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The website of Author/Writer and Psychic Medium Astrid Brown. Making the most of 'YOU' i.e. how to achieve well-being and beauty from within ourselves. A truly holistic blog providing information on all aspects of psychic mediumship, spiritualism, philosophy, holistic therapies, nutrition, health, stress, mental health and beauty with a little bit of Wicca for good measure. Feeling and looking good is as much a part of how we feel inside as the outside.

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I am a great believer in Karma, but just what is it? Karma comes from the Sanskrit and ancient Indian Language with the underlying principal that every deed in our lives will affect our future life. For example, if we treat others badly during our lifetime we will have negative experiences later on in that lifetime or in future lifetimes. Likewise, if we treat others well we will be rewarded by positive experiences.

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Today I am blogging about inexperienced Psychics/Mediums. There are many psychics/mediums around who give the profession a bad name, t...

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Sunday 1 May 2011

Why we crave sugary snacks... and not fruit and veg

Finding this article in the Daily Mail reminded me how we can influence our cravings particularly if trying to avoid sweet and starchy foods whilst trying to loose weight. We can do so by the use of essential oils and how they can influence the Hypothalamus. See below the Daily Mail article.

Are urges to eat unhealthy food purely down to greed? We ask experts...

It is the question that has foxed dieters and scientists alike: Why do we crave sugary snacks or fat-laden junk foods and not more healthy options such as, say, an apple?
Some claim to have 'a sweet tooth', or 'a salt tooth'. And many believe cravings are the body's way of telling them what they need. But how true is that really?
Cravings are an overwhelming sensation of desire for a certain food. There are a number of chemicals in the brain that are associated with this
Cravings are an overwhelming sensation of desire for a certain food. There are a number of chemicals in the brain that are associated with this


Experts believe that cravings occur for a variety of reasons. They attribute them to evolution, psychological factors such as stress and unhappiness, and  -  sometimes  -  a genuine need for certain foods.
'It's crucial to remember that a food craving is not simply hunger,' says Professor Andrew Hill, Head of the Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences at Leeds University.
Hunger is the body's way of making sure it is provided with energy, in the form of nutrients from food. When the stomach is empty, it releases the hormone ghrelin, which communicates with the brain's command centre, the hypothalamus. This creates the feeling of hunger and is how we know when to eat.
Satiation is signalled by the release of the hormones leptin by fat cells, and insulin by the pancreas, in response to increased blood sugar.
Cravings, however, are much more complex.
'Those who are starving will eat literally anything  -  even foods they do not enjoy  -  to stay alive,' says psychologist Dr Leigh Gibson, Reader in Biopsychology at Roehampton University.
'Cravings, on the other hand, are an overwhelming sensation of desire for a certain food. There are a number of chemicals in the brain that are associated with this.
'First, there is dopamine, a brain chemical that is involved in learning and concentration. When we see or experience something new, dopamine is released in the brain.
'This works in tandem with other brain chemicals called opioids, which give us feelings of enjoyment and pleasure. The combination of these two factors mean that the brain associates certain activities with pleasure, and it teaches us to do them again and again.
'From an evolutionary point of view, junk food cravings are linked to prehistoric times when the brain's opioids and dopamine reacted to the benefit of high-calorie food as a survival mechanism.
'We are programmed to enjoy eating fatty and sugary substances, and our brains tell us to seek them out.
'Today, we still have the same chemical reactions to these so-called hyper-palatable foods, causing an unignorable desire  -  despite there being less of a nutritional need for them.'
Experts attribute cravings to evolution, psychological factors such as stress and unhappiness, and - sometimes - a genuine need for certain foods
Experts attribute cravings to evolution, psychological factors such as stress and unhappiness, and - sometimes - a genuine need for certain foods


Another factor in desire for sugary or fatty foods is stress.
'The body produces a hormone called cortisol in response to stress,' explains Dr Gibson.
'Its primary functions are to increase sugar in the blood to be used up as energy by the body's cells, suppress the immune system and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also blocks the release of leptin and insulin, increasing hunger.
'This is why studies have shown that when we're stressed, we're more likely drawn towards high-energy foods, such as cakes and sweets. Stress in response to danger used to mean energy was burned up. Stress down to today's lifestyle may have the same effect, though these days we are less likely to actually burn off the calories.'
Then there are the psychological components to cravings.
'Mood is unquestionably a potent context  -  especially negative mood,' says Prof Hill.
'We crave reward foods. The pattern for this is partially set in childhood when parents give us sweet food to show love or reward.'
Anna Raymond, of the British Dietetic Association, agrees.
'Cravings are a psychological need for high-fat and high-sugar foods which taste pleasant  -  but which should, of course, form only a small part of our daily intake.'
Dr Gibson points out that sweet food can actively alleviate pain by releasing opioids, thus excusing us for giving sweets to a hurt child. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that chocolate causes the brain to release these euphoria-inducing chemicals.
Unsurprisingly, more than 50 per cent of reported cravings are for chocolate and most others are for highly palatable foods such as sweets or biscuits.
'Chocolate melts at body temperature which gives a pleasant sensation, and fat and sugar further increase the sensory appeal,' says Prof Hill.
Gender can influence the nature of cravings. According to Prof Hill, studies show that women predominantly crave sweet, fatty and energy-dense food and men have more savoury cravings, although it is not yet understood why.


Sometimes cravings may point to a deficiency in the body. Dr Gibson conducted an experiment in 1995 to test this theory.
His team gave a group of volunteers a low-protein breakfast followed by a high-protein lunch. The following day they were given a low-protein breakfast and a low protein lunch. Each meal was given in a variety of flavours.
On the third day they were given a choice. Regardless of flavour, all participants chose the high-protein option. This proves that if we need a nutrient  -  such as protein  -  we'll automatically choose it.
'We know that animals seek out food when they have nutritional needs  -  such as iron, vitamins or sodium.
Why should we be any different?' says Dr Gibson. ' Cravings for healthy food are more likely to be down to bodily needs.'

(One of my daughters used to love boiled eggs and would eat the egg shells as well I guess she must have had a need for calcium)


' Cravings for these are usually down to a psychological desire for a food that makes you feel better and gives a short-term ''fix''. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, antioxidants and iron  -  so there is unquestionably some nutritional benefit,' says nutritionist Zoe Harcombe.

' It may be an example of wheat intolerance in the case of pizza and pasta  -  ironically if we're intolerant of things we crave them,' suggests Harcombe.
'One theory is that if we don't digest or absorb foods properly, we desire them more as the body isn't getting what it needs from the food. For instance, diabetics can't regulate their blood sugar, leading to low energy levels. But if the condition is uncontrolled they crave sugary foods, as the body believes it isn't getting enough.'

Should you crave salmon, it could be a need for Omega3 fats.
'Some new evidence suggests that taste receptors respond to certain fatty acids,' says Dr Gibson.
'Maybe our system is aware of their presence. Tuna could be a need for salt  -  especially in a low-fat dieter who eats lots of fruit and vegetables but little meat or fish and is getting little sodium,' says Harcombe.
'Dieters are eating more potassium by consuming large amounts of fruit and vegetables, so they need to balance it out with more sodium.'

'Milk contains key nutrients, and if you crave cheese, you may need the fatsoluble Vitamins A and D, especially if you have a lowfat diet,' says Harcombe.

It seems obvious  -  but some experts believe a meat craving means the body needs protein. Dr Gibson says: 'A desire to eat red meat could be attributed to iron deficiency  -  especially in pregnant women.'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1382217/Why-crave-junk-food-fruit-veg.html#ixzz1L63VRtIr

In order to understand how this works, it helps to understand the structure of the Olfactory Tract. 

Most of the nose is concerned with breathing: inhaling air into the body and exhaling it out, however it is the organ of smell and thus very important in a therapy based on the power of aromas! At the top of the nose there are two areas of pigmented tissue known as Olfactory Membranes. They contain the olfactory, or smell-sensing cells, which have fine hair-like protrusions called cilia. The olfactory cells connect to nerves in an area known as the Olfactory Plexus. Once triggered, these nerves send messages along the olfactory Nerves to the Brain, particularly the Limbic System. This is the area of the brain that deals with Memory, Emotions, Our Basic Instincts and Mechanical Functions. When essential oil molecules pass over the olfactory cells, it is thought that these cells trigger receptor areas, which send an impulse via the olfactory plexus and nerves to the brain. Here the information is processed and interpretated (with either positive or negative associations). Depending on the interpretation, the brain sends messages to other parts of the body to elicit a response e.g. Grimace! The brain may also react to different chemicals in an essential oil and produce particular effects e.g. a relaxing or sedative substance may cause the brain to send out a message of relaxation either to the whole body or a particular part. 

The Role of the Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls the endocrine system.

The Pituitary gland lies beneath the Hypothalamus  and it is this that controls the other endocrine glands.

The Hypothalamus receives information about the Homeostasis (balance) of the body, this is achieved by two means:

  • The blood circulation i.e. temperature, blood glucose levels and hormone levels
  • The nervous system i.e. The Autonomic Nervous system i.e. the part of the nervous system that regulates automatic functions e.g. breathing, heart rate etc. and mental and emotional states, our feelings: these influence ‘automatic responses’ e.g. ‘The fear, flight response’

The Hypothalamus responds to these changes by:

  • Secreting Hormones (chemical messengers) that regulate hormones to be released by the anterior lobe of the pituitary
  • The hypothalamus also directly releases hormones via the Posterior Lobe of the Pituitary , Vasopressin (ADH) and Oxytocin
  • And by stimulating a nerve response to the ‘Central Nervous System’ (Brain & spinal Cord)
We can use essential oils to influence the hypothalamus, certain essential oils like Lime in particular stimulate the appetite and are a good choice to choice when recovering from illness when the appetite is poor. Lime is also uplifting and energising and stimulates the digestive system. On the other hand Patchouli essential oil has the opposite effect it decreases the appetite so next time you are having difficulties when beginning a weight reducing diet to alleviate cravings for sweet things sniff some Patchouli essential oil. Remember though if you are epileptic or pregnant do not do so.

    Maggie Brown (Author)
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    1. were do i find this oil ////tony diekman

    2. You mean Patchouli essential oil? from any good supplier of Essential Oil Tony just dont apply it undiluted on your skin. You can apply a drop to a tissue and sniff it or put it in an aromatherapy burner


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    I am often asked various questions pertaining to the spirit world and various aspects of the psychic, here are some of them: I will in time feature more questions and answers as this webpage evolves

    Q. Is a psychic or medium a fortune teller?
    A. It may surprise you to know psychics and mediums are not fortune tellers
    Q. Is it possible to forecast the future?
    A.Well not 100% and this is because of free will.
    Q. What is free will?
    A. Free will is YOUR right to decide what you want to do about a situation, it is a choice
    Q. How does free will affect a situation?
    A. Well before we incarnate as Spirit in a human body, we decide on what experiences and challenges that will benefit our spiritual growth. However we are given the choice (free will) as to whether we go through with the experience or challenge. In effect we are allowed to change or mind.
    Q. So are you saying we all know what lies before us?
    A. Well in a way we all do. Remember we are 'Spirit' in a human body and your spirit does retain a memory but it is deep in our subconscious. This memory is retained deeply for a reason to help us fulfill our experiences and challenges we ourselves chose. However it is also at this deep level so we are not so aware. If you knew what lay before you would you go through with it? Probably not but we still retain this memory deeply and this reflects in our Aura.
    Q. So what is the Aura?
    A.The aura is The Aura is an electromagnetic field that surrounds living bodies, this includes people, animals, plants and crystals and is composed of several layers that are constantly moving. The Aura links us to whats known as Universal energy i.e. that is all the knowledge in the Universe past, present and future. It is on this aura that psychics are able to tap into and access your past, whats going on in the present and the possible future and I say possible specifically if your goal or desire is dependent on other people, for remember every person involved in a situation has free will.