Just recently I’ve had several queries about dealing with stress eating. Coincidentally, I’ve been coping with unusual stress recently myself. I have not resorted to eating chips or cookies; quite honestly it never occurs to me. Instead, my nightly wine ration was creeping up from 1-2 glasses a night to 3-4. Dry wine is easier on my blood sugar, but undeniably has its own hazards, as well as being rough on the waistline.
I’ve come up with a strategy that is working for me, so I thought I’d share it. Keep in mind that I have, uh, a somewhat more extensive variety of supplements and herbs in the house than most people do, the result of nearly 40 years of fascination with nutrition and alternative health stuff. My new policy is this: Around 4 pm every day, a good couple-few hours before I think about having a glass of wine, I take everything calming I have in the house: l-glutamine (an amino acid that helps create GABA, a soothing neurotransmitter), passionflower, kava, inositol, magnesium. I also take kudzu — yes, the Vine That Ate The South. Turns out it has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat alcoholism by reducing the desire to drink. Apparently, its medicinal and nutritional value are why the invasive plant was brought here in the first place.
This strategy is working for me. I’ve backed off to 2 glasses per night again with no difficulty. I thought perhaps this idea might help others.
So far as I know, the kudzu is only helpful for reducing alcohol consumption, and so offers no help for carb cravings. But the other supplements and herbs, by their calming effects, may well help with stress eating. I offer the idea to you.
Re dosages: I’m taking about 1 tablespoon of powdered l-glutamine and a couple of teaspoons of magnesium citrate stirred into water, 2 passionflower capsules, 1 of kava, and 1 or 2 of inositol. (I’ve linked to the particular magnesium supplement we like. I buy most of our supplements through Puritan’s Pride and Vitacost.) There are other supplements that can help, particularly taurine and theanine, and I may add them or shift to them later. These happened to be the calming supplements and herbs I had on hand.
If you’d like more information, I highly recommend the book The Edge Effect by Dr. Eric Braverman. Best described as a user’s guide to neurochemistry, it is very helpful in understanding your neurotransmitter balance, and offers suggestions to improve it, starting with diet and exercise, up through herbs and supplements, and even which pharmaceuticals may help, though of course that requires professional guidance. (This is the book that made me first realize that my sleep problems were related to low GABA levels, rather than the more commonly cited low serotonin.)
I hope some of you find this idea helpful.