Poor Food, Poor Mood
Feeling low? Eat your vegetables. That might sound silly or even simplistic, but studies have shown that eating vegetables makes us happier. Of course, it has been known for some time that certain foods produce certain moods. That bag of potato chips is doing more than to us than just adding to our waistlines. Studies have shown that greasy foods, especially those high in saturated fats, are linked to depression and dementia. And it takes a lot of work for our body to digest this kind of fat, so a side effect of eating these foods is feeling sluggish and tired. With so many of us feeling drained and down more often than we feel vibrant and happy, we need an answer .¨ fast. Enter the vegetable kingdom where eating green vegetables like broccoli and leafy greens, sprouts, nuts, oranges and grapefruit has been proven to safeguard us against depression, support happiness and provide vital nutrition to help ward off a multitude of diseases.
Researchers in the United Kingdom examined three studies involving close to 80,000 people. They discovered that people who ate the most fruits and vegetables were less likely to exhibit nervousness, anxiety and depression. They were also more likely to be happy and satisfied with their lives. Based on similar research about vegetables and their correlation to happiness, it was found that eating seven to eight portions of vegetables per day was more strongly associated with happiness and overall well-being than employment status. Perhaps we would be wise to swap all of the extra hours at work for more time in the vegetable section at our local grocer. Eating vegetables provides us with the nutrition needed to balance hormones, keep our internal systems running optimally and relieve stress on the body from environmental toxins. Many of us know the great story of vegetables and how they help us, so why don’t we eat more vegetables? Interestingly, emotions play a part.
We struggle with food choices because of our emotional attachment to it. Emotional attachment drives our moods. If we are feeling low, stressed or in a bad mood, we tend to reach for foods that actually feed the unhappiness we are attempting to relieve, or comfort .¨ hence the term comfort food. These foods include quick carbs, sugars and unhealthy fats. But, these are exactly the foods that encourage and prop up depression and unhappiness. It is easy to see we have gotten ourselves into a vicious cycle over the years. But, not to worry, we can change it.
Instead of doing what we have always done in the past with our connection to food, perhaps we can do something different and open our mind to seeing vegetables in a new light. Maybe we can see them as our answer to lifting our moods and helping us feel better. That is going to take a mindset change and that means changing some of our current beliefs and connections to food. Of course, change is not easy. But, if we are willing to have a different life experience, if we can make a commitment to being happier, we can change our life for the better.
I used to be afraid of spiders. When I saw one, I apologized to it for the forthcoming snuff. Then, without delay, I showed it the business end of my shoe. I have no idea where my fear of spiders came from, but it went on for years .¨ 42 years to be exact. I used to believe they would come after me, catch me and bite me, even though I had never actually been hunted down by a spider in my life. Then, something happened one day when another poor spider was about to meet an untimely fate. Something deep within me saw the connection between me and all other life on the planet including the spider. I put my shoe back on and went to my laptop to research spiders. I read all about them. I learned how cool they are and how beneficial they are for us and the planet. I opened my eyes and my mind to something different than I believed about spiders for years. It was proof to me that we are capable of changing our beliefs about anything, even beliefs we have had for years.
Science has shown that our beliefs rule our lives. What we believe is what we experience. By definition, beliefs are statements that have been accepted as truth .¨ that doesn’t mean beliefs are truth. This is good news because it allows us the flexibility to believe in something different than what we have in the past. If we look closely, we will see that some of our beliefs don’t work in our favor. If a belief doesn’t work for us, we don’t have to keep it. We have the right to change it.
Many of us believe vegetables are yucky. If vegetables were spiders, they wouldn’t last a minute on the wall. They certainly take a back seat when compared to ice cream. Fruits aren’t much more interesting to us, though we do tend to eat them more often. The most popular smoothie recipes often call more for fruits than for vegetables. When all is said and done, though, it’s clear we just aren’t getting enough of the stuff that keeps us healthy and brings us more happiness. But, what is also clear is that our relationship with vegetables isn’t as strong as it could be. You would think we would be in love with something that kept us happy and healthy.
The human body is set up for healing and vitality. To that end, there is an intelligence within us that is not contained in the emotional, limited thinking mind. That inner intelligence loves vegetables. If we align our beliefs about vegetables with the intelligence within, we have the potential to shift our less than stellar idea of them and make lifelong changes that benefit us. This alignment is extremely powerful. One can never underestimate the power of the human mind to make the changes necessary, especially when it is aligned with the body, heart and soul.
5 Ways to Eat More Happiness
A recent survey showed that upwards of 63% of Americans feel they are unhappy and burned out from work. It is clear we need help finding happiness in ways that truly assist us and that work in our favor. Vegetables are a great way to do this and since we know they are beneficial to us in many ways, we can’t lose by incorporating more them in our daily diet.
It is easier than you might think to boost your mood with vegetables. Check out five ways you can get more veggies each day.
- Make vegetables the star on your plate. Build your meal around vegetables, adding in a lean source of protein and a healthy source of carbohydrates. Start by filling one-half of your plate with vegetables and then fill the rest of your plate with lean protein and slow-digesting carbs. Make vegetables the star and everything else the supporting actors.
- Layer. Put vegetables on vegetables .¨ like when you eat pizza. Instead of cheese and meat, go for light cheese, half meat and extra vegetables. See how many vegetables you can pile on your pizza! The next time you have a sandwich, fill it with vegetables and then add any meat or cheese. Make your vegetables the focus of your sandwich and the meat and cheese the accompaniments.
- Eat more soups. If you don’t love vegetables, you can hide a lot of them in wholesome, fabulous soups. This is a great way to eat healthfully and cheaply. You can make a big pot and store some in the freezer for winter, too. Add a fresh salad and some hard-boiled eggs and you have a meal that will bring a smile to your face.
- Make chips. You can take almost any vegetable, slice it thin, add a little olive oil and sea salt to it, place it on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake on a low heat for 20 minutes, or until crispy. You can make your own vegetable chips that are cheap, healthy and raise your mood. I can eat an entire bag of kale in one sitting when made this way. Yummy!
- Listen to your body. Get in the habit of listening more to your body than to your emotions. When you look at vegetables, tell yourself they are amazing little healers to help ease your arthritis or balance your hormones, protect against cancer or keep your cholesterol level in check. See your vegetables for what they truly are – happiness.
I am always on the lookout for information on the various healing powers of vegetables. I just learned about the pain relieving powers of turmeric. I found a way to make a paste I can put in my protein drinks each morning and assist my body in healing. Is it working? Yes. There are so many ways for us to healing ourselves with food .¨ pure food, not junk food. For great healthy vegetable recipes, check out Viva Glam’s Food section. The recipes by Katarina Van Derham, Candice Kita and Marzia Prince are amazing and yummy! Vegetables are among the most remarkable healers on the planet and the fact that eating vegetables makes us happier is just a bonus.
Old beliefs are not easy to break, but they are not impossible to break either. You have the power to do anything you want to do. Start slowly and gradually. Practice engaging in new beliefs about vegetables .¨ seeing them as interesting, versatile and fun. Of course, this is all true about vegetables so you won’t be fooling yourself, which makes it easier to believe. Open your eyes to the amazing colors of vegetables and open your mind to the healing possibilities of vegetables. Know that when you are feeling low, vegetables are just what your body needs to help you find your way back to happiness.
Although eating more vegetables won’t make you happy overnight, it sets in motion a chain reaction of self-love that is naturally aligned with the body’s idea of healing. This union has the potential to lead us to amazing places we never thought possible. I encourage you to explore that journey, without expectations, with vegetables by your side. Enjoy!