Tool for Dealing with Anxiety – Part 3 Diet

Tool for Dealing with Anxiety – Part 3 Diet

Once you have gotten your mind on the correct path it is time to start working on your body. I have put diet before exercise, not because one is more important than the other, but because I think you have to start learning what to put into your body before learning how to work on your body. Proper nutrition helps us feel mentally and physically healthy and we need to get this going in the right direction before beginning a new exercise regiment.

First, take a look at how you currently eat. Do you eat out a lot, do you eat a lot of processed foods (anything in a box), do you eat a lot of breads and grains, how many servings of fruits and vegetables do you consume a day? All of these eating habits are formed over long periods of time, much like our thinking, and cannot be undone overnight. I warn you when you first make a change to your diet, your are retraining your body, and it will not feel good at first.

Again, before making any change to your diet consult your physician. I am neither a doctor, nor a dietitian. I am only sharing what I have found through doing research and practicing in my own life.

To start with increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, especially vegetables. Be open to new ideas, new combinations, and new tastes. Did you know that you can make pizza with a cauliflower crust that tastes awesome. Cauliflower is one of the most versatile and healthy foods there is. You can use a food processor to grate the cauliflower and use it as a healthy rice substitute in almost any dish. Other versatile vegetables include zucchini and a wide variety of tasty squashes.

Eat an apple a day. This is no old wives tale. Apples are full of fiber and help to curb hunger. They make a great healthy snack anytime of the day. Also, berries are an excellent source of antioxidants so stock up on blueberries and strawberries. A handful of blueberries is a great energy booster while giving you nutrition that will help build up and support your immune system.

Start small by just increasing your intake of healthy fruits and vegetables before moving to the next step. Slowly change your eating habits over weeks to give your body time to adjust. As you go along start to cut out the processed foods. Processed foods have a lot of preservatives and chemicals that can cause an imbalance in the mind-body chemistry and actually leads to feelings of depression and anxiety especially when you first cut them out of your diet.

Do research into the different diet options that are out there and make smart choices for yourself. Don’ t worry so much about which one is best – they all have benefits and negative aspects. Use your common sense and choose one that works for you. Finding the right diet is very personal and doing your home work to decide on the right one will go a long way to making sure that any change you make is permanent.

I personally practice the paleo diet. You can learn more about this lifestyle choice by checking out two of my favorite paleo sites: Mark’s Daily Apple and Paleo Grubs. I am not saying this is the right choice for everyone, but I can tell you it works for me. Two years ago I was stressed out, was eating unhealthy, and weighed 190 pounds (which is a lot for me as I am only 5′ 8″ and of medium build). It was at that point that I started to make incremental changes to my diet. Within a year I was down to 175 pounds. About two months ago I switched to a paleo diet along with regular exercise (which I will cover in my next post) and currently I am at 165 pounds.

Eating the right things, that are healthy for you, will give you the energy and mental well being to deal with stress and reduce anxiety. If your body is functioning correctly, and your immune system in working well, you will feel more positive and be in better shape to deal with the stress that life throws at you. You will sleep better, think better, and live better.

In the next blog post I will cover exercise and offer some tips and techniques for getting started.

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