Support Your Emotional Health with Your Diet
We’ve all heard that...
"You are what you eat"
but what the heck does that even mean?!
The fact of the matter is that what we eat has a profound impact on our whole Self, Mind, Body, and Spirit. Not only will over consumption of certain foods contribute to obesity, disease, and malnutrition, what we consume on a day to day basis can actually lead down a path of mental and emotional disfunction, as well.
Below I have listed 3 things to avoid or significantly reduce to support your mental and emotional health.
These tips and tricks are not to be taken as bible verse but as a way to guide you towards a diet that can positively support your emotions.
Caffeine can be a major trigger for anxiety. It’s what we all turn to to get that morning boost of energy so we can get our day started quickly. However, caffeine can elicit shakiness and nervousness. You may not feel the effects in the immediate, but depending on the amount you intake throughout a day it can trigger your fight or flight response, putting you (first thing in the morning) into a state of stress. In addition to triggering your body's stress response, it can keep you from having a restful night’s sleep.
Tips to move on from our cup of joe: Try slowly reducing the amount of coffee you have over a period of two weeks and incorporating in another morning beverage you enjoy. I have found that a fresh juice or smoothie in the morning gives me the energy boost I'm looking for without the threat of adrenal fatigue looming. Occasionally I like a Chai Latte. It's creamy, earthy and bold like coffee and satisfies that desire for something hot to sip on. Be aware, however, that some coffee shops use a Chai blend that is already heavily sweetened. It never hurts to ask so you're not creating an issue by trying to avoid another.
Sugar and Alcohol can really eff you up if you are dealing with panic, mood disorders, depression or anxiety. The effects of sugar and alcohol (which is processed by the body as sugar) can really wreak havoc on your body’s natural ability to feel energized and, conversely, its ability to fully rest. This doesn’t mean you need to ditch your glass of wine and chocolate square after work, but the key is always moderation. If you are at the point where you are aware of your lack of sleep or heightened anxiety, then it is time for you to do something positive for yourself!
Tips to move on from our wine & chill stress response: Start slowly by simply reducing the number of glasses of wine (cocktails or beer, whatever your poison) per night over the span of two weeks or so. See if you can taper off to only having one drink 3 or 4 nights a week or maybe just on the weekends. Have a sweet tooth that won't quit? Have a handful of fruit instead! I love grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries! They are much lower in sugar and will satisfy your craving without sending you on an emotional roller coaster!
Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye and can cause serious digestive upset without you even realizing it! Because gluten is so pervasive in our modern Western diet, our systems become overloaded which triggers a massive inflammatory response in our bodies! Researchers are beginning to find direct correlations between gluten consumption and depression, as well as other mental health disorders such as psychosis, schizophrenia, mood swings, and autism! Kind of makes you rethink that warm, toasty loaf of bread and steamy bowl of pasta.
How do you transition to a low gluten diet? Rice is one of my favorite go-to's when I'm choosing no gluten. Brown rice actually contains a great deal of protein and fills me up like bread. Quinoa is another protein packed alternative and there are more and more recipes coming out to use cauliflower to make bread and even pizza crusts! When you dive in you can find all sorts of delicious alternatives that satisfy your hunger and actually improve the way you feel physically and emotionally!
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