Hey there, it's Susan Peirce Thompson, and welcome to the Weekly Vlog. Happy New Year! Oh my gosh. Okay, so we've got a whole bunch of brand new Boot Campers starting the Boot Camp, and in the spirit of people getting started on their Bright Line Eating¨ journey and getting acclimated to the food plan and getting used to it, I just wanted to address this question that someone wrote in. They're anonymous and they said, "I heard you use the phrase, is my food too sexy? Sexy food really struck a button for me. Please explain this term. I am feeling this would be a very helpful explanation as I'm not new to you, but new to the eating plan and still feeling my way, so to speak. Thank you, Susan." Okay, great question. Yes, I use the term sexy food all the time, and yeah, it's not completely self-explanatory, is it? Definitely warrants some further exposition explanation, delving in. So, let's do it. Let's dive in deep to the term sexy food.
I've been thinking about it and it really breaks down into three different dimensions. One is the reward value of the food, and I'll explain that. The second is the level of processing involved, and I'll explain that. Of course, in Bright Line Eating, we avoid processed foods, but there are some semi-processed foods that we allow in Bright Line Eating, so I'll explain that. So, reward, processing, and then finally, complexity. Complexity. There are some other good concepts in the mix here, like lookalike foods, for example. Okay, so let's dive in.
First and foremost, we want to be thinking about reward value when it comes to sexy food. Sugar, flour, fat, salt. These are the elements that make foods more highly rewarding. And there are some foods on the Bright Line Eating food plan that would fall into that category. For example, cheese. Cheese is a more highly rewarding food. It releases some dopamine. It's got casomorphins in it. I plan to do a whole vlog on this maybe next week. But yeah, cheese would be a good example of a sexy food, but nuts and nut butters as well would be sexier foods because of their reward value, meaning they light up the brain, right? Sausage would be another example of a rewarding food. I would say that whole fat yogurt can often be more highly rewarding. Coffee and caffeine can be more highly rewarding. These are foods that some of them actually have some known addictive properties, and yet they're allowed on the Bright Line Eating food plan, and you're sort of left to your own recognizance. You're left to your own devices, you're left responsible. You are responsible for managing and noticing if it's getting out of line for you, if it's giving your brain too much of a zinging, if you're looking forward to that food too much, if you feel like suddenly a lunch without cheese wouldn't be any kind of a good lunch at all. That's something to notice and maybe take it out of your plan for a while or permanently.
Let me think of other foods that have a higher reward value. Most of the foods that have a higher reward value, we have eliminated from Bright Line Eating, right? All the ultra-processed foods, all the foods with sugar and flour, we don't have them on our food plan at all. I'm trying to think if there's any left. This is why bacon is not on the Bright Line Eating food plan. Yep, just too sexy. Too sexy, too highly rewarding for the brain. Yeah, I think you get the idea there. So, reward value is one thing.
Oh, let me speak about salt. I think that it's actually important to add salt to your food because your neurons need sodium and chloride ions to function properly. We don't get enough salt from carrots and lettuce and so forth, so you need to add some salt to your food. But if it becomes problematic for you, you might consider weighing and measuring it, and keep in mind that salt does increase the reward value of your food, but I don't think abstaining from it is the answer. I just think keeping an eye on it is the answer. So, that's reward value. Mostly Bright Line Eating takes care of it for you by eliminating all the most highly rewarding foods, but there are some that remain, namely cheese, nut butters, and nuts.
The next item is processing. Processing. So, there are some foods on the Bright Line Eating food plan that are processed to a greater or lesser degree. I would say rice cakes would be one example of such a food. People who start the day with rice cakes and peanut butter, I just don't recommend it. I just don't recommend it. That's a highly rewarding food on top of a highly processed food. That's too close to the vein of processed carbohydrate with a really enticing fat on it. I wouldn't go there. That's a sexy food. Rice cakes and peanut butter and banana. Yeah, I wouldn't do that. Also, some of the lookalike foods like pastas, bean pastas, for example, Ezekiel bread, I wouldn't go there either. They're in the realm of sexy foods.
Now, these aren't moral judgments I'm making. What I'm talking about is a spectrum of sexiness, right? If you think of a scale from simple to sexy, it's by degrees. Again, we've already eliminated all the sexiest foods, right? They're not on your food plan at all. You find those foods in convenience stores and drive-throughs. We don't have any of them on our food plan, but I'm speaking especially also to someone who's a 10 or a 10 plus plus on the Food Addiction Susceptibility Scaleª and really, really wants food freedom, really doesn't want to be plagued by food cravings anymore. Keeping your food way to the side of the simple end of the spectrum is going to be the way to achieve that. And again, it's not a moral thing, it's just a food as medicine to treat the food addiction thing. That's really what we're talking about here.
Keep in mind that there's nuance because if you're not a 10 on the scale, if you're a six on the scale and you're doing Bright Line Eating to lose weight, it's working for you to lose weight, and you find that the foods I'm talking about are fine in weighed and measured quantities as part of your food plan, then carry on soldier. You're doing great. There's no need to change a thing. I'm really speaking for the person who is noticing some challenges, and when I talk about sexy food, it really speaks to them and they're thinking, "You know what? Maybe I'm struggling because I am not keeping my food simple enough. How could I keep my food simpler?" That's the person I'm talking to, the person who has more food addiction on board than their current dietary habits are treating and they're still running amok with their food. In that case, you're going to need to make your food simpler, and that's what we're talking about how to do.
The lookalike foods, all these foods that look like foods that are addictive foods, even if they're made slightly differently, even if they're made from beans, but they've made it into pasta, you might want to consider not eating that. You might want to consider not eating Ezekiel bread, even though it's made from crushed grains and not flour. You might say, well, what's the difference again, it's a grain. We are probably splitting hairs here. Technically, it doesn't actually say flour on the label. They're not milling it to the extent that they consider it to be a flour, but they are making it from a grain and it's not plucked straight off the stock. They are grinding it to some extent, obviously. Okay? Okay, so processing. I am thinking about foods like tofu and tempeh, which obviously are processed to some degree to get them into the state that they're in or ground flaxseeds or something like that. Those are foods I would not consider to be sexy foods, those foods. Maybe it's because they're legumes, maybe it's because the way that they're processed doesn't seem to be triggering to anybody. I think those foods are simple.
And now we come to the third dimension, which is complexity. This is usually what we're talking about when we talk about sexy food. We're talking about adding a lot of condiments. We're talking about having lots of ingredients. We're talking about lots of spices. We're talking about making your food far richer, rewarding, flavorful, and it's not that we have anything against flavor, but definitely layering it in extensively makes the food sexier. It slides it up the spectrum from simple up to sexy. There's a big difference between having butternut squash that you've steamed or just put in the microwave till it's soft enough to eat versus having butternut squash that you've sprayed with spray oil. Don't be fooled. There's definitely oil in spray oil, and hence fat, and hence calories. There's nothing wrong with fat and calories. It's just that you're actually putting oil on your food, right? The can says zero calories. That's a lie that's based on a one seventh second spray or something that nobody's physically able to do. If you spray it down with oil, or coat it in oil, even worse, and then roast it, there's something about that procedure that makes the food far sexier. Roasted vegetables are way sexier than steamed vegetables. They're more delicious and they could be fine for you, right? Again, no moral judgment here. I've eaten plenty of roasted vegetables and been Bright and felt great and been free, and it's been fine, right? If I am needing to roast my vegetables and also needing to make sure there's a little bit of oil on there when I roast them and I'm attached to it and I'm doing it regularly, not only for me, is that going to affect my weight, but it's also going to affect my peace of mind. I need to be doing a lot of my vegetables steamed or just yeah, steamed or just microwaved, just simpler.
Let me go back to what I was saying though. There's a huge difference between steaming butternut squash or cooking it in the microwave versus roasting it with some oil versus roasting it with some oil, and then sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg and all kinds of pumpkin pie spice all over it because now you're getting into the domain of a lookalike food, right? You're trying to make it seem like pumpkin pie, and that is not conducive to mental peace in general. That's starting to tip the scale way into the sexy realm, right? Butternut squash is pretty sweet, and now if you're adding some salt and some cinnamon, now you're definitely getting into the realm of pretty darn sexy. So this is what I mean when I say complexity, layering in different elements and aiming to create a whoosh in the brain that starts to get problematic.
Melted cheese is another one that I think is way over the line. I personally never, ever, ever, ever melt cheese. There's something about doing that, that is, it's addictive. It's just really addictive, right? If I'm ever going to eat cheese, which I don't tend to do because it's really not very healthy and my system doesn't like it, I would weigh two ounces of cheese and I would just have little chunks or a block or some string cheese or something like that, and I would eat it whole and separate and not melted onto my food. That would be another example of complexity that makes food super sexy. Then if you just think about vegetables like one vegetable, steamed, is the ultimate in simplicity. A green vegetable steamed, boom, simple six ounces of steamed broccoli. Doesn't get simpler than that. When you start to add oil, when you start to roast, when you start to add garlic, when you start to add spices, when you start to add multiple vegetables, now you're doing a stir fry, and now you're adding lots of different vegetables together. You're adding mushrooms and onions and broccoli and stir frying it together. All of those things gradually increase the complexity level. Again, no judgment. There's nothing that says that that's not Bright. It's just that you've asked what makes food sexier. Complexity is one of the things that makes it sexier.
If you're really looking to simplify food and see what kind of effect that has on your brain, try eating whole foods one food per category at a time with the simplest preparations, with no added oil in those preparations, and see what happens to your brain and add some salt and pepper at the table. Add some salt and pepper. I find that simple food is delicious, and when I am hungry for the next meal, I haven't eaten anything in between meals. My brain and my body are so ready for that food. It hits my taste buds just right. And it's amazing. It's enough, it's enough. The simpler I keep my food, the more likely the next simple meal is going to absolutely feel like enough. Because simple food begets a brain that appreciates simple food. And sexy food begets a brain that needs sexy food. That's exactly the point here, is that with each choice, with each meal, we are creating a brain that is either satisfied or needy, and we don't want a brain that's needy. Starting to lighten up on the sexy food and keep it simpler and simpler and simpler is a favor to our future self that will ultimately have a brain that is satisfied with simple food, that loves it, that is delighted, that is grateful, that is peaceful, that is calm, and for whom it is truly enough. Thank you, dear one for your question. Congratulations to everyone who's starting the Bright Line Eating Boot Camp. Happy 2024. I'll see you next week.