1

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Fermented food addiction

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 31, 2012 at 8:42 PM

I cannot eat fermented foods, because every time I start eating them, I get addicted. For example, I made tons of pickles and I did not even let them finish fermenting! I ate pickles for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as if they were made of chocolate or something.

I did not want to eat anything else - only pickles, pickles, and more pickles. I don't think it is normal. Plus all that salt in them... it cannot be good.

What do you think I should do? Make more pickles (I know I am going to devour them in a matter of minutes) or just take my probiotics (I am not addicted to those) and eat normal food?

Does anybody else find it hard to stop eating fermented foods?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 09:16 PM

But I don't go nuts over vegetables. I can eat raw and cooked vegetables normally (like eat and stop when I am done). But I cannot do it with fruit, nuts and fermented foods. Not sure why.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:56 AM

Interesting how many things are not mentioned in our general biology textbooks.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:56 AM

I am thinking about trying water kefir. Thanks for answering!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 01, 2012
at 12:45 PM

There's probably some food reward issue going on there. While I never had it this bad, I used to mindlessly eat before paleo, but what worked is, whenever I'd get a craving for going back for seconds, like a thought in my head "Mmm, that stuff was good, I should get more." I'd reply back in my head with "Oh yeah, watch me NOT do that." and after a while it went away.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 01, 2012
at 12:44 PM

Hey better to binge on fermented foods than on junk food. :) Don't worry about the coconut butter (other than wasting a whole expensive jar at once) - you'll run out of bile before you can digest the while thing, and you'll wind up with the runs if you do try it.

5249df0c1098a8ea4607cc305f0cbdcf

(864)

on September 01, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Pickles are awesome. You are awesome.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:17 PM

Sounds like you might be a good candidate for probiotics in pill form. I don't think you have to eat the fermented foods for gut healing, they can just help repopulate the neighborhood with good guys. If it is triggering alcohol cravings that isn't good, there is a tiny amount of alcohol as a by-product of most fermented stuff.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:12 PM

The only time I ate a whole jar of pickles was after I went on a long bike ride, and sat in the sun for too long watching a parade. On the way home felt compelled to stop at the store and the only thing that looked good was pickles and water. I just popped the lid and sat there on the curb with my bike and proceeded to down the whole jar. I think I was a little dehydrated.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:11 PM

The only time I ate a whole jar of pickles was after I went on a long bike ride, and sat in the sun for too long watching a parade, and on the way home felt compelled to stop at the store and the only thing that looked good was pickles and water. I just popped the lid and sat there on the curb with my bike and proceeded to down the whole jar. I think I was a little dehydrated.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Thanks for the answer! I don't buy fermented foods, I make my own - so either I make them or not because it is hard to make just one jar.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I add salt to bone broth... I thought it was enough. I will try to add more.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:21 PM

You too? I thought only my body was so screwed up...

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:16 PM

Maybe you were a little low on salt? They are pretty high reward foods though, sometimes one just isn't enough.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:13 PM

Oh, believe me, I don't! I've had to do some serious learning and reprogramming in the last few months. Today is an example. I am usually VLC, but finished off the tacos my son didn't eat. Why? Because they were in front of me. Was I hungry? Not at all. Thankfully now I am paying for it and miserable. At least my body revolts when I do stupid things!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:07 PM

I am not crazy about any other Paleo foods. Maybe only grass-fed lamb. But not vegetables for sure. I have tried limiting them, but... it is so hard. You have an awesome will power!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 31, 2012
at 08:59 PM

P.S. There are definitely worse things than pickles to eat a lot of. The salt shouldn't be an issue unless it is hidden in other foods that you eat or you have a particular medical condition. I wasn't getting enough salt for the first two months of Paleo eating.

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6 Answers

4
F0a9dea438e7943fa05da318773e785e

on August 31, 2012
at 09:57 PM

I, too, have a love for fermented things. I think it was fate, after all, that I am marrying a Korean who introduced me to kimchi. Although not a big fan of red kimchi, white kimchi is AMAZING! Personally, if I know I am eating a ton of salt I just adjust. More water, more potassium, calcium and other electrolytes to even things out. And I have to measure things out. Like if I am eating Korean bbq with my man, I will set aside a cup of kimchi for myself, because if not, then he and I are fighting over the jar.

We only keep one jar at a time in our house, so I don't know if you should have more than one at a time either. Maybe in addition to MathGirl's marking the jar suggestion, once you finish a jar, allow yourself a window of time before you buy another. Then the urge won't be as fresh. Give it at least a week I'd say..

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 10:05 PM

Thanks for the answer! I don't buy fermented foods, I make my own - so either I make them or not because it is hard to make just one jar.

3
5397aae15aca8e82ea39c85c5973d944

on August 31, 2012
at 11:04 PM

Fermented foods in even tiny amounts have preceded alcohol relapses three times since trying GAPs. And yes, once I started sauerkraut juice it was hard not to overdue it, but I did mostly keep servings tiny - 1/4 tspn.

One hypothesis is that fermented foods cause an explosion of yeast/candida which in turn cause cravings -- I've had yeast overgrowth issues ever since adolescence thanks to the wisdom of a dermatologist who kept me on antibiotics nonstop for six years for acne.

Next time I won't start GAPs until I've been sugar- and alcohol-free for three months, and might wait as long as a year before introducing sauerkraut juice etc.

Prior to GAPS vinegar caused intestinal cramping - red cider vinegar is bad news for me. Yet GAPs says fermented foods are a requirement for gut healing.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 31, 2012
at 11:17 PM

Sounds like you might be a good candidate for probiotics in pill form. I don't think you have to eat the fermented foods for gut healing, they can just help repopulate the neighborhood with good guys. If it is triggering alcohol cravings that isn't good, there is a tiny amount of alcohol as a by-product of most fermented stuff.

3
61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 31, 2012
at 08:58 PM

Once several of you convinced me to try sauerkraut, I had to force myself to put it back in the fridge. I would have eaten the entire jar, straight out of the jar. Portion control is a big issue for me. If one forkful is good, 10 is better. I also have a tendency to binge, even on Paleo foods, if I don't consciously make the decision not to. I'm not even sure if that makes sense, but I hope you understand what I'm trying to get at!

Something that worked for me: If there are 10 pickles in the jar, write the next 10 days on the outside of the jar. When you take a pickle out, mark that day off. (I had to do this with coconut butter and the number of days matched the number of servings.) If that day is already crossed off, don't allow yourself anymore pickles that day. I still have the propensity to binge, but not nearly as often. The last time I finished off a jar of coconut butter before my days were crossed off, I didn't buy any for a month.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:07 PM

I am not crazy about any other Paleo foods. Maybe only grass-fed lamb. But not vegetables for sure. I have tried limiting them, but... it is so hard. You have an awesome will power!

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 31, 2012
at 08:59 PM

P.S. There are definitely worse things than pickles to eat a lot of. The salt shouldn't be an issue unless it is hidden in other foods that you eat or you have a particular medical condition. I wasn't getting enough salt for the first two months of Paleo eating.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:13 PM

Oh, believe me, I don't! I've had to do some serious learning and reprogramming in the last few months. Today is an example. I am usually VLC, but finished off the tacos my son didn't eat. Why? Because they were in front of me. Was I hungry? Not at all. Thankfully now I am paying for it and miserable. At least my body revolts when I do stupid things!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 01, 2012
at 12:45 PM

There's probably some food reward issue going on there. While I never had it this bad, I used to mindlessly eat before paleo, but what worked is, whenever I'd get a craving for going back for seconds, like a thought in my head "Mmm, that stuff was good, I should get more." I'd reply back in my head with "Oh yeah, watch me NOT do that." and after a while it went away.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on August 31, 2012
at 09:21 PM

You too? I thought only my body was so screwed up...

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on September 01, 2012
at 12:44 PM

Hey better to binge on fermented foods than on junk food. :) Don't worry about the coconut butter (other than wasting a whole expensive jar at once) - you'll run out of bile before you can digest the while thing, and you'll wind up with the runs if you do try it.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 09:16 PM

But I don't go nuts over vegetables. I can eat raw and cooked vegetables normally (like eat and stop when I am done). But I cannot do it with fruit, nuts and fermented foods. Not sure why.

1
D7f404b29047b12e2c2f528934b7b80b

(133)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:19 AM

Have you tried kambucha? Maybe drinking your probiotics wont cause the same effect? You can get the raw kind without yummy tea mixed in and it tastes kinda weird/nasty, maybe the taste will make it so you wont over do it? Although i must say i do get cravings for it, even the nasty tasting one because it made me feel good.... Humm maybe it is addictive?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:56 AM

I am thinking about trying water kefir. Thanks for answering!

1
C0d789b5009fb55a96c7746057053d63

on September 07, 2012
at 05:42 AM

Fermentation causes proteins to be broken down into amino acids, some of which are neurotransmitters or precursors to neurotransmitters. I get cravings for fermented foods too. One of the more harmful effects could be an increase in glutamate- the nasty part of MSG- which is a neurotransmitter that can become toxic to cells. I get depressed when I eat chips with MSG in them though I can never stop eating them once i start. However I have noticed it in some things that don't have msg on the label too and I'm just in the process of discovering what they are.Its not surprising then that you could get addicted to these because of the 'hit' of neurotransmitters. Also there seems to be something related to neuroinflammation of microglial cells in the brain that increases addiction in general-that is pretty cutting edge stuff though, wouldn't be in your general biology textbook.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on September 07, 2012
at 06:56 AM

Interesting how many things are not mentioned in our general biology textbooks.

1
363d0a0277a8b61ada3a24ab3ad85d5a

(4642)

on August 31, 2012
at 10:22 PM

I totally get addicted to fermented foods too! I get on huge sauerkraut, new pickle, half sour and sour pickle kicks! And salt cured olives! I did make my own but it led to much binging and now buy from some local pickle makers in NYC - there are a lot of fresh lacto-fermented pickled options here, which help me stay steady, but I won't be here for forever and will have to learn how to balance it somehow. Even though it is a ton of salt, I never feel gross or anything after eating it (like from too much movie popcorn in SAD days). I also get super creative with my pickles since I will eat them all day long - cut them into cubes, mandoline them into thin slices, julienne into a "pickle-slaw". I do take probiotics when not eating fermented foods regularly - it doesn't seem to affect the cravings.

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