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Eat Your Feelings - In a good way!


Taking Inspo from Weird Al.

Weird Al Yankovich said it best - Just Eat It. Food is the fuel that can either keep our bodies running, or send us into a slump. 

You may or may not know -  one of the signs of depression is cravings for sweets and processed carbs. This is because when we consume sugar and processed carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar in the body, it activates the reward center of the brain. (this is why the cravings continue, too. Your brain is seeking that reward again and again!)

Did you also know that those same foods we crave and feel soooo good in the moment are contributing to low mood and low motivation in the long run? I mean, not just in years either. It can happen in less than an hour after enjoying those sweet treats, that you experience the dreaded crash and sluggish mood that follow. Physiological effects can last for days or even months: slowed digestion, gut dysbiosis which leads to imbalanced hormone production, insulin resistance over time... the list goes on. 


Does that mean you should avoid sweet foods all together?! No Way!! 

One way to help support your happiness is to be mindful of what you're eating and how it affects your mood in the long run. Consuming foods that you know support overall health and wellness, and take in those that aren't so helpful less often.

With a balance of foods on your plate, you can enjoy something that feels indulgent - and is actually helpful for your body! (Try this recipe for a simple, three ingredient fudge for indulgence with benefits!) 


Check out these foods that can naturally support your happiness

green vegetables

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables - probably the category most of us are lacking in our diets, these have the most nutrition by weight of any other foods you can consume. folic acid, a B-vitaim which has been shown to prevent and even reduce depression. Feed beneficial gut flora, fiber to keep tings moving in an optimal speed, provide antioxidant protection to prevent cell damage from our environments. The darker the greens, the more beneficial. (I know that means the “green flavor" is stronger too, I have lots of tips and I’m working on an article to help people incorporate more greens in their diets.)

trail mix with assorted nuts and seeds

Nuts and Seeds - A good source of tryptophan, nuts contain this precursor to seratonin, one of the happy hormones that's created primarily in the gut but used by receptors in the brain. Nuts also contain phenylalanine, which helps brain produce dopamine and other neurotransmitters. So Go Nuts! and get happy! 


Dark/Vibrantly Colored Fruits - Especially berries, fruits contain antioxidants and polyphenols that protect your cells and help your body handle stress. Dark colored fruits also contain anthocyanins that promote brain health by working directly on the signaling pathways of the brain. Fruits contain fiber and natural sugars which are beneficial to your gut microbiome which is responsible for creating more than half of your happy hormones. 

salmon on parchment next to carrots on a cutting board

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Salmon, sardines, mackerel, flax and chia seeds, and seaweed all contain Omega-3 fatty acids which help the body to absorb certain vitamins, are associated with brain health and cognition, healthy sleep and protective cholesterol levels.  Omega-3s have also been shown to reduce brain inflammation. They work in conjunction with Vitamin D to release serotonin. It's no wonder Omega-3s are one of the most commonly recommended supplements for those who do not get enough in their regular diet! 


Green Tea - Green tea contains antioxidants, and L-theanine which increases the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that produces a feeling of calm and ease. These are essential to quality sleep and stress resilience. L-theanine has been shown to be a relaxant without sedative effect.

dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate - Dark chocolate contains magnesium which helps promote a feeling of calm and has been shown to help improve sleep. (We know how important sleep is to your happiness!) Dark chocolate has flavonoids that boost memory, cognition and enhance mood and anandamide, a neurotransmitter that can alter dopamine levels, improving relaxation. Best news yet, right?! The darker the better, but 85% dark at least. 

whole grains

Whole Grains - They provide complex carbohydrates which stabilize blood sugar, preventing crashes and increases in hunger hormones. Fiber feeds the beneficial gut flora and helps improve absorption of tryptophan if eating with tryptophan containing foods (like bananas). Most whole grains also contain protein to help with satiety and muscle integrity, and contain natural minerals to help blood, skin and hair health as well as improvedabsorption of other micronutrients. Some of the most common whole grains are rolled oats, quinoa, or whole grain brown rice, and whole wheat. When you're reading ingredient labels, look for 100% whole wheat, or "whole grain ____"  as one of the first ingredients to ensure you're getting the benefits of whole grains. Once grains are processed (enriched wheat flour being the most common) much of the natural nutrition is stripped away, which causes more harm than good in most cases!

honey jar with honey stick

Natural Sweeteners - provide sweetness without the side effects of artificial sweeteners or modified sweeteners (HFCS)! Most natural sweeteners are lower on the glycemic index which means they will not spike blood sugar, and will not feed the bad bacteria in the gut. Think honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar.

cheese board

Maybe: Cheese and Eggs  cheese and eggs have some evidence for improving mood. Cheese has high levels of casein which converts in the body to a substance that provides a dopamine rush. (This is, however, why some people find cheese to be somewhat addictive!) Cheese and eggs also contains saturated fats, so enjoy each about two times per week. 


Supporting your happiness can be achieved by being mindful of your diet and its impact on your mood over time. Opt for foods that promote overall health and well-being while limiting those that are less beneficial.
Maintaining a balanced diet allows you feel your best, have energy to do all the things you love, show up for yourself and the people who matter to you! Once you see how good you can feel, the choices become eaiser, and you are empowered to continue choosing YOU! 

Check out more recipes on the blog that support your wellness without sacrificing taste! 





This post may contain affiliate links. We receive a small thank you for recommending these products at no cost to you, but please remember we only recommend what we know and love! See our note about it here!


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