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4 Ways Diet Affects Your Mind and Body

4 Ways Diet Affects Your Mind

Article Written by Paige Johnson from; Edited by Kelly Gibson.

4 Ways Diet Affects our Mind and tips to control our food choices. #mentalhealth #mindset

You’re probably already aware that the food you eat affects your weight. Healthy, low-calorie foods may help you lose excess pounds or maintain a fit figure, while processed foods high in sodium and sugar might make you pack on the pounds. It’s wise to enjoy unhealthy food and beverages in moderation, but not just because they impact your weight. Here are four surprising areas of your life that can benefit or suffer from your dietary choices.



Mental illness is common in the United States. Approximately 44 million adults have a mental health condition, and many children also battle at least one form of mental illness. Some mental health conditions are triggered by genetic or environmental factors, but did you know that food also affects your mood? Even if you don’t have an existing mental health condition, your dietary habits may make you cranky, depressed, or anxious. So what’s safe, and what should you avoid? It’s generally best for people to consume fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as whole, sprouted grains, legumes, natural oils, and nutrient-dense seeds. Grains and high-glycemic fruits should be balanced with protein-packed foods (think nuts, nut butters, beans, hemp seeds) to avoid a blood sugar crash from excess carbohydrate consumption.

Here are some foods to limit or avoid completely if you want to protect your emotional health:

  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Artificial colors and flavors
  • High-sodium foods

It takes discipline to avoid eating these common and addicting ingredients.  Having discipline means choosing your emotional health over your cravings. Some people may also need to avoid common foods associated with internal inflammation, such as gluten. Your doctor or a licensed nutritionist can review your current diet and let you know if it’s a good idea to change anything. Remember to choose health first!

Discipline is choosing what you want MOST over what you want NOW. It takes discipline to avoid eating these common and addicting ingredients/foods. #discipline #healthylife

Sleep Schedule

Do you struggle to fall asleep at night? Or perhaps you have no trouble falling asleep, but you find it difficult to wake up, even after a full night of rest? These are common complaints from people who do not consume nutritious foods on a regular basis. That’s because there is a potential link between sleep issues and poor dietary habits. Even if you eat well, you may notice you feel more tired than usual after you consume certain foods. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that raises serotonin levels in your brain. When this occurs, you feel sleepy or relaxed, which can disrupt your sleep cycle. Here are some foods that contain this amino acid (thus you should avoid):

  • Turkey
  • Cheese
  • Red meat
  • Chicken

Animal based foods like turkey, cheese, red meat, and chicken also lack glucose which is the primary energy source for the brain - I recommend avoiding these foods. You may also experience fatigue if you eat too much of a specific food, even if it’s a healthy plant-based food like tofu, nuts and seeds. This is because your body has to work hard to digest the food and distribute the nutrients throughout your body. Limit these.


Mental Clarity

Do you ever find it difficult to focus on work, school, or household chores? Your diet might be the culprit. One recent study found that poor dietary habits may impact cognitive health. Some researchers believe that eating fried food can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

On a positive note, it may be possible to prevent or even reverse the effects of a bad diet. Here are some brain-friendly foods to incorporate into your diet:

  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Dark Chocolate (look for vegan options)
  • Acai berries
  • Coconut oil

Pay attention to how your body feels after you consume different foods. You may notice other foods help or hurt your memory.

Find out the #1 Food that Causes Brain Fog by clicking the image above for my related post.


Social Life

The foods you eat or avoid can have a major impact on your social life. Depending on your lifestyle, this can be a positive or negative experience. A poor social life can result in poor emotional health and a negative mindset. For example, if you avoid foods with refined sugar and wheat, you may find it difficult to dine out with friends. If you live a vegan lifestyle, you may notice friends no longer extend invitations to barbecues or birthday parties.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution for this issue. If you don’t want to change your diet, just make sure you arrive prepared for social functions. Let friends know that you don’t mind bringing a gluten-free dessert or vegan appetizer to their party. You can also host potluck parties at your home so that everyone can eat something they enjoy. Your dietary choices can tilt the scale in either direction, but they also impact other areas of your life. Think carefully about the foods you consume so that you can protect your mind. Diet affects your emotional health, mental clarity, sleep schedule, and social life.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the 4 ways diet affects your mindset, so please subscribe and share!


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What is the Best Protein Source

Protein.  Everyone praises and worships it like every day is Sunday. It’s like we forget there is more to good nutrition than one nutrient. But how bad do we really need protein?

For survival, we don’t need as much as you think! Kids are taught that they need to drink whole milk for strong bones, partly due to the protein content (as well as calcium and fat). The protein content in whole milk is 21%.  I can think of a million other food sources that can provide this much protein, or more.  As long as kids are eating a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes… they will have no problem achieving this protein content. And there’s plenty of non-dairy milks containing nuts or seeds.

As adults, we are still stuck on this notion that protein is almighty and without it we will become scrawny and weak. We are always searching for the perfect protein. Meat is assumed to be the ultimate protein source, because it has the highest amount of protein, so it is assumed that it must be good. Even as adults, we still don’t need upwards of 40-60% protein. If we only select a food based on its protein content, and disregard all the health effects of consuming that food, we are setting ourselves up for failure. But carbs make us fat, right? Let’s just say if that were true, all the vegetarians and vegans would be dead or morbidly obese by now.

Honestly, there are vegetarians and meat-eaters of all sizes, so extreme dieting that avoids any single nutrient entirely won’t solve the world’s obesity crisis. The truth is, the older we get, the less active most of us become, and without exercise, we cannot build muscle.

Sign up for my fitness challenge to learn more about protein!  In our protein lesson, I will go into more detail dispelling myths about protein needs for babies, kids, and adults alike. We will explore what protein intake is optimal for runners, strength athletes, and the average joe. Then, I’ll even shed some light on what type of protein is best for you!  Join today and we’ll start tomorrow!

>> Take the Fitness Challenge Now <<

Try Nutrition Coaching for More on Protein

Written by Kelly Gibson | Kelly Athletics LLC | 480-270-4968 |



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How to Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau

How To Overcome a Weight Loss Plateau
Are you constantly exercising, dieting, and still can’t get past your weight loss plateau?!


Here are some tips on how to manage this:

1. Weight gain does not mean fat gain.  Assess the food you are eating because calories are not always the cause of weight gain. Sometimes bloating can come from too much sodium, or being a bit constipated or backed up. If you eat more whole foods and less processed foods, you can reduce your sodium intake and increase fiber intake to flush out the added weight rather quickly.

2. Nutrients you are getting – are you missing something from your diet? take multivitamin or supplement if you are lacking.

3. How much water do you drink?  If you are dehydrated you can easily overeat or your body will hold more sodium, again creating a bloated unhappy feeling with potential weight gain. Cleansing can help get rid of toxins, so drink your water at every meal and consider a 3-day Shakeology Cleanse or Thisilyn Cleanse. (I have had positive results with both of these, but no I do not sell them).

4. Take multiple measurements – body fat %, circumference measurements, and the scale. Don’t always rely on one number because you could making improvements in one place and not another!  The scale is sometimes a false reading of your true progress and can make you think you are getting fat when you are actually losing fat, holding water and/or building muscle.

5. How hard are you working? Increase the intensity of your workouts to burn fat faster, such as high intensity interval training or HIIT workouts.  Lifting heavier weights can also increase your metabolism for up to 36 hours.  Walking or jogging for an hour can be a waste of time if you aren’t burning fat. If you want to know why click here.

Written by Kelly Gibson on November 30, 2012

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Kelly Athletics LLC: NASM Certified Personal Trainer | Tempe Arizona | Mesa Personal Training | Tempe Boot Camps | Boot Camp Classes in Arizona | AZ Fitness Trainer | Exercises for Women | Workouts for Fat Loss | How to Burn Fat | Easy Exercises for Weight Loss | Vegan Diets and Plant Based Dieting | Vegan Nutrition | Am I Lacking Nutrients on a vegan diet | Overcome Weight Loss Plateau | Cleanse and Detox | Former Team Beachbody Coach 2012 | Need more help with your diet? Try Nutrition Coaching today!