I woke up feeling grumpy. The bright sunshine seemed to be too much, and even the noise of the refrigerator running annoyed me. The morning exercise helped a little bit, since exercise increases oxygen intake and boosts seratonins, but something didn’t feel right. To lift my spirits, I ate a gooey, tasty doughnut, and soon felt even worse.
Sometimes the very things we do to cheer ourselves end up having negative effects! I didn’t know it then, but I had responded to the blues with one of the bad mood foods, sure to bring my spirits even lower.
Bad mood foods include sweets, white-flour starches, wheat, vegetable oils, and soy. Most of us know the dangers of plunge diets, when we stop eating regularly to lose weight and our moods sink, but we don’t all know that certain foods inhibit our brains from making serotonin, an anti-depressant, and melatonin, which helps us sleep. Artificial flavorings, colorings, and chemical additives also can make moods plummet. Even foods that help us, like vegetables, can hurt our moods if they’ve been doused in pesticides.
So if not eating makes me grumpy, and eating my favorite comfort foods makes me grumpy, what else is there to do? Changing the foods you eat will change the way you feel. A few small steps can make a world of difference.
Keep a Mood/Food Journal
Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, recommends keeping track of the foods you eat, to see if you might have a mild allergic or mood reaction. Once you see a pattern, stop eating one of the foods that seems to be connected to your down days. Wait two weeks. Then test and see if having that food affects your mood.
Eliminate the Bad Mood Foods
Making a big change all at once can be too much deprivation, but gradually reduce the bad mood foods in your diet. If you can stop all of them at once, that’s amazing! Going slowly is progress, too, with elimination of one type of bad mood food each week. Soon, the cravings disappear completely. Instead of eliminating a food and going hungry, substitute a delicious food that’s good for you.
Replace Margarine with Organic Butter
After all those years of hearing that dairy products are bad for you, now we’ve learned that vegetable oils and margarine actually are worse for the body than organic butter, so making that replacement not only will make you feel better, but also will taste better.
Eat Locally Sourced, Organic Produce
The farmers markets, like the new one weekly at OOAK Gallery in Yancey County, Tuesdays from 2 to 6 pm, and the Yancey County Farmers Market occurs on Saturday mornings. Produce stands can be a great source of local nutrition. A new farm stand, Produce on the Corner, opened in Yancey at 590 Micaville Loop, offering tomatoes, potatoes, apples, peppers, beans, and cabbage. Boones Farm, at 2135 Double Island in Micaville, provides great produce, and a directory of North Carolina options exists at www.ncfarmfresh.com.