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Toxic or True Hunger

nutrition Sep 13, 2020

Toxic or True Hunger


After reading Chapter 6 “Breaking Free of Food Addiction” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, I was saddened by the fact that I eat when (and let’s be honest) I’m not hungry, or what I thought were hunger signs like a headache or growling tummy- shucks- but instead I was giving in to toxic hunger – whoops! I talk about this in my book Cookie Dough in the Dark as I was toxically hungry for years and addicted to food. 


If you know me, I love to eat, so I keep reminding myself of what David Wolfe said, “The less you eat, the longer you live; the longer you live, the more you get to eat”.  Voila, this makes me HAPPY!! And since I plan on living a long healthy life, I’ll be able to enjoy my food for many many years!!


So, I started to really pay attention to eating for hunger rather than boredom, overeating, just because it’s lunch time, my kids are having a snack,  etc., and I started to feel the hunger in my throat, neck and mouth which is where you are supposed to feel it. WOW- who knew!


Symptoms of True Hunger


  • Enhanced taste sensation

  • Increased salivation

  • Gnawing throat sensation


So, what’s up with the belly growling and the headaches?  When we eat food, our body must then digest and assimilate the nutrients (anabolic phase). After this phase (digestion is complete) we move into a catabolic phase, in which we use the stored calories.  It is during the catabolic phase that detoxification is heightened and can cause the toxic hunger symptoms.


Symptoms of Toxic Hunger


  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Weakness

  • Mental confusion and irritability

  • Abdominal and esophageal spasm

  • Fluttering and cramping in the stomach


During the detoxification stage discomfort can arise especially if you are more toxic.  Since we don’t like feeling discomfort we give into these feelings by eating or taking an aspirin or tums etc. Or perhaps you have a cup of coffee, a diet coke or a cigarette.  Instead of letting our body rest and do its job, we mask the symptoms and continue to add fuel to the fire!


The more nutrient dense your diet, the less frequent the symptoms of toxic hunger because you are feeding your cells with proper nutrition instead of food low in phytochemicals and other micronutrients which create more intracellular waste products that will then be in need of more detoxification. You can see how this is a vicious cycle and that if you are toxic you will need to feel the symptoms of toxic hunger and move through them!


Action Plan


Stay strong!  Your body is giving you a message that you now understand as toxic hunger. It is trying to tell you that it needs time to heal. It’s OK to have these feelings of discomfort even though it can really suck!! Here are a few suggestions instead of eating, reaching for a stimulant etc.


  • Have a bath

  • Go for a walk

  • Call a friend or family member

  • Have a glass of water

  • Meditate

  • Breathe deeply

  • Listen to calming music

  • Do a word or math puzzle

  • Journal


It's also super important how you start your day, that's why I enjoy my Fat Releasing smoothie as it helps to balance my blood sugars and stop the cravings and crashing.

Finally, the take-away message:


  • Eat foods that are nutrient dense (vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and proteins, some whole grains, nuts and seeds). This is what I use to help  me stop cravings, drop unwanted fat and feed my body what it needs. Ask my about free kids!!

  • Stop snacking unless experiencing true hunger.  The feelings of discomfort like when we experience “low blood sugar” are nothing more than the symptoms of toxic hunger

  • Pay attention to our bodies – not the clock, not marketing, not what everyone else is eating around you

  • Don’t eat after dinner (more a habit than hunger) so that you can wake up hungry


While writing this blog, my husband came to me with clear signs of Toxic Hunger and I just had to chuckle….this will be a fun adventure for the both of us…especially working through the irritability symptoms!


I look back on all the changes that I have made to my family’s diet!


Around 2005 when I started changing our diets,  I didn’t know what chia seeds were, how important flax was, how awful the “calories in/calories out game” was on my mind & body, the true importance of micronutrients or what “phytochemicals” were- just to name a few. 

Don’t feel like there’s no point in starting, I know it might seem overwhelming but view it as an adventure – sure there will be some bumps and bruises- but keep going- it truly is worth it!!


You can read all about my journey in Cookie Dough in the is what people are saying:


  • You’ve inspired me to keep going on my journey

  • I love your openness and vulnerability because we think others have everything together so it’s refreshing to know we are in this journey together

  • Touching and heart-felt

  • Teaching but not preaching about how to live a healthier life

  • Love the recipe section and practical tips

  • I love how you talk about the mental weight, the heaviness of not being content and how the deeper work needs to be completed as we move forward on our journey

  • Although you had an addiction to food to comfort you, I can see how I use daily distractions like technology, eating too much etc. to avoid the deeper work that I need to do. You’ve taught me to notice my habits and reactions.


Healthy Hugs,



Yes, I want to crush my cravings >> get your guide here

Your book was a Great read! So glad you were able to find the courage to be vulnerable and share your experience with everyone! It will help many of us, I am sure of it! It clarified for me what stage I am in and the direction I need to work on going in my desire to reduce my sugar intake! Also got some tips for sure! Thank you. - Allison
You’ve inspired me to keep going on my journey. I love your openness and vulnerability because we think others have everything together so it’s refreshing to know we are in this journey together. - Sarah

Touching and heart-felt
Teaching but not preaching about how to live a healthier life.  I love the recipe section and practical tips. I love how you talk about the mental weight, the heaviness of not being content and how the deeper work needs to be completed as we move forward on our journey - Christina
Packed with useful health information. Inspiring story that prompts you to be aware of what you are putting in your mouth and the underlying emotional issues. - Elaine

I’m a wife and mum, personal trainer, fitness/pilates instructor, Behaviour Change Specialist, Nutrition Coach, Pain-Free Movement Specialist, author of Cookie Dough in the Dark, creator of Vibrant Living Membership - your ONE STOP shop for movement + nutrition + mindset..... among many other things!!  I’ve had many issues dealing with the scale going up and down, a muffin top that wouldn’t disappear, emotional eating binges that did not involve carrots and struggling with insecurity! Through all of this I just wanted to feel normal. I wanted to be happy like everyone else!

In my teens and 20’s I wanted the quick fixes, the magic pills, the fairy dust – whatever I could get my hands on to make me a lean, happy and sexy machine. Yup, found out it doesn’t exist. I wanted to cry!! I was so frustrated. I felt like I was going around and around until I was completely exhausted and back at the starting point. And when I talk with other women they feel that way too. So, I delved further into holistic health – the emotional, mental and physical – wrote a book, and have been in this field for many years helping 1000’s of women.

I discovered that by being smarter, not working harder, I could get the results I wanted and also for my clients. It started with some really small shifts that I will share with you over time. With this new knowledge, I felt ALIVE, VIBRANT and COMFORTABLE in my own skin. And my clients felt this way too!

My mission is to continue to help women step into the body they WANT. To feel confident & sexy, in control of their food choices and have their clothes fit just as they should while having the energy to live a VIBRANT life.


Ready to elevate your health? As a certified Behaviour Change & Nutrition Coach, I'd be happy to chat with you. Contact me at [email protected].

Healthy hugs,


I look forward to seeing you inside the 5 day stronger to the core challenge

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