Welcome to a fascinating exploration of the often-overlooked world of neutral foods and their remarkable influence on our overall well-being, particularly when it comes to managing our mood and energy levels. It’s a topic that might not have crossed your mind frequently, but understanding it can be the key to achieving and maintaining a harmonious and healthy life.
Before we embark on this enlightening journey, let’s take a moment to revisit the realms of stimulating and depressing foods and how they can affect us.
As Luis Mojica eloquently points out, our choices in food can be likened to a spectrum of stimulation and depression. He highlights that certain foods and eating habits can stimulate our energy levels, while others have a depressing effect. Understanding this dynamic is pivotal in crafting a balanced approach to our dietary choices.
Stimulating Foods (and behaviors) 😃:
- Excessive caffeine ☕️
- Sugar and sweet treats 🍭
- Skipping meals 🥪
These culinary choices and habits can initially provide a burst of energy, accompanied by increased anxiety and heart rate. However, this seemingly invigorating boost can lead to eventual crashes and challenges in maintaining focus and concentration.
Depressing Foods 😞:
- Excessive refined carbs (breads, pasta, chips – anything made from flour or gluten-free flour) 🍞🍝🍟
- Excessive oils and salt (chips, fried foods, processed snacks – be cautious of toxic refined seed oils in packaged and restaurant foods such as canola, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, grape seed, and rice bran oils) 🍟🧂
- Excessive animal protein (red meat, full-fat dairy) 🥩🧀
- Fried foods 🍗
- Alcohol and cannabis 🍷🌿
- Excessive dairy products, especially cheese 🧀
These foods can induce feelings of fatigue, brain fog, and a sense of heaviness or tiredness. Although they may offer temporary comfort, they can ultimately slow you down and diminish your ability to concentrate.
Now, let’s shift our focus to neutral foods, which have the power to restore equilibrium and support your overall well-being. If you often experience energy fluctuations or mood swings, paying attention to your dietary choices becomes crucial.
Here are some examples of neutral foods that you should consider incorporating into your diet:
🐟 Proteins: Opt for sources like wild-caught fish, pasture-raised beef, lamb, or wild game, as well as pasture-raised poultry and eggs.
🍠 Legumes: Include lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans in your meals. These plant-based options offer protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates that help regulate blood sugar and keep you feeling satisfied.
🥜 Nuts and Seeds: Enjoy snacks like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds. These nutrient-rich foods provide healthy fats, fiber, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, contributing to brain health and overall well-being.
🥦 Vegetables: Make room for a variety of colorful vegetables on your plate. Leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and more are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote your overall health.
🍎 Fruits: Savor a selection of whole fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and bananas. They offer natural sweetness, fiber, and a wealth of beneficial antioxidants, fulfilling your body’s needs.
🌱 Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains like quinoa, millet, wild or brown rice, and gluten-free oats. These grains provide sustained energy, fiber, and essential nutrients.
(Note: Grains might not be suitable for everyone, especially if you have digestive issues like celiac disease, leaky gut, bacterial overgrowth, food intolerances/sensitivities, or autoimmune conditions. In such cases, focus on starchy vegetables as a source of fiber-containing carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, baby potatoes, and beets.)
Incorporating these neutral foods into your diet can help maintain stable blood sugar levels, energy, and mood while supporting your overall health. Remember to pay attention to portion sizes and listen to your body’s cues for hunger and fullness.
It’s essential to acknowledge that our relationship with food extends beyond its nutritional aspect. Emotions, memories, and associations can profoundly impact our eating habits. Cultivating awareness of these patterns and exploring new, healthier associations is an ongoing practice toward sustainable balance and well-being.
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