There is so much information out there on what we should and shouldn't eat that it is getting a little confusing, for me anyway. The same goes for alcohol consumption, is it good or bad for me?
Looking at food from a biological perspective, when we are stressed cortisol is produced releasing sugar and fatty foods into our bloodstream to support our fight or flight reaction. In fact we crave these types of foods in times of stress because we need them. A carbohydrate high diet is great to boost serotonin levels and serotonin is needed in our brain as a positive neuro-transmitter. The down side of carbohydrates is that it also blocks the release of leptin, a hormone that tells us when we have had enough to eat.
When people ask me what they should and shouldn't eat, I suggest that they conduct their own research and eat what they think is right for them knowing that there are consequences if they eat the wrong foods. It’s not just about energy in and energy out, it’s about the right sort of energy. The same goes with how much to eat. If you are feeling full after a meal, change your diet to something lower in sugar, fat, and protein. Or simply eat less. You will notice the benefits of eating the right foods immediately.
Alcohol. Here it comes, he’s going to tell me not to drink alcohol as it is bad for me. Nope, quite the opposite in fact. Alcohol can also have good benefits for us provided we don’t imbibe too much. If you enjoy a drink or two and it relaxes you then why not have a drink. The benefits of red wine consumption is well-known.
If you can’t limit your alcohol consumption to a couple of glasses or you have an adverse reaction to alcohol (you become angry or depressed) then avoid it altogether. Certainly those who are in a depressed state should not drink alcohol at all as it is a depressant. You may feel good at the time of drinking but you will be in a worse state when you finish.
A good guide as to whether you should drink alcohol after a bad day, if you gulp the first few mouthfuls then limit your intake to just the one regular serve. Gulping means that we are trying to overcome a negative emotion.
The thing I find most frustrating about food and alcohol is that research changes all of the time and it can be a bit confusing. It used to be that we had to avoid dripping, then it was butter, then margarine. Now it is sugar or is it artificial sweeteners, milk or was that not good for my bones, bagels have to be good surely or are they too starchy, food fried in oil is okay though, I think. Depending on which website you visit, the list of good and bad foods change.
It was once said that smoking was good for us because it made us cough therefore cleared our lungs. Who would have thought? Smoking is one thing that is bad for you, without question. There is not one positive benefit from smoking other than you get to socialise with other smokers when you are banished outside into the cold.
I believe that sometimes we fret far too much over this stuff, particularly so if we are feeling down. Reducing alcohol will help with your depression, there’s no doubt. Eating the right foods is the right thing to do, without question. Reducing or ceasing to smoke is of real benefit, science proves it. Yet it can all be a bit overwhelming for those who are already under stress when they are trying to get their brain functioning properly.
Generally, we know what we should and shouldn't do and if we are doing something that we know we shouldn't be doing then that plays on our conscience. If you find yourself in this confused situation then take it one small step at a time. Reduce one cigarette each month, have one less mouthful of alcohol each week, and start eating one piece of fruit or vegetable each day. Then settle into that pattern before reducing more of the bad stuff and increasing more of the good stuff.
You are what you eat, drink, and smoke. So do the right thing to help yourself.