Fuel your body with proper nutrition and control your mood throughout the day. Do you ever feel exhausted shortly after eating lunch or dinner? I know most of us can get pretty tired around 2-3 pm. This is because your blood sugar increases from the food you ate which also can lead to brain fog and fatigue.
According to Harvard Health “Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.”
Let’s take an honest look at your diet and see where you may be able to make some adjustments and improvements for the sake of your overall health and mood. Many people don’t even realize the amount of sugar, refined carbohydrates or processed they are consuming.
If you’re not sure where to begin, I’ve created a list of some items you’ll want to limit or get rid of altogether. If you are planning on making any drastic changes to your diet, make sure you run this by your physician as this is for informational purposes only. For most people, the sustainable way to create change is do take baby steps. One small thing at a time and then gradually increase the changes.
Foods to Limit
- Processed Foods
- Products Containing High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Sugar (added sweeteners)
- Refined Carbohydrates/Grains
High fructose corn syrup is found in a lot of items on the grocery store shelves, including “healthy” things like bread, crackers, cereal, salad dressings and yogurt. It’s not known to be any worse than sugar itself, but neither one are “good” for your overall health. Read the ingredients on every product you choose, if high fructose corn syrup is listed look for another brand.
To learn take a deep dive and learn the 56 different types of sugars and what those mean for you health, I recommend checking out Healthline’s article: The 56 Names of Sugar.
That article will detail which sugars are healthier alternatives and which ones you’ll want to try and stay away from if possible. There is also an incredible documentary called Fed Up, which is so informative and entertaining!
Refined carbohydrates refer to sugars or grains that are lacking essential nutrients. Some examples of these foods include bread, pasta, sugary drinks (juice and soda), cereal, white flour and white rice.
Additives + Preservatives
There are many things that are wrong with food additives and preservatives. They are so toxic for the body that other countries have banned several of these items that are still being allowed in the U.S.
It’s scary to know that several food colorings have been linked to cancer and are still being used and fed to our children. The color has nothing to do with the nutritional value of the food or the taste or anything, it’s just an unnecessary additive. Currently the FDA still recognizes food coloring as “safe”.
According to Food Matters, Aspartame may lead to increased anxiety. If you’re someone who suffers with anxiety, make sure you check the label on what you’re eating or drinking to ensure you’re not enhancing your symptoms. Aspartame is in many common products even sparkling water, diet drinks and gum! Yuck.
They even make note of an additive called Propyl Paraben that has been shown to cause infertility in women and accelerate the growth of breast cancer cells. You can read the full list of side effects and precautions by clicking here.
Foods to Eat
I know that when you read the labels on your favorite items in your pantry, you’ll be surprised to find sugar is in almost everything, including your salad dressings and soups. Who would have known?
Instead of having a diet full of the above-mentioned ingredients, make sure you’re getting enough vegetables. Vegetables should be included in every meal, and can easily replace other processed food snack. You can cut them up ahead of time and keep in containers in the fridge to grab and go anytime. Dip them in hummus, guacamole or salsa or just munch on them as is. This will help you get your servings in and reduce the amount of toxins you ingest from the other processed foods.
During the growing seasons, shop at your town farmer’s market to get locally grown produce at a cheaper price. When shopping for produce consider buying some products from the organic section. Organic produce is grown without the extra chemicals and pesticides and often not genetically modified like standard fruits in vegetables.
Clearly there’s no good marketing techniques available to make the words chemicals and pesticides sound super attractive so they just leave that part out. You don’t have to go 100% organic, that would be tough for many families as the price point is much higher, but there are certain products that hare more heavily sprayed than others. Check out the “Dirty Dozen” list for the top items you should buy from the organic section.
Same goes for the animal products, but in this case if it’s poultry you want, try and find something that says “cage-free” and “no-antibiotics ever”, or something along those lines. Most of the popular brands have a line that offers this now and even stores like Wegmans, have their Foods You Feel Good About line.
Buying seafood fresh at the supermarket can get quite tricky. There are many factors depending on where you live and what type of fish you’re wanting (frozen, fresh, etc.). For a complete list of helpful tips on how to buy the right kind of fish at your local market visit The Spruce Eats.
If you’re having beef, check the label for “grass-fed”. If you’re choosing to eat cattle, you want their diet to contain what it has always been instead of fillers and grain. When a cow eats the grain, it makes the cow fat. Unfortunately, a cow cannot withstand a diet long-term with eating grain as it’s not normal, so the animal is sent off for consumer packaging before it dies.
When we eat products from animals that have been given hormones or a non-traditional diet, you’ll be ingesting irregular hormones and toxins as well. Long term this can wreak havoc on your body, dysregulating hormones and increasing anxiety and mood disorders because they interrupt the neurotransmitters in the brain.
Your focus needs to be, eat real food, not too much and mostly plants. So more whole foods and when you eat animal products only choosing those that are as natural and clean as possible. Whole foods pertain to all foods in their natural state including, whole grains, beans, legumes, unsalted nuts and seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
Finally, I need to address hydration and sleep. New research shows that women need at least 11 glasses of water per day to keep your kidneys functioning properly and flush out the toxins. That is 88 ounces! I say you should be striving for a gallon of water a day. Start your day with a large glass of water before you brush your teeth and continue from there. Also try (as best you can) to get a solid 8 hours of sleep per night. A restful night’s sleep restores and heals your brain, helping you become more focused and improve your mood the next day.
As always never hesitate to reach out with your own questions about any of the information I have shared by commenting below. You can also join me for weekly updates by clicking here. I look forward to talking with you all very soon. Thanks for stopping by!