You are what you eat. One of those most popular idioms in the English language is both near and far from the truth. Surely you will not transform into bean salad, celery stalks, chocolate bars and orange juice; but what effects do the foods we eat have on our physical self. Furthermore, what contributions do they make to our mental health?
It is no surprise that bad foods are bad for you and good foods are good for you, but there is no conclusive line for the distinction of either.
What we eat directly affects our body today and our mind and soul in tandem, as our body reflects and digests what it is processing.
We eat bad food and receive poor health for it, but when we eat good food, do we receive a reward?
Here are the 5 Ways Your Diet Affects Your Happiness.
1. Feel better about yourself physically.
Let’s just get this out of the way now. Constituting the body, mind and spirit, giving yourself the right fuels will provide proper nutrition for all aspects of your being.
Our body responds to pain quicker than it does pleasure. In terms of eating habits, the bad definitely stick out more than the good.
We get food hangovers, our joints feel stuck, and we all know what happens the morning after we eat too many burritos. Our body is quick to repel the bad things, but what is our reward for eating well?
The instant gratification other than, hopefully, getting full, is just not quite the same when we eat good food. Our body needs to take time to readjust to a healthy diet, and although the long term effects are profound, we do not feel immediately rewarded in a tactile sense.
Pay attention to your body and your diet.
When you are eating proper amounts of good fats (nuts, avocados), good carbohydrates (bananas, whole wheat bread) and sugars (fruits), feel for the great energy you are providing yourself. Once you make it a habit, feeling great will just be a daily routine for you!
Listen to our free meditation that will help you enjoy healthy foods.
2. Feel better about yourself mentally.
- After your body has adjusted to a harmonious rhythm with the healthy life, take pride in your mind and soul that you are providing well for yourself
- Find substitutes for late night snacks (try baby carrots and peanut butter!), and limit your drinking of alcohol
- Let yourself be a little selfish and continue to pat yourself on the back for eating so properly
**Your mind will be clearer and your soul will experience elevation
Notice if you are having better, or no dreams (as opposed to nightmares). Do you wake up in the morning feeling better than you would have before? All these add up to a wholesome mind and soul that will let you conquer every day.
3. When is my 'cheat day'?
A “cheat day,” as popularized by athletes, is a day where you can take a break from all the pan fried chicken breasts and steamed broccoli and finally get to that tub of mint-chocolate ice cream you’ve been eyeing since day one.
Let me start by saying that yes, athletes can eat pretty much anything they want. This has to do with metabolism. Someone who exercises or strains their body on a regular basis is putting their body into another gear.
This gives them a high metabolism - whenever and whatever they eat will be quickly sorted and digested by the body, keeping what they need to recover, and discharging all the waste they do not need.
A non athlete will naturally have a lower metabolism - the body will sit on all the product they ingest, and take a long time to sort it out.
This creates excess fat and instead of giving you more energy, gives you less. Another reason to start exercising more often!
4. Teach yourself how to cook.
Eating properly doesn’t have to be expensive anymore, thanks to a modernized society.
In fact, all you have to do is find time to get into the kitchen. If you can cook your own food, you can control your diet 100%.
You don’t have to prepare meals for the whole week, but once you learn your way around a few pots and pans, you will be able to whip up quality food in no time. You should enjoy cooking - find ways to make new creations, read a few new recipes on the internet, and go after what looks good to you.
Remember, if they can cook it, so can you! Cooking does not have to be difficult. Search for recipes that have only three to five ingredients and you’ll see what I mean. Some of the best dishes are the simplest.
5. What should I eat?
Now then, what should you be cooking?
- Aim for white meats such as chicken breasts and turkey. Fish is a popular choice for it’s high content of healthy omega-3 fats and amino acids, but in some places of the world it is considered expensive food. Look around for a deal and you will find it, or maybe try fish just once a week.
- For alternate protein sources we are spoiled for choice. Low fat Greek yogurt, avocados, nuts, trail mix and beans all keep vegetarians and carnivores alike healthy and optimized.
Green vegetables are easy to incorporate into anyones diet.
- Giant bags of spinach or arugula can be purchased and added to anything (I substitute spinach for potato chips now as a snack!), with Kale chips being a trendy recent recipe.
- Broccoli is cheap and can be delicious with low fat butter and salt.
- Eat foods that are easy to prepare like baby carrots or steamed beans.
Fruits are a great source of natural sugar, but don’t go overboard.
- Stay away from big name boxed fruit juices - they have the same nutritional value of fruit, but with added chemicals that let the juice stay preserved for up to months in giant factory vats!
- There’s also a best time to eat fruits at. For example, try eating apples at night - during the day, their high acid content may upset your concurrent appetite.
For carbs, bananas are a great alternative source for carbohydrates and potassium. One or two a day should be plenty.
With gluten intolerance being the leading scapegoat these days, there is now a host of healthy gluten free bread options - and old favourites like rice!
However bad a reputation carbohydrates have been getting lately, don’t forget how important they are to your health.
- Complex carbohydrates like breads and pastas create energy for your body by transforming into natural sugars that we need to function.
- Simple carbs such as glucose and fructose (in apples) are transformed into digestible compounds that work together to create harmony within your body.