What You Eat Can Directly Impact Stress and AnxietySep 28, 2022
What You Eat Can Directly Impact Stress and Anxiety
Are you an anxious woman who's wondering what the connection is between what you eat and stress?
In case you're new to me or are just wondering who the heck I am, let me (re)introduce myself and where I'm coming from.
I'm Jen James of Celestial Yoga, LLC, and a certified yoga and meditation teacher for over 18 years now and am a health and wellness coach too.
My specialty is to help empathetic women manage chronic pain and stress through a holistic approach with gentle yoga exercises, mindfulness and self-care techniques.
👉 I chose today's topic because I too used to wonder if there was in fact a connection between what I eat and drink and my stress and anxiety levels. I am not a nutritionist or dietician. I am a health and wellness coach that has always suffered with unexplained food issues, never mind the extreme stress and anxiety I’ve dealt with since I was a child. I have lived in frustration with this until my mid 40’s. I don’t want you to go through what I have gone through.
First I want to go over an article that explains the symptoms of anxiety
Signs and Symptoms
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge.
- Being easily fatigued.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Being irritable.
- Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains.
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.
Whether you work with a nutritionist or dietician, journalling for a few weeks (or preferably a few months) after everything you eat and drink will help give you insight and clarity on how foods affect you. Noticing how you feel (emotionally, physically, mentally) while trying to be mindful and present when you eat MOST of the time is a powerful way to learn how to trust your body and begin the process of intuitively eating.
Please don’t overcomplicate this. I keep a simple paper calendar in a drawer that I jot notes on every day and have been doing this for 5 years now.
As you may know, anxiety and stress can be magnified by eating foods that are high in sugar and refined carbs plus low in protein and fat. Plus, sugary and caffeinated beverages can give you a quick bolt of energy and then eventually leaving you feeling wired and tired. Leaving you feeling like you need more to get your energy back up again and so the cycle continues.
Like I always say, there is no such thing as a magic pill or a quick fix for learning how your unique body responds to certain foods and drinks. Knowing that what you eat, in fact does affect your stress level no matter what others may say. I’ve heard this time and time again not to eliminate certain “categories” of foods from my food choices. These are the same people that are in denial of what actually affects their own bodies because they would rather justify why they eat off the their kids plates or mindlessly eat while they drive, watch tv, scroll social media. You get the hint!
If a food or drink doesn’t feel good to you, in the present moment (not last year or 10 years ago because our bodies are always changing), then why would you eat them? To me, that sounds like torture. If eating certain foods are causing you to feel like shit why would you do that to yourself on a daily basis?
Also, being sensitive to food is not the same as allergic. Of course, if you are allergic to food you would avoid it. Being sensitive to food is a whole another issue. Food sensitivities don’t show up in tests so being your own detective and/or working with a medical professional are key to you being able to find out what foods could be causing anxiety and stress within you.
As long as you aren’t allergic or have a health condition where you need to avoid certain foods you may be like me where certain times of the month I get gassy and bloated after eating certain foods but other times of the month I’m able to eat a little bit of those foods without any noticeable symptoms.
Remember not all carbs are created equal. Also getting most of your carbs from vegetables is NOT eliminating a food group! Know that not all carbs agree with everyone.
For me, beans and wheat make me feel horrible most of the time so I may occasionally have a bite of my husbands dinner or dessert when we're on vacation or go out but at home I keep them far away from me.
Also, eating a vegan or vegetarian diet doesn’t work for me. I need to eat grass fed, organic and/or pasture raised meats and dairy in addition to healthy fats and lots of vegetables. This is my sweet spot that I’ve been sticking to for almost 5 years.
Even gluten-free products that are labeled “healthy” can set me up for a binge. Binging isn’t healthy. As a former bulimic and binge eater I have to be very careful of what I eat. When I eat clean and limit what foods are in the house I can eat whatever I want in moderation when I’m out and feel fabulous about my choices. No stress or guilt here! I don’t binge eat anymore and I am not bloated most of the time. My digestive system has improved immensely since I gave up certain foods.
(1) Learn how to plan your meals out so that you spread out the foods you enjoy knowing you can have them just not all in one sitting (or day)
(2) Avoid Mindless eating and stuffing yourself to the point that you feel bloated and horrible.
(3) Be present and mindful when eating. Sample and enjoy food and it’s pleasures. When you are in a relaxed state choose mindful eating and be conscious of where, when and how much you are eating. Practice this way of eating most of the time is vital.
4) Enjoy smaller portions of your meals knowing that you can have them again at a later date.
(5) You don’t have to eat everything on your plate (or clean up after your child). What I like to do is put some of my dinner right away in a container in the frig so I can use that food for a meal the next day. I make a healthy salad out of it or crack a couple eggs over the dish and heat up in a pan with the lid on. It steams the eggs and heats all the food up without using a microwave.
(6) Know yourself and eat intuitively. When you know in your heart that something isn’t going to agree with you why eat it?
IF YOU ARE INTRIGUED BY WHAT I’M SAYING HERE BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO START
YOU ARE SOMEWHAT AWARE OF HOW EATING AFFECTS YOUR STRESS LEVEL AND ARE LOOKING FOR MORE INSPIRATION AND SUPPORT
I hear all the time how intimidating holistic living can seem to be and how hard it is too squeeze into your busy life.
I have a blog and private Facebook group where I cover holistic living and almost every week go live covering yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and/or self-care.
This blog and community are filled with simple and approachable tips, techniques, and practical holistic living advice.
Share your experience with me in the comments below, or send me a private message and let me know how you feel after you try out the tips and techniques I share weekly here. ❤️
Have a beautiful day and Namaste,
p.s. ❤️ Feel free to reply back or send me a DM/PM if you have any questions or comments. I'm here to listen.