5 Ways to De-Stress Your Diet

brown rice and vegetables photo
Photo: lu_lu

The Serene Kitchen is all about designing your diet so that it causes as little stress in your mind and body as possible. Your diet can cause more fluctuations in the mind than you ever thought possible.

Starving and overeating cause major stress in the body and mind. So first off, stop counting calories and be done with the regimented lifestyle that makes so many of us unhappy. Calorie counting and traditional dieting cause as much disease in the mind as eating a hamburger and fries everyday does in the body.

We’re living in the midst of a society of extremes. We’re either vastly overweight, emaciated, or unhappy somewhere in between. The idea is to eat a diet that brings optimal mind and body health while being conducive to good digestion. If you’re not happy, what’s the point in being skinny?

1. Coffee or Tea?

It all starts with the way you start your day. Maintaining balance throughout the day means avoiding the ups and downs that go along with too much caffeine. When I do drink coffee I always drink decaffeinated because regular coffee throws me into a frenzy like a child dosed up on sweet tarts. I twirl about like the Tasmanian devil jumping from task to task but never really getting anything done. It’s because the jittery tendencies of coffee make it difficult to remain mindful in any task. So it’s best to start my day off with tea or maybe a cup of decaf coffee once in a while.

2. Tryptophan

When you’re feeling really stressed, tryptophan helps the body release serotonin, a chemical that calms us down and helps us sleep. Milk, eggs, nuts, spirulina, and spinach are all good sources of tryptophan.

3. Added Sugars

Processed foods, especially those that include high fructose corn syrup, are sure to throw you into a frenzy. By choosing processed foods, you’re more likely to have too many added sugars in your diet without even knowing it. Processed foods can hide in places that you would never expect like ketchup, bread, cereal, canned foods, fruit flavored yogurts, frozen meals, etc.

If you’re not eating whole foods, that is–fresh fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, dry beans, eggs, and grains–read every ingredient. The best forms of sugar are honey, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is also great for calming the body and mind. For this think figs, artichokes, banana, barley, and brown rice.

5. Folic Acid

Asparagus, beets, spinach, avocados, lentils, and oranges have folic acid which eases depression and associated stress. So basically, eat tons of colorful fresh fruits and veggies.

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Sara Kovak
Welcome to Serene Kitchen, your destination for tasty meatless eats and mindful living. My name is Sara Novak and I'm a health and wellness expert for Discovery Health and TreeHugger.