Week 4: Food and Mood
Hi! How has the week been? Take a few moments to bullet point in your notebook what has been good? and what is new? If you are up for it, please share with us in the group forum page.
This week we are going to discuss grains, healthy fats and the importance of connecting to yourself. No, i don't mean connecting an i-device or samsung to yourself, I mean really starting to connect to what is happening in your body. Starting to feel what is going on, notice how certain foods are making you feel not just physically but psychologically as well and generally how your body is operating. We have touched briefly on some of this but it is really important to drive self connection home so, we will always find time for more on that topic!
To continue on from what I have said above, I would really like to emphasise how much the food you eat effects your mood. Say for example; upon your return from your exercise mission you say to yourself "Oh my goodness, I am starving, I just need some jet plane lollies (or hopefully by now you are thinking a banana) as fast as possible, to pick my blood sugar level back up". And I know there are a lot of people out there who do this! Unfortunately, all that is going to do is pick you up for 5 minutes, then slam you down harder and faster than before and you will be hungry again.
How about coming inside from your exercise mission and eating some whole grains, some protein or some fat - to properly satiate you. To keep you fuller for longer and to let the blood sugars slowly rise so that you don't have a huge fall whereby you crash and burn and crave more sugar. Obviously this will be dependent on the amount of exercise you have just done. If you are training for an event and are walking in from a 2 hour run/cycle or an intense crossfit or HIIT workout then yes, you will need to replenish your electrolytes. The best way to do this naturally is with coconut water. There are no added nasties in there and its a great way to nourish the body immediately. If you don't like coconut water then please don't head for the powerade or gatorade! Take a look at the ingredients on those. There are a few other brands out there that will replace your electrolytes e.g Pure Sports Drinks and Raiseys.
Its also important that you eat after you exercise, as this is when your muscles are in peak form to absorb the nutrients. They are gagging for real, good food! If you are in a rush this is where your pure whey or pea protein powders are going to come in helpful (whey contains dairy, pea protein doesn't, it contains peas!)
Now it's important you know I am not talking about the "diet protein powders" - please by all means take a look a the list of ingredients on those puppies. Whatever comes first on the list is what that particular food contains the most of. Yep! True story. Scary huh. Go on, go have a look on the back of some of those food packets you have stored in the pantry.
You would be best in this case to mix up a smoothie with a banana, some berries, coconut water or normal water, 1/2 and avocado or some nut butter to satiate you properly and help those muscles recover.
The endorphins your body released during exercise will be maintained as your body is replenished and you will have set yourself up for such a great day!
Think also for example how you feel after you eat a burger/a block of chocolate/ a piece of cake. Maybe you have never taken the time to think about how your mood is affected by certain foods but this week please take the time to really connect with how your body and mind feel after eating particular foods. You may not have a stomach ache or a headache, but you may find yourself grumpy or sad suddenly, or you may find you have a huge spike in energy and then a sudden crash.
There is nothing worse than missing the opportunity to eat a replenishing, nourishing meal or snack only to find a few minutes later you are starving. So starving you feel like you could eat a horse. This is when trouble takes place and we tend to binge on whatever we can find that is 'food like' first!
This is where your food and mood diary comes in really handy. Only you can truly track what is going into that body of yours and the energy or moods that are coming out of it. Keep tracking things. You may start to notice that after you eat the apple at 11am you have a sore stomach at 11.30am which was leading you on to eating something you shouldn't because you were trying to calm the stomach. You might also notice that when you eat a piece of cake, 20 minutes later you feel angry and lethargic (imagine what that sugar is doing to the kids!)
The key is to fill your body with nutrient dense foods that will keep your mood in a great place for longer. Keep the blood sugars LEVEL and in a constant state rather than like they are on a roller coaster. When you start to feel hungry or even feel yourself 'tightening up' a bit then you will know its time to eat again. We have all heard of the term "HANGRY" (When someone is hungry and angry all at the same time)...I don't want you to ever be "hangry" again. Don't leave it until it's too late to eat! Eat before the Hanger arrives.
I want to teach you how to fill yourself with the right foods to keep your blood sugar levels stable - which in turn will help avoid the possibility of type 2 diabetes and other horrible conditions occurring in your system. Who knew food could play such a huge role in our health huh?!
Often we hear people talking about 'grains' but what actually is a grain? and what ones are good for us and what ones are not so good? Take a look at this information on Grains to find out more.
Have you heard of Kasha, Millet or Quinoa? Check them out by clicking on each separate grain and find a world of new grains and how to cook with them. We all love a good recipe to help us start something new. Remember you can also refer back to your e-recipe book.
Did you know that whole grains can calm anxiety down? Whole grains are rich in magnesium, and magnesium deficiency may lead to anxiety. Whole grains contain tryptophan, which becomes serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter. Whole grains also create healthy energy while reducing hunger – both important for anxiety.
Whole grain foods can have a powerful effect on anxiety, and contain nutrients that have been stripped out of modern day diets.
I would like you to select a grain and cook something new with it. It can be oats, kasha, millet, rye, quinoa, couscous, brown rice, wild rice, black rice, barley. I want a photo from each and everyone of you with your meal. How you felt cooking it, how you felt eating it, how you felt after you ate it, and for the next few hours. Grains help the process in which we release serotonin (that happy,warm feeling). That's why often even thinking about sitting down to a nice big bowl of porridge (oats) can give us the warm fuzzies at times.
I have just told you to cook a grain and I am about to tell you to ditch the "diet" food. So yes - now is your chance to make a delicious oat breakfast (I am talking oats from scratch here - NO PACKETS THAT GO IN THE MICROWAVE) I need you to use a pot! Then you can add a little full fat cream, some banana or berries or some full fat yogurt, perhaps a little LSA (linseed sunflower and almond ground - which also aids digestion) Go for it - indulge in a favourite from your childhood. No added sugar - just good hearty food that will make you feel awesome.
Here it is people!! Maybe the most confusing topic around at the moment. FAT!
We all have fat, and we all need it. We all eat it, is it good? is it bad?
Truth be told - we all need some fat on our bones, especially as women. It's most important that our body fat sits around 16-23% in order for us to be fertile and healthy. Sure there are times in life where it may be different (e.g when you are training for a huge race or if you are pregnant or breast feeding) It's really important to remember that your body needs a little fat on it to protect the muscles and bones. I want you all to be your best healthy selves, and everyone is different. If you are trying to conceive and you are not storing enough fat on your body then your fertility system will not be operating at its peak.
I have watched many friends struggle through this, and I myself have battled an eating disorder to try to loose the fat. BUT - fat doesn't have to be bad. If we have the right, healthy amount on our bodies then our bodies will operate at peak performance and life will be grand. We won't get sick because our immune systems will be fighting fit and we will have energy to participate in everything that life throws at us.
So...the biggest taboo here is the idea that fat will make you fat. Now, sure there are fats that will make you unhealthy and most probably over your healthy weight (food responds differently to everyones system - some get the fat build up on the inside in their arteries etc, some get the build up on their hips!)
BUT, eating the right amount of 'good' fat will help your body so much. It can even help you loose fat! Who is confused? Here is a simplified version:
Does that clear up some confusion? How do you feel about fats? Do you find it weird to think about indulging in some full fat yogurt,milk, cheese rather than the "light" option? Try it out and see how much fuller you feel, with less of the food, and for how much longer you feel satisfied for. Share it with the group.
I need you to stop thinking "low fat diet" and start thinking "real and good fat diet". If you want to loose anything in your diet it is sugar. Sugar is the evil one here...more on that soon!
If you would like some more info on FATS take a look at this
Okay - Self Trust - this little baby is a hard one for most of us. Once you can open the door to trusting yourself you are going to be away laughing. And why not trust ourselves?!
Goodness - if you can trust anyone in the world it shouldn't it be yourself!!!
Surely one can respect themselves enough to know that they will not lie to themselves, right?...not so much the case!
However, this stops here team! Today Self love, and self trust begins.
This program is not necessarily about the re-invention of yourself. It's more about pulling the 'you' that you know is in there out from deep within. You may find you have conflicting excitement and tension inside you because you are just not sure where this whole re-invention, re-grouping, re-call on life is taking you. Maybe you just don't know which way to go, or who to trust? It's so confusing, but hey It's also okay - you know you can trust yourself that you are doing the right thing here.
Think of someone else you trust, a friend, a college, family member. Now you know how you will still trust them even if they don't succeed in something they have put their mind to. How, it doesn't matter whether they win/loose or complete the goal, the trust you have for them is not tarnished by any of that.
Well, this is the same for the trust you have for yourself. Why do you need to stop trusting yourself just because you don't succeed massively at something? You need to associate trust with your vision of yourself and where you are going.
Self Trust is the foundation of developing clarity of who you want to be, where you want to go and how you are going to get there. You can trust yourself to get back up and to carry on. No one knows how to live your life better than you!
We are less careful about commitments we make to ourselves than others. Think about how to trust yourself next time you promise yourself you will exercise tomorrow, diet tomorrow or start tonight. Honour your commitments to yourself with fervour. Only make promises you can keep with yourself. Once this begins then you will find Self Kindness starts to take hold, because if you fall back on a promise you made yourself and don't beat yourself up and be mean and horrible to yourself you can start to be kinder to yourself and work out why it happened and try again.
Be kind to yourself. Self forgiveness is required here and building awareness around yourself and your commitments to yourself. If you betray yourself become aware of your self talk. Honour yourself without judgement.
I want you to start taking care of yourself and speaking to yourself with respect. Please write down the following steps to self care in your notebook:
- Take one step at a time
- Schedule primary foods
- Eat healthy foods
- Use your health coach and group members for support
- Take breaks
- Move your body
- Breathe frequently
- Dont compare yourself
- Spend time with supportive people
- Post in the group forum
Stop! Go back, read that list again. Now, again.
Now start to follow these and we have the snowball rolling to self trust and self kindness. Simple.
Take a moment to write down how you connect with yourself? e.g yoga, running, walking, a bath, gardening, anything you do to re-group and re-connect with yourself...and if you don't do this, what ways do you think you could re-connect with yourself?
What is your spirituality?
What do you do to slow down and enjoy life?
Think of your spirituality, it can be anything from your religion or church, to simply taking a walk or a run out in nature. Where do you feed your soul?
Have you ever heard of mindful eating? Basically it means stopping to smell the roses, or in this case, stopping to smell, taste and feel your food. Look at it, appreciate it and digest it accordingly.
How often are you eating in front of the computer or TV? Eating while you read the paper or scan through the many apps on your phone. What are you trying to avoid? Is there an emotion deep within you that you don't want to accept so you are stuffing yourself, without thinking about it, to fill the void?
How about letting yourself feel the emotions? and then if you are actually hungry, how about eating with no distractions. Except for good company and conversation if that is possible? Notice when you go out to a restaurant how the serving sizes are usually smaller than what you would serve up at home (assuming you are at a 'real food' restaurant, not a fast food chain here!) Have you noticed that you wind up really full, fuller than at home? This is because you have eaten your food slowly and enjoyed talking to someone or the atmosphere around you. Your brain has had time to keep up with your mouth and digestion so lets you know when you are actually full.
It is so important to eat mindfully. It makes us appreciate where our food came from - who grew it, what went into creating this delicious source of real food. Think about how it went from a crop all the way to your beautiful plate or bowl! If you didn't prepare it, think about how the person who has prepared it did it. Ask them questions and enjoy every morsel of it. We are so lucky to be able to eat such vast array of foods.
Here are some tips on Mindful eating
Now this leads us on to chewing. Please, please, please, please chew! You will find you will eat far less, because your brain will have time to register that you are full.
Be more mindful about your eating this week. Take the time to chew. No distractions when you are eating. Record how it makes you feel.
How are you noticing your food and mood patterns are going in your journal?
Revisit your goals; I would like you to pull out your goals form. Have a look at what you set for the first part of this journey, can you tick this off? Have you achieved any of them? If not, why not? Is it even relevant anymore? and if you hadn't set any goals for the middle part of your journey, please do now. Hopefully you may find this a bit easier now that you are in the swing of things. You may wish to change something you had written down that now seems irrelevant or you may wish to add. No pressure - but just keep these in mind on your journey.
If you need to talk to me please remember to simply send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on your facebook group. Accountability is key. We are all depending on each other here.
A quick re-cap:
Okay, so we have covered a lot this week!
- You are going to create some beautiful dishes out of grains and fats, I love photos remember, post on the forum! Tell us what flavours you played with, what grains worked and what didn't. I can't tell you what to cook exactly as everyones needs are different but please have fun playing around, and use your recipe-e-book and the recipes I have given you in the emails and links to this page.
- You are also going to note your mood after certain foods and listen to your body to find out what is happening after you eat or exercise.
- Mindful eating is about to take place and you are going to be amazed at the change in perspective you have once you become a mindful eater
- And finally we have discussed Self trust - this is a really touchy subject for many people. It goes really deep and can cut like a knife. Please touch base with me personally if there is anything you would like to discuss further. Its also important to reach out for the support of your forum members. You will find that you most probably all have similar emotions towards food as thats what this program is tailored towards. Safety in numbers right? A great read I would highly recommend at this point is written by Geneen Roth, it is called "Women, food and God"
Remember, love yourself and the best way to learn is to play and do! xxx
This weeks files: