Food to lift your mood

Rachel Lett

Head of Nutrition & Content

Healthy eating means feeling satisfied and eating the right nutrients to make you feel good, promote health, and give you energy, which collectively supports a positive relationship with food.

Tackling a common food conundrum

We’ve all been there, scoffing our way through a large bag of crisps, just to experience a moment of escapism, comfort and transient pleasure. Perhaps later we feel bloated or get a headache, and suddenly that bag of crisps was a bad idea.

Yet the next evening, we do the same thing all over again. Sound familiar? Over time, these habits catch up on us and our health can pay the price.

Food should be enjoyed to its full extent and enrich your life, not impede it.

The trick is finding balance—forming healthy habits, enjoying life and developing a love for food that improves your health.

In last week’s article, I spoke about how you can optimise health by eating a low-carbohydrate, high fat and moderate protein diet.

Today, I want to tell you how you can put it into practice and help you enjoy food without feeling deprived or guilty 😋

Your transition to feeling better

I make no bones about it, giving up certain foods can be challenging, especially if your hormones are out of balance, or you have an emotional attachment with food. But don’t despair, there are ways to make it easier!

By shifting your mindset, and having a positive outlook on food, you can set yourself up for success 💪

The key is to find satisfying foods that replace your old diet so you feel fulfilled and happy. It’s not about starvation, but about editing food choices so that you feel your best, enjoy what you eat, and ultimately develop a positive relationship with food.

This is not a quick fix, but a lifestyle that will sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes.

At the moment, hormones like insulin are most likely driving your food decisions. You’re on a hormone rollercoaster 🎢 and at sugar’s beck and call — continually reaching for food just to keep hunger and cravings at bay so you can feel “normal”.

Insulin encourages you to drip feed your body with carbohydrates, so you can maintain constant blood sugar levels—so it’s no wonder people struggle to resist crisps, chocolate and sweets, and find themselves grazing throughout the day.

To break this vicious cycle, you need to go on a sugar purge! Out with the old, and in with the new, respond to hunger and cravings with low carbohydrate, high-fat food (food list below 🍳)

Have snacks at hand to make the process easier.

In the initial stages, it’s important that you don’t feel hungry or deprived, but feel comfortable with eating these new foods. Over time your hormones will stabilise and you’ll find yourself enjoying food more and more 😋

It’s important to understand how much hormones come into play with our everyday life—if we’re stressed, cortisol rises; if we didn’t get enough sleep, ghrelin(hunger hormone) will elevate; if we eat sugar, insulin spikes.

All of these hormones make food choices ‘noisy’, causing us to overeat, and eat the wrong foods. When hormones are balanced, you are able to recognise your body’s wants and needs—cravings are a true reflection of what your body requires, and eating becomes more intuitive.

Take time to tune in

Do yourself a huge favour and practice some self-love 💗—ask yourself, how am I feeling, how am I doing? Neglecting oneself seems to be one of the easiest things to do in life—we’re funny creatures.

Living day-in, day-out with headaches, aches and pains, people have normalised symptoms and often don’t know what it is to “feel great”. When you pay more attention to how you’re feeling, you begin to associate what foods make you feel well, or unwell.

You’ll be amazed by how much your body tells you when you’ve made poor food choices—you just need to take a moment to notice 👀.

I would urge you to notice and practice “tuning into your body” on a daily basis. Reflect on what you’ve eaten or done that might be making you feel good or bad.

Give yourself the time and attention, because you 100% deserve it. Positive reinforcement is a very powerful thing, that will nurture a healthy relationship with food and your health

In time, you’ll find yourself saying “I don’t want X, because I don’t want to feel poorly”, rather than, “Ugh, I can’t have X, because my doctor told me”.

There are few things better than eating and it should always be a pleasurable event, void of anxiety or guilt. Make the most of such regular opportunities to experience tremendous joy, and to use food as a powerful tool to heal your body.

Foods to include in your new lifestyle

Below is a list of foods I would encourage you to eat, both for flavour and health. Make this a positive experience and think about all the wonderful food that you can eat, rather than what you’re excluding from your diet.

After all, this isn’t about restriction, but about indulging yourself with delicious, nutritious food.

As the saying goes, it’s quality, over quantity, so try to focus on the nutrient density, rather than calories.

100 calories of pasta does not equal 100 calories of avocado.

The latter is jam-packed with nutrients and will serve your health and wellbeing 💪

Have this food list at hand when you go grocery shopping. It will help you keep on track and prevent you going off-piste:

The focus is for you to develop healthy habits, that supports your health and nurtures a love for food 😊

You may encounter turbulence along your journey, but these new healthy habits will become a natural extension of your life and will help you get back on track.

Also, remember how much your hormones affect your emotions and choices around food. Each day you stick with the plan, your hormones are one step closer to balancing out and the ride will get that little bit easier.

Most importantly, you will feel liberated from the grips of sugar, and relish nutritious, high-quality food that you so deserve.

Keep your eyes peeled for next week’s article

I’ll be unloading the keto-toolbox and sharing tips and tricks to help you succeed!

If you’re interested in joining Span, download our mobile app on www.span.health or contact us at team@span.health to learn more.

Ciao 🙌🏽
Rachel

I’m sure you’re curious about the science behind all this 🔬Here are some recent medical publications about this topic:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664869/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25402637
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18175736/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23632752
https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/92/11/4480/2598960
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1334192/