Welcome to the Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder. Our goal is to help you be your most healthy, confident, beautiful and happy! Our topics focus on health (physical, emotional/mental and spiritual), wellness, holistic nutrition, beauty, meditation, spirituality and personal empowerment.

Feeling Good means we tune in to our bodies and our intuition, including making food and lifestyle choices to feel energized and beautiful, what serves us and what doesn’t, and being in flow along our unique journeys. Feeling good naturally leads to also looking good, in a much more powerful way from glowing skin created from within, a beautifully strong body, radiant energy, and a level of peace and confidence in our perfectly imperfect lives.

Once a month, I do a Solocast with my insights, as well as current research on a trending topic from our community, to support you in living your most beautiful, inspired and joyful life.

I’m your host, Kimberly Snyder, founder of Solluna, New York Times best-selling author and nutritionist. I’m so grateful and honored we found each other!

Today’s solocast topic is: How Foods Affect Your Mood

Foods have different chemical properties, vitamins, and minerals. Research has shown that the nutrients in foods are precursors to neurotransmitters. Depending on which foods you eat, you develop certain levels of those neurotransmitters, which can vastly affect your mood.

There are biological and psychological reasons that selecting the right foods can help improve your mood. When you feel depressed or low energy, you want to seek out foods that brighten your mood. When you feel tense or irritable, you want to seek out foods that are calming and soothing.

Foods have different qualities that can act as stimulants or depressants and by choosing the right ones to eat when you are feeling in a funk, they can have a net positive impact and really lift you up!

Topics Covered In How Foods Affect Your Mood

  • #1. What specific foods to eat when you’re sad and how they interact with your body, mind & energy.
  • #2. Why people tend to crave chocolate when they are sad.
  • #3. Foods to eat when you’re hormonal and how they address hormonal issues.
  • #4. Foods to eat when your stressed and why they help with stress.
  • #5. Foods to eat when you are feeling exhausted and how they give you energy.
  • #6. Foods and ingredients to eat when you’re not sleeping well.
  • #7. What miracle ingredients I recommend that help with all these types of mood issues.

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Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the “Feel Good Podcast with Kimberly Snyder”? My passion is to inspire and empower you to be your most authentic and beautiful self. We offer interviews with top experts, my personal philosophies and experiences, as well as answers to community-based questions around topics such as health, beauty, nutrition, yoga, spirituality and personal growth.

The intention of the Feel Good Podcast is to well…help you really Feel Good in your body, mind and spirit! Feeling Good means feeling peaceful, energized, whole, uniquely beautiful, confident and joyful, right in the midst of your perfectly imperfect life. This podcast is as informative and full of practical tips and take-aways as it is inspirational. I am here to support you in being your very best! I have so much love and gratitude for you. Thank you for tuning in and being part of the community :).

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Transcript:

Note: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate. This is due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.

Hi Beauties,

Welcome back to our Monday solocast edition where our topic today is How Foods Affect Your Mood. This is something that I’ve been talking about for a while, how foods are not just about numbers, whether it be calories, protein, carbs. They really have an impact on our energy because everything is energy. So this is a really powerful, a very useful podcast today where I’m going to be giving you specific foods, and the science behind these foods, and their properties for helping you get out of a rut if you feel sad, foods that help you sleep, foods that will help you feel grounded when you feel stressed. So this is an amazing solo cast. It’s something that you can apply to your everyday life, and I am super excited about this one.

Fan Of The Week

But before we get into it, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. His or her name is B. Sincerely. He or she writes, “Hi, Kimberly. I appreciate your support. It helps to listen to a positive mindset. You have been very informative with so many wonderful people. Thank you for being my light and many thanks for the help. God bless. Thank you, sunshine.” B. Sincerely, thank you so much for bringing some sunshine to our podcast today by being our fan of the week and taking the time to write us a review. Sending you a big virtual hug and so much gratitude. Thank you so much.

Share The Podcast

Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as our fan of the week, please go over to iTunes and leave us a review. It can be one sentence, it can be two sentences, it can be super quick, but the point is it’s just a wonderful way to energetically support the show. As you and I both know, reviews are super important. They help other people find the show, and it can be the difference in someone finding the show and finding some information that can really help to improve their lives. So I thank you so much in advance. I am super grateful for you taking the time to do that. While we’re talking, I also want to remind you, if you haven’t yet subscribed to our podcast, it really is the best way to just keep on top of it, to make sure that you’re getting that daily, that weekly motivation, and staying connected to this lifestyle, which is really about supporting you and feeling your best. So please make sure to subscribe, that way you never miss an interview or a Q&A episode.

Solocast

All right, so that being said, let’s get into our topic today, which is all about foods and our mood. So I remember the years when I was a chronic dieter and bulimarexic through high school. For me, food was not about beauty. Food was not about energy even. Food was not about anything other than me trying to figure out how many calories I was eating and to reduce that number to get skinny. Over the years, of course, as I’ve continued to study, and research, and learn, it’s been amazing how much depth, how much power there is in food to impact our day-to-day life experience. I’m talking far beyond contributing to your weight, which of course, especially for us women, is something that we’ve been plagued for years and years, wanting to be thin, wanting to be a certain size, wanting to look like such and such.

But really, if we can take advantage of knowledge in understanding the depth of food, which is energy, and everything that we put into our bodies is going to impact our energy. If we can harness that power, if we can more consciously and strategically choose foods, then we can really boost how we feel, our joy, our equanimity, or calmness, just our overall quality of life. Again, this is a very different way of looking at food than I used to look at food.

So I understand if there’s a little bit of a transition or this is just totally different way for you personally to think about food, especially if you’re in the mindset of… If you’ve done something like Weight Watchers, which I remember some families had done, and they were all about numbers, all about points. Or, if you are a recovering chronic dieter like myself, you may need a little bit of transition here. But I promise that just by listening to this podcast and maybe having more information about how food affects us, then this can be very helpful to you, again, in making more strategic choices.

The Connection Between Food and the Emotional and Spiritual Side

So we really want to look at the properties of food. Speaking in very general terms, there are so many different chemical properties in foods. There’s vitamins, there’s minerals, there’s nutrients that are the precursors to neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are these compounds, so to speak, which really affect how we feel. They’re creating changes, if can simplify it, in our brain that do affect our moods, and our feelings, and our emotions. So this is really, really powerful. Emotional wellbeing is the third cornerstone of Solluna. We have four cornerstones for wellness. The first is food. The second is body, how you take care of your body, your exercise, your sleep, all that. Third is emotional wellbeing, and fourth is spiritual growth.

So here we’re really talking about the connection between the food and the emotional side, and even the spiritual side because everything really does affect everything else. Along those lines, just touching very briefly on quantum physics, this idea, this concept where energy is never created nor destroyed. It’s changing form. So when you put food into your body and you’re chewing it, you’re masticating the food, you’re bringing it into your being, into your personal space, into your sacred body, it’s breaking down, it’s assimilating, you’re taking in that energy and creating change with that energy, and then you’re expelling the waste. So it’s very powerful.

Of course, we don’t have to be perfect. We’re going to eat processed food sometimes. We’re going to eat junk food, and that’s okay. But again, I just think just spending some time today, us spending time together, really talking about this can be a very practical form of self-care. It can be a way of saying, “You know, I don’t sleep well. Instead of popping a sleeping pill or trying to get a prescription, let me try to add these foods and consciously, with intention, as well as my evening routine, to benefit my sleep and so on and so forth.”

What Specific Foods to Eat When You’re Sad

So let’s get right into the different categories of food. Now, we all go through periods of sadness where we feel down, we may feel lethargic, we may feel not as connected to our true power. This is true for all of us. We all know we have ups and downs. I went through a sad moment actually today because it was Bobby’s first day of preschool, and it’s a lot. He’s three, and we have never been separated. I work from home, so I’m with him all day, every day. It’s really marks the end of his baby years, so to speak and the beginning of this new phase of his life, which of course, is a beautiful thing. But I really cried, and I really felt a lot of sadness. Anyways, so I get that and I really feel connected to the sadness category as we go through this.

One of the best foods to have if you’re feeling low is bananas. Bananas have a good amount of the vitamin B6, which helps to boost your mood. It helps to get you out of depression. B6 helps your body synthesize serotonin, which is the feel-good chemical that helps you feel lifted and gives you an up. So bananas are just a great food to include in your GGS, in your Glowing Green Smoothie, for that silkiness and nice consistency. You can always get extra bananas and freeze them so you have a nice supply. It’s just a good, good basic food to always have.

Then, if you’re feeling sad, another great food to add in is unrefined quinoa… Sorry, unrefined carbohydrates like quinoa, which helps to also boost the serotonin in your brain and elevates your mood. Now, it’s better to have whole quinoa versus always eating flours even if it’s gluten-free flour. I do eat a wrap every day, mid-morning, but I try not to use flours all the time. I don’t eat a ton of bread. I’d rather eat quinoa, or millet, or rice, and I encourage you to do the same. When the grains are broken down into flour, they are of course more processed. It’s just a great idea to try to get as whole and natural as possible.

So these unrefined carbohydrates, and I would also add gluten-free for easier digestion, are a great thing to have when you’re sad. We all know, “Oh, I may crave carbs when I’m feeling down.” There’s a reason for that. Our bodies may intuitively know that if I eat that bowl of rice, it’s going to give me a boost. The key is to take your digestive enzymes first to eat your rice, or your quinoa, or whatever you’re eating with a ton of salad, and veggies, and other foods, greens, which are veggies of course, but just mix it up so it’s a very veggie-forward dish. That way, you’re not having like 10 cups of quinoa or rice. That’s natural form of portion control.

Next, legumes and pumpkin seeds are also great when you’re feeling sad because they help to load your body with iron. If you don’t have enough iron in your system, you may feel more easily depressed, and more irritable, and more exhausted. So we know when we are tired, then we can sort of feel down. We need that energy. We want that vitality pumping through us so we feel up so we do feel good and we feel powerful throughout the day.

So I’ve been eating a lot of black beans lately. I’ve just been drawn to them myself, but also pumpkin seeds, other sorts of legumes like lentils. These are all great, especially now as we are in fall and close to fall officially and heading into winter. These are grounding, iron-rich foods, which really helped to keep your red blood cells pumped up with oxygen and healthy and they’ll give you a great mood and you will also have more glowing skin.

Now next, we have mushrooms. Mushrooms are very powerful food because as we are talking about our topic of preventing sadness, mushrooms are a good source of selenium. Selenium deficiency can also lead to irritability, depression, and thyroid problems. So you don’t need a ton of selenium. If you were to add mushrooms into a stir fry or maybe grill some portobello mushrooms, or we have pesto-stuffed mushroom recipes, and all sorts of things, that would be a good source. As an aside, whenever I think of selenium, I think of Brazil nuts. This cafe I used to work at in the East village, like 10 years ago when I was getting started, we used to make Brazil nut milk, which as you could imagine, it was super expensive to make. We sold it for a lot. But man, was it delicious. It’s also a great source of selenium.

I also want to mention that mushrooms are also a good food source of vitamin D. Of course, we want some responsibly… How do I say this? Sun exposure on our limbs, practiced responsibly and with caution of course. A lot of us will still use chemical-free sunscreen on certain parts of our body. I personally get sunlight directly on my limbs, my legs especially for a couple minutes, and I think that’s a really great way to get vitamin D and absorb it. But again, you want to be careful with your skin. You want to use sunscreen as you need to. Mushrooms are a food source. If we are deficient in vitamin D, we can be plagued by SAD, seasonal affective disorder, which is a huge bummer and will make us feel down.

This is something I want to talk about now because we have months to work on this, and prevent it, and plan for it. We also have other full podcasts and articles about seasonal affective disorder. We talk about there’s certain lights you may want to get. There’s certain practices. But for now, I’ll just say that mushrooms and getting enough vitamin D are a great way to combat seasonal affective disorder and just to help give us a boost. Vitamin D receptors, they’re in our brain tissue, and they can help boost levels of happiness. So get your mushies in. What I like to do is vary them up, portobellos, cremini, shiitake mushrooms. I like mushies a lot, but I need to vary them. Otherwise, I get sick of them.

Finally, in our sad food category or foods that will help to bring us out of sadness and into a better mood, last food is fatty acids. Fatty acids have a positive effect on our brain. British scientists published a study in the archives of general psychiatry in which they gave patients with depression a daily dose of EPA. Over two-thirds of them reported a 50% reduction in feelings of sadness. All of these patients had previously tried antidepressant medications and had not had the same positive results. So omega-3 fats are essential fatty acids, and they convert to EPA and DHA. Ideally, they convert.

For some people, this ability to convert may be compromised. So you may want to supplement with an algae-based DHA/EPA supplement for brain health, for skin health, for just helping to balance your essential fatty acid ratio, your EFA ratio. It’s something that I take. I have here. I started taking it pretty judiciously when I was pregnant and have it around. I can’t say that I take it every day. I also do have a lot of chia seeds and so on and so forth. But I do think it’s a good potential supplement, especially if you feel like you are not getting enough omega-3s.

Why People Crave Chocolate When They’re Sad

This category of sadness is… You may be thinking to yourself, “Oh, why isn’t Kimberly talking about chocolate?” It is true that when we are down when we have PMs, we often reach for chocolate. It’s a very popular food, probably number one, especially for us women because chocolate is known to promote feelings of love, and intimacy, and closeness. So it’s sort of like a food antidepressant when you’re sad. I definitely don’t think you need to cut out chocolate, but I also don’t want you to over-rely on it. So a little bit of dark chocolate, organic dark chocolate is okay, but please keep in mind some of these other foods that we just talked about.

I also want to say that when we’re sad, it’s okay to be sad. I don’t believe in bottling up feelings or pretending they’re not there. I think it’s important to feel and lean into the sadness and lean into exploring what’s going on and feeling authentic. But the difference is if it carries on and on and on, and we just feel ourselves in a rut and we’re having trouble. Or, again, the seasonal affective disorder issue comes in or we just know that we need a boost to get out of that space. That’s what we’re talking here, not complete avoidance of sadness. I think we should feel all our feelings, and that’s part of emotional wellbeing and balance is letting ourselves deeply feel our feelings. But again, we don’t want to wallow in sadness. We don’t want it to linger. We don’t want to feel trapped. So these foods are then useful in that regard.

Foods to Eat When You’re Hormonal

All right, so let’s talk about being hormonal. So when we’re hormonal, our hormones obviously fluctuate every month. Us women have the moon cycle, so there’s periods where we are just feeling our cycles more, so to speak. I know you know what I’m talking about. Unfortunately, hormonal shifts can go hand in hand with bloating and digestion issues. So when you start to feel PMS-y or you start to feel some hormonal fluctuations, it’s a good idea to keep your fiber intake up because you don’t want your digestion to get stagnant. So please do make sure that you’re drinking your Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning, and you’re eating your leafy green veggies, and just basically really focusing on eating whole foods. I think that whole plant foods, just to stay nourished, to stay balanced, and again, to keep things flowing through.

Now, here’s where you can really feel emotional. I’m going to review again what we just talked about, but it’s very important here, which is what the omega-3 fats. So this would be the time of the month where even if you’re not taking your EPA/DHA supplement every day, I definitely recommend that you take it during these times when you’re starting to feel very sensitive. You can also have chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts, which are also great sources of omega-3 fats.

I know a lot of you write in to me about hormonal acne. I used to get it myself. If you’re flaring up, and it’s usually in your jaw and the lower part of your face, having natural forms of beta carotene, which convert to vitamin a in the body, is really helpful for this. So some great foods are romaine, and spinach, and kale, which are all of the greens that the classic Glowing Green Smoothie recipe, which I do encourage you to mix and match. But that is a really, really great way to combat the hormonal acne is with these greens with the beta carotene vitamin a.

Now, it’s difficult to reach for salty or sugary foods, but these really don’t do you any favors because they will make you feel bloated. They will exacerbate cramping. You’ll retain water. You may feel more moody and have more energy crashes. So instead, it’s a really great idea to just make sure you stay hydrated, having really grounding teas around like tulsi tea. There’s something about having hot tea which can feel really comforting instead of reaching for another donut or a salty bag of pretzels, which is totally my go-to and still is my go-to when I really want to treat. I love pretzels so much. Anyways, I would say tea, and hydration, and again, just really filling up on fiber. If you do need a little something, then dark chocolate would be a great choice this time of the month because you will have some extra minerals and flavonoid antioxidants from the dark chocolate.

Foods to Eat When Stressed

All right. Now, let’s talk about stress. With sadness, I think you need to feel into it. It’s really healthy to allow yourself to express the full range of emotions. Stress is something that we definitely want to reduce across the board. Situations in and of themselves aren’t necessarily stressful, but it’s our reaction to them that creates stress and can create a lot of havoc in our body, which none of us want. So first food that helps with stress is whole foods that are high in healthy fats. So healthy fats can help you feel heavier, and grounded, and just a sense of stability when there’s a lot swirling around and there’s a lot going on. Healthy fats feel like an anchor in the middle of your body.

I used to think that I craved carbs because I would love toast with butter on it or vegan butter, but I realized that piling on the vegan butter… And I really love the one by Miyoko’s, by the way, it’s coconut-based. It’s not canola oil-based or vegetable oil-based. Anyways, I digress. I would love this butter, and I realized it wasn’t the carbs. It was actually the butter and the fattiness that was making me feel, again, more stabilized. So healthy fats like the Miyoko’s butter I think is a good one for that category, avocados, seeds, and nuts. Even if you want to treat like coconut ice cream has that good healthy fat in there too. You don’t want to eat the whole tub, but I think that’s a good choice if you are going to have an ice cream.

Also, foods that are rich in magnesium is said to help because when we are deficient in magnesium, we can create an imbalance in our system. Magnesium helps to relax our bodies. It helps to reduce stress and improve our mood. So these are great foods that are a big part of our Solluna Beauty Detox Lifestyle like kidney, beans, seeds, bananas, again, almonds, B-greens, artichokes, these are all great foods.

What to Eat When You’re Low On Energy

Now, let’s talk about what to eat when you are exhausted and you are super low in energy. When we are exhausted, we just feel depleted, and defeated, and that we’re just not in our Shakti, in our creative power. I know the days when I don’t sleep well, I don’t feel powerful. I just don’t feel good. So there are some great foods though, whether it’s sleep-related or whether it’s you’re just running around, you’re running yourself ragged. These foods will help with your energy.

The first one is your GGS. Yes, Glowing Green Smoothie for energy gives you sustained energy with all the fiber, and it’s also packed with iron. As we spoke about earlier, It is a wonderful nutrient to help prevent fatigue. Leafy greens contain iron and vitamin C that helps with the utilization in the body of the iron. So that’s like the lemon juice component, non-heme iron is plant-based iron. So any time you’re having these greens cooked or raw, you want to add some lemon juice. I mean, they have their own vitamin C but to hit a certain threshold so you can really absorb that iron, it’s a great idea.

Spicy, warming foods like cayenne pepper, jalapeno, ginger, curry are really great. They help to boost circulation and get oxygen going through your veins, releasing endorphins in your brain, and giving you more energy. So I’m especially a big fan of ginger because in Ayurvedic medicine it’s said that ginger helps to open the 12 srotas, the detoxification pathways in your body. It’s not as spike the way onions and garlic can feel stimulating. It’s more of this beautiful, warm hug. It’s a gentle, steady warmth that I think is really energizing, and it’s also great for your metabolism. So you could have ginger tea after meals, and I think that’s a great idea.

Also, the unrefined carbs that we talked about earlier, like quinoa, and millet, and these gluten-free grains, are also great for energy. They have B vitamins, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and these are all great choices. Now, I do believe in balance. Obviously, if you know me, if you’ve listened to any podcasts and even this podcast alone, you’ll know that I’m not carb-phobic. I believe that we are meant to eat all the food groups, including carbs. But I do, again, I do choose gluten-free. I always take digestive enzymes before I eat them. I choose organic. I choose sprouted, or I buy sprouted or I will soak and sprout them. But, to be honest, moreover these days, I buy sprouted brown rice and sprouted quinoa at the store. I pay a little bit extra, but it’s worth it for me for the time and the better digestion.

Lastly, I control portion size, as I mentioned earlier, with all the veggies. So if you do that and you practice good beauty food pairing, food combining, which is the subject of other podcasts, then you will be able to digest and have carbs in your life. I’ve tried carb-free, I’ve tried no sugar, I’ve tried it all, and it was not something I could stick to. I was miserable. I was missing things. I felt more moody and grumpy. So I am not carb-phobic. I will say for you too, there’s ways to enjoy carbs as I mentioned and feel great and not gain weight.

Foods to Eat For Better Sleep

Let’s talk about foods to eat when you are not sleeping well. [Fluti 00:27:48] and tryptophan are great in this category because tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps to promote serotonin. It’s known to be calming. It helps to reduce anxiety. Again, the serotonin, which is boosted by eating tryptophan, helps with feeling good and feeling an overall sense of wellbeing. So tryptophan-rich foods include quinoa, and brown rice, and also hemp milk, and almond milk, which is why it’s a great idea to have a sleep elixir before bed. Also, in general, almond butter, and cashews, pumpkin seeds, so lots of seeds, nuts, and nut milks are also an amazing, amazing item.

I don’t really recommend having a bunch of nuts right before bed, but again, the nut milks, if you don’t have a nut allergy. I switched between half milk and almond milk, personally, but I do have an elixir almost every night. Right now, I’ve been having shatavari, which is an Ayurvedic herb, and nutmeg. Very simple and a little bit of raw honey or coconut nectar, and that’s what I have in the evenings. All right.

Foods high in calcium also play a role in great sleep, and there are tons of bioavailable plant-based sources of calcium like broccoli, raab, sesame seeds, tahini, sweet potatoes, almonds, oranges. Yeah, just mix it up. Calcium works with our brain in using the tryptophan that we just talked about to produce melatonin, which is the body’s natural sleep aid. So again, just try all these different foods. I love tahini. I ate so much when I was just traveling in the Middle East. Tahini is a great base for salad dressings and sauces, so you can get creative. We have a bunch of recipes that utilize tahini in a properly food-combined way over at mysolluna.com if you want to check them out.

In Closing

I hope this is power-packed. We went from one to the next. I think it’s really nice sometimes to be prescriptive with your food and not just think about it in terms of losing weight or how many calories it has, but really thinking about the bioenergetics and the quality of the food and how the characteristics and the energy in it imparts to us and can give us a shift, a boost, an aid, a support. It’s such a beautiful, beautiful thing. It’s my hope that you take advantage and you really start to look at foods in a holistic way, which I think makes you look at yourself in a more holistic way.

Our tagline here at Solluna is, “Nourish your whole self and feel good.” So you are a whole being. You are enough. You are complete as you are. I truly believe that you will know that more, the more you nourish yourself emotionally. Take the time to feel your feelings spiritually, which isn’t about formal religion, but being in touch with your spirit, meditation, walking in nature, quiet time, knitting. If that feels meditative to you, whatever it is that nurtures you being connected to yourself without outside noise and stimulation, I think that’s a really important way to feel your own power, foods, which we’ve been talking about here, and body, and taking care of your body, and moving in ways that feel good.

Thank you so much for tuning in, my love. I am so grateful for you. I’m always here. I’m always listening. I’m always open to hearing about topics you’d like me to cover in the solo casts. Of course, you can ask questions for our Q&A segments, which are on Thursday. Remember, beauty, that we also have daily inspiration for you at @_kimberlysnyder. We are actually really revamping our Instagram right now to be very useful takeaways, tips, daily information that you can really take into your own life, which feels really right to me. That’s really what I want to provide. So hope to see you over there, and have a beautiful, amazing rest of your day. Sending you a big virtual hug and lots of love. I will see you back here on Thursday. Take care.