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Day 7…You are what you eat!

Day 7 ~ Poor Eating Habits.  There really is a connection between mood & food.

Photo on 12-10-12 at 10.19 AMYou’ve heard the familiar phrase; “You Are What You Eat”.  It’s not just a phrase coined by trainers or nutritionists to get you to eat your veggies.  But our topic today in our Behavior Exchange is Poor Eating Habits – it’s not about dieting, it’s not about emotional eating and it’s not about eating disorders.  Pretty much everyone already knows there is a connection between your state of well-being and what you eat.

This phrase actually comes from (loosely translated) Anthelme Brillat-Savarin and was coined in 1826.  savarin

“Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

In an essay titled Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, 1863/4, Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach wrote:

“Der Mensch ist, was er ißt.”  That translates into English as ‘man is what he eats’.

“You are what you eat”!

When Anthelme (we’re on a first name basis don’t you know) coined the phrase that started it all, eating healthy in the 1800’s was a different kind of challenge than we have today.  You think juggling that large fry between your legs and eating a drippy hamburger wrapped in paper is a challenge while you drive, I can’t even imagine it on horseback!


The problem we have with food today is our vision; We see food as a source of comfort, a social activity, something to do when we’re bored, and even as an aphrodisiac.  But food is, just as the petrol in our cars, meant to be the fuel we require for our bodies to run efficiently.  Science even tells us if we eat the right food…”smart food” our brains will operate better as well.

According to a study by The Scripps Research Institute in Florida, scientists found eating meals consisting of fatty foods may be as addictive as crack-cocaine, causing compulsive eating and obesity.

I checked out the information at the Mayo Clinic about eating healthy…

Emotional eating is eating as a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. Both major life events and the hassles of daily life can trigger negative emotions that lead to emotional eating and disrupt your weight-loss efforts. These triggers may include:


Financial pressure

Health problems

Relationship conflicts

Work stressFatigue

Is emotional eating the same thing as unhealthy eating?  I downed a quart of strawberries last night because I was frustrated with our internet.  That seemed to fall into emotional eating, but I remained within “healthy eating” resolution with the strawberries.

There is tons of information available about the tie in between the food we eat and our mood.  I liked the information I found at WebMD.

One big set of chemicals that control mood are the neurotransmitters in the brain led by the pleasure “drug” serotonin. These substances determine whether you feel good and energetic or tired, irritable, and spacey. They run on sugar, preferably the form that comes from low glycemic carbohydrates (not doughnut sprinkles), according to Molly Kimball, RD, sports and lifestyle nutritionist at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation and Hospital in New Orleans.

The idea, she says, is to maintain a stable blood sugar level through the day, slowly feeding these substances into the brain. Low glycemic carbs include whole grain bread, beans, whole grain crackers, soy, apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits.

What Kimball calls “crappy carbs” — commercial granola bars, animal crackers, graham crackers, potato chips, and of course, cakes and pies — flood into the system too fast and cause your body to order up a big shot of insulin, which then tips the balance you’ve tried to maintain. “You can see it when you’ve had a white flour pancake and syrup for breakfast,” Kimball says. “By mid-afternoon, you’re ready for a nap.” This sugar alert/insulin cycle can gradually become less efficient and lead to diabetes and other problems.

A recent article in “The Atlantic” boils it down to self-control.

Among humankind’s most valuable assets” is self-control, according to Wilhelm Hofmann and his team of researchers at the University of Chicago. They define it as “the ability to override or change one’s inner responses” and to refrain from acting on impulses. As an immediate consequence of leading lives of constant self-denial, it would seem that people with a lot of self-control aren’t likely to derive a lot of pleasure from life, although in the long run they might benefit from the satisfaction of being better able to realize long-term goals. They don’t get to enjoy the cronuts, but they get to be thin, healthy, and otherwise better than the rest of us.

The social pressures of “Try it, you’ll like it” is almost greater than the pressure put on people who don’t want to partake in an alcoholic beverage.   From our article  (22 Habits of Unhappy People) that started us on this Behavior Exchange Challenge; they say…

Making bad food choices or eating too much is not only bad for your health, it can make you feel lethargic, guilty, depressed and when done for extended periods of time typically results in gained weight.  Unfortunately eating poorly is a vicious cycle.  Often times people eat to self medicate when they are feeling down.  They feel great for a few minutes while they eat their delicious treats, but then feel guilt afterwards, followed by lack of energy and reduced productivity.  Eating healthy not only makes you have more energy, it also makes you look better, which makes you feel better about yourself.  Contrary to what the millions of fitness magazines out there will tell you, 90% of how you look is determined by what and how much food you put in your body, not how much time you spend running on a treadmill.  Eat right, look great, and feel great.

file0001692308711What do you say?  Strawberries or Ice Cream?  We’re trying out the Strawberries and so far I can tell you I feel a little bit better about myself.

Check out this updated article on emotional eating by Karen Reed:  It’s something I wrestle with constantly!  It’s published over on Positive healthwellness and You can read the entire article here:  12 Ways You Can Put an End to Emotional Eating


  1. Ginger Kay

    10 July

    Well, then I guess I’m a peach. 😉 Today I blogged my response to Monday’s question, because I really had to examine myself on that one. Great series, ladies!
    Ginger Kay recently posted…Anticipating HappinessMy Profile

    • Barbara Coleman

      11 July

      I tried to be a peach… I really tried! I turned into a spoonful of peanut butter instead! I might have to break up with peaches again; they’re so unreliable…you work hard to look over each peach and pick out the best ones, the next morning you throw them away because they look lie they’ve been used by inept jugglers.

  2. Lee Aldrich

    10 July

    Today I’m grapes…with too many icky ones left at the bottom of the bag. Thank you for all your wonderful comments and following the journey!

  3. edward

    18 July

    You really know your own stuff… Carry on the good operate!

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