©2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved.
Eating to beat the blues is a popular strategy. Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite made us laugh sympathetically about binge eating, with the namesake character in her award-winning cartoon strip, Cathy. For over 30 years, the character, Cathy, could eat an entire cake in one sitting, when her boyfriend was behaving in a puzzling way. After eating a cake, Cathy would be portrayed sprawled out on a couch, clearly feeling sick and frazzled. Did eating like that bring her joy and resolution? No. Eating an entire cake as a response to stress was not a successful strategy.
However, there are successful ways to use foods to have the best moods. Bear in mind that the body has about 70 trillion cells. And your body has only what you put in your mouth—food and drink—from which to make new cells. So does it make sense that your cells would function well on a diet of, for example, cake and diet soda? A well-rounded diet of lean protein, dark green leafy vegetables, other non-starch vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains, will give you a baseline of great nutrition. Switch to this simple list for a few days, to begin feeling strong and clear-minded. Vegetarians can use organic beans, including garbanzos, instead of lean meats, in salads and stir-fry dishes. Of course, coordinate with your doctor before going on a very different dietary regime.
If you eat out a lot, order the whole grains, egg dishes, other lean proteins, and dark green salads every day. Kale salad is a current fad food that is widely available in restaurants and offers great nutrition. Grilled chicken- or tuna- Caesar salad is another very nutritious, popular dish that is available at most restaurants. These dishes will leave you feeling clear-minded and balanced. And you will be, um, regular, which will also clear your emotions and mind. Bean dishes contain a phenomenal amount of fiber, so if you like those, they can assist in cleansing your intestines and even help you lose weight. In Chinese medicine, sadness or depression may be related to the energy of the large intestine. See if your mood improves when you are eating a high-fiber, low-sugar diet.
Speaking of sugar, the more nutrition you can get for your calories, the better you will feel. So why eat foods rich in refined sugars? When you crave something sweet, reach for grapes, berries, a banana, or a peach. There are many vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidant compounds in fresh fruits. Fruit without added sugar is now widely available in your grocer’s frozen food section. And in the canned-food section, it is easy to find fruit in its own juice. Health food stores even have fruit-sweetened waffles and other baked goods, plus powdered fruit sweeteners. Switch to fruit and fruit-sweetened foods, and you will be eating at a lower glycemic index. That index is a measure of how fast a food is metabolized, compared to glucose. Many people feel better, have a flatter abdomen, and lose weight easily on a low glycemic index diet.
For low-calorie snacks, veggie sticks—carrots, celery, jicama, green beans, cucumbers—are very filling and massage your intestines from the inside out. So, in addition to being satisfying, these leave you more relaxed. For quick energy snacks, consider going nuts. Yes, nuts! Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are great for both giving you energy and supporting your health. Brazil nuts are very high in protein and also contain selenium, a mineral linked to mood improvement. Almonds are high in potassium, which is key for metabolic balance, mood and blood pressure regulation. Almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are all rich in magnesium, a vital mineral in converting blood sugar to muscle energy, via the Krebs Cycle process. Low magnesium is also a cause for constipation; so nuts can help by contributing both magnesium and fiber. When the intestines are well, you will be in a better mood.
With the Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New Year’s holiday feasting season fast upon us, consider the traditional holiday depression so many experience. Are the holiday blues really just emotions and associations? Or can you eat and drink differently and miss the blues altogether? Why not experiment? After all, it’s your life.
● Kebba Buckley Button is a corporate stress management trainer and the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You, and the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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Susan Joy Schleef said:
Let’s hear it for whole and healthy foods! They definitely do make a difference in my health. I don’t know about recommending those powdered fruit sweeteners though – I’ve read that those are very highly processed and really not so good for you.
Kebba Buckley Button said:
Susan Joy, the powdered fruit sweeteners are better than stripped white sugar for many, because their glycemic index/indexes are no higher than about 80. They are a class of convenience ingredient. Some will be more processed than others. It’s good to check out different brands and products.
However, compared to sweetening a dish with fresh fruit, the powdered fruit sweeteners lack all the vital life force energy and probably some enzymes that denature in the processing. I do not recommend fractionated sugar compounds, such as sugar alcohols– for example xylitol– at all. I think the ultimate sugar management is getting used to the natural sweetness of whole fruits, then never using refined products to sweeten dishes. Thanks for raising this important subject!