Food for your moods – the sugar component
I spent my childhood and teen years being basically, well, angry. Can you imagine a 10 year old being chronically depressed and angry? In these times of poor food choices, maybe you can. I remember pacing in my front yard so tense from anger that I thought I would beat someone.
I spent the first 35 years of my life being moody and angry. My teen years were one solid scowl. I ruined birthdays, vacations and relationships. It wasn’t until I was 35 and I read the book The Metabolic Typing Dietby William Wolcott and Trish Fahey that my life changed. In that book there is a 65 question quiz that helps determine if you are a ‘carb type" or a "protein type". The questions seem random. For instance: “do you enjoy pickles or not?", "do you sneeze every day?", "if you were to eat cheesecake as dessert tonight, would you sleep better?"
Remember that I was raised in a household where the predominant cultural influence, meaning food choices, was Italian. My great grandfather, John, came to America at 19 years old from Sicily. So, growing up, I ate a lot of bread and pasta. My favorite two foods were rice and corn.
Fast forward to me at 35 years old wondering why I can't get my moodiness under control. I read the book. I take the quiz. I’m a protein type. Eating carbohydrates will cause weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, and, my favorite, mood swings. Immediately I stopped eating bread, potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, sugar, pancakes, waffles, scones, pie, pastries, cake. Within days I felt different, better, even- tempered. That is not something I would have called myself prior to this.
That book changed my life. It changed my food choices. There was a clear connection with what I ate and my mood. It was almost instant feedback.
What are your food choices? Do you opt for the sugared cereal in the morning? Is your favorite weekend breakfast waffles with real maple syrup? Are you like I was, thinking that as long as I had protein to ‘balance’ the carbs that I would be okay? You can probably guess that if you are a protein type like me, there is no balancing with carbohydrates. My carbohydrate tolerance is close to zero.
Fast forward a few years to the book: Primal Diet Primal Mindby Nora Gedgaudes. The book describes that our prehistoric ancestors, to whom we are genetically and metabolically identical. Prior to our manipulation of plants to domesticate into crop plants, most fruits were inedible or extremely seasonal. Grains did not exist. The prehistoric diet was concentrated on meat and fats, with occasional edible greens, bark and stone fruits, depending on the season. There was no sugar. This book discusses how our current modern metabolism is sugar-based, and carbohydrate dependent. This causes insulin resistance, and hypoglycemia, which leads to, our topic today, mood disorders.
The book Primal Diet Primal Mindsays that our metabolism can be ‘flipped’ from carbohydrate dependence to lipid (fat) dependence and our desire for carbohydrates will disappear. This takes a desire for change and control of your own food choices – which, as adults we should have. It takes 2 weeks of dedication to no carbohydrates. This includes no fruit, carbohydrates, or sugar of any kind. And, it works. After 2 weeks, I noticed that my moods were consistent and even. That my energy level was consistent. After 2 weeks, I tried to eat a cracker even though I had lost my desire for sugar and carbs. The cracker tasted like sawdust, devoid of flavor, or texture, far from resembling food. It was amazing. At that time, my breakfast of choice was: a poached egg over steamed broccoli with a pat of butter, salt and pepper. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water. It was divinity on a plate, a play of flavors and textures. The rich flavor of the egg yolk combined with the melted butter oozing into the flowerets of the broccoli. Yum. Contrast that to your breakfast today of packaged cereal made from processed GMO grains (carbs) loaded with sucrose/corn syrup (carbs) with milk (lactose = carb). It’s an addictive sugar fest destined to make your mind shut down at 10 am and your mood go off the rails soon after. And, as a side effect, leave you craving more sugar. Remember the food companies does this by design. It is no mistake. You are under their control and spend money on food that makes you sick. You are an addict. Unless you Wake UP and stop the madness.
So, what are the best foods for your moods? First, what food type are you? How much sugar and carbs can you tolerate? Take the quiz in Metabolic Type diet. What are your results?
In my opinion, no American can tolerate any amount of sugar and live to tell a happy tale. If you have trouble with your mood, be it: depression, irritability, brain fog, lethargy, mood swings, and you find yourself craving carbohydrates, your body is in a downward spiral. Wake UP. Make a choice today. I don’t care if it someone’s birthday tomorrow and you must eat cake at the office party. Make the choice and stick to that choice for 2 weeks. Stop the sugar/carbs/fruit/ candy/ cakes/bread/ pasta… all of it. Stop. Do this for 2 weeks. Remember it will take 2 weeks to flip the metabolism. Then… Check in with yourself. How do you feel? More alive? Thinking more about what you can do for the world than wondering where the next candy bar is coming from? This is not a time to be a slave to your addictions. This is a time to step up and make change. The food companies want you to be a slave to their products, and they are very successful at doing so. How does that make you feel? They play with your desires and your actions and control where you spend your money. Really, ask yourself, is okay with you?
What did I have for breakfast today, you ask? Coffee plus a tablespoon of grass fed butter from Normandy plus a tablespoon of organic coconut oil whirred in a blender. And, because it’s available this week: a handful of organic arugula on the side. Yum.