The connection between diet and mood has always been of interest to me. When I was little I suffered quite a bit with hypoglycemia, and my sister and mother have also experienced major depression. I knew that there was a relationship between cravings, diet, and our emotional state.
So when I came across this book, I had to pick it up and read it. It was a very interesting look into the research that has been done around how diet affects our hormones, brain chemicals, sleep and therefore our mood.
I didn’t agree with every word of the book. For example, the author recommends using Splenda, an artificial sweetener, instead of sugar. I agree with limiting sweets – but would prefer she recommend stevia or another low glycemic index replacement for sugar.
She also recommends eating plenty of healthy fats, but then turns around and preaches the necessity of low fat milk. That didn’t make a bit of sense to me!
Overall though, I did find that most of the advice was very solid and agreed with much of what I had already learned and believe about nutrition. For example, anyone prone to blood sugar imbalances knows that hypoglycemia can dramatically affect their thinking and feeling. Eating plenty of protein, frequently throughout the day is wise advice for anyone, especially those who have episodes of shakiness, feeling faint, headaches, or other symptoms of low blood sugar.
The author reiterates that breakfast is super important for starting the day off right. She recommends a hearty breakfast that includes high quality protein, especially eggs. I couldn’t agree more and have definitely noticed that my whole day goes more smoothly when I eat protein (instead of carbs) for breakfast.
The most important things recommended in the book if you want to feel better is: eat plenty of protein in the morning, eat lots of Omega 3 fatty acids in the form of fish (as much as 5 times a week) and walnuts, never allowing ourselves to feel hungry (eat to prevent hunger), avoid refined carbs and choose whole grains instead, in moderation. For those concerned about eating that much fish, she eases their concerns by mentioning that you can find sources of mercury free tuna at the website tunatuna.com.
She also says one cup of coffee a day is ok, has not been linked with any adverse affects at this “dosage”, and can serve as a mood lifter. She also says a cup of hot cocoa is an ideal nightcap because of the fat and protein in the milk and the mood lifting, brain enhancing chemicals in chocolate. Hey, I’m all for that!
Refined, packaged foods are out, as are high glycemic index carbs. These crank up the insulin, leading to fat gain and mood swings.
The book talks a lot about the importance of sleeping enough both to control weight and to improve mood, and gives specific diet recommendations to help with that. It also eschews some of the modern critics of foods like eggs and nuts. Instead of being too fatty or high in cholesterol or what-have-you, these foods are very important to our health and wellbeing.
The book promises to help you feel better in one day if you follow the guidelines, experiencing an ease in depression in one week, and weight loss in one month. I can definitely see how this would be true. I give this book a thumbs up:
photo credit: kevinmarsh