FOOD & MOOD • Kristin Dahl
Ever wonder why you feel so fantastic on a cleanse? Once you get over the caffeine, sugar, and alcohol withdrawals, you feel as if you have hit the reset button on your entire system: light, bright, and renewed. So how can we maintain that open, uplifted, energized, and balanced feeling we achieve through cleansing?
It’s no secret that what we eat affects the way that we feel day to day. A vibrant variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts & seeds, and adequate proteins and fats offers us ample energy and vitality. These foods leave us feeling inspired and happy. Whereas an overconsumption of over processed, sugary, and salty foods + alcohol & caffeine leaves us feeling like we are on an emotional rollercoaster. They can also create feelings of lethargy, depression, anxiety, and physical heaviness.
We often crave food or overindulge because of certain physical, emotional, or hormonal imbalances. Feeling at peace with what we eat and how we eat is ultimately the most important thing we can do. However, implementing small diet and lifestyle changes supports not only optimal endocrine function, but also emotional equanimity and mind-body balance.
Here are a few key tips to keep your moods stable
BALANCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR – 1. Make sure you get enough protein everyday! This is the key in blood sugar maintenance and will stabilize your moodiness 2. Eat enough fiber & fat – add chia seeds, ground flax & coconut oil or ghee to any dish 3. If you are already struggling with blood sugar imbalance be sure to also add crunchy snacks to your daily routine- chopped veggies and hummus or pesto are both fantastic options. 4. Limit caffeine consumption & eat at regular times everyday 5. It’s also imperative that you eat something 30 mins after waking, unless you head straight out to exercise.
SWAP OUT YOUR SUGARS – If you haven’t done this already – I strongly urge you to switch to natural forms of sweetness and eliminate all other sugars. Coconut sugar, raw honey, stevia, Lucuma, & dates are all great options. Use stevia if you’re trying to get your sugar habit under control.
BE CAREFUL WITH CAFFEINE – Even Matcha can make you a bit moody – watch how much caffeine you are having daily & detox from caffeine from time to time to reconnect to your body’s natural energy source. This will also help stabilize blood sugars, reduce cravings, soothe your adrenals, and reset your hormones.
PROPER ELIMINATION – if you’re not going – nothing is going to make you feel good. Be sure to get enough fiber and if nothing is moving along, make sure you are 1. Properly hydrated 2. Not eating past 8 pm 3. Adding plenty of greens & roughage to your diet4. Sipping dandelion root tea daily. 5. Getting enough sleep 6. Taking breaks from caffeine.
EAT ALKALIZING FOODS –The more Alkaline foods you eat, the more oxygen your body will have and the better you will feel. They also have a natural detoxing effect on the body. Try incorporating foods like dark leafy greens, chlorella, lemons + plenty of fruits and veggies!
FEED YOUR MICROBIOME – Your body stores 10x more bacteria than cells, and the bacteria located in your gut may be the most important. The gut is also considered the second brain, because 95% of your body’s “feel good” hormone, serotonin comes from the gut. Creating a harmonious environment not only aids in digestion, but also helps fuel serotonin production. Feed your microbiome daily by consuming fermented foods rich in probiotics & supplement in powder form whenever you’re feeling off kilter (this is especially helpful after travel).
AVOID KNOWN ALLERGIES - Intuition is one of the most powerful tools you can access when trying to discern whether a food is right for you or not. It’s that gut feeling that steers you to choosing what will work best for you body over that urge to eat chocolate & cookies for lunch. You can also run an IGG Allergy test with your doctor, if you’re curious about any major sensitivities. If you are suspicious about whether a food is bad for you, pay close attention to how you feel in the hours after you eat it.
EAT SLOWLY & MINDFULLY- That way, your body has space to do its job properly and you’re not eating under stress. Remember that food is your number one energy source. Honor your body by being present with your food. If you are rushing through every meal & end up with a stomach ache, that is your body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down.
COMBAT DEPRESSION & ANXIETY – All of the above will help to reduce anxiety and depression but there are also plenty of foods that lift the mood as well. Here are a few of my favorites : spinach, avocado, bananas, spirulina, chlorella, walnuts, cashews, eggs, ginger, olive oil, coconut, hemp seeds, kale, dark chocolate (70% or higher) or raw cocoa, oats, seaweed, chamomile tea, rooibos tea, turmeric & adoptogenic herbs like holy basil, ashwaghanda and maca.