The Easy Way to Change How You Eat

Just like how your brain has a mind of its own (the subconscious), your digestive system has something similar (neurons in your stomach, plus your personal microbiome). Your conscious mind is challenged to educate your subconscious, your gut and your microbial flora, all at the same time.

The colony of microbes in your stomach is a living entity that has evolved to look after itself, first and foremost. As a secondary thought, it will look after you–because if the colony keeps you happy, then the colony will be happy. The problem is, sometimes what the colony wants and what you need may not be aligned. For example, if your gut is overpopulated by microbes that love sugar, the colony will release chemicals that urge you to eat more sugar.

If you defy those microbes and eat less sugar, they will be unhappy. But stay true to your new habit for a week or so, and the balance of the microbes in your stomach will begin to change. Microbes that prefer a less sugary environment will start to flourish; your craving for sugar will diminish as your microbe population evolves.

Similarly, if you increase your intake of fibrous plants, you may experience some minor discomfort for a few days. But those fiber-loving bacteria are lurking there somewhere, and as you feed them more fiber, more of them will be produced. As the fiber-loving population increases, you will grow to appreciate fiber all the more.

You need to train your microbiome to serve your interest. If your gut is dominated by sugar-loving microbes, then you will eat sugar and risk suffering cardiovascular and neurological diseases. But you’re smarter than the microbes in your stomach. They will do your bidding if you stick with it. If you repopulate your gut with fiber-loving microbes, your digestive health will improve and your susceptibility to diseases will decrease.

Adhere to your new eating habits for just two or three weeks, and your brain, digestive system and microbiome will be fully reprogrammed. This is the springboard for starting a new relationship with food. You’ll change the way you shop at the supermarket, the way you order food off a menu, the way you snack in between meals. You will know what foods and preparation methods to select, and why ones to reject. What’s more, you will enjoy your choices.