All things change. Change is normal. If things don’t change, look around you and do something! Make change good. I’ve been going through a few changes lately in my life and it’s really been consuming a lot of time and energy. I’m ok with the changes, but I must be mindful of what I’m eating and feeding my body during these changes. Let me back up here for a minute and explain. We all go through changes in our lives at some point or other. Changes such as careers, friendships, relocations, churches…you get my drift. Some of these changes can cause us to go through mood changes simultaneously. Mood changes need to be managed, or they can take over and give us a false sense of who we are, where we are and how we view the world. There are many ways to manage your moods, and you must decide which way is best for you (consider therapy, exercise, diet, vacations, etc.).
One way to manage your mood, which I feel qualified to speak on, is managing your mood with food. Yikes! Did I just say that? “But we’ve been told to never manage our mood with food, what are you talking about girl?” Glad you asked.
Managing your mood with food the correct way is completely acceptable and also great for you! Consider this.
Did you know that your stomach sends messages to your brain? Yep! Not just “I’m hungry,” but “THIS is what I’m hungry for.” Yep! It’s called probiotics. Of course I’ve jumped straight to the point here and there’s a lot more in between stuff but for time’s sake we’ll take it from here. That’s right. Probiotics that new buzz word everyone throws around these days. Here’s the short version (but I encourage you to do a little research on it). We have good bacteria and we have bad bacteria (we want both the good and the bad). These bacteria in balance send the right messages to our brains (out of balance, we can get the wrong messages sent) These messages tell us what we want to eat including cravings. Our brains then send signals to the rest of body like…”I’m hungry,” “I want potato chips (ok that’s just my brain)” but the point is, we have to keep our stomach bacteria (known as flora) in balance so that we are sending and receiving the right messages of what and when to eat. I make it sound so simple but it does take work, but what doesn’t? Lol. You can do this.
Here are some foods that help us to feel better and be better without the guilt:
Dark Chocolate: It’s true that chocolate raises endorphins and eases emotional stress.
Mushrooms: Loaded with Vitamin D which boosts our mood and has antidepressant qualities. (Vitamin D supplements are available as an option. Check with your doctor.)
Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to improve our mood. Eat it up, people!
Quinoa: This protein-packed whole grain contains a flavonoid which has a significant antidepressant effect.
Green Tea: Studies show that people who drink green tea have more than 15% lower stress than those who do not (and as an added bonus, it helps with our immune system).
Whole Grains: Whole grains curb heartburn. Who’s happy when they have heartburn? The more fiber you eat, the less food hangs out in your stomach causing acid build up. Test Q:Whole grains/fiber + Less time food in tummy + 0 acid build up = 1 Happy YOU!
Iron: Eat foods high in iron, more specifically, plant-based foods high in iron such as beans, lentils and spinach. Take a Vitamin C supplement to aid your body with absorption of iron. It will help with feeling fatigued and sluggish. It goes back to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream which is due to low iron. See, it all works together people. What an amazing body we have!
Superfruits: Apples, stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc), berries (açaí, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.), pineapples and others. NOT all fruits are considered super fruits but that does not mean they are not good for you. I have only named a few. Eat up!
Seasonal Eating: If we eat in season and shop from local farmer’s markets and farms we’re getting the fruits and vegetables almost as soon as they are harvested which means we are getting the most bang for our buck (more nutrients). The longer the foods are “off the vine” the more nutrients they tend to lose. I’m just sayin’.
BONUS Info: Nuts and Seeds: In your oatmeal or with yogurt is great for you! Fermented foods (yogurt, kimchi, miso, pickles, etc.) contain PROBIOTICS (there’s that word again) and although arguments can go either way 6-month aged raw milk cheeses such as feta and goat cheeses are also great. We’re looking for beneficial bacteria folks…yummy for your tummy!
Laughter: While not a food, laughter is excellent for you. It’s free and extremely contagious. It aids in a happy heart. So do these: meditation, exercise and sleep. All are FREE.
Here’s to a healthy and deliciously HAPPY YOU!