Nearing the end of a weeklong workshop at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, I’m in a really good mood. As I write, I’m watching fellow visitors enjoy the beautiful wooded setting and magical energy of this place. People here break into spontaneous laughter, song, music and dance. The energy at Omega is palpable, and its Energy Work, specifically EFT Tapping, that brought me here.
Food has the power to heal many things. It’s my go to medicine and first line of defense against anxiety and chronic disease. But, how do we maintain a healthy lifestyle long term? What is the best way to manage stress and daily triggers? Core beliefs about ourselves, the universe and how we fit into the world shape our life experience and our choices. And if we are seeking positive change in our health and want long lasting transformative shifts to occur, we need to uncover limiting beliefs and emotions that lay locked in our mind and even in our bodies. Often, it needn’t be a long or difficult process. That is what energy work can help us to do; dissipate stress and habits that don’t serve us. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) has been well documented, studied and has been proven to be extremely effective. More on that next week.
What I want to talk about this week is how food effects your mood. When I stopped eating meat cold turkey on January 1st, 2012, I had no idea that I was on a journey to a more peaceful and delicious life. If you read my blog on Rewriting Your Story, you know that I narrowly survived a suicide attempt in 1981. What I didn’t know back then is that I was overfed and under nourished. My body was overloaded with sugar, processed foods and chemicals that triggered mood swings and depression. My body was also starving for healing foods and mood regulators found in whole plant foods.
I didn’t change the way I ate for health reasons. Quite the opposite. I went vegan because I could no longer support the factory farm industry and brutal treatment of animals. It was a boycott, a line in the sand. But, my concern, once the decision was made, was about how I would stay healthy on a vegetarian diet. At the time, I wasn’t convinced one could be healthy without meat, but I was going to find a way.
After experimenting and lots of research, it was clear to me that not only was it OK to eliminate meat from my diet, but that the hormones, antibiotics, chemicals, GMO’s and saturated fat in industrialized eggs and dairy were far from healthy. Learning about the horrendous life that dairy cows and egg laying hens must endure sealed the deal. The connection to daily food choices and wellness, daily food choices and animal suffering became so clear. In the months after I stopped eating meat, I then decided to boycott all animal foods and go fully vegan. That’s when I cracked the code to a much healthier and happier life.
Dr. Neal Barnard, President of the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, refers to several studies in his February 2015 report that showed how foods fight depression. It was sighted that some people cannot tolerate antidepressants, don’t benefit from them, or are hesitant to take medications or seek counseling due to stigma. As a result, they miss an average of 19 work days per year, costing employers up to $44 billion dollars annually in lost productivity. Depression can aggravate other chronic illnesses as well, like diabetes and heart disease. There are decades of studies confirming that plant-based diets prevent and even treat chronic illnesses, but can they also improve mood? A study in the March/April 2015 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion demonstrated how a plant-based nutrition program improves not only depression, but anxiety, fatigue, productivity, and other markers of well-being. The 18-week study analyzed the health benefits of adopting a plant-based vegan diet in a corporate setting. Study participants, GEICO employees who were either overweight or struggling with type 2 diabetes, adopted a low-fat vegan diet, favoring high-fiber, low-glycemic foods. They learned about preventive nutrition and new cooking tips through weekly “lunch and learn” sessions led by a clinician or cooking instructor. They also formed bonds, sharing helpful health tips along the way and connecting with the group daily through an online forum. Study participants alleviated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and fatigue, and improved their productivity both at work and outside of work.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring similar “lunch and learn” sessions to your company, contact me Here.
Why, besides studies and science, am I convinced that a whole food plant-based diet has astonishing effects on one’s mood? It’s because I’ve personally experienced it in myself and others I’ve worked with. The effects are incredibly powerful and can happen quickly. Would you like to experience less stress, better mood, reduced inflammation, enhanced digestion and a leaner body? Why not give it a try? I can tell you, life is so much more delicious eating this way. It’s astonishing how food can positively effect your mood.
I am passionate about helping others reach their best physical and emotional body. Are you ready for a supportive, interactive approach in taking charge of your life and health?