Are Your Food Choices Affecting Your Mood?

Food & Mood

 

Did You Know – Food has a powerful influence over mood, both to your advantage and disadvantage.

 

Your food can assist you to become more happy and healthy, or your food can undermine your health and well-being, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Food used to be something we ate to give strength and vitality to our bodies, to heal us when we were sick and to satisfy an appetite after doing meaningful work. Now food is produced for profit and instead of being eaten when we are physically hungry, food is now consumed to satisfy artificial cravings. We eat, but we are rarely satisfied, only full.

Food changes chemicals in the body and brain, affecting mood and behavior. It is impossible to be contented and emotionally stable while poisoning your body and brain with artificial and adulterated ‘food’. Present day research and experience are proving without a doubt that there is a connection between what we eat and how we think, feel and behave. Improving your physical diet can reduce stress levels, anger and anxiety.

Enjoying a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, eggs, lean meat and oily fish, for instance, is associated with a reduction in mood swings, depression and anxiety. Eating these foods can help maintain a steady blood-sugar level, which also helps to stabilize mood. Your mood also affects the foods you choose.

People in a negative frame of mind are more likely to choose sugary, fatty, processed and salty indulgence or comfort foods, rather than Life Enhancing ones. Sugar leads to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings and the Sugar Blues. Sugar, though sometimes a short term fix, encourages poor mental and emotional health. Sugar, carbohydrate and processed food consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system and wreaks havoc on your brain, and mood.

A high-quality source of protein – like organic eggs, sardines or a handful of almonds (preferably presoaked to unlock the enzyme inhibitors)– helps to keep your blood sugar levels steady for enhanced energy and mood.

Brain chemicals (neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine) influence the way we think, feel and behave. They can be affected by what we’ve eaten. We are becoming more and more aware of the Gut/Brain connection and know that eating traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods are the best route to optimal digestive health.
Bananas contain dopamine, a natural reward chemical that boosts your mood.

Magnesium, found in pumpkin seeds, almonds and leafy greens, is a calming mineral that gets depleted when we’re stressed.

Leafy greens, legumes, nuts and eggs: These types of foods are packed with vitamin B, which helps to create neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which calms and reduces anxiety.

Caffeine, found in tea, coffee, cola drinks and chocolate, is probably the most widely used behaviour-modifying drug in the world. We often choose to drink it if we are feeling tired and irritable, because it can give us a boost and help us to concentrate.

My main philosophy about what to eat and what to avoid is quite simple. If man has created, enhanced or adulterated a food in any way, then I greatly reduce my consumption of these foods or avoid them altogether. The chances are the molecular structure of the original food has changed due to high heat, forced pressure or some other unnatural process or procedure so our bodies no longer recognizes it as food. This is how some food allergies are created. I prefer to eat foods created by nature, as nature intended.

And last but by no means least is Water. Dehydration can contribute to poor concentration, low energy, and poor mood, so try to drink plenty of water every day and stay hydrated.

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Living Lightly on the Planet

This is a guest post written by a longtime friend of mine, Faye, who hails from New Zealand.  Faye and her husband Don also live A Simply Naturally Life, and in this post Faye tells us about their experience in creating a home , gardens and forest of their own design on what was originally bare acreage in an eco community.

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Living Lightly On The Planet  –  written by Faye

StoneWorkDon and I moved out of Auckland nearly 9 years ago to a bare 2HA on the Kaipara harbour, Northland, NZ. We were committed to living lightly on the planet.

Don had a solar water heating business and I was a school teacher. We were in our 50s, fit and healthy and were committed to living as lightly on the planet as possible. We had enough savings to pay the modest cost of the land and for our shell home and basic infrastructure.

Outside

After that we did almost all the work ourselves and paid for materials as we could afford them from our income. We had a simple shell built professionally, clad in Lawson cypress timber and using second hand doors and windows. Half the building had a concrete floor (garage and office), the rest was mud, – up to your ankles mud. It is now a leather-like earth floor which we love.

Inside

It was an ethical and practical choice to connect to the grid for power but we have kept the option open to go off the grid in future by minimizing our power demand. While our usage has remained at only 2.8kWh per day, the charges have increased over the years. On top of this we spend about $100 per year on LPG for stovetop cooking. I do a lot of preserving of seasonal fruits and we have a very efficient vestfrost freezer but no frig.

Minimising cement use (to minimise greenhouse gas emissions) was important to us so we chose a lightweight construction and used local rocks in many ways. We have planted most of the property in trees to take carbon out of the atmosphere and hope to lock it out of the air through making biochar and building timber. Don has applied 2-3 tonnes of biochar to our soil here though mostly from a generous ex charcoal producer. This has enhanced the soil structure and we hope, in time, to increase fertility and have a drought proof property.

Bottle-Wall

The house is warm in winter and cool in summer due to passive solar design. The insulation is over spec and we use drapes effectively. I love the way the winter sun comes our 4 metre bifold doors, and reflects off the mosaic floor to the ceiling. The earth floor is dark and holds the warmth well into the night. Water is heated by solar energy and we have an efficient wood stove with a wetback, although we really don’t need it. It’s cosy though, to have the fire and we have more than enough firewood. There is always some breeze here and we designed the windows to keep the house cool in summer. Our upstairs loft (our bedroom) has large opening windows which drain heat very effectively when open. We are vegetarian and eat mostly from our garden and trees. The climate here is subtropical so we produce a good variety of fresh vegetables and fruit all year round. We planted over a hundred fruit and nut trees which produce abundantly. Our avocado trees produced for the first time this year. We need to travel to Whangarei or Auckland about every 3-4 weeks for income purposes and buy our basic supplies there. Average grocery spend is less than $100 a month. We have a low – moderate income and live cheaply and simply within that. We try to only use the vehicle if it is for multiple purposes.

Guest-Cabin

Don built two cabins for WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) and guests. They are both under 10 sq metres so didn’t need a permit. We like the idea of building one elsewhere to live in, in the future.

The whole experience of creating a home of our own design, gardens and forest has been rewarding and meaningful to us. It has fulfilled our spiritual need for creativity, kept us fit and in a rapidly diversifying natural setting. One of our joys here is hearing and seeing the proliferating bird life on our once treeless 2HA.

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Let Food be thy Medicine

Let-Food-be-thy-MedicineFor thousands of years people were aware of the healing qualities of the foods around them. That is until the last 100 years, where food production has been taken over, hijacked by the ‘Food for Profits’ industries.

Food that is artificially grown, harvested too early, stored too long and heavily sprayed with dubious products has a much harder time sharing any health giving qualities than a fresh, naturally gown, and unadulterated food.

The following are some everyday foods and some of the healing powers they can contribute to our health and well-being.

Apples
There is truth behind the old saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

• Lowers blood cholesterol
• Lowers blood pressure
• Stabilizes blood sugar
• Dampens appetite
• Juice kills infectious viruses
• Prevents constipation
• Prevents tooth decay
• Helps diarrhea

Bananas
Bananas were first grown in India 4000 years ago, where they were known to help heal peptic and duodenal ulcers, as well as gastritis.

• Prevents and heals ulcers
• Lowers blood pressure
• Lowers blood cholesterol
• Helps alleviate PMS

Blue Berries
Scientists have found that Blueberries are full of anthocyanosides, which kill E-coli bacteria.

• Cures diarrhea
• Kills infectious viruses
• Helps lower blood cholesterol
• Improves blood pressure
• Helps with weight control
• Blocks damage to blood vessels

Broccoli & Cauliflower
The crucifer family of vegetables are known for their cancer fighting properties, ie indoles, dithiolthiones, carotenoids & glucosinolates.

• Lowers risk of cancer
• Protects against anemia and gum disease
• Helps maintain strong bones and teeth

Cabbage
Cabbage has been used to treat scurvy, gout, rheumatism, gangrene, asthma, tuberculosis, eye and gum disease, ulcers and cancer. It also helps purify the blood and is a great tonic especially when made into sauerkraut with the added bonus of enzymes and probiotics.

• Lowers risk of cancer, especially of the colon
• Prevents and heals ulcers ( especially the juice)
• Stimulates the immune system
• Helps kill bacteria and viruses

Onion
Onion has been used as a healing remedy for thousands of years. One of nature’s miracle healing foods, used for the heart, as a diuretic, blood pressure reducer, heart tonic . . .

• Lowers cholesterol
• Thins the blood and slows down blood clotting
• Controls blood sugar
• Destroys bacteria
• Clears bronchial congestion
• Blocks cancer

Garlic
Known around the world for its health giving healing properties garlic has been used to treat headaches, hypertension, rheumatism, asthma, hemorrhoids, ulcers, tumors, typhus, cholera, yeast infection, whooping cough, stings or bites, through the centuries.

• Fights infection
• Contains cancer preventative chemicals
• Thins the blood
• Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol
• Stimulates the immune system
• Prevents and relieves chronic bronchitis
• Acts as an expectorant and decongestant

Ginger

Read the post about the Therapeutic uses for Ginger here.

• Soothe digestive disturbances
• Alleviate nausea (great in early pregnancy)
• Prevents motion sickness
• Reduce fever
• Thins the blood
• Calm coughing and respiratory troubles
• Stimulates the circulatory system
• Helps relieve muscle aches and pain
• Can help get rid of dandruff
• Emerging evidence shows it helps lower cholesterol
• Japanese research has found Ginger is effective in lowering blood pressure and cancer risk”

Honey
Honey is another food that was used extensively in ancient medicine and scientists today confirm its amazing antibiotic abilities, which is why I put it in some of my First Aid Creams.

• Kills bacteria and disinfects wounds and sores
• Relieves diarrhea
• Sooths sore throats
• Calms the nerves, induces sleep
• Alleviates asthma

Oats
I have used oat milk baths to soothe nappy rash, eczema or any other sore or itchy rash or redness. I also put it in some of my First Aid Creams for its age old soothing and healing properties.

• Lowers blood cholesterol
• Regulates blood sugar
• Acts as a laxative
• Soothes contact dermatitis and eczema
• Helps promote weight loss
• Helps prevent cancer

Used mindfully, Food really can be our Medicine!

Source: Natures Healing Foods by Karen Davis

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Tread Lightly on the Earth

Lotus  Tread Lightly on the Earth! What does this mean?

A simple explanation of treading lightly on the earth is to have a light eco footprint or to reduce/lighten your eco footprint. And an ecological footprint is a method for calculating your impact on the natural environment by assessing how much land is required to produce the resources you use in your everyday life. It is about the demand humans make on Nature and Earth to supply the lifestyle they live.

Most ‘developed’ industrial countries are consuming more than the earth can provide. Many cities and towns are struggling to maintain a reliable water supply.

To tread lightly on the earth means to respect the earth, and respect our position as caretakers of this land for future generations, but so many of us think it is our right to pillage and plunder as our shortsighted greed dictates.

If we do this to a business how long do you think it will last? What if one or all members of a household do this, how long would it last? Doing this to our Earth home, how long do you think it will last?

Aboriginal people taught themselves thousands of years ago how to live sustainably in the earth’s fragile landscape. But this is something we’ve forgotten in hundreds of years of striving to achieve more, to produce more, to build bigger and better things.
We have forgotten to walk lightly, and instead mine the earth of its natural resources, clear cut forests, pollute water ways and oceans, alter the landscape to fit our needs, pollute the air, turn the rain acidic and the ozone holed, to name but a few.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the inhabitants of earth as All things are connected.

Treading Lightly takes us on a unique journey back to living in balance and harmony with the Earth, and Life

Make a pledge to do something today!

Be an Example! Help, show, share, teach; talk to children, friends, neighbours, about treading lightly. Let them know why and what you do to create a smaller eco footprint, and share how you do it.

Recycle! Even young children can keep an eye out for items that can be recycled and they can help get those items into the recycling bins. Make it a family challenge to decrease the amount of trash your family sends to the dump. Rather than always using new materials, use recycled materials and items. Giving handmade gifts not only saves money and resources, it is special to those who receive it.   Click and go to the post on recycling. 

Get unplugged! Our world is one of electronic connectivity. Try connecting with your children, family and friends in ways that don’t involve plugging in (even wirelessly). Go for a walk, or try out a board game. You can even make getting unplugged a family challenge. Try spending a day or weekend without connecting electronically. Get resourceful and creative. It can be fun.

Buy locally! Not only will you be supporting your local economy and neighbors, you’ll use fewer resources to get your items home. In many cases, it takes more energy to transport, store and display food than the food provides. What do you think the actual cost on the environment is of a lettuce grown in a large crop of lettuce’ (mono cropping ) in soil that is heavily sprayed with herbicide and then pesticides, then when large enough harvested and transported to a shed for packing and selling, to then be transported up to thousands of kilometers in heavy vehicles to be stored and displayed in a large factory/supermarket/artificial environment to then be sold again. And then transported to its final resting place and the unused parts are then transported to a dumping ground/landfill area. Actually there are even more steps than that in the life of a commercially produced lettuce. Phew, was life really meant to be that complicated, environmentally costly and toxic?

Travel Lighter! Walk more. Start cycling. Carpool. Consolidate trips. Stay home more. Leave your car at home for shorter trips, and make the journey by foot or bike instead. There was a time when people kept fit in their daily life. Now we are lazy and wasteful in our daily life and then pay a gym to keep us fit.

Conserve water! Researchers note that as fast as the demand for clean water increases, so does water pollution. Keep water conservation in the forefront of your mind as you go about your day. Fix leaky taps and toilets, use your laundry rinsing water on the garden and keep your showers short. Only use what you need, not what you greed. When there is no more clean water left, the ability to pay for it will have little value.

Dispose of disposables! Use (multi-purpose) reusable items whenever you can. In our disposable throwaway society what we are throwing away is a Happy, Healthy future; or possibly any future at all.

Live a life of less quantity and more quality; become more sustainable and Tread Lighter on the Earth.

Live Lightly

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Life’s Victim

Life's-VictimThe following is a poem I wrote nearly 20 years ago about an aspect of life I observed around me.

Life’s Victim

Do I choose to be sad?
Do I choose to be bad?
No not I,
Why do you think I cry?

“It is the world out there
That is making me go spare.
It wont leave me alone
Until my spirit has flown
And I am left all alone
Just another clone.”

You wonder why I despair,
It really isn’t fair,
The world is a frightening place,
Just leave me alone to save face.

Why can’t I have a break
So I can stop being fake.
To stand on my own two feet
Is something I secretly seek
If only I had a choice . . . . . .
If only I could find my true voice . . . .

Do I really choose to be Life’s victim?

*

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Simply Living Simply

ThoughtsLiving Simply reminds us that we are much more capable, and less needy and dependent than we think. Living Simply is not only about living with less but is about living a more natural and authentic life. It is about living true to what we love most and our inborn values.

Simplicity is about clearly defining the values that are most important to us, and eliminating that which doesn’t fit.

Are you happy with the amount of unnecessary ‘stuff’, consumerism, clutter, stress or waste in your life?

There is a cost to having too much unnecessary stuff in your life. Other than the hassle of finding, organizing, maintaining, and caring for it all, other costs are the lack of free time and the visual clutter that interferes with the Feng shui and harmony in the living environment and therefore life. I believe a cluttered life leads to or reflects a cluttered mind.

At the end of our life, do you think we will be wishing we had a third garage or the 109th pair of shoes or more stuff around us or more tweets, commitments or emails?

Having more in our lives or buying into the concept that more is better and better is best can mean we miss out on understanding what is of value and important. Society tries to tell us that having more in our lives should be the goal and is the answer to whatever the problem is.

We need more because we don’t feel we have enough – money, children, cars, shoes, space, entertainment. . . . .
And also even when we do have enough, we often decide that if we like something, more will be even better.

So whether we have or don’t have, the answer is to have more. But is more really adding value to and improving the quality of our lives?

I can attest to the fact that you can actually have too much of a good thing. As much as I love chocolate and can eat it like bread, too much of it does not feel good at all. Actually it can make me quite sick, temporarily and more permanently.

The saying goes more, better, best. But what is best. Someone or something is always being deemed better or best. The latest idea, technology or ideal is always changing; it’s always something else; the grass is always greener somewhere else, where there is a newer version or something else that is the latest ‘best’. The best never lasts, it’s impermanent like all of life.

“Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day” ~ Zen Saying

The quality of my life has improved since I have sought to intentionally live more simply and naturally. It is more personally meaningful to me, because it reflects more of who I am, what is important to me and what I believe in. I live more ‘naturally me’ rather than more ‘normally’, as everyone else does.

Real change comes with doing rather than just reading and thinking about it. So the first important decision to be made is to start and then to continue on your unique journey.

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