Food, Mood, Emotions & How to Eat Healthy

“We shouldn’t be able to eat a Snickers bar for cheaper than we can eat an apple.” – James DiNicolantonio

Yesterday, I wrote a blog post of an interview with a chef and chiropractor “Healthy Eating Tips from a Chef and Chiropractor“. It gives good information from food experts with 70 years combined experience of providing food and counseling on healthy eating habits, diet, and nutrition.

Often, when we think of eating healthy we think of avoiding junk food, sugar, salt, fat, and adding in more fruits, vegetables, etc. Even when we know what is best for us and with the best of intentions it can still be challenging to eat well. Why is that? Because food is nourishment. It is not just physical substances that we put into our bodies so we feel full and have energy.

Food is emotional. Food is pleasure. Food is comfort.

We need it for our survival. It is a strong basic human drive to eat, and we can attach many associations with food – our favorite meal that mom made, that only tastes as good as when mom makes it or food we ate at a particular location that when we eat it again evokes peaceful or joyful nostaglia.

We may also use food or drink to cover up unpleasant stress, emotions, feelings, thoughts, or memories. Certain high fat, high sugar foods, or processed foods may initially create a feeling of comfort, but may also create the biochemistry and feeling of lethargy, depression, or negative thoughts or feelings. These foods might also make you feel more hungry creating an endless cycle of eating and craving more food.

Research shows that sugar and cocaine have similar effects on the pleasure centers of your brain. In fact, when given the choice a rat is more likely to pick sugar over cocaine.  “Fed Up” is great film I recently watched about how sugar impacts health, weight gain, and when eaten too much can create disease. It is streaming on Netflix.

“Death by sugar may not be an overstatement—evidence is mounting that sugar is THE MAJOR FACTOR causing obesity and chronic disease.” – Dr. Mercola

Some people may intentionally under eat to fit into the media’s idealized version of what a beautiful body is supposed to look like. Some may under eat, because there are unpleasant feelings, stress, or anxiety that keeps them from being able to ingest enough food. They may experience a feeling of so much tension in their body or abdomen that it makes them difficult to want to add any thing else to their body. Stress may also shut down appetite.

Part of eating healthy is education, and a big part is recognizing when you might be “emotionally eating” to numb feelings or to feel good, or if you’re in a vicious cycle of eating too much fattening or sugary foods – that make you feel hungry again quickly.

Another part of eating healthy, is recognizing that there may too much stress or unpleasant feelings, moods, and emotions that you need to learn efficient coping strategies.

How to Lower Stress and Emotions to Eat Healthy

  • Learn relaxation techniques
  • Develop a regular meditation practice
  • Participate in effective activities that induce the relaxation response and provide a sense of calm, peace, or joy
  • Move your body – develop a healthy exercise routine, walk, do yoga or t’ai chi – all can be calming and help lower stress
  • Notice if there are any unresolved emotional feelings or past events that you may be avoiding or have any grief about
  • Consider journaling, talking with a friend, creating a piece of art or craft that can help you express your feelings.
  • Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) can lower stress, anxiety, negative thoughts, and emotions
  • Receive bodywork or energy healing which such as massage therapy, reflexology, acupressure, craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, Qigong, Healing Touch, Reiki, or acupuncture
  • Consult with a health care provider to assist you and give you support you need to eat healthy


Fructose: This Addictive Commonly Used Food Feeds Cancer Cells, Triggers Weight Gain, and Promotes Premature Aging. Retrieved fromhttp://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/20/sugar-dangers.aspx

Is Sugar More Addictive Than Cocaine? Retrieved from http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/07/sugar-health-research

#33 low res-1Emmy Vadnais is a Holistic OT who has been providing Mind-Body-Spirit, Prevention and Wellness services and education for over 15 years. She can be contacted at [email protected]


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