I have previously recommended The Body Book by Cameron Diaz, and when I was reading through the ‘Mind’ section yesterday I came across the point she makes about how it isn’t just her physical body that is adversely affected when she makes poor food and sleep choices, but her emotional heart and spiritual mind too.
It reminded me of a similar epiphany that I had a while back: that food and sleep really do affect my state of mind. It is a holistic teaching that I had been aware of for a long, long time but it took me a while to internalise it, connect the dots and feel it for myself. And basically just to care enough about putting my wellbeing first.
My personality is such that I am a day-dreamer with a very vivid (and often intense) mind – just ask anyone who knows me! I can dream up beautiful things, but also very fear-based ones too, and I eventually became aware that I am more inclined to dwell on worst-case scenarios (even if they are just flights of fancy stemmed from my inner fears without any grounding in reality) and have negative emotional reactions to things when I am tired and eating poorly.
I began to notice how quickly and strongly food could change my emotional ‘setting’ from upbeat to morose. I’m not just talking about the guilt reflex “Oh, I’ve eaten too many crisps. I’m such a failure” that we’ve all had; I’m talking about emotions in a broader scope. Aside from the adverse physical sensations I feel from too many poor food choices and lack of sleep, I am less able to see the positive in a situation, I am irritable, less focused, less able to centre myself, and I lose confidence in myself. I bet you have noticed this in yourself too, if you really think about it.
I still eat ‘naughty’ foods and I am far from ‘perfect’, but I am consistently eating better quality, healthier food now because I am more conscious of how my choices affect my moods and feelings (personally I don’t eat meat, and have very little dairy). I want to be happy, centred and peaceful, and eating better is like emerging from a dull mental fog to sunbeams and clear skies! It is, I suppose, an awakening.
If you want a book to help you understand your body and to inspire you to feel good about yourself in every way, I would suggest The Body Book to you. This isn’t just about changing your lifestyle in order to look a certain way, this is about being HAPPY!
Food is SO important to us. Enjoy life, but don’t let food have a detrimental impact on your emotional or physical wellbeing. Processed stuff won’t make you lastingly happy. If you deny your body the nutrients and rest it needs, of course your mind and emotions are going to suffer too. The emotional, mental and physical bodies are all wondrously interconnected.
You’ve probably all heard of Deliciously Ella (by Ella Woodward) and, in my opinion, her hype is well deserved. I absolutely LOVE her cook books, Deliciously Ella and Deliciously Ella Every Day, and I use them nearly every day at the moment. They are full of healthy, nourishing, plant-based recipes that are great for our UK climate. I recommend them to you too!
I hope this post encourages you to consider for a moment how your food and sleep choices may be affecting (for better or for worse) your mental and emotional state. Let me know your thoughts!