Does the food we eat really affect our mood?

Does the food we eat really affect our mood?

These days I get about in a few online women’s business groups.  These are mostly women who are fiercely passionate about educating and supporting families in and around health, happiness and well-being. I couldn’t give up the chance to have a few of them come and share their love and passion with you. This week we have the beautiful Teresa from “Thelma & Terese” who is talking all about the relationship between “food and mood”.  She has even gifted us a wonderful nourishing recipe at the end of the blog mmmm. Terese is fiercely passionate about spreading her health message and has an abundance of information on her website if you wanted to check it out (scroll to the bottom where we have all of the links)! Over to you Theresa!     Does the food we eat really affect our mood? Absolutely it does. Feeling irritable, tired, uncomfortable and guilty could be a result of skipping meals, too much caffeine/alcohol, too much refined sugar or overeating. For a stable mood, we need to be eating a balanced whole-food diet at regular meal times with nutritious snacks in between as needed. However, there are many other factors that contribute to how we feel when we look at the way food interacts with our brain and GUT. Neurotransmitters Our brain uses neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine as communication signals to communicate with the rest of our body and tell it what to do. Balanced levels of neurotransmitters in the brain improve mood, sleep and increase alertness. These mood-affecting chemicals and precursors like tryptophan are made of amino acids found...
Harsh lessons for my chronically ill son

Harsh lessons for my chronically ill son

It is no surprise to me that my son who is now approaching 15, over the past few months, has been resisting his medications, treatments and physiotherapy that keep him well and maintain his baseline health for Cystic Fibrosis. What is surprising is that it has taken until nearly 15 years of age for him to do it.  I figure that some of the social delays he has, have contributed to this.  But he is most certainly in his teens, physically and mentally.  He is incredibly strong willed and stubborn.  When he has made up his mind about something, there is not a whole lot you can do to change his perspective. When my boys were young and as I was bringing them up, I tried hard to teach them to listen to what their body was telling them and to adjust their behaviour accordingly.  Sore tummies or headaches, and anything in between, always followed with a discussion about what led up to the event or the symptom.  Trying to identify the trigger. What I was trying to do was gift them self-awareness.  I knew from being a teen myself and reading literature about teens with Cystic Fibrosis (and chronic illness in general) that the teen years were going to be tough.  Especially for Matthew dealing with CF. My theory was to teach them to understand that the things we do, the food we eat, the drinks we consume and the environment in which we live can significantly affect how we feel and how our body performs.  By doing this, I hoped, no I trusted that they would grow...
3 Ways to Boost Your Energy & Clear Your Mind

3 Ways to Boost Your Energy & Clear Your Mind

Are you a carer or parent who feel’s like they are running on empty?  Not sure where the next burst of energy is or how on earth you will get through your day?  Perhaps you are surviving on regular coffee and sugary pick-me-ups?  It is such a common and easy pattern to get into!  I know, because I have been there. It is no secret that as busy caregivers we run the risk of burnout and exhaustion.  We have the best of intentions, trying to be and do everything for everyone.  Ensuring our loved one’s are taken care of, receive their treatments, medications and other therapies.  Taking care of the household, not to mention everyone’s mental health!  Many of us try to work full or part-time too.  The responsibility list can be unrelenting. Then BAM!! Out of nowhere you get sick, really sick.  It takes you a loooong time to recover, but you must keep going right?  Because no one will do the work for you. No one else can provide the level of care you can and do.  But when you are down and out, providing the level of care that you expect of yourself seems near impossible doesn’t it?  You tell yourself, I can’t afford to get sick.  Something has to give. YES SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!! In no uncertain terms, you MUST take care of yourself.  I know it seems impossible and a whole lot overwhelming.  It is ‘just another thing’ to put on your ever-growing list.  I get that, I do.  I have been there myself.  But I ask you this: While you are taking care...
“Some days I don’t know how you do it”

“Some days I don’t know how you do it”

My friend sent me a message last week with the words “Some days I don’t know how you do it”.  She often see’s us going through our own ups and downs with the mental and physical health of my son’s.  She saw on Monday that after my son’s 3 week hospital admission, there was little improvement to his health status. My friend, however, is going through an incredibly tough and confronting time herself. The whole family is and has been for many years with her having to face her own serious health battles too. Right now they are facing serious health issues for one of their children and are having to make decisions that will potentially affect the rest of their child’s quality of life. The fact of the matter is, that she is trying to be strong for everyone but is on the verge of cracking herself. Not only is she trying to hold her family together during their own difficult times, she is dealing with grief and uncertainty around the health of one of her friends, who is terminally ill. How do I respond?  We all have our different stuff don’t we?  Differing levels of resilience from person to person and environmental factors can change our ability to cope at any given time.  So my response: “Well I guess I figure all the worry and stress really doesn’t help me or anyone else. In fact, for me it makes it worse. I can’t think clearly, can’t function properly and I sure as hell can’t make decisions effectively. I guess I have practiced it (coping) over a long, long time. Monday, I...
Fuss free gluten & dairy free

Fuss free gluten & dairy free

Anyone will tell you, making major lifestyle changes can be overwhelming at best.  So when you are trying to implement sustainable dietary change for your whole family, who all have years of ingrained habits, it is no easy feat.  How do I know?  Because I would consider myself an accidental expert in change implementation on many fronts.  More specifically, we have evolved our diet significantly with many drastic changes over the past six years. You can read our back story here!  If you are considering a gluten and dairy free lifestyle, you needn’t be overwhelmed.  You do need to be organised and you do need support!  But fear not, I am here to help set you up for success!   Check out my 5 essential ‘going gluten and dairy free’ steps below… Have a strong reason why Plan, prepare, research and record Set up your kitchen Ask for support Bulk cooking and building your stock Have a strong reason why If you have decided to make dietary or lifestyle changes, they simply don’t happen overnight.  You need to have discipline, focus and determination.  If it is an off the cuff decision or a decision that is taken lightly, I am afraid you are setting yourself up to fall. If this is for a medical reason, my strong recommendation is that you be guided by a Naturopath, Integrative Medical Practitioner, Nutritionist or other specialised health professional.  We are guided by a naturopath who is passionate about realistic and sustainable good health & nutrition. She also undertakes diagnostic testing to ensure that my son’s health is being managed thoroughly and uses that with his...