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Is food affecting your mood?
Do you have a favorite comfort food? Is there a meal that makes you feel satisfied, calm, not stuffed, but happy and relaxed? Do you feel like eating a sweet breakfast drains your energy and makes you want to crawl back into bed, while two eggs with a slice of bacon gives you solid energy that lasts until lunch break? Do you think its odd that while a big fresh salad for lunch is a perfect meal for you that keeps you happy all day, your significant other can only achieve the same level of mental well-being with a big burger and fries? Do you chew on salad in the evening, but crave red meat? Do you feel sad and depressed on a vegetarian diet and envy your Raw Vegan friends their energy, passion, happiness, and vibrancy? How do they do it? What are you doing wrong?
What we need to understand is our own metabolic individuality first. Our nutritional needs are as unique as is color of our hair or eyes. You cant find two people with the same set of fingerprints, and you most likely won’t find someone who has absolutely identical metabolic make-up as you do, even if we are talking about your own sibling. This is likely because it isn’t just a matter of genetics, but also concerns the composition of your microbiome. Person A might thrive on steak with potatoes and person B might immediately fall asleep after such a meal. The reason why some kids are so exhausted, distant, and aloof (or alternately wired and acting out) at school in the morning might possibly be those maple syrup covered chocolate pancakes they ate for breakfast. The good news is that we can feel our best by optimizing the fuel we give our bodies to suit our Metabolic Type.
Certain foods can hurt you physically. Rashes, diarrhea, constipation, leaky gut, bloating all these can be signs that your food choices aren’t working for your body. But your mental state after a meal is just as important. The wrong foods can negatively affect your brain, your mood, and they can sabotage your mental performance, in ways that you might not even recognize until you start to make changes. There are plenty of food-like substances out there, which are best to avoid, like processed foods, GMOs, white sugar, gluten, or corn products, but getting rid of these well-known enemies still doesn’t guarantee you boundless energy and mental clarity if you keep eating against your metabolic type.
To determine which foods, and especially the ratios between carbohydrates, fats and proteins, are slowing you down on your way to health and performance, you will need to observe a little bit first and notice how your body reacts after eating certain foods and their combinations. Keeping a food journal noting how you feel immediately after a meal, and a few hours after will be helpful in this process. Does a meaty breakfast make you feel awake or spacey? Does salad for lunch make you feel full or hungry? Do you crave more after a dessert, or desserts don’t really appeal to you? How do you feel about salty snacks? Do you prefer chocolate over potato chips?
It’s hard to give answers if you are not really sure what the questions are. Observe. Take notes. Write things down. Try different things for breakfast and write down how you feel after the meal and during the day. Test different ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to see how your body reacts. This knowledge about your body and its preferred fuel makes it easy to go through a metabolic typing test to find out what will best suit your individual metabolic needs. Listen to Podcast 275: Food Affects Your Mood up as Martin Pytela and Scott Paton discuss this topic in great detail to help you.