August 7, 2014
It’s tough. I get it. The endless options of sugar filled, cream filled, chocolate covered, quick snacks. They taste pretty damn good in the moment right? And who has time for prep anyways? The repercussions of that choice are hard to miss a short time later when your blood sugar drops, brain fog hits, you suddenly feel a bit snappy, and concentrating becomes a near impossibility. Suddenly a great idea pops to mind: get another hit of that gooey sweet mess to fix the problem. And the cycle begins…
What if I told you that your choice of food from the second you wake up literally dictates your mood, energy levels, anxiety levels, productivity, motivation, sleep, and overall flow of the day. Would you make a difference choice?
Keep in mind that you have two brains – yes that is right, TWO. One in your head and one in your gut. The importance of each cannot be understated. Nutrients have the ability to balance hormones, neurotransmitters, and many of the other critical parts that influence your emotional and physical state.
- The brain in your head needs balanced blood sugar, and key nutrients like omega 3’s (found in flax, fish oil, walnuts, chia, ect), carbohydrates like those found in in whole grains (think oats, brown rice, amaranth, quinoa) help raise levels of the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin, and protein. Dark chocolate is another mood booster via serotonin; but go easy a couple of pieces is all you need!
- The brain in your gut produces 95% of your serotonin. Gut damage, and unhealthy flora from a poor diet, antibiotics, excessive alcohol, and many other factors; can lead to moodiness, depression and anxiety. Gut damage can also progress to leaky gut syndrome. The gist of “leaky gut” is that instead of foods being broken down, absorbed, and eliminated; partially digested foods begin to cross through the damaged and now permeable area of the intestinal lining entering the blood stream where they don’t belong. This triggers intolerances which in turn initiate an inflammatory response in the body and the release of stress hormones. Not good all around. Clean eating = a happy gut. This means avoiding the foods listed below. Probiotics also = happy gut, and is something you can do now to start boosting your mood and your health. Probiotics are found naturally in fermented foods like natto, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and tempeh. A good quality probiotic supplement will do the trick as well.
Bad mood inducing foods to avoid:
Refined sugar causes blood sugar fluctuations, which can trigger mood swings and energy dips. It also triggers chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation which leads to disruption of the normal functioning of your immune system, and a greater risk of depression.
Processed foods have a LONG list of potentially mood busting ingredients. They contain things like sugar, gluten, MSG, trans fats, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and many other synthetic ingredients linked to irritability and poor mood.
Gluten may negatively impact mood and brain health. It has been linked to detrimental effects on mood, depression and even more serious mental health problems. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley and many other processed food products.
The best advice I can give is to be prepared for your day. The great thing about real food is that so much of it comes ready to eat.
Need a snack? Have an apple + a small handful of almonds. Or plain greek yogurt with berries and a tbsp of chia seeds; sweetened with a bit of stevia.
No time in the morning to cook? Make up a few servings of oatmeal on Sunday for the week and put it in individual serving containers with blueberries and a tbsp of flax. Easy peasy for a quick morning meal, and full of mood boosting nutrients!
Eat breakfast every morning, and healthy snacks throughout the day as you get hungry. This helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, and gives you the energy to rock your daily tasks.
And remember, that pastry calling your name is not worth a crappy day! 🙂