Before we dive into food
This minding your thoughts episode is no.4 in our self-care mini-series all the parts are listed below and as they become available they will become clickable. So if they aren't it's likely the episode hasn't aired yet. Do take a listen to the series I have some amazing guests coming to share their expertise with us.
~ Food for thought with Victoria Bell
Food For Thought with Victoria Bell
In a world where nothing is what it used to be there is a temptation to try and take control and when we can't control the external world, we will often look to control our immediate surroundings sometimes to our detriment. In this episode we do not address eating disorders but if you feel that the current climate has led you to a pace where you are having issues in this area please reach out for help you can call BEAT on 0808 801 0677 9 am - 8 pm weekdays and 4 pm -8 pm weekends and bank holidays.
Foods that Harm and Foods that Heal
It was this book 'Foods that Harm and Foods that Heal' that made me think inviting Victoria to be part of the Self-care Series was a good idea. Food is our fuel yet we use it in many ways. As an emotional crutch when we are sad, as an outlet when we are stressed, as a way to socialise. During the last 7 months, you may have found yourself leaning on your food vices more than usual and that is what today’s episode is looking to address.
Again as with all the interviews, it is so much better to listen as I can't put all the information in these notes and Victoria has given us some great nuggets in here.
Victoria how can we stop reaching for the fridge when we start to feel stressed and overwhelmed?
Take a moment to breathe, breathwork can help reduce anxiety and stress levels. Try different types of breathing techniques (refer to Saira's episode for more on breathing).
Sleep can help reduce cravings. When we don't get enough sleep we will crave more carbohydrates and our appetite isn't as well controlled. You'll find yourself snacking more and reaching for the sugary things. So a good bedtime routine is important. Try to do something relaxing before bed so you're more likely to fall asleep more easily. If sleep is a problem then breathing work can help and just making sure you're conscious of all the little things you can do to put yourself in a more restful state.
Make sure you're hydrated. When we are stressed dehydration can really emphasis the stress levels. So drink more water, look at switching caffeine drinks to decaff alternatives as caffeine can enhance stress. Look to reduce fizzy drinks.
Take a break! Building in breaks in your day is important for your self-care. If you're looking after children or family, working and stuck at home you can start to feel hemmed in. Taking a break even if it's just a walk around the block can help to reduce the stress levels.
Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol can have a knock-on effect on how we feel the following day or the day after. It can increase anxiety and have a negative impact. So look at reducing the number of nights you drink and moderating how much you drink each night this can help.
For those struggling with anxiety, a vitamin B complex and magnesium can help. Although a balanced diet can provide these often people aren't getting enough through their diet. Those suffering from high stress and are exhausted often have an increased requirement for these nutrients. Ask a professional or get some reviews so you know you're taking something that is good quality.
Finally exercise as Catherine said, any movement can help reduce stress levels.
QUICK TIP: If you are feeling overwhelmed pour yourself a glass of water and take slow sips and think about your breathing
What foods should we be looking at eating if we need to boost our energy?
There is an amino acid called tryptophan we use it to produce serotonin our happy hormone and melatonin which helps us sleep. We need lots of this in our diet and luckily it is in lots of yummy foods.
Meat eaters your best sources are, chicken, turkey and fish.
Vegetarians your best sources are nuts, nut butters and cherries specifically Montmorency cherries but they are hard to come by so cherries are still a good option. Strawberries, dairy, tofu, soy oats and bananas.
Have these late afternoon evening time can really help with sleep.
Again lots of fluids, water and green tea is really good. Green tea has an amino acid called thionin which helps with a brain chemical a neurotransmitter that helps us feel relaxed. Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain it helps us slow things down. So a few cups of green tea a day can help with this. You can flavour the tea if it helps, the flavoured tea bags aren't as potent.
Try eating the rainbow, getting lots of colour into your diet these are rich in antioxidants and that will help. Set yourself a challenge to get as many colours into your day as you can.
Dark chocolate is good up the cocoa content as much as you can as it has polyphenols which are antioxidants and it gives you this feeling of wellbeing.
And a quick snack option for those with a sweet tooth, dates with nut butter is a really delicious option. Take a couple of dates, take out the stone and replace with the nut butter. Those with diabetes would have to consider if this would be an option for them as it would depend on how they are managing their diabetes.
Now we have some food for thought
Can you tell us 3 simple things we can do that will have a positive impact on our health?
The first thing I would suggest is getting in an extra portion of fruit or vegetables. Not everyone has the 5 a day that's recommended lettuce in a sandwich is not a portion. Swap a biscuit snack for a fruit snack add an extra portion of veg with your dinner and over time build up to 7 portions. The goal is to fill half your plate with vegetables.
Build-in variety, frozen mixed veg is a great option to get that variety. There's less waste and it's just as nutritious.
The second thing is to meal plan. It can help to make sure you're getting the right mix and variety in your diet. It can also help you with planning for meals for when you have after school activities or gym classes. You can look at batch cooking at the weekend or doubling up a meal to use in a few days or pop in the freezer for a later date.
If you can schedule in a new recipe to try you can use things like hello fresh and have meals delivered or even BBC good food has some great healthy recipes you can try. Schedule it so you have the time to try a new recipe and you don't feel rushed.
Finally, try to get your protein in. Ideally with every meal and in your snacks. Protein helps you to feel fuller for longer and they are really good for your mental wellbeing. Good quality proteins help reduce your cravings and if you do snack a protein-rich snack can help moderate our appetite. So meat fish and eggs are great sources for the meat-eaters. Soy products beans and lentils for the vegetarians. If you are in a rush a good quality protein powder to make a smoothie with fresh greens and fruit. With protein bars go for 12g or less in sugar and go for more natural sugars rather than the refined sort.
Victoria is a registered nutritional therapist, specialising in helping busy working women to regain their energy. She helps women to get to the root causes of their lack of get up and go, and to support their recovery with manageable changes to their diet and lifestyle. She loves working one to one with clients (currently online) and educating work teams about how a few tweaks to their diet can make a big difference to how they enjoy their working day and their downtime. She is a mum of two primary aged daughters and turned her own health around with nutritional therapy after years of ill health in her previous career in Finance. Victoria has 3 clinics in Heartfordshire, st Albans, Croxley Green and Watford and currently works online.
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