Healthy Habits: Food | Choose Joy

I don’t know about you, but I spend December (and part of January) in a food free-for-all. I ate chocolate, desserts, refined carbs like there was no tomorrow, high-sugar everything. What I didn’t eat a lot of was vegetables.

Negative Effects of Unhealthy Eating:

Holiday indulgence isn’t much of a surprise. Most people pack on a few pounds thanks to Santa-shaped cookies and cream-filled cakes. It wouldn’t have made much of a difference for me if I hadn’t been eating so healthy prior to the holidays. But when you go from healthy to unhealthy, you notice some things…

  • Weird indigestion. ‘Nuff said.
  • Fogginess. If you don’t think that food affects your brain, then think again. I went from crystal-clear thinking—or close enough—to vague, foggy thinking.
  • Lack of Motivation. Again, I was shocked by how my diet changed my motivation. December I blogged everyday—sometimes twice a day. It was easy at first, and I took advantage of this by pre-blogging a bunch of book reviews, but once my diet caught up with me, I could barely write a few lines about Light the World. It was bizarre. The foggy thinking didn’t help.
  • Fatigue. When I talk about fatigue, I’m talking tired both mentally and physically. Even spiritually. You can get enough sleep and still be tired. I hated it. It didn’t help that I determined to stop drinking soda regularly. When your body depends on that caffeine (and I was drinking a lot, so I was taking in way too much caffeine), when you don’t have it, your body crashes.
  • Depression. All this fun stuff culminates in depression. Not necessarily intense or even deep depression, but a darkness that you can’t quite shake, that settles over your day like a suffocating blanket.

Healthy Eating Goals:

I’ve been shaking off these negative effects over the last few weeks, and it hasn’t been easy. But I’m determined to get back last year’s focus and drive. Plus, I love the idea of improving happiness through healthy food. Here are a few healthy eating goals:

  1. Cut out soda – At least on the whole. An indulgence a few times a month won’t hurt.
  2. Eat more veggies – I’m convinced that vegetables are the Shangri-La of healthy eating, and as such I will eat them for every meal. And this isn’t as easy as you’d think.
  3. No refined carbs – Although I love sugar and refined flour, my body does not. And neither does my brain. I’m sticking with complex carbs, whole grains, and high fiber. Lots of fiber.
  4. Healthy fats – Fat isn’t a problem for me. It gets a bad rap, but your brain is made mostly of fat, and it’s a great source of energy if you’re not spending your calories stuffing yourself full of refined carbs. So I’ll focus on fats from olive oil and dairy, but not vegetable oil as that is definitely not good for you.
  5. High protein – I’m not a fan of tuna (at all), but I do love chicken and fish, so I’m going to focus on getting in a lot of good protein. It’s necessary if you’re a runner (which I am). Plus, I like meat. Sorry animals.

I’ll let you know how these eating goals affect my brain and emotions. I’m certain good things will follow. What do you eat? Have you noticed a link between food health and happiness? Let me—and everybody else—know!

Choose Joy.

—A

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