Our body mirrors the quality of the food we eat. It is a well-known and a no-questions-asked fact that healthy eating habits make our lives easy and full of energy. But most of us would agree that when given a chance to choose a burger over the humble okra, our taste buds compel us to go with the former. The adverse impact that this highly processed, calorie rich, nutrient deficient junk food has on our physical being is well documented and well known. But what about the effect it has on our mental being?
Not only does our brain get addicted to sugar, we become hyperactive (thanks to the preservatives), more anxious, and are more prone to depression. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The list goes on with dementia, learning disorders, mood swings, eating disorders and so many other mental health issues.
Unfortunately, merely educating ourselves about the perils of junk food doesn’t stop us from consuming them. Because thanks to our lifestyles, all days are not the same and we can not necessarily get nutritious and healthy food everywhere, at all times.
Here are a few strategies which can prove successful in avoiding junk:
- Minimal meal planning and some amount of effort go a long way in keeping away from junk food, be it at office, home, or even for kids.
- A day well begun is half done. Starting our day with lemon and honey tea and sitting in the sunlight can boost our spirits. Sun exposure releases serotonin hormone which has proven mood-lifting benefits.
- Being close to nature and pursuing hobbies such as art or music are other great ways to take our mind off food and this also plays a key role in balancing mind and energy.
- Different moods and changes in emotions play an important role on what and how we eat. Most of the time we end up eating based on how we feel, binge eating (which is mostly on junk) being the most commonly known example. Recognizing the triggers of emotional eating are the first step in confronting them. These can be work or personal stressors, fatigue, conflicts or even boredom.
- Adding sprouts or a smoothie for breakfast gives instant energy and a sense of fullness – thereby preventing us from reaching out for that mid-morning pack of potato chips.
- Chocolate, especially dark, in the form of hot chocolate, chocolate shake or a simple cube gives energy to our body and mind. Chocolate consumed in a moderate amount benefits mental health and lifts our mood too. For instance, on a bad day at office when you might not feel like eating; sit for a couple of minutes, become aware of your breathing and just sip on hot or cold chocolate or nibble on a chocolate bar. It will leave you feeling reenergized and refreshed.
- Earlier, most of the Indian families used to be a part of an extended family system. Meals used to be a joint affair and the day’s events were discussed openly. These worked as a therapy especially for those who needed someone to communicate with, share their problems or needed a morale boost. Now with nuclear families on an exponential rise, we must build a strong support system of like-minded people and well-wishers. Our circle must constitute of those who give us their support and time when needed.
- Lastly, visiting a counsellor and asking for help is extremely vital to break our habits – be it negative thoughts, or excessive/ impulsive eating. So, don’t be hesitant to reach out to the professional when there is a need.
With the help of these very simple and effective habits we can improve our approach towards healthy eating, overcome our addiction for junk food and prevent not only our body but also our mind from becoming a garbage dumping ground. Then, your mind will thank you for sure.
Power Punch Chocolate Smoothie by Jolly Vin
- 4 dates
- 2 tablespoons oats
- 1 teaspoon chiaseeds or flaxseeds
- 1 teaspoon cocoapowder
- 5 almonds, soaked overnight and peeled
- 1 tablespoon peanutbutter
- 1 cup cowmilk (Vegan substitute can be same amount of coconutwater or soymilk or almondmilk)
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon instantcoffeepowder (optional)
- Grind dates, oats, chia seeds/ flax seeds, cocoa powder, almonds, and peanut butter together.
- Blend this mixture with cow milk (or any of the vegan substitute) and water.
- Coffee lovers can add instant coffee powder as well.