Food and Your Emotions

The only connection between one’s emotions and diet is more than just the tendency to eat when depressed or stressed. Western science has just recently uncovered the link between mental states and nutrition, though Eastern civilizations were well aware of the consequences of diet on the mind since around 4000 B.C.
Personally I feel western science and research could do much more and faster if they consulted our ancient Vedas with sincerity, because we’ve been there and done that more than 20 millenniums ago. Saves a lot of resources and the unnecessary exercise.
But the world, I believe is almost reaching that point of intelligence, and soon they would completely recognize the value of the ancient scriptures which have already embedded all the scientific, mathematical and philosophic knowledge that the world by western technique is only grappling to grasp. And this change that we as Indian encourage, is out of the mentality of a unified one world family mindset. This unified One-World-Family mindset is what makes an Indian just smile and brush minor plagiarisms of the west aside…by “plagiarism”, I mean the textbooks saying that Aristotle discovered the shape of the Earth, or Galileo’s discoveries about the solar system, many mathematical equations, the fact that the ancient Indians designed and implemented the first complete flying machine, that the umbrella was first invented in India, and Kalaripayattu, the mother of all martial arts….and much much more. What the world considers breakthrough inventions and discoveries today, is what ancient Indian civilization knew in entirety ages ago, right from stem cell invention, to artificial insemination, to knowledge of dark matter, parallel universes, and so on.
One such interesting science I want to share with you today is the effect of food on our mind.
It is simple understanding that what we eat today in a little while becomes integrated as part of our bodily organs and fluids. WE BECOME WHAT WE EAT.
Neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain regulate our moods, emotions and the experience of pain. When we eat, nutrients in the foods trigger amino acids and these acids affect the production of emotional neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin).
Take an example, proteins tone blood sugar levels, infuse alertness and generate constancy in energy levels in a person.
Exactly the converse happens in a sugar-rich diet.
The body is a part of the planet’s elements, and it is an evolved, complex living matter. Every living and non-living being functions through conditioning, and conditioning is super important for the body more than for the mind, because the body is more gross, and the mind is subtle. The rules that apply to the body do not apply to the mind. The body needs effort to build itself. The mind needs effortlessness to rest and relax and bounce back with vitality. The body needs conditioning to become lively and healthy. The mind needs unconditioning. Get the subtle point.
Now when I say protein again, your conditioned mind gets mental pictures of eggs and fishes and lean meat, right? Honestly from a very scientific, medical and environmental perspective, MEAT IS NOT AN INTELLIGENT SOURCE OF PROTEIN at all. If you want visual proof, and you are older than 16 years, please feel free to indulge in the video “Meet Your Meat” and educate yourself :-)
I’m sure you’ll find healthier and easily available sources of protein besides the meat.

Complex carbs
Effect- Releases more serotonin: Alleviates depression, Creates mental peacefulness, restful sleep, Reduces appetite and physical pain, cleans blood of all amino acids (except tryptophan- tryptophan which converts into serotonin-)
Source- Whole grains and starchy foods (pasta, potatoes), spinach, orange juice, nuts, seeds, olive oils

Ascorbic acid and selium
Effect- Increases intercourse frequency and mood, reduces anxiety, fidgeting, irritability and violent tantrums
Source- Brazil nut, sunflower seeds, whole grain cereals

Folic acid
Effect- Enables 50-70 year olds fight cognitive decline; deficiency causes anaemia
Source- Spinach and orange juice

Antioxidants-Vitamin E
Effect- Better memory as you grow older and older and older
Source- Vegetable oils, nuts, leafy greens, berries

Omega-3 fatty acids
Effect- Healthy brain, fights mental illnesses (depression and mood disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dyslexia, dementia), heart disease, cancer, inhibits behavioral problems and spelling and learning disabilities in children
Source- Walnuts, kiwi fruit, flax seeds

Vitamin B12
Effect- Synthesizes red blood cells, maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and development in children. Deficiency can cause anaemia, disrupt DNA production and create abnormal cells (megaloblasts), resulting in anaemia. Symptoms:excessive tiredness, breathlessness, listlessness, pallor, poor resistance to infection, a smooth, sore tongue and menstrual.
Source- Seaweeds (nori), and algae (spirulina), Vit. B12 fortified nutritional yeast extracts (Red Star brand etc), Vecon vegetable stock, veggieburger mixes, textured vegetable protein, soya milks, vegetable and sunflower margarines, and breakfast cereals (Nutri-Grain)

Refined white sugar (I call it "chemical menace"...deadly name na :-))
Effect- Depletes the bodily B-vitamins, leading to nervousness and mental depression. emotional outbreaks, especially in children and adolescents. chronic blood-sugar level problems (that may cause diabetes or hypoglycemia depression, irritability and nervous attacks), accompanied by headaches, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, crying spells, nervous breakdowns, excessive worry, inability to concentrate, depression, forgetfulness, suicidal thoughts, illogical fears, allergies (do you want sugar now?). The worst is, it coats itself on the inner lining of the digestive and intestinal hair and inhibits the absorption of nutrients by the body.
- Schools that have removed carbonated drink and candy machines have observed a decrease in vandalism and absenteeism

Foods high in artificial flavors and colors
Effect- Interfere with the working of bodily chemicals
Source- You’re smart enough to figure out the names :-)

Curry spice curcumin
Effect- Reduces memory deficits in Alzheimer's disease and brain trauma

Effect- Dull the mind’s thinking faculty and induces mild depression because fat digestion demands much blood to be diverted away from the brain to the digestive system.
Source- You know which :-)

Preserved foods
Effect- Saturates the bloodstream with toxins that poison the body and interfere with brain function
Source- You knew that! :-)

Effect- Metabolic dysfunction; impairs the vitamin C absorption, destroys currently present Vitamin C in blood, interferes with the blood circulation and deprives the brain of its essential nutrients (blood glucose); causes emotional outbursts and irritability
Source- Tobacco (Are the inspirational old West actors and Shahrukh Khan reading this?)

Caffeine drug
Effect- Nervous and emotional disturbances (anxiety); stimulates insulin secretion, thereby disturbing the blood-sugar level in the body.
Source- 1-3 cups of coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate

Effect- Disturbs blood-sugar level. Low blood sugar occurs in 70-90% of all alcoholics. Causes niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency that leads to periods of depression and feelings of lack of self-worth.
Source- I'll doubt your IQ if you still want a martini?

The Bhagavad Gita, systematizes foods into three types:

Pure foods ("sattvic")
Calmness, tranquility and clarity of mind, alertness and sweetness of disposition.

Cereals, honey, herbs, sprouts, seeds, nuts, legumes, butter, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables (includes sprouts), fresh juices, and whole meal bread, dairy products, almonds, dates, barley

Stimulating foods ("rajasic")
Induces animal passions, egotism and a restless, dissatisfied state of mind. These foods contribute to nervous disorders and emotional outbreaks.

Salty, dry, sour, hot and bitter food like sharp spices, meat, eggs, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, wheat and rye products, sugar, meat, chocolate, tea and coffee

Impure or rotten foods ("tamasic")
Decrease in thinking capacity (delusion), dull the senses, lethargy, anger, jealousy, greed, pessimism, lack of common sense, doubtfulness and contribute to chronic mental ailments. They accelerate the aging process and cause early death.

Putrified, processed, canned and preserved foods (includes icecreams or log-refrigerated stale food), burnt or half-cooked foods, meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic, fermented foods (includes wine) and over ripe foods

Broadly, foods affect our mental and emotional state by:
1. furnishing or depleting vital nutrients upon which our mental and emotional health depend, and
2. Producing or not producing toxic by-products, in the body which poison the brain and contribute to emotional problems.

Appropriate changes to our personal diet system heighten cognition, protect brain from damage and defend the effects of aging. The food we consume is broken down and the vital nutrients are supplied to the brain cells wherein our mental and emotional faculties take shape.

The wrong kinds of foods can cause complete mental breakdowns and personality transformation.

This knowledge is so profound that the mental health of all countries maybe linked to only the diet being promoted by the governments.

End of the day, the bottom line is this: gluttony is bad! If you overeat, you are giving me vibes about your negative self-image, or inability to handle negative emotions (hence the temporary desensitization of emotions).
Remember how Mom or Dad conditioned the ice cream rewards: "If you're good, I'll buy you an ice cream." Now we play the same parent-child reward game with ourselves unconsciously, don’t we? What would you do if you are depressed, eat chocolate chip cookies, (or smoke, if you’ve had a bad upbringing) but they do not erase the cause of that depression. For certain, the foods we are eating may be recreating the emotional problems we are trying to escape from. See the point?
Do you put money in the nearest carbonated drink machine or grab a candy bar, when you are lonely, or bored?
We don’t even stop there. We mindlessly eat turkey, pastries and sweets on holiday festivities, not moderately, but mindlessly.

This brings me to another talking point: under eating/ fab dieting. This is my only take on this: Half the world’s population is starving, and the other half is on a diet.

Need I say more?

The bigger picture is clear: we make hundreds of dietary decisions SUBCONSCIOUSLY everyday. We have conditioned our minds to do that. And it costs money to satisfy the urges momentarily, and even more money to undo the bodily disasters. The shift is only a matter of orientation: Let’s change the way food is served, for the multitudes of unconscious consumers so that they can painlessly cut around 200 calories a day! 200 calories everyday…it really is a big deal !
Start with small measures of changes…promise yourself not to eat that snack unless you have a fresh (and preferably organic) fruit. And get innovative…garnish your meals well. We all know that we also eat with our eyes and smell and touch, so get innovative..get artistic!
No intelligent person will fall for the false sense of security mis-promised by fast food chains like McDonald’s, that talk loud about health food, and so-called nutrients in their happy meals, and parallely trick you into buying coke floats with sugar-cream filled icecream (remember the info on white sugar? :-)) floating in pottycola (you’ll know why, if you’ve read my earlier posts).
I know you are intelligent, and you are aware of it, when you walk into a McD outlet.
My question is: are you intelligent enough?
You may enjoy the illusion of eating a “healthy” wrap sandwich for a meal, but go beyond the mayonnaise pack label that says “0 carbs”. The packet doesn’t mention the 10 grams fat and 90 cals. ! Sorry to ruin your meal, sorry that we are living in a funny civilization, sorry to say you are setting the trend for your family and for your friends when you make a choice. You are the most important person in your life, and you have only one body.

Depressions, worry, nervousness, anxiety, tension and other negative emotions surface out of fear. Worry is fear of the unknown; anxiety is fear of future possibilities; tension is fear of people or their demands; nervousness is fear of one's own inability to handle daily responsibilities.
Primitive man (and animals) had to tackle tangible fear, which was external and he could run from it. Contrary wise, the modern man, today, has fears about the intangible worries. These are internal factors and he cannot run from them. And sadly, our education system never taught us to handle our own minds, so we have been unequipped so far to deal with worry, nervousness, anxiety, tension, depression, and now even panic (an extreme manifestation of fear).
Awareness is a solution, so are affirmations. But these are superficial. What else can one do sureshot?
Enter: Meditation, yoga, and the Sudarshan Kriya.

I bet your parents never knew this, so they never taught you this. I bet you know this now, so you will do what an educated, intelligent, self-empowering, narcissist individual like you can do about it now!

Happy people inspire happiness in people around. Meditative minds create more tranquility and positivity around them. The whole exercise of life is to be happy. And 30 million people around the world are experiencing unshakeable happiness and struggle-free success with Sudarshan Kriya.
Haven’t you experienced it yet?


sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

Janaki Gopikrishna said...

you can get this details about food in the publications of gita by the ISKCON

GauravNath said...

Thanksm I surely will do that. It is very comprehensive I hear

Raj said...

Gaurav, This is a wonderful post!

GauravNath said...

Thanks Raj...pls introduce your friends and colleagues you really care about to this blog.