Last year I collaborated on a collection of Instagram and blog posts focusing on the connection between food and your mood. These were all thoroughly researched and evidenced, however as this isn’t my area of expertise they have started to make me feel uncomfortable. We all know that the prevalence of internet “experts” sharing questionable – sometimes even harmful – information is on the rise. I never professed to be an expert + the content shared was thoroughly researched, however I thought these posts sat a little bit too close to the line and so I’ve since deleted them. I wanted to acknowledge this decision here but I also do have a couple of things which I would like to share, mostly in an effort to encourage you to think about nutrition and how it is interwoven into our mental and physical wellbeing.

  1. Organic is toted as the gold standard, but conventional vegetables are better than no vegetables. So if you are on a budget, don’t let the weight of organic vs. conventional hang over you. I have also recently seen an interesting and potentially controversial post via @drjoshuawolrich which discusses this very thing, take a look here. If I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure what my feelings are and I definitely need to do look at the evidence for myself. As a family we buy certain, specific items organically (milk is a big one for me, as are berries, spinach and some other fruit) but we buy a great many others conventionally. Have you heard of the dirty dozen?                                                                               
  2. Everything in moderation. Don’t let obsessing over clean-eating become the focal point of your entire existence.
  3. For most people a balanced diet which is low in processed foods will be sufficient to maintain health, but some others may benefit from a more tailored approach. This is where a trained + registered specialist comes in. I can recommend Lucinda Miller of @naturedockids, and she’s a particularly great resource for kid’s nutritional issues.
  4. I’m a huge believer in holistic and natural treatments, changes which we can incorporate into our daily lives which will contribute to our wellbeing. From a parental standpoint, the drastically increasing rates of antidepressants in children and adolescents is hugely worrying and finding ways in which I can help my kids learn healthy and preventative habits weighs heavily on my mind – and I think that nutrition and a well-balanced diet is very relevant.
  5. Again, I don’t want to wade into murky waters but there are a great many issues and ailments which can be addressed via nutritional therapy and it’s never a bad idea to do some research and/or get the opinion of a professional or tw0 (see point #3, above). Just my two cents, do with it what you will.
  6. If you’re the sort that likes to read and collect information, take a look into nutritional psychiatry. I find the subject fascinating. As a starting point, an easy (but very good, informative) read is Gut: the inside story of our body’s most under-rated organ by Guilia Enders.

I’m going to end this on a personal note. Recently I’ve noticed a huge correlation between coffee and chocolate (so, caffeine) and alcohol on my anxiety levels. Our entire family has also been very poorly over the past few months and our guts have been ravaged by what we’ve been dealing with. This means that I’ve felt the effects of whatever foods I’ve consumed very acutely. For example, processed foods and sugars make me extremely tired, very quickly. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about gut health, pre/probiotics and the gut-brain axis. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What have your experiences been on the correlation between the things you consume and your wellbeing – have you noticed a connection between food and your mood?