Alright friends, this topic is a big one as sadly in today’s day there are so many unknown things that go on amongst our food system which contribute to the degradation of both our physical and mental health. In this blog post, I am sharing with you 4 often unknown ways that our food system might be contributing to or causing your anxiety!
Before I start, I want to remind us all that, sadly, we do not live in a time where we can go into the grocery store and trust that what’s being sold on the shelves truly is safe for us to eat. In fact, this is so far from where we’re at! The way our food system is designed, leaves most people over consuming calories, under consuming essential nutrients, and eating highly toxic ingredients on a daily basis. Most of the foods available to us degrade our gut health and microbiomes, disrupt our hormone balance, and can greatly interfere with our mental health causing conditions like anxiety and depression to be more prevalent than ever!
4 Hidden Ways our Food System is Causing you to be Anxious:
REASON # 1
The most commonly used pesticide (Glyphosate) is inhibiting your bodies’ ability to produce serotonin: Glyphosate, the worlds most commonly used pesticide which is classified as a “probable carcinogen” has been found to break down the gut lining and acts like an anti-biotic in the body. Just as Glyphosate was designed to kill living things in the soil (like weeds), it kills living things in your body (like important bacteria that help to produce serotonin). Shockingly, 90% of your serotonin is synthesized in the gut by important bacteria, and Glyphosate directly interferes with the ability of your microbiome to do so. In turn, this leaves your body deficient in serotonin, often resulting in feelings of anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
How to Avoid Glyphosate?
- Shop at local farmers markets and talk to farmers about their growing practices – look for regeneratively grown organic food
- Choose organic when buying from the grocery store as much as you possibly can
- Stay away from “big box” food companies like; Nestle, Kellog’s, Kraft, Coca Cola, General Mills, & Campbell’s Soup… I could go on and on!
- Interesting Fact: Cheerios shows up year after year as being the food that tests as having the highest levels of glyphosate concentrations! (1)
- Start growing your own food! I know this can seem like a lot of effort, but start thinking about what it would look like to have a few patio planters of kale or lettuce (or other easy to grow things) next spring!
- Advocate to ban glyphosate spraying in your area: check out Non Toxic Neighbourhoods to learn more about how to do so!
Most packaged foods are loaded with sugar, chemicals, and additives that further trigger anxiety: The majority of packaged foods sold in our grocery stores are loaded with sugar, chemicals, and additives that further trigger anxiety. It’s now well documented that many people report mood swings and increased anxiety after consuming man-made sweeteners (such as aspartame and high fructose corn syrup), food dyes (such as Red #40 and Yellow #5), and flavourings (like MSG) (2). Sadly, despite being dangerous for human health these food additives are way more common than one might think!
How to Avoid Harmful Food Additives?
- Read the ingredient labels on everything you buy! Google any ingredients you don’t know the name of
- Choose to opt for “whole food” based snacks such as fresh fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and homemade bliss balls
- Avoid all conventional (aka non organic) packaged foods
- Try to make as much as you can at home (this includes sauces, dips, cookies, breads, muffins, jams etc.)
Mainstream meat & dairy are loaded with antibiotics & hormones. Factory farmed animals are also highly stressed out and living in very poor environments. Conventionally raised (aka factory farmed) animals are fed all sorts of antibiotics and hormones that affect our gut health and in turn our anxiety levels (similar to how glyphosate does, as explained in reason 1). In fact, the greatest use of antibiotics is within animal agriculture, which accounts for a shocking 80% of all antibiotic use! (3) The FDA stated over 10 years ago that, “Giving animals antibiotics in order to increase food production is a threat to public health and should be stopped.” However, the practice of over using animal antibiotics still goes on today, which is causing the emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogens within humans. (4)
It’s also important to consider that when humans consume animals who were raised in stressful environments, they go on to energetically ingest the stress (cortisol) that the animal was experiencing prior to being killed. The common expression “we are what we eat” might be rather simplified, but it certainly rings true in this context. If we are constantly consuming lonely, anxious, and stressed out animals – we too will become to be like this on a cellular level. In fact, it’s been found that 5% of our mRNA is made up of the last meal we ate! (5)
How to Avoid Conventional Meat & Dairy?
- If you consume meat, always opt for pasture raised & organic. Purchasing directly from a local farm or farmers market is the best way to do so
- If you eat fish, always opt for wild fish
- Try to consume more plant based proteins to cut down on your animal consumption
- Get in touch with where your food is coming from! Research the farms, visit them, or ask questions to farmers when you go to the farmers market
- Avoid dairy and opt for nut/ oat mylks or nut based cheeses instead
The way our food system is designed allows most humans to be so out of touch with how their food was grown. This is problematic, as exposure to healthy soil is one of the most beneficial things for human health. In fact there are billions of important bacteria in a single tsp of soil – that humans would greatly benefit being exposed to (6)! Not only this, the soil most grocery store foods are grown in is lacking the important bacteria & micronutrients, the body & mind needs to thrive. And lastly, growing food can be one of the most anxiety relieving activities one can do to help improve their overall mental health levels – yet in our current society so few people feel like they have the time or means to do so.
What to do about it?
- Consider the idea of starting to grow your own food! I’m launching a “Grow your Own” course next Spring so stay tuned for that!
- Touch the dirt/ soil whenever you have the chance – I’m for real about this!
- Shop at local organic farmers markets
- Work or volunteer at a local farm
- Spend time in nature – go camping for the weekend, walk in the forest, go to the beach, or pack a picnic to eat in the grass at the park
So there you have it, 4 ways our food system might be causing you to be more anxious!! Want to know more? Be sure to sign up for my “Eat to Curb Anxiety” online workshop happening on Tuesday, Sept 2 – space is limited so sign up today!