©2014 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
© Pamela Hodson | Dreamstime Stock Photos
When you feel stressed or depressed, do you reach for the snacks? A lot of us do! Remember the cartoon strip, Cathy? For over 30 years, we watched as Cathy ate an entire cake in one sitting, after her boyfriend did something puzzling or frustrating. After eating a cake, Cathy would be sprawled out on a couch, obviously sick and frazzled. Did eating like that bring her joy and resolution? No. Eating an entire cake when she was stressed—just made her sick and stressed! It was not a successful strategy. Maybe that’s the very reason award-winning cartoonist Cathy Guisewite made us laugh so much. We understood.
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 making drastic changes.
If we’re not supposed to have night-time snacks, then why is there a light in the fridge?
If you eat out a lot, order the whole grains, egg dishes, other lean proteins, and dark green salads every day. Of course, gluten-free people, skip those grains! Kale salad is a current fad food that is available in many 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 can be related to the energy of the large intestine. See if your mood improves when you are eating a high-fiber, low-sugar diet.
The only time to eat diet food is when you’re waiting for the steak to cook.
~ Julia Child
Speaking of sugar, the more nutrition you can get for your calories, the better you will feel. So reach for cherries, grapes, berries, a banana, or a peach. On the run, keep packets of dried fruits with you. There are many vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidant compounds in 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.
© 2014 Kebba Buckley Button
For low-calorie snacks, veggie sticks—carrots, celery, jicama, green beans, cucumbers, Chinese pea pods—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, pistachios, 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.
New snack food technology is making some great new options available. Now you can buy crunchy, flavored freeze-dried veggies in snack packs. You can get rice-and-bean chips in the chips department. And my current favorite is crisp kale chips! Perhaps the ultimate energy snack, chocolate covered kale chips, is now available. Just look around your health food store, or the health food section of your regular market, for some great, tasty surprises.
So experiment with less sugar and more taste satisfaction. You’ll be less hungry and have fewer cravings. Plus, your moods will even out, and your abdomen may flatten out! Now that’s Upbeat Living!
● Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition (http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc). She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister.
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