The correlation between emotions and food

It had only recently occurred to me that wanting to eat healthy and making a conscious effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle requires a minimal amount of contentment with one’s current state of mind. For the longest time there has been a link between eating disorder and depression, but not many articles focus on the opposite. There could be some sort of sub-conscious activity in ourselves that perceives what we deserve to have and what we don’t. Take for example, people suffering from depression or low self esteem often indulge in binge eating or are bulimic. Their mentality is that they are not good enough, and their eating habits are often a passive aggressive way of punishing themselves.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is not one that happens accidentally. It takes good planning and minding to make it happen. The choice of wanting to be healthy stems from a certain wanting to love yourself that can only deprive from being happy. Speaking from experience, I was not always happy and healthy. If you’ve read the short little introduction on myself on this site, you would know that I led a complete opposite kind of lifestyle to how I’m living now. And during that period in my life, to say the very least, I was not happy at all, I was in a bad place and was figuring my life out. Looking back on my past eating and lifestyle choices now, I realize they were extremely poor.

I know, back then, that even if I had the knowledge of food like I have now, I wouldn’t be bothered to do anything about it because it wasn’t the top of my priority. It is very much a mental state of mind that determines what kind of lifestyle you subconsciously choose for yourself.

I am now very contented with my life, even though it’s not perfect and I’m still figuring things out, but I know I am happy. It is a kind of happiness that comes from inside and drives you to take even better care of yourself and your loved ones around you. Quoting Paul H Dunn, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it’s too late. The time for happiness is today not tomorrow.”

How about you? Do you have any related food stories to share?

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What’s a good life to you?

Image from 'http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/rich-tehrani/4g/att-wireless-service-improves.html'

My question to you today is exactly what my title presents – what is a good life to you? It’s nothing new that everyone wants different things in life, and if you get to choose, what kind of life do you want? I think it’s safe to be practical, but once in a while it’s good to take a breather and do something that makes you happy.

It’s also not uncommon to see tons of massive advertising and  marketing on the streets of Singapore. It’s at every bus stop and every train station to say the least. The message these adverts send out is “consume, consume, consume”, and sometimes, they use fear to target your insecurities, and in turn, you buy their products to assure yourself and feed that fear that never existed in the first place. It’s these subtle things that gear you towards a direction that is far from what you wanted in life as a kid.

Why do you think girls are piling on more and more makeup and products on their face these days? It irks me to no end when I see young girls with makeup so thick you aren’t even sure how she really looks like, and ladies who dresses like they work the streets at night. What about that worker drone who does nothing with his life but clock in and out of work daily? And of course, a good family that isn’t aware of what is in their food, stocking up on processed food for the week, feeding their lovely kids these junk.

Image taken from 'http://georgiem-onster.deviantart.com/art/Zombie-Doesnt-Like-Dumb-Girls-266262247'

What I’m trying to say here is, the generation today is one that I can’t say I fully agree with. To me, a good life is when one is brought up with good morals and beliefs (no matter what our beliefs may be), is smart and able to think with common sense (you’d be surprised at how this is severely lacking today with the younger generation) and not needing to spend and want excessively in order to feel happy.

I’m suspecting this is a strongly written article because of my bad encounters with a group of teenagers last night that led to this build up of angst. Despite all that angst, I understand that it’s this difference in thinking that makes the human race distinct and interesting from the other species, I guess. Don’t wait till your mid life crisis before you realize what you really, really want to do with your life. Start realizing yourself today.

Tips for starting on eating healthy

There will always be a handful of people who are intrigued and want to eat healthy but have no idea where to start, and for some, it can be harder than others because of the environment that is making it harder for one to be vegetarian or to choose to eat healthy. I believe making the choice to eat healthy is a personal one and can be done, albeit tougher in the beginning of transitions. I gathered some tips on making it easier to start, because we all know that having a good foundation is important, and changing your eating habits can be rather challenging as it takes us out of our comfort zone that many of us have known for years.

Plan your meals in advance. Especially for those who lead a busy lifestyle, be it students or working adults, planning in advance makes you able to eat at the specific time and not waste any on deciding and hesitation. Plan up to a week in advance, and prepare little lunch boxes if you have to, or even bring fruits that are easy to transport around. If eating a full vegetable filled lunch won’t do, at least eat a large serving of salad before anything else, as vegetables are alkaline and will help those who are prone to gastric, not to mention increase your vitamins and fiber intake. If you don’t like to bring salads out, opt for places that has salads for appetizers. Never eat your fruits and vegetables after your meal though.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean boring meals. Spice up your meals by looking up recipe books and try making something yourself, if it turns out good you know what to cook the next time you run out of ideas where to eat out. Not only is it satisfying cooking a meal from scratch, it can be a fun thing to do with your partner over the weekends. Making your own meals also means taking a trip to the supermarket. Take that time to really have a good look at the vegetables and fruits section to see what they have in stock, and if you’re hardworking, you can write down names of vegetables or fruits that you are keen on trying and then go home to look up recipes with that food. 

Do it with a friend or a partner. Having someone to eat healthy together definitely helps because not only can you both decide on new healthy places to eat, there will be tips to share with each other and always learn about new thing related to eating healthy. It also makes it easier to stick to eating healthy food when you have someone else ‘watching’ over you.

Keep reminding yourself why you wanted to change your diet in the first place. Maybe you want to lose weight, maybe you are sick of always falling sick, or maybe you want to improve your skin and complexion. Whatever your reasons and motivations are, keep reminding yourself of it. Don’t lose sight of what made you want to change something as drastic as your diet in the first place. I find that reading books or magazines, and even websites, related to healthy living regularly works in reminding yourself why you had started this change.

Matching your mind and body. Eating healthy or going vegetarian straight away will make you crave for unhealthy food and may make you miserable at times. The best way to go about this is to be moderate in the changing pace of your diet. Do not give up so easily, but rather, set a more realistic pace for yourself in this transition. There is no point in chugging down healthy foods that you dislike and making eating healthy such a terrible affair. Don’t cause unnecessary stress to yourself and be realistic in your goals.

Change your diet slowly. Different people have different pace. Some will be able to adapt the change in diet better than others, and you have to see what suits you best. A sudden change in diet might make you feel unhappy mentally and emotionally if you aren’t used to it. You have to give yourself time to adapt. And remember, you are aiming to change your lifestyle for the better, not doing a detox. Whatever you are trying to improve will be a long term commitment, so the key is to be realistic in your goals.
It is okay to snack once in a while. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t resist a couple of chocolate biscuits once in a while. As long as you know majority of your diet is a healthy one, you shouldn’t be feeling bad for snacking occasionally. Love your body not torture it! 

It is possible to eat with people who do not have the same diet as you. You don’t have to avoid eating out or eating with friends with bad eating habits entirely. You can suggest places that sells salads and meat so both of you can have different choices on food. If unable to order individually, you can always opt for the healthiest food among the bunch and eat lots of vegetables before that or in the next meal. Don’t sweat it too much. 

Never feel guilty for your eating choices and never make others feel guilty for theirs. Eating preferences are personal choices. If you prefer to eat healthy but most of the people around you don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Find a way to work around it during meal times. What really turns people off is when you start lecturing everyone at the table on how unhealthily they are eating. Not only is that rude, but it’s really making them less likely to take your word for it. You wouldn’t want them to laugh at your eating habits, so don’t do the same yourself. If someone is genuinely curious about what you eat, they will ask you about it without having you to start.

Whatever reasons and motivations you have for having a healthy diet should reflect your general wellbeing and overall, improve your health, so never ever get stressed out or worrisome when it comes to food, or it will be no different from an eating disorder. Learn to love your body and yourself. 🙂

Could chronic worrying be the reason for your ailments?

Many of us today are faced with more stress than ever. When dealing with problems that can’t be solved immediately, the next thing we do is worry. Many people don’t think they worry a lot, but they do find themselves thinking about subject matters obsessively. And that could eventually lead to stress. 

There are many reasons for worrying. Some people believe the more they think about the problem, the sooner they will think of a solution to it. Or it could be they are afraid of overlooking certain issues and would rather be prepared than surprised at the outcome. Being preoccupied with never ending ‘what ifs’ is also a form of worrying. While the list of reasons for worrying is a long one, so is the list of ill effects from worrying.

By worrying, you are making your body more inclined to produce stress hormones and some stress hormones stay in the body even when the ‘stress period’ is over. Stress hormones linger longer in people who are older, making them more susceptible to the side effects of stress. Worrying also makes your body unable to repair itself quickly and over a prolonged period of time, your immune system will be affected, leading to other problems. Excessive production of stress hormones will have physical effects on your body such as:

  • faster heart rates
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • inability to concentrate
  • irritability
  • muscle aches and tension
  • nausea
  • rapid breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • nervous energy
  • sweating
  • trembling and twitching
According to this site, when these hormones are excessively present in our bodies and isn’t used for any physical activity, it can have serious consequences such as:
  • suppression of the immune system
  • digestive disorders
  • muscle tensions
  • short term memory loss
  • premature coronary artery disease
  • heart attack
With the immune system being vulnerable, it increases the risk of falling sick more often, and aggravation of existing ailments in the body. There are many ways to decrease and even stop unhealthy worrying entirely, especially since most worries are not able to be solved immediately. Here are some ways to stop/lessen worrying.
Skip your coffee and drink tea instead.
Coffee increases the release of stress hormones and even though tea contains caffeine as well, it is not as harmful as coffee. Tea also has a calming effect on the body. Try Chamomile or Green tea.
Taking a slow, long bath.
The sound of water is therapeutic and relaxes not just the mind but the body as well.
Writing them down.
Listing your worries on paper will let you have a clearer view of how small those problems are. When you keep going them over and over in your head, you tend to magnify the problem. Some people worry because they are afraid of forgetting or missing out certain things, in this sense, writing is very useful.
Postpone your worries and focus on the present.
Many people get caught up with worry and neglect the present. Instead of constantly having thoughts going through your mind, stop thinking and concentrate on what you’re doing. Learn to enjoy the present.
If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.
There are two things in this world. 1) things that we cannot control and 2) things that we can control. If your problem falls in the category of things you cannot control, then stop worrying about it!

Going back to the way nature intended for us

Many of us are no longer living ‘naturally’ in today’s modern times. While we can be ‘natural’ by eating fresh, real foods that are grown from the earth, there are many things about life today that is far from natural. Living in such an un-natural world definitely deprived humans of many things, and one of those things is happiness. When you think of the word ‘happiness’, many things comes to mind. Because of how our mentality has changed over the decades, ‘happiness’ means different things to different people.

What is important is that you find what are the things that make you happy without having to sacrifice another. Real happiness should, and will, never come at the expense of another important thing. I find that the way instant gratification is being glorified in our entertainment and media industry nowadays, it blurs the line between a want and a need, and the end result is usually stress or worry.

Watch this video by Jack Lalanne, as he talks about how we should not only eat healthy but be happy as a person to live a good life. This video is in black and white, yet, the message is the same and applicable to modern times today. It’s quite sad to know that people didn’t change much from the times of when television was still in black and white till now, when television is in 3D and HD.