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A Health Nut’s Guide to Cannabis — Munchies Edition

Cannabis and health munchies Cannabis Now
Photo Mark Bonica

Culture

A Health Nut’s Guide to Cannabis — Munchies Edition

Tips to incorporate cannabis with healthy eating habits.

The average cannabis user is already way ahead of the game when it comes to beating the battle of the bulge. Unlike those beer-bellied drinkers who need a steady stream of redneck cocktails to escape to a space outside of their heads, dedicated marijuana consumers do not have to suck down hundreds (sometimes thousands) of empty calories to achieve a similar result. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some down right evil challenges with respect to trying to stay fit and high at the same time.

Although the plant itself is not a detriment to personal health, consuming cannabis can lead to bouts of the munchies that, for the less than experienced of the breed, can drum up a gluttonous fit of smoke-induced ecstasy with the junk food group. This is a dangerous place for the health conscious cannabis enthusiast, as lingering in that spot for too long, over time, can pack on more than a few unwanted pounds, leaving the individual feeling less than comfortable in their own stoned skin.

But there are some tried-and-true methods for keeping one’s body in check without ditching the weed. Here are a few starter tips that might keep you in decent enough shape for the summer pool season.

Controlling the Dreaded Munchies

In order to tame the beast that the cannabis community refers to as the munchies, it is first key to understand them. Of course, to do this we would have to try and explain a lot of boring science — censors, receptors, binding and all that noise. None of which is really going to help you with the insatiable urge to eat everything in the house after smoking weed. Just know that the intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant (THC) tickles the brain in such a ways that it tricks it into turning on the body’s internal feeding mechanism. And it does this a big way.

But before we go any further, it is important to clear the air. The munchies are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this common side effect of cannabis consumption has undoubtedly saved the lives of countless cancer patients struggling to maintain a healthy diet during chemotherapy. We would even go as far as to say that the appetite inducing properties of marijuana is one of the most beautiful that this versatile plant has to offer. Even in times of good health, there is something to be said about catching a fierce case of the munchies and then tearing up a Chinese buffet with a group of friends. Good times!

But as a person gets on in years, and the old metabolism starts to slow down, those regular red-eyed feasting sessions can become problematic. Although some studies have shown that cannabis users, on average, have a lower BMI (body mass index) that those who do not consume weed, there is little argument that throwing down on whole pizzas, half gallons of ice cream and other sugary treats when the munchies set is bound to inspire some negative weight issues. Fortunately, all that is needed to control the munchies is a little savoir faire.

Stop Going to the Grocery Store High

It is bad enough trying to shop for food with a growling stomach, but working your way through the aisles of your local grocer higher than a mountain goat is an act of sheer lunacy. Not only will this cause you to spend your entire paycheck in one fell swoop, but you’ll only end up with a cart full of frozen pizzas, honey buns and other junk food items processed to the point of having the ability to survive a nuclear holocaust.

Staying fit means eating mostly fresh food. To do this, it is important to make some kind of meal plan, regardless of whether it is done on a weekly or daily basis, and then take on the food shopping with a clear head. Put lots of lean meats and vegetables on your shopping list. Do not stray from the list.

It is also a good idea to check out food websites for healthy recipe ideas and build your list according to the meals that appeal to you the most. This will ensure that when the munchies kick in, you have a delicious, healthy dinner waiting to be assembled in the kitchen. The little effort it takes to plan meals will also keep you from relying on fast food pizza and other convenient food delivery services. But then there is always the snacking issue. That’s easily dealt with too. Keeping a rock star surplus of fruit and vegetables in the refrigerator with allow you to satisfy that savage sweet tooth without going for a late night convenience store run for candy and ice cream.

Find Ways to Eat Healthier Versions of Munchie Favorites

Indeed, the toker throes of munchiedom are no joke. There is no possible way to trick the brain into feeling sufficiently satisfied with a bowl of carrots when all it really wants is pizza or a greasy cheeseburger. While it is crucial for the individual to exercise a little self-discipline, there is no denying that vicious cravings emerge when the body feels it is lacking some kind of nutritional component, even if that food is high-calorie sabotage to your healthy meal plan.

But this too is nothing that cannot be suppressed with a little culinary ingenuity. Coming to grips with your food weaknesses is a vital part of this process. Understanding that there will come a time during the week, maybe even more than one, when those munchie favorites, like pizza, Philly cheese steaks and cheeseburgers, will be the only cuisine that can possibly appease your stoned appetite. So just build healthier versions of the foods you crave the most. We recommend switching out bread and pizza crust, all of which fall in line with those nasty processed carbs, for alternatives like Portobello mushrooms and green peppers. These things can be filled and topped with everything that a person typically needs when longing for these sinful foods — pepperoni, cheese, sauce and more cheese — only without the guilt, bloating and unnecessary weight gain. Just find a way to transform your guilty pleasures of all highness into something that doesn’t completely blow your dietary regimen. It’s not a perfect plan, but it will help in the long run.

If none of this works, try switching strains. There is a variety of cannabis on the market designed to provide the high without turning the user into a diabolical munchie monster. Durban Poison, Blue Dream and Jack the Ripper are a few of the most popular.

TELL US, how do you beat the munchies?

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