Okay, so today I want to talk to you about how FOOD can affect your mood.
Yes, it’s true.
No, I’m not saying food is the only answer or the end all be all answer.
But if you haven’t fully committed to shifting your the way you eat and you’re looking to boost your mood or energy, then you’ll definitely want to continue reading.
You see, I’ve struggled with stress, anxiety, and fatigue most of my adult life, or I guess I could say since I became a mom. I mean, I basically accepted the fact that this is just how it is when you’re a young, busy mom - ya know, #momlife.
But since diving into the health and wellness world, I’ve discovered so much about how FOOD is FUEL and MEDICINE. Seriously, every single day I continue to learn about amazing ways to use food to help myself and you FEEL better.
It’s funny because before I really got into learning about nutrition, I didn’t even realize how terrible I felt eating the Standard American Diet that I grew up on. I was so used to feeling the way that I did that I didn’t really know any different.
Now that I am much more in tune with my body and how it feels, I choose to eat foods that actually make me feel good AND energized.
Since changing my diet I’ve noticed that I’m a lot less anxious and stressed, my energy levels have increased significantly, and I rarely eat emotionally (which used to be my go to coping strategy).
Of course, as I already mentioned food is not the ONLY answer, but it has played a huge role in improving my life and many of my clients, combined with some other mindfulness strategies that we can get into in another upcoming blog post ;)
So now are you sitting there wondering, “Is food affecting my mood?” Let’s find out!
5 Signs Food is Affecting Your Mood & Simple Solutions to Fix It
1. You’re eating too many inflammatory foods.
If you’re eating a diet high in processed foods, refined sugar, dairy, meat, and/or gluten these may be affecting your mood. Your brain requires a lot fuel which comes from the food that you are eating and therefore, you want to feed your brain good quality foods filled with essential nutrients and vitamins.
SOLUTION: Make your diet predominately plant-based. This means load up on whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans/legumes, and nuts/seeds. If the majority of your diet is focused on high-quality, nutrient dense food you will notice a significant boost in your mood and energy.
2. You experience the afternoon “slump”.
Oh, the afternoon slump. You know what I’m talking about right? When you typically start to feel low energy and you want to reach for another cup of coffee or a sugary treat? Sometimes you even notice that you may get cranky and irritable around this time. This is usually because of a blood sugar crash. This crash can be the result of having too much coffee, not eating enough earlier, or simply not eating a healthy, balanced breakfast or lunch.
SOLUTION: Limit coffee intake to 1-2 cups in the morning without sugar! Focus on drinking lots of water and eating healthy, balanced meals for breakfast and lunch. Read here for tips on how to do that. Also, be prepared for the afternoon slump by keeping healthy and energizing snacks available. Check out this post for ideas.
3. You often get hangry.
You know the feeling where you’re angry, frustrated, and irritable because you REALLY just need to eat? Yeah, me too. Sometimes I can really get hangry and it’s not cute. This usually happens when your blood sugar is unstable. It
SOLUTION: Make balancing your blood sugar a priority by eat magic meals, mindful eating, and staying hydrated. Also, remember not to skip meals or ignore your hunger cues. Get in tune with your body and eat before it gets to the point that you are starving.
4. You crave sugar and carbs.
When we are stressed out or exhausted our body craves sugar and carbohydrates. It is a biological response that is trying to get our body the quickest source of energy. The thing is, while sugar and carbs may provide that quick surge of energy you will also inevitably experience the sugar crash not long after. This usually leaves you feeling even worse than you did originally and may even make you feel more stressed or anxious.
SOLUTION: Similar to the solution to #3, make sure you are eating healthy balanced meals throughout the day and staying hydrated. Include protein in each meal. If you do find yourself still craving sugar, try to reach for a healthier option such as fruit and nuts, energy balls or some avocado pudding.
5. You experience digestive issues.
You’re probably aware that a lot of new research is coming out showing the connection between gut health and our mind/mental health. This is a topic I’ve really been exploring and diving into learning more about it recently. Research has shown that by improving your diet, not only can you improve your microbiome (or gut environment), but it can also improve your mood and even possibly reduce anxiety or depression.
SOLUTION: Focus on eating primarily anti-inflammatory, plant-based foods for the majority of your diet. Increase the diversity of plants you are eating and add in probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi to improve your gut health.
Now tell me in the comments below - have you tried using food to boost your mood? If not, what have you tried? I’d love to hear!!