Umami, Food Addiction, and Recipes

In this week’s vlog, I talk about a very important reframe of the concept of food addiction and share a tiny slice of science that could have a real impact on several aspects of your BLE journey, including how you think about the recipes in the Official Bright Line Eating™ Cookbook.



  1. Thanks

    I am battling with constipation my whole life. I use something for it my whole life. I started with BLE 2.5 weeks ago, and it seems to worsen. Is there any natural help? And is there a reason why it worsened?
    I drink 2 L of water a day.

    Reply ·
  2. Naomi

    This was my whole thing from the get go. I knew before I came across BLE meat was my thing. I never cared about S OR F my whole life. Didn’t eat bread til I was an adult and barely ate sweets. I only cared about meat and hearty foods. good heavy home cooked meals. And doing BLE after having gone vegan THAT’S when i became food crazy and addicted to S and F. I learned a lot from attempting to do BLE, but I think I’m gonna have to throw in the towel on BLE for now unfortunately. It didn’t help me. It only made me have crazy cravings and hunger pains that I haven’t been able to figure out over the past year plus. Maybe in another life cycle this will be what I need.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      We wish you ALL the best Naomi, as your journey continues! <3

      Reply ·
  3. Diana

    I have a question. Susan said she’s had arguments with Ari Whitten about whether unami can be addictive; did I get that right? If so, who was on which side of the argument?

    Reply ·
  4. Helen Spingola

    A meet tooth!! Speaking for myself, I never did “meet” a food I didn’t like!!

    Reply ·
  5. Pat Melling Hanbury

    Do I have a problem? I love savory (umami) and sweet and salty. Any of those tastes trigger me. I never met any of them I did not like. I have savory/salty breakfasts as well as sweet breakfasts with fruit. Before BLE, I used to eat oatmeal with butter and salt or shredded wheat soften with hot water, squishing out the excess water and adding butter and salt. Now, I love adding salsa or hot sauce to my eggs over my soften shredded wheat with fruit on the side. Hmmmm . Even though all the tastes are appealing to me, I have a crystal vase from Day 1 of Bootcamp over a year ago. Maybe my brain is wired differently but I am grateful that I was able to stay true to my Bright Lines and not fall into the ditch. I can’t wait for the cookbook that I pre-order in July! I do want to expand my menu and be able to cook stuff that my marathon running husband will like to eat with the other NMFs he consumes. I’ll report on Bright Lifers.

    Reply ·
  6. Dee

    Susan you nailed it again, as usual. I thought of the last line in Captain and Tenille’s song, Love Will Keep Us Together, “Sedaka is back”; talking about Neil Sedaka’s comeback. You are back and stronger, smarter and more beautiful than ever! We sure do learn from our difficult times, right? This all began for me in March of 2018 when you invited people to join you in the simple food challenge. You’ve given me much more shine the flashlight on with honesty, not fear. My continued goal is to heal the brain. I’m a 10+

    Reply ·
  7. Jeannette

    I have always hated the taste of meat. Ever since I was a small child. I literally spit it out because of the taste and texture. I wonder what that means with regard to my taste buds? Are they lacking? Just wondering.

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Interesting how different tastes can affect each of us so differently!

      Reply ·
  8. Devon Potgieter

    Hi Susan , a challenge – try eating only a little weighed and measured sugar at time – with no flour of course. How soon would you be craving more ?

    This is my third year as a Bright Lifer . I love you and your work. I am , however , not a good advert for you as I weigh 20 pounds more than my starting weight.
    I laughed up my sleeve and thought this would be easy …. I never did flour or sugar – no interest . Yet I am one of your failures . Despite doing the 14 day challenge , Boot Camp several times ( about to do it again), Reboot Rezoom, Freedom and many many private sessions with Everett ( still am ) weekly at
    one point . I’ve taken part in Gideon Games , have a long time sponsor who is in your original book ( yes I call the States most nights from South Africa ), am in two MM groups I started and starting a Southern African What’s App Group etc etc etc .,There wasn’t a question about me not signing up for a third year despite being a ‘ failure’ because of course the problem is myself – I’m just not trying hard enough . In desperation I’ve gone plant based and made no fat/ salt combo a 5 th line (of course the potato you describe here would set me off ). I’ve been dreaming of the meatloaf in your recipe book since my Buddy told me her family loved it .
    My point ? I think we are onto something here and that you are currently perhaps underestimating the power of severe addiction of the Umami sense . 4 ounces of cooked or dried BLE compliant meat is enough to send me onto a
    severe craving and binging episode. How many folk are you losing to ‘ failure’ because of this problem ? I’m trying to be self responsible but I still feel like a ‘fraud ‘here – exactly what I shared on a coaching call well over two years ago . Interesting how things work – just this week I posted on Lifers about my struggle and I’m so not alone I found . We are here Susan , loving you and needing you , thank you for seeing us , we need help . Please.

    Reply ·
  9. Cat

    Hi Susan, this blog hit the target for me, and you’re explanation was wonderful. Sometimes I’m not hungry at all, yet crave an egg or cheese. Just a little something, and I couldn’t stop craving chocolate afterwards and wondered why. Your umami explanation helped. I’ve been reading books relating to being chic and elegant. I realized that since retiring, I’ve gained weight and it seems I’ve forgotten how to dress chicly in a more casual environment. Business clothes for years were my go to, but now my body weight gain has stopped me from being fashion conscious, and I tend to wear loose fitting – comfortable clothes. I’m also an introvert which hasn’t helped. This enlightenment for me, as well as today’s vlog has inspired me not only to lose the excess weight, but to stick to it, if I ever want to be smartly dressed again. In the past I’ve been a serious yo yo dieter, now I’m aiming for a full life change😊. Thank you. I’m anxiously awaiting your new book, as a companion to the BLE book I bought when it was released. I’m rereading it!

    Reply ·
  10. Emma

    Susan I just want to say thank you. I have recently returned from a 2 week holiday visiting family who do not do brightline eating. I was in control with my food, able to relax and enjoy every second of my time away and when I returned I weighed a fraction less than when I left by just sticking to my personal brightlines i have structured into my routine. I am a busy mom of two small children and I feel great and healthy sitting at 121 pounds. (I was 140 lb on June 16th 2019) Thank you xx
    Ps. Another great inspirational vlog!

    Reply ·

    Yes, please do a Spanish version for our Latino Bright Liners!

    Reply ·
  12. Ann Southcombe

    I think nutritional yeast might be umami for me. I need to watch how much I use! 🙂 I KNOW any nut butters can’t be near me! Good to know even though I am vegan, I have a “meat” tooth!! 🙂

    Reply ·
  13. Jacquie

    Thanks for the sciences! My question is what’s wrong with the sprouted grain breads?

    Reply ·
    1. Bright Line Eating

      Hi Jacquie!

      You may try them, but it’s not recommended you do until you have a few weeks or more of eating cleanly under your belt.

      There is a module where you will be taught how to apply the “Four Questions” to these foods to see if they’re foods you can safely eat. I strongly recommend waiting for that module before you embark on trying those specific food items.

      1 oz. is the serving size for Ezekiel bread.

      Reply ·
  14. Esther

    Loved that blog. I am a umami and I wasn’t even sure what it was before today.

    Reply ·
  15. Pam Holt

    Susan, I can’t tell you how much I loved this vlog! I’ve always reacted to the sugar and eliminations with a sort of “Yes, but…” Now I understand it. It’s the sugar or flour in combination with umami and fat that really does it. So many our favorite foods are like that. Barbecue, pizza, rich desserts, the list could go on indefinitely. I’m in the second week of my second boot camp and have noticed that I’m jerking back from food porn, like touching a hot stove, keeping my space. I was on TikTok for the first time a few days ago and saw that all the recipes that people were sharing , every single one, were over the top in terms of cheese and meat, often in combination — real killer foods in terms of health. Your blog also brought home to me the spaciousness of food freedom, like someone who has been down on the ground all their life suddenly being able to fly. It is so much better than being addicted to looking for pleasure in food! And on top of all that, you shared the magic secret: The bright lines will keep you safe. So once you have found freedom, you never have to lose it. Amazing!

    Reply ·
  16. donald theiss

    Your aliveness says it all

    Reply ·
  17. Heather Hudson

    OMG! Susan, you’ve put the piece of the puzzle there for me!!!! I can’t thank you enough. I was brought up eating like an eskimo child. I was given only meat, fish, and fat. I didn’t know about umami until you talked about it. I thought that I was just “strange” as fat, meat and fish were my binge foods!!!! Thank you for letting me know about this as it explains a lot to me. God bless you always. I send love. xoxoxoxo

    Reply ·
  18. Belinda Seiger

    Honestly any food can become addictive because it’s not the food, it’s the reward that results from eating. whatever is rewarding to your brain; I suggest that you look at the neuroscience of habit change; see Judson Brewer.

    Reply ·
    1. Jeannette

      Susan has her PhD in neuroscience. So I think she is very knowledgeable about this topic.

      Reply ·
    2. Helen Spingola

      Who is Judson Brewer?

      Reply ·
  19. Deborah Costa-Hernandez

    Dear Susan, I loved this WV! I learn the most when you explain the science behind BLE concepts. I was the child that responded with “why?” to everything adults told me. I still do it as an adult and your explanations speak to my inner geek. I can’t wait to start using the cookbook!

    Separate question: Are there plans for a Spanish translation of the BLE book? I see a need to share BLE ideas with the Spanish speaking communities.

    Reply ·
    1. Stefi

      sería genial verdad ???!! 💃😃

      Reply ·
      1. Silvia

        Ya existe, está traducido al español mexicano como “libera tu cerebro”.

        Reply ·
    2. Susan Peirce Thompson, PhD

      Hi Deborah,
      The first book, Bright Line Eating, has been published in Spanish for quite a while now. It’s available throughout the Spanish-speaking world. I’m not sure whether the physical book is available for sale in the united states in Spanish, but it’s available on Kindle and Audible for sure. The title is, “Libera Tu Cerebro: Las cuatro reglas de oro para romper tu adiccion a la comida, alcanzar tu peso ideal y ser feliz”
      Here’s the Kindle on Amazon:

      Hope that helps!
      With love,
      P.S. — Glad you loved the vlog. Have you gotten the “Best of BLE Science Bundle” yet? Sounds like it will be right up your alley… 🙂

      Reply ·
    3. Alina

      There is a Spanish translation of BLE. The title is LIBERA TU CEREBRO. Regards.

      Reply ·
View All Comments ▾

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>