You Are What You Eat: Sex, Drugs and Chocolate

We have this crazy thing in the United States Called the Food and Drug Administration. “Why is it crazy?” you might ask…because, along with the DEA, they don’t do a good job. Some of the most ridiculous ideas about what is good for you and what is not come from these two organization. It is not surprising that food and drugs fall under the domain of one governmental organization. Food, drugs and psychological well-being are very intimately linked in almost all indigenous and/or ancient societies. What is surprising is that we are apparently completely illiterate as a country about what is a drug and what is not and about what is good for you and what is not. Let’s take, for instance, marijuana…

From If one takes a close look at the conventional Indian medicine, he or she will find that numerous preparations of cannabis have been used to cure dissimilar disorders such as fever, dysentery, sunstroke as well as leprosy. According to traditional Indian medicine, cannabis is effectively used to absolve phlegm (thick mucus secreted by the walls of the respiratory tract, especially during a cold), speed up the digestion process, hone up the intellect, enhance the body’s preparedness as well as function as elixir vitae (a vital magic potion or a quick cure). Unlike the Western medical science, the Hindu medical practice also deals with the spiritual consciousness of a person while healing his ailments. According to the Hindu mythology, whenever any devotee offers ‘ganja’ to Lord Shiva, the ‘king of Gods’, it pleases Him. Interestingly, this relation between Lord Shiva and ‘ganja’ is believed to be precious while upholding an individual’s physical health and emotional or psychological balance.

Some other common ones are Ayahuasca to the Incas, Cocoa to the Mayan and Peyote to the Native Americans.

From (pronounced I-o-wa-ska) ‘Ayahuasca’ is Quechua, the language of the Inca empire, for ‘vine of the soul’, ‘vine with a soul’ or ‘vine of the dead’. Ayahuasca, a member of the Malpighiaceae family, is considered to be the most important ‘plant teacher’. Traditionally this beverage contains a combination of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Psychotria viridis(or alternatively the Diplopterys cabrerana).

In ayahuasca botany 3 groups of plants can be distinguished: MAO inhibitors, DMT carriers and additives. Without the MAOI, the visionary properties of DMT are not present, as it would be broken down in the body before reaching the DMT sensitive parts in the brain. In other words, a DMT-only brew would be inactive. An additive can be any kind of plant, some of the more wellknown ones being tobacco, san pedro and coca. If you don’t know what a MAO is, it” is an enzyme responsible for metabolizing neurotransmitors such as seratonin and norepinephrine.”

From the DEA website: Peyote is a small, spineless cactus, Lophophora williamsii, whose principal active ingredient is the hallucinogen mescaline (3, 4, 5-trimethoxyphenethylamine). From earliest recorded time, peyote has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of their religious rites. Peyote eaten in ceremony has assumed the role of a sacrament in part because of its biological activity: the sense of well-being that it induces and the psychological effects (the chief of which is the kaleidoscopic play of richly colored visions) often experienced by those who indulge in its use. Peyote is considered sacred by native Americans, a divine “messenger” enabling the individual to communicate with God without the medium of a priest. 

My drug of choice is, yes, chocolate. A lot of people don’t think of chocolate as a kind of drug, but the Mayan certainly did. From – The beans were ground into a coarse paste and mixed with spices, water and chilies to create a variety of hot and cold frothy, bitter drinks. Or the beans were mixed with corn and flavorings to make an assortment of porridge-like meals that varied in thickness from very thin and watery to thick and solid.  These dishes were high in nutrients and very healthy. They also were inedible by our standards and a far cry from the chocolate we eat today.FROM – Cacao seems to diminish appetite, probably due to its monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibitors (MAO inhibitors) – these are different from digestive enzyme inhibitors found in most nuts and seeds. These rare MAO inhibitors actually produce favorable results when consumed by allowing more serotonin and other neurotransmitters to circulate in the brain. 

But here is the American drug of choice – High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Bloomberg Business week reports on a plethora of recent data that identifies junk food addiction as being just as serious as drug addiction. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), monosodium glutamate (MSG), hydrogenated oils, refined salt, and various other chemical preservatives found in processed junk food does the same thing to a person’s brain as cocaine does.

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) concerning the findings. “We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”

So, it turns out that sex, drugs and chocolate all have profound effects on your brain functions, health and behavior.  As a society we condemn sex and tell people chocolate makes them fat. We make natural drugs like  Ayahuasca, Marijuana, Peyote and others, that have a long history of medicinal applications and spiritual connection, illegal. All the while pushing food that contains HFCS, MSG, mercury and other chemicals. And if you don’t think we are pushers, think again. In fact, “Corn Refiners spent nearly $30 million on advertising in 2008.”

I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but there is no rhyme or reason in the determination of food safety or nutritional dogma from the FDA today. My advise: read the label and when in doubt, think for yourself. Your body will thank you for it.


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