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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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Gluten Free Diets – Fad or Fact?

Gluten Free Diets – Fad or Fact?

Have you chosen a gluten free diet to lose weight or get healthy because you have heard that wheat or gluten is “bad for you?”  I am about to tell you how true these health claims really are.

Gluten free diets can be effective for weight loss and health, depending on three factors:

1. Whether or not you have a gluten intolerance, celiac’s disease, or a wheat allergy

Are you gluten intolerant, have an allergy, or suffer from a lifelong auto-immune condition known as Celiac’s Disease?  If so, you should absolutely follow a strictly gluten free diet upon diagnosis.  If you have not been tested and have suspicions of having a gluten problem, I encourage you to see a ND or MD to run blood tests. Food intolerances, allergies and celiac’s disease are NOT something to mess with, as gluten problems can lead to immunodeficiency, leaky gut, and even more auto-immune conditions over time.  You may want to know exactly what foods are safe to eat and stick to it 100% if you have these gluten problems.  For these conditions, it requires a lifestyle change moreso than a short-term “diet”.   Eating foods that your body can’t handle will lead to unwanted weight gain. For those who do not have a true gluten problem, you might be trying a gluten free diet for the wrong reasons and may put yourself through more trouble than its worth to restrict the popular gluten ingredients in the supermarket. Glutenous foods include wheat, barley, rye, and vital wheat gluten.

2.  What you are eating to replace gluten in your diet 

If you are replacing glutenous grains with processed grains instead of healthy whole grains, you are most likely on a fad diet and not making healthy choices for weight loss.  100% whole wheat has moderate protein from gluten and also is a high fiber food; processed grains are typically low protein and low fiber. Regardless of your reason for going gluten-free, you should try to eat healthy to get results. Take the time to study the ingredients that you find on the labels of foods or be careful what you put in your homemade meals to replace the gluten proteins in wheat, rye, or barley.  Many gluten free foods are also high in oils which are 100% calories from fat, and there are 9 calories per gram of fat. Other gluten-free products contain eggs, which are both very high in saturated fat and cholesterol, yet contains no fiber.  To be safe, I would avoid eggs on a gluten-free diet (another common allergen) and then check to see if there are less than 20% of calories from fat on the nutrition label.  Remember to question if a product is fad or fat? If you can follow these few tips, and eat more home cooked meals, you are likely going to see some weight loss results.

3.  The amount of sugar you are eating on gluten free diets

If you are overeating sugar, you are going to have trouble losing weight and might even gain weight on a gluten-free diet.  If you have gluten intolerance and also want to lose weight, then contact me for help because a lot of gluten free foods are jam-packed with added sugars and processed chemicals to make up for the lack of gluten.  This could bump up the amount of calories per gram of food, and you can easily overeat if your new diet is highly processed.  If going gluten free results in you making more homemade meals, you might experience the contrary and start to lose weight.

Need help learning about gluten-free diets or getting a written nutrition plan that’s right for you?  I write plans with both 100% whole wheat and gluten free options! Choose the foods that are right for you!

Kelly Gibson, Vegan Gluten Free Nutrition Coach

My name is Kelly and I am intolerant to wheat and gluten.   I was sticking to gluten free diets mostly for 3 years, but cheating once in a while with a food that contained wheat or gluten really affected my weight goals.  Having a snack once a week containing gluten created auto-immunity inside of my body and prevented me from losing the weight that I worked so hard for the other 95% of the time.  After going fully gluten free, I have never felt better and even lost my last 7 pounds. I plan to be on a gluten free diet for the rest of my life and I do it for my health! If I didn’t have intolerance I would have no problem eating it, and I have no problem encouraging others to do the same. It is estimated that roughly 30% of people have a gluten problem; as for the other 70% they shouldn’t have to worry about cutting the gluten.

Written by Kelly Gibson on Jan 12, 2015. Edited Aug 5th 2016.

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The Most Delicious Gluten Free Vegan Pizza!

How to Make a Delicious Gluten Free Vegan Pizza

Learn how to make a gluten free vegan pizza! In this video, a gluten free vegan trainer who coaches clients online to eat gluten free vegan will walk you through how to make a pizza with just the basics.  You don't need any baking experience to be able to follow along and try the recipe that I am showing you. Although I am using alot of ingredients to make the dough, it's quite a simple process actually. I encourage you to give it a try, you won't regret it!

This is truly a delicious gluten free vegan pizza with wonderful flavors. If you aren't too keen on all the added effort of making the dough, feel free to just skip ahead to the sauce and toppings... anyone with a few minutes on their hands and an appetite can make this delicious pizza with ready-made-crust.  Enjoy!

What you'll need:

  • Preheated oven at 450F
  • food processor
  • spatula
  • measuring spoons & cups
  • one medium sized bowl
Gluten Free Vegan Pizza topped with Tomatoes and Olives


Gluten Free Pizza Dough:

  • Glutino Pizza Crust Mix
  • 1/6th cup olive oil
  • 2Tbsp ground flaxseed + 6TBSP water
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp himalayan salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Cashew Garlic Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/2 TBSP fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1Tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • 1/4 tsp basil


  • 1/2 can black olives
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 3 green onions

Instructions: Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is firm.... Now you have a Spectacular Gluten Free Vegan Pizza !

Video by Kelly Gibson | Gluten Free Vegan Trainer | Gluten Free Vegan Coach | Gluten Free Vegan Nutritionist


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