Many of my patients complain of fatigue, anxiety, depression, and ongoing moodiness. I hear about the irritation, frustration, anger, lack of patience, unhappiness, and crying that happens in the short span of a day--and sometimes an hour. Often in patient visits I also review their diet and am shocked to hear that many women believe a diet of yogurt, cereal, granola bars, and popcorn are actually healthy. What I find is that those high sugar, high carbohydrate meals actual cause bad moods and major mood swings.
You see, skipping a meal or eating a high sugar meal tells your body that you ate calories but no nutrition. This causes you to ride the roller coaster of hypoglycemia which can directly impact your mood for the worse. How many of you feel terrible when you skip meals or eat late? How many of you eat a high sugar/high carbohydrate snack only to feel hungry and tired an hour later?
This is what I tell my patients: you have to change the way you eat to change the way you feel. You are what you eat so make it worth your while! Breakfast is key – it starts out your day and pulls your body out of starvation mode. Even if you aren’t hungry and never eat breakfast, it’s time to start now with something small and build into it.
Then eat a small high protein, lower carb, no sugar mini-meal every two to four hours. Limit fruits to one serving per day if things are really bad and make sure it is a low glycemic choice such as berries, apples, and pears. Bananas, although high in potassium, are also very high in sugar. Eat a lot of vegetables and good quality protein such as nuts and seeds (make sure they are plain, unsalted and peanut butter should have two ingredients: peanuts and salt.), eggs, turkey slices, protein powder/smoothies, chicken, hamburger patty, or a bit of cheese. Plain yogurt without flavoring or sugar added is okay – just doctor it up with your own flavorings such as vanilla and cinnamon. Opt for high fiber, low sugar cereal not granola. Eat oatmeal and mix in berries and ground flax seeds.