or taught through repeated exposure to a substance that artificially causes those brain cells to release a lot of addictive neurotransmitter, which we experienced as cravings. So you you ingest, you either smoke a cigarette, or you take a drink, or you shoot heroin, or, you know, smoke, marijuana, meth, cocaine, you you ingest the substance, and that artificially stimulates a reward brain cell to flood the brain with this pleasurable neurotransmitter, dopamine, serotonin cannabinoid, your brain has pleasurable pathways in it, you know, whoever made her brains made them to create pleasure for us. So if you ingest a substance, or you somehow consume and a substance that artificially stimulates those brain cells to release a flood, and you’re like, Wow, I like this, whoa. And you want to do it again? Well, what happens, the way the brain works is, when you do that substance, your brain imprints everything around you in that moment. And everything around you, the people, the place, the time of day, the time of year, become what are called associative cues, associative triggers. And so you and I sit down and in a coffee shop, and we have a really big, gooey, gooey, middle, the afternoon tea treat, my brain will then associate you with that, with that piece of pie, or a piece of cake, or ice cream, or any of the other highly addictive foods. So when I see you again, I really look forward to seeing you because you’re going to give me a dopamine, dopamine rush by association. Because my brain only I know that guy, remember what we ate with him? Oh, it was so fun. So what happens over time, when you do that, is you get this big rush, and then you get a crash, because the brain cell is depleted, it releases all that dopamine, and then it’s, then it’s depleted, it’s tired, it can’t do anymore, and you feel bad. Because you feel terrible, because you don’t have any dopamine in your head. But you remember, oh, but if I just ate that thing, or if I just smoked that thing. Or if I just, you know, took that or snorted that or injected that. I remember that makes me feel better. You’re in an addiction. So what happens over time is the all the blood flow starts going to the addicted brain cells in the in the reward centers in the brain. And phase two is your frontal lobe starts to be deprived of blood flow. So frontal lobe is the ability to pay attention, the ability to learn, the ability to make decisions, the ability to remember, and the ability to control impulses. That’s all in the new brain, this little tiny 2% of the brain, which is, you know, where we get to do all these cool things that animals can’t do. The rest of the brain is working pretty much the way it was working 3 million years ago when we got the midbrain.
Once you really get that, then then you know exactly what to do to recover from an addiction. So that’s all it is. It’s not your childhood issues. It’s not laziness. It’s not like a willpower. It’s not you know, moral bankruptcy. Those things. Somebody some drug dealer has taught his reward cells to be erupting all the time in response to these associated triggers, stimulation reminders, signals, and the blood flows leaving your frontal lobe where you know not to do these things. It doesn’t make any difference how much, you know, doesn’t make an either. I mean, I have a PhD, and I can still think that a really toxic substance is a good idea would be fun today. Why? Because all of my PhD knowledge is in my frontal lobe. And if I get around enough cueing, enough triggering, then the blood flow will go right back to those addictive brain cells. And I’ll forget, I won’t be able to remember why I don’t eat that stuff. Why it hurts so much. And like, I want justice ones. So do you think that helps?
Robert Lufkin 15:48
Yeah, yeah. So it’s, it’s really the the substance or the experience and the environment that that creates the addiction and then and then triggers it again and again. So we have to avoid, avoid addictive, avoid addictive substances or situations to begin with? As much as we can. Yeah. And, and then, and then, or situations as well. We’ll talk about treating addiction a little bit later, perhaps. But I want to look at specifically some of the food things that that you’ve talked about before. And maybe maybe we could go back to the fascinating story about how some of the world’s experts on addiction. In other words, Big Tobacco sort of changed their business strategy a few years ago, that is impacting all of us today, even our children.
Joan Ifland 16:51
Yeah. Well, this is, I hope that everyone who’s listening to this, in the next five minutes will feel a tremendous burden of guilt and shame, a lift from their shoulders. So I I do I have this MBA from Stanford? Yes, it’s 47 years old. But I’m very, very interested in business models. I grew up. My dad was a biochemist, executive with a consumer goods Corporation. And so I’ve always lived in a corporate household. I married a business school classmate, both my daughters have MBAs and yet, we’re very interested in business models. So everybody, I think, knows the story of big tobacco. They finally were brought to brought under control in the, in the courts. They finally were convicted of false advertising, but the low tar cigarettes, and for many, many years, I thought, Oh, they just needed a new business, so they just slid they slithered over to processed foods. We had plenty of evidence even starting in the 1960s that sugar is highly addictive. And the first foray you see a tobacco company buying Hawaiian Punch, and starting to addict small children to the sugar. So, yes, the tobacco companies started losing in courts, lots of billions of dollars. And they needed a new market. So sure, sure, sure. They did this they slithered over to process foods. And in the mid 1980s, they bought Kraft, Nabisco and General Foods in three years, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, suddenly tobacco controlled over 10% of every food purchase in the United States. Three years. Wow. But when I went back and looked at it more closely, I saw two other things happening in that period. One high fructose corn syrup came on the market and they had a cheap sweetener. So before that, they were relying on another group of drug dealers, the sugar cartel in Florida. And they would have the their addiction business model wouldn’t work because the substances have to be cheap. The other thing that the mid 1980s is a Harvard nutrition researcher who was writing research reports in collaboration with the sugar industry about heart disease. He caught himself in charge of the dietary guidelines. So this is so so in this incredibly a prompt change. You go from the federal government’s just hitting the ground prosecuting these tobacco industries. In you just you do this like unbelievable surreal flip to there’s the federal government promoting these violently promoting these highly addictive refined carbohydrates. So when you look at the bottom row of the first pyramid, it’s all sugar, flour, and potatoes. So this this tobacco executives must have, like, can’t believe my eyes, and they all ran over and bought the big players and processed food production. And what did they do, they immediately applied the addiction business practices that they had developed in tobacco to process foods and it’s very specific, it’s a highly defined business model. And I call it the five days and I have published on this it is first of all you hide addictive substances in the products. So we all know now with horror that they extracted and concentrated nicotine and put it into cigarettes to make them more addictive. When they got ahold of processed foods they hired this guy how we Moscowitz who had a PhD from Harvard in experimental psychology marketing and he developed a method to put as much sugar fat salt into products every process with a product i to the maximum to the point where the consumer wouldn’t like it anymore. So products that never had sugar in them suddenly had sugar in them like pasta sauce
it’s it’s just really hard to imagine that there could be a person like that especially when you see how deeply addictive how much those substances alter brain function. But anyway, how am I scored said it is now worth $45 million from Corporation consulting fees. So unimaginable So okay, so addictive product formulation is the first day. The next one is advertising because of what we just talked about with the associative cueing. Now your brain has had had some sugar or flour or gluten or excessive salt or dairy or processed fats or some kind of sweetener, caffeine, food additives. And now it associates that with well I ate it at school. So now school is a trigger. I ate it in the kitchen. Now the kitchen is a trigger I needed in every room of my house. My whole house is now a massive trigger. I hate it in my car, my car is now a trigger. And people are just walking around with their brains flooded with cravings, this craving neurotransmitters. Okay, so advertising. You know, they ramped up the number of Saturday morning commercials to children from about 150 already in 1985. Within seven years, it was 550. And Nickelodeon took those highly. This is Pavlovian conditioning of children’s reward centers. They carried those commercials to 65 million American households. And within 10 years, the obesity rate among children had increased by 50% from 10% to 15%. And then you’re struggling to see these epidemics of fatty liver and asthma and high blood pressure and diabetes in children. Da so advertised and then availability, you know, as they were forced to take out the cigarette vending machines, they just placed replace them with snack and soda machines. And you saw gas stations change to process food outlets, and you saw the big box grocery stores. Big volumes of food are very triggering. It’s just the landscape change that blanketed with these fast food outlets and shopping malls. They’re just saturated with the smell of these highly toxic but very addictive foods. Okay, so availability, young age of onset, you know, they went for the smallest children, the toddlers. They had tried to get to 10 year old boys was cigarettes. The Joe Cool cartoon was aimed at 10 year old They were stopped from doing that, but nobody’s ever stopped them from marketing sugar to very, very small children. And then affordability. So that’s why the introduction of high fructose corn syrup was so crucial to the whole business model. I really feel like that that verse the dam, once they saw they had a very, very cheap sweetener, and they didn’t care. So high fructose corn syrup, converts to fat, two and a half times more effectively than sugar. So like the head of Coca Cola, and Roberto, contagious, I think is how you pronounce his name. He gets this information, they do the research inside coke. And they see that high fructose corn syrup converts to fat two and a half times more readily than sugar. What does he do? He takes the sugar out of Cokes, he replaces it with high fructose corn syrup and doubles his advertising budget. And within a couple of years, the the soda drinking belt, which is called the Bible Belt, becomes the obesity belt. No kidding. Not mysterious. At all. People in that part of the world. This is the south of the United States. Kind of stretching from Texas, probably to the to Virginia. Um, hey, the it’s not uncommon for people to drink up to four full sugar cokes a day.
Robert Lufkin 26:44
And just Just for reference, the American Heart Association recommends maximum dose of sugar for 18 year olds and under, which is less than one Coke a day is a maximum safe dose of sugar. So for time for cokes a day is is huge.
Joan Ifland 27:06
And really, there is no safe dose of sugar like there’s no safe dose of cigarettes. Yeah, so you see, it’s just it’s the same business model. Yeah, it’s about it really did get kicked off the board of the American Lung Association for a while. And now all those people they know. And just just it’s the same business model compromise the the nonprofit, just same business model.
Robert Lufkin 27:39
Some of our listeners or audiences probably wondering, the difference between addiction they say, Well, I, I get it. You know, sugar is bad for me. I’m addicted to it. How about other things that bring me pleasure? Is it that it like, if someone likes listening to classical music, and they sit down and listen to classical music that brings them pleasure, it may even rewire parts of their brain? Is there something about addiction related to harm? Or how do we parse that out?
Joan Ifland 28:16
Good question. It has to, for in order for something to be called an addiction, it has to cause harm. So I am a bit just like, hanging on for dear life until I can get home, sit on the sofa, turn on the classical music and close my eyes. That’s not an addiction. But if I am just hanging on until I could get home and eat that German chocolate cake that I hid in the laundry room. That’s an addiction.
Robert Lufkin 28:50
It seems like if, yeah, this, this issue we’re dealing with, with processed foods leading to obesity and all. As an addiction, we need to approach it differently than many of the benefits people are using today for weight control and obesity control. And it seems like no wonder they’re all failing. What do they need to do differently to treat an addiction versus just eat less exercise more of those kinds of things.
Joan Ifland 29:27
So there are three three phases of skill development needed to beat this addiction. And the first one is acceptance. Once you get acceptance, then you the door opens to doing the right kind of program. And there are three things to be to be to go through that process of acceptance and it’s it’s an education process and people Write to us and get videos and stuff that one is accepting that it’s an addiction. It’s it’s not air thing that you’ve been told. It’s none of those things. It’s not your childhood issues. It’s not an eating disorder. It’s just like eating disorder. Are you kidding me? It’s like, so is smoking a breathing disorder? No. It’s cocaine addiction is snorting disorder. Oh, no, it’s not. It’s an addiction. It is substances. So what actually is an addiction, and then to accepting that it’s a severe addiction. So a severe addiction is an addiction in which a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of the brain, a big part of the brain is being has been trained to behave in an addictive pattern. And then the third thing to accept is that it’s going to be immersion recovery for a long time, to repair to not repair, this re rewire restore the brain to stop behaving in that way, and start behaving in a new way. So that’s phase one. Phase one is all acceptance. And we do a lot of educating to move people from I just need to lose 50 pounds, way over here to oh, I need to train with the train. You know, it really becomes the food industry also dominates the the weight loss industry. Yeah. Oh, those those because tobacco style food processors are making the Atkins products, they’re making the South Beach products, they own Weight Watchers. And they just they’ve just extended the addiction business model into the whole weight loss, thinking, restricted calories, actually leads to waking up the food seeking brain. And now on top of having an addicted brain. Now you have a hyperactive food seeking brain, which is the only part of the brain that’s more powerful than the then performance drive. Okay, so phase one, phase two is skill acquisition. So when you get an addiction, your personality stops developing. And the addiction takes over. Though, if you have been fed 50% sugar or baby formula, you never got a chance to develop life skills. So for example, relationship skills, relationship management skills. And if you’re an addicted child, you don’t need that. Anything upset setting happens with another person, you don’t have to settle that or figure out how to behave differently or work with that person to you don’t have to do any of that. I just go get something to eat. And the self care, like you tired, no, go to bed, take a nap. No, just go get something to eat. So emotion regulation, well don’t do that just go get something to eat something numbing. So we don’t develop these basic life skills. So all of phase two is developing basic life skills. So that if somebody says something mean to you don’t eat over it anymore. Or if you get tired, you go like down instead of going to get something to eat. Or you you know, you have an upset. You work through, you come into a community and you talk about it and you come down and said we’re going to get something to eat, etc, etc. And there’s a long list of
it just associated with a long list of circumstances under which the addicted brain cells will create that flood of cravings and you’re like a robot, zombie, you’re going to get it in the addicted part of the brain takes over. And your frontal lobe might be screaming, no, no, no, don’t do that. No, we don’t want to do that. But it loses the competition with these deeply addicted 98% of the brain that’s either activated into food seeking from not having enough food from dieting and fasting or activated into the addiction. This little tiny new brain this little adorable new brain, this little 2% of your brain does not have a chance against the addicted brain or the food seeking brain. What this frontal lobe can do how Whatever is control the messaging that controls the rest of the brain. And then that whole queue management, the whole queue load management, we teach that we teach that we teach that we teach at every second of every day. And we’re the only ones who are. And it’s the key. And once you control the messaging, then if you can stop the messaging from reaching your brain and replace it. So that’s what we’re doing in our 15 hours a day of live programming. We’re replacing that stressful addicted, negative self self loathing, self hatred, talk inside the brain, with kindness. And that that keeps those addicted selves from erupting and controlling behavior. And we’re doing that through conformance Dr.
Robert Lufkin 35:58
Before we I want to get into your particular program, because it is so effective. Before we do that, there was one other point that I’ve heard you speak about the challenges of treating addictions and how some programs use the technique, whether it’s addiction to alcohol or addiction to drugs, where instead of getting rid of the addiction, they substitute things, and they often substitute sugar addiction for that. I thought that was an interesting an interesting process. Could you speak to that a little bit?
Joan Ifland 36:32
Yes, yeah. So that’s another part of this phase two of skill acquisition, is you’re learning to live in a healthy body. So every other just occurred to me in the last couple of months. And every other addiction recovery program out there is not actually helping their members recover from addiction, they are transferring their members to substances that appear to be less harmful, ie processed foods. So if you go to an A meeting, so that there’s cookies just stacked up everywhere in the coffee machine, and so on, and people used to smoke in there. We’re the only recovery community that is actually creating a structure where those brain cells can stop craving.
Robert Lufkin 37:32
Yeah, maybe talk a little bit about your program, and it is available. To be clear, it’s available online, nationally, online. So anywhere, anywhere,
Joan Ifland 37:43
anywhere, you can have an internet connection now you can get top quality, appropriate Good match effective treatment. Yeah. Yeah.
Robert Lufkin 37:55
And what’s the what’s the approach there? What would what would guests experience in that program?
Joan Ifland 38:01
Okay. So do you mind if I just did the third phase before? I’m
Robert Lufkin 38:05
sorry, pardon. Because this is really fun,
Joan Ifland 38:09
that people come into our program all the time in there, when now we’re really trying to get people in their 20s before they suffer so incredibly, for their whole lives. But people come into our program in their 50s 60s 70s, we’ve had people in their 80s Come in, and they are just devastated. I have, I’ve wasted 50 years of my wife. We’re like, no, yeah, but you’ve been in training, so that you can come in here, and now you know, and help the next person, you can help that next person without those 50. Anyway, we make it fun. So the point is, is that we now get to lead an extraordinary life, because we have something to contrast it with. This is a fully fulfilled, purposeful, enjoyable life. There’s this is Maslow’s work. And there are 10 things that define according to this researchers, a fully fulfilled life. And it’s things like moments of expansion, where you just have this brand new awareness. It’s constant gratitude. It’s knowing right from wrong and and being able to act on it. It’s having a humanitarian approach to the world. It’s a list of 10 things. And we and we have a video on this if anybody wants a video. And that’s the
Robert Lufkin 39:48
reward. We can match the show notes. Yeah, that
Joan Ifland 39:52
that’s the reward. So I feel like I have a life that is so full It’s so fun. I’m so happy every day, I process emotions readily. And I would not have been able to have this incredibly high quality of life if I hadn’t suffered so deeply for those first 44 years. So that’s phase three, where you get the skill acquisition is how to have an extraordinary life. And we and it’s a very level playing field, everybody on the planet only has one thing that makes any difference. And that’s today. And we we now because of how much we’ve suffered, we now can gain a skill set in having this truly extraordinary fulfilling life. Okay, so that’s the end of that.
Robert Lufkin 40:52
Yeah, before we, before we talk about the program, I question just came up. If that’s okay. Sure. Yeah. Just thinking about everything you’ve said that processed foods are, are harmful. We I think we would all recognize the dangers there. And we recognize the fact that most people today consume processed foods, at least some part of their diet most people do
Joan Ifland 41:24
is 7% of Americans. Can 60% of the calories consumed by Americans are processed?
Robert Lufkin 41:32
And and from the 2015 study, 87% of Americans were metabolically unhealthy. Yeah, evidence by fat are different things. This connect the dots 25% of people worldwide, adults have fatty liver disease. And these are all tied to food choices, which are tied to processed foods. So it seems like at least at some level, there’s a lot of damage being done. And presumably, there’s a lot of addiction in in many, if not most of these people with processed foods. So the question becomes, how, how can we deal with this at scale? I mean, a, an intensive program is wonderful, and it’s very successful, but it requires a lot of intensive? How, how can we ever hope to reach all these people with something that is scalable? Or what do you what are your thoughts about that?
Joan Ifland 42:39
Yeah, this is, this has kept me awake for 25? It’s a really good question. Um, I think we have an answer. I think we do. So I’m going to combine these two questions, what is our program and how to my mantra, my affirmation we work a lot with affirmations are 90% of our brain is so vulnerable to suggestion that I now know that if I tell my brain, something is true, for 98% of my brain. It still had in the jungle 3 million years ago, where you never see anything, that’s not true. 98% of the brain does not know how to evaluate whether something’s true or not. It’s only this little tiny, adorable fun 2% of the brain can evaluate. That’s not true. The other 98% of the brain says, Oh, we see it, it’s true. We need to file that and act on it. Which is, of course, the devastation of screens. Okay. So the fix is to change the messaging, once you know that 98% of your brain is going to just pull something in and act on it. Like just think of that 98% of the brain is a massive filing system. And which drawer gets opened? In other words, which blueprint are we going to follow today is determined by cues by triggers by messaging in the environment. The brain 90% of brain looks at that and says, Oh, I know what that is. I know that person. And I know what we did with them last time. So I’m gonna open that drawer. And that’s the door oh, yeah, yeah, we went we had coffee and pile mode. So I’m going to put that messaging into my human in and then you get that thought that incredible desire. Hello there. It’s so good to see you. Let’s go get some coffee and paella mode. That is 194 And the brain is working. And the food industry exploits that mercilessly. That is why they will pay a million dollars for one commercial 160 minute commercial in their Super Bowl. Because they are going to put information into the filing systems of however many millions of people watch that program. Sure, yeah. So know that then you know exactly what to do you know exactly what to do, which is protect, like, Heck, with everything you’ve got, protect the messaging that reaches that 90% of the brain. And that’s what our program does. So all of our messaging is self kindness, self compassion, a lot of science and understanding of what happened to you. Release from self blame release from self stigmatization released from self hatred, why? How do you get that stuff to stop? Well, you just immerse yourself in messaging of, I am wonderful, I’m actually quite spectacular. I must be doing a lot of things great, because I’m still standing. And a million Americans die from this every two years, I’m still here, I am determined, I am willing and able to, to do whatever it takes to to re fill out those filing cabinets. You don’t refill them, actually. But you can push the old stuff to the back of the filing cabinet so that the new stuff is in the front. And when that door gets opened, it’s like, Okay, I am really good at relationship management. I set boundaries easily. I, I stand up when I need to stand up. I am kinda in all circumstances, I am well trained and how to enhance other people and create bountiful relationships. So that’s the messaging, will you see that person that you used to go get something addictive and horrible and destructive with you see, that person is like, wow, I remember this person. Let’s go for a walk.
You’re retraining the brain to go to a new thought that that filing cabinet Oh, I see that person that their filing cabinet rolls open. Oh, I could go for a walk with them. It’s such a nice day. Let’s do that. Because you’ve just been around people who are going for walks. Some of the things we do in our programming is we just go for a walk. So you are much more likely to go for a walk if you’re all your friends are going for a walk. If you’re on our screens, and you’re around is really lovely, lovely people. And they’re all going for a walk your your conformance drive instead of helplessly going into the kitchen and eating something that you’re going to hate yourself for it. You helpless like your tennis shoes on and walk out the front door because everybody’s going for a walk doesn’t matter if they’re in New Zealand or Germany or the UK or Nebraska or New York, everybody’s going for a walk Okay, well, we’ll go with you. And it’s easy. And it’s fun. Because you’re engaging conformance type. The second most powerful system in the brain is called mirror neurons. And mirror neurons are the second most powerful survival mechanism in the brain. So for several million years of human evolution, the anthropologists have found that people who survived and passed on their genes were in these small groups, some to 12 people. And these small groups would gather in their nations maybe twice a year and be 125 people. And if you were in that group you lived, your children lived your genes got passed on. And how did you get into that group? You did what they were doing. They were going to look for food do look for food with them. They were looking for shelter or running for shelter. You ran for shelter with them. They heard the predator coming and got out their clubs and stones well you got out your club and stones too. You know they circled your children he circled your children to conformance was survival conformance equals survival. So if you were the human who like to wander off on yourself, have the you know the wild animals were waiting to have you for lunch? You wouldn’t survive. So what the food industry has done is they have hijacked, they’ve kidnapped, they’ve stolen, our conformance drive. That’s why you see advertisements on teebird TV are people sitting on sofa watching TV. And once you see one of those ads of conformance tribers, oh my god, they’re eating that. They’re us. They’re sitting on separate just like we are. So we better go eat that. It’s conformance drive, and it’s vicious. So that’s exactly what we have returned to control of our members, their conformance drive. And we do a lot of
never, ever tell our members what to do we respect them too much. We will have a conversation with them in which they tell us what they think they should do. And then we affirm them. Yes, that’s an incredibly great idea. In fact, I think I’ll do that too. And they were teaching them, even if they say, I don’t know what to do, and so well, I can give you three ideas if you like. So I’ll rattle off three ideas. And then I always end with, don’t do anything, just think about this for days, weeks, years, whatever it takes, until that voice of wisdom in your head comes on and says, let’s try that. Let’s try that one. So we’re trying, we’re not trying, we are succeeding, we are deliberately focused on moving the source of decision making away from the corporation’s back inside the person re establishing, sometimes you’re not reestablishing or establishing for the first time, trust in their, in this part of the brain, their decision making part of the brain. So the addiction takes away choice. I’m going to ask you to think carefully about using that work through choice. Nobody is making up food choice. Nobody is making food choices. Nobody is doing this to themselves. It’s their not the addiction is controlling their behavior. And the addiction doesn’t allow choice. It pulls the brains that blue bloods fight away from the Choice Center. The choice, brain cells are just like, starving, and the addiction. The addicted brain cells are like, Yeah, we are running this show. So don’t do that. Because it makes people feel guilty. And it’s inappropriate. Okay.
Robert Lufkin 52:26
Are there? Go ahead. I’m sorry. Yeah, I’m sorry. That’s
Joan Ifland 52:32
15 hours a day. And it starts in our first kind of program of the day starts in the UK. It’s three o’clock in the morning on the east coast of the US, but even Americans who have insomnia can get up and listen to kindness, and reassurance and wisdom. And then there are gay ends in those both UK and Europe across the Americas in and swith our Pacific team in Australia. And then we only have a gap of, I think, four to six hours now and the middle of the night in the US, before the UK and Europe and in Africa, pick it up again. So yeah, and then we have we have a big library of videos. If somebody really needs 24 hours a day they can get, they can just hop over to the video library and play videos between the live stuff. And the shocking thing is it’s in a typically it only takes a couple of days. People who have not been able to have a clean day of eating and in decades, literally 2030 years, within a couple of days of being in their new tribe. Conformance drive never rests. There they are eating clean.
Robert Lufkin 54:06
Wow. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. And then do they stay on your program? Is it a long term program or they may stay engaged in the community? Or what’s what’s the life life path of the experience for them?
Joan Ifland 54:23
It’s, as soon as you leave the arc, you’re back under the influence of the mainstream culture. So what we’ve we’ve had our theocracy addiction, reset community. We’ve had it for three and a half years. And what we are seeing which gives me great, great hope is that suppose I’m the person in the household who’s in New York. But guess what, you know, I’m walking around with my laptop or my phone, playing this material. Everybody else in the household has mirror neurons to And they start to do you know, their filing cabinets or tickets filled up with art material. And it’s not. It’s not long, I mean, in a space of everything a year or two is not a long period of time, with no fighting, you know, no controlling no disputes. Everybody in the household is eating this way. So I’ll give you an example. This is really funny. One of our members was doing that just whatever she was doing in a household if she had either her smartphone or her laptop going or tablet. And you can play this all day long. It’s fascinating. And these are your friends. It’s just like having neighbors over. And wonder what Pressman says to her I’m so glad she’s she’s better. Remember, like, you talking about? You know, that lady, that lady on your program, and she got home from the hospital, and she’s okay, now. I’m just so glad. Wow. So you don’t have to, you don’t have to do anything other than just walk around your house playing the playing the art material. And it’s fascinating, and it’s really fun. And it’s not programming that you’ll hear anywhere else. You don’t hear people coming in and reporting their their victories, victories, you know, this bank teller was thing so stupid, but I was able to remain kind and compassionate through the whole thing. Nobody, no TV is not reporting that kind of triumph. But you do get those times those kinds of triumphs. You know, my mother in law brought this stupid, disgusting dessert to my house. And I was able to just say thank you, and wait until she left, and then put it down to disposal. That’s a victory call circumstances which he didn’t let the mother in law trigger her into a lapse in trigger into to hurting herself. Yeah, it’s fascinating. Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating.
Robert Lufkin 57:26
Well, I wonder if we if we agree that processed foods have very, very addictive components to them that cause a lot of a lot of damage and suffering in many of our lives. I’m wondering if do you think there are specific components within process foods? I mean, we’ve heard Howard Moscowitz, fat set salt, fat and sugar analysis, but are there specific components that should be identified and legislated against? I mean, cocaine is not legal, you know, nicotine is regulated, you know, in children. I mean, should children be eating this stuff? And is it possible to identify certain components? Or is it more the whole experience of the behavior that ties into it to see what I’m getting at?
Joan Ifland 58:25
Yeah, it’s, it is the processing itself, that creates the problem. Plants have natural endorphins. Whoever created us said, Oh, I won’t make them eat just to survive, because that’s not very pleasant. I’ll put endorphins in the plants. And then it’ll be pleasant, and I’ll help them want to eat. So it naturally distributed endorphin in a plant, it’s fine. It’s when you concentrate it. So a poppy is not going to hurt anybody. But when you concentrate the opiate in the poppy, then it becomes the becomes enough of the addictive substance to create that eruption. In the reward centers in the brain, and plants, all plants are that way. So when you powder them when you take out the fiber, when you turn them into a liquid or a syrup, when you heat them to high temperatures. When you concentrate them, like cheese is concentrated dairy. Dairy has four different natural Kaizo more fans in it, so that that baby cow will go to sleep. Dairy is a narcotic. When you concentrated into cheese. It becomes like the perfect storm of addiction because it also has fat and sugar and salt content. and traded in it. So I love what Marion Nestle was Marion Nestle was She’s the author of food politics. And she was the chair of the New York University nutrition department for a long time. She says if it has a label, it’s a warning label. I love that. Yeah, there is no such thing, if it’s in a package, unless it’s like a bottle of virgin olive oil, or a bag of dried beans, don’t hire, don’t get into those aisles in the grocery store. You know, just spend all your time at the produce department, go across the back and get animal proteins. If you use animal proteins, if you don’t go down the plant protein aisle, get your olive oil, get your spices, get your dried beans and get out because the grocery store is engineered to make you crazy. The grocery store is deliberately engineered by these addiction scientists to to activate the reward centers and flood your brain while you’re in there. With craving brain chemicals. So a my max in the grocery store is 20 minutes. And how do I know it’s time to get out? It’s because my brain was like, Oh, well, maybe I could have that. Maybe I could have that. It’s just now I’ve trained my brain is that when the maybe I go that that voice comes on. It’s there’s there’s another voice that comes on and says Get out. Get out. Go to the checkout right now. Okay. Yeah,
Robert Lufkin 1:01:55
when we were talking earlier, I love offline. I love that you were you were frank enough to describe yourself as a, a process food addict in recovery? Maybe you could take a moment and tell us what, how how you live your life now? And not what choice food choices you make, because we don’t make choices. But what do you what do you eat these days? And what other things do you do in your life, like that,
Joan Ifland 1:02:28
um, the food in recovery is absolutely beautiful. I do eat animal proteins. But we also were at a point where a lot of people do not so
I should method Monday is beef day. And Tuesday’s pork to Edwin says Lamb Day and we have the chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, and then repeat something. So that I’ve learned is that I don’t do well on beef. And I don’t do well on pork. And I don’t really do well on lamb. I don’t go okay on chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, and the plant proteins. So how did I learn that is because I just put myself through a couple months of eating a particular protein on Monday, and a different one on Tuesday. And I started to realize, you know, Monday I don’t feel too good. I feel depressed. And on Tuesdays I feel really anxious. So I’m not going to eat beef and I’m not going to eat pork anymore. And on my shrimp day I break out. So I’m not going to eat shrimp anymore either. And you can do that with vegetables. And you can do that we only eat low sugar fruits. And then you can do that with a starches. Like a lot of people are trying to go carb free. They don’t need to. You can eat a winter squash or Greenpeace without getting the cravings. Also control. Fats are another thing to rotate. So I eat a food plan that nobody else on the planet would eat. I don’t eat the night shades. I got asthma during childhood, during childhood for living in this very stressful processed food home. So I also donate citrus and I don’t eat Nightshade. It just so happens that the whole gourd family will give me an asthma attack. So it’s highly individualistic. My opinion and I could get really attacked for this but I can defend it, is it nobody can tell you what to eat? Yes, I can give you a list of the excluded foods. And I can give you the science, I have a whole chapter in the textbook, all the science 250 citations as to what these drugs are being marketed as food due to us. So I can give you that list, I can give you that chapter, I can give you all the evidence. But I can’t tell you when it’s time to get one of those up. That has to come from your own voice of wisdom, you know, I’m ready to try giving up something it has to be totally under control of the individual. Because if you tell somebody to do something, their first instinct is going to be to rebel against. Don’t do that don’t tell people what to do. If they want some ideas, usually they know already what they want to do. Give them all the encouragement, the identify the strengths they have to do to make that change in their life. And then remind them to go slowly. The slower you go, the further you get. Slow and steady wins the race. Yeah, so um, so we teach that food rotation methods and we’re listening as people are discovering what works for them. And then reinforcing that the plant proteins are beans, including lentils, and green peas, and amaranth and quinoa and buckwheat so there are four plant protein families and if you do them on a four day rotation the other thing is you’re giving your body a rest from each one for four days so that you don’t develop a new allergy from repeat use. Like I gave myself an allergy to eggs as I just like I love somebody eggs all the time and turn up 20 years later rotating also gives your body a rest from each food group for four days so that you don’t get you know develop an allergy like I did
Robert Lufkin 1:07:20
you use fasting at all in your oh no your diet plan.
Joan Ifland 1:07:27
So this is the other thing. This is why this addiction is so devastating and why people blame themselves so viciously is that the says you heard me say conformance five is the second most powerful system in the brain food seeking is the first. And why? Because there’s a very specific circumstance under which conformance drive is not the right survival technique. And that is when there’s a famine. When there’s a famine, if you find food, you don’t want the rest of your tribe to be with you. You’re going to eat all that food as fast as you possibly can, and then go and run and hide. Because the predators, they know you’re there, and they’re getting closer and closer to finding you as you probably eat this food as fast as you can so that you can get out of there. And also so that no other tribe member finds you eating all this food and not sharing it. So when does the food seeking brain this is the reptilian brain this is 7 million year old part of the brain. What activates it? When does that part of the brain get control of your behavior when you haven’t had enough to eat nice dieting that’s restricted calorie diet and fasting. So on top of having the addiction now you have so the American Psychiatric Association has, has identified this as binging it’s binge eating disorder. It’s not it’s it’s another organ food seeking disorder. So I’m fasting is very, very dangerous for somebody with a history of addiction. Why? Because fasting artificially releases dopamine, whoever made us just is incredibly compassionate because basically, if you’re going to starve to death, your brain will release dopamine so it doesn’t hurt quite so bad. And that is the last thing you want a person with a history of addiction to be experienced. In any kind of intense, or abnormal release of any of those craving neurotransmitters Hmm, no way. It’s why why being community is so safe and valuable. Because when you come into community, you actually get a release of oxytocin. And so that will that modulate fizz reward pathways. It’s one of the 80 for incredibly good reasons. And just makes that it’s not easy for many reasons to that you have to. I know I never say have to but I’m saying have to you have to do this in community. And we know that zoom works great to deliver that experience of community. It works great.
Robert Lufkin 1:10:54
I can use community is so powerful there. But how can you speaking of community how can people find out more about your program or reach out to you or follow you on on social media, Joan?
Joan Ifland 1:11:07
Okay, so our website is processed food addiction, calm. Our Facebook group is food addiction education. And I forget to set this search for us on Twitter and Instagram, because I have really, really good people who helped me out with that. So I don’t I’m not too familiar with that.
Robert Lufkin 1:11:33
We’ll include it in the show notes. Those as well. Yeah.
Joan Ifland 1:11:37
Yeah. Um, so process food addiction has all of our services. But if you just like, dang, I got to get into this community and I got to do this today. Just go straight to food addiction reset.com. There’s a self quiz on there. You can join the arc, the addiction reset community right there. There’s a button right on the main screen, just click join the ark. It’ll be taken right into it. Yeah.
Robert Lufkin 1:12:12
Although this has been so great having you with us today, Joan, it certainly opened my eyes about food addiction and all the things that are that are going on and I can’t wait to learn more about it by accessing you your materials and your program as well. But it’s been great and and thank you so much.
Unknown Speaker 1:12:36
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