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Keeping a Mind-Body Food Journal for Health and Healing

Keep a Mind-Body Food Journal for Health and HealingKeeping a mind-body food journal

How would you like to understand, once and for all, the relationship between what you’re eating and how you feel? Keep a mind-body food journal. It’s a powerful way to gain insight into eating habits and the impact of food choices on your mental and physical well-being. A mind-body food journal is different from a “diet diary” because the intention is different: it’s not just about the fit of your jeans, it’s about how food fits your life and your lifestyle.
Too often we eat mindlessly – on the run, watching television, behind the computer. A mind-body food journal helps create clarity between what we choose and how we feel. It leads the way to improved choices and – because food is medicine – supports total mind-body health and healing.
Start your journal today. Track your eating habits for a few weekdays and at least one weekend day. Do this for at least two weeks.

What to Track in a Mind-Body Food Journal

Food Factors
When did you eat?
What did you eat?
How much did you eat?
Why did you eat?
How did you feel after eating?
Mind Factors
What was your overall mood before and after eating?
Did you have headaches, or mental/emotional fatigue?
Body Factors
What did you notice about your body before and after eating?
Social & Environmental Factors
Who were you with for the meal?
Did you eat hurriedly or calmly?
Were you doing another activity while eating?
Review your journal at the end of each day and summarize your habits. Note the key factors for why you chose to eat the way you did, what was going on, how you felt and if there were any physical symptoms. You and Dr. Myra Reed’s staff can use this information to help make healthier food choices.

Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

Did You Know?
The human brain consumes the largest portion of the total energy that is generated in the human body – up to 20%!

Sept2016_Image_Feature_smiling girl at tableThere’s no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.
When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body’s balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body’s ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you’re experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with Dr. Myra Reed and her staff about the role these or other foods may play in your health.

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing

Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as “Blue 2,” or “Citrus Red,” food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They’re also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.

Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and “natural” sweeteners.

MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG “generally safe,” some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Dr. Reed and her staff may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

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