Food & Mood Swing in Spring
Posted by Andrea Nakayama
All week I’ve been pondering the fact that both the words hunger and anger end in gerrrrr.
Because that’s what I’ve been feeling lately. . . a whole lot of gerrrr. Gerrrr in my belly and gerrrr in my furrowed brow.
Are you feeling it too?
Or that constant turning over of things in your mind, distracting you from where you want to be (which may be sleeping).
Oh, and hunger too. Did I say hunger?! Hunger (with a capital ‘H’).
It should come as no surprise that these feelings arise.
Spring is here. Spring is the season of the liver.
In getting ready to lead 100+ Rejuvenate Cleansers through the TrulyFood Liver Cleanse, I think I may be feeling their preparatory angst and anger as well as my own seasonal food & mood swings!
Biologically, the liver is the body’s gatekeeper. It detoxifies all your blood, helping to breakdown and ideally eliminate what isn’t serving you in there. And girl does your liver have a tough job! You’re literally assaulted by myriad toxins everyday.
There are two categories of toxins that take their timely toll:
exogenous toxins and endogenous toxins
Exogenous toxins are present in the outside environment. Endogenous toxins are produced as a result of imbalances in your own metabolism. Either can have physical, emotional or psychological ramifications. (See below for some more info. about these two types of toxins.)
In Chinese Five Elements Theory, where each of the organs is associated with an emotion, the liver is not just about detoxifying blood but also discharging stress and anger. It makes sense. If any of these toxins (chemical or emotional) build up inside, they’ll affect all your body’s functions.
So where does hunger come in?
That’s exactly what I’ve been wondering.
We can look at the relationship between hunger and anger in a number of ways. . .
- Is blood sugar affecting your hunger and anger? Certainly, if you get too hungry and your blood sugar drops too low, you’re bound to feel less benevolent. Studies show that hungry judges give less favorable rulings. Well, they’re not alone.
- Are you hungry for something other than food? If your belly is full and you still feel a grumble, it’s always good to take a look at what other plate might be empty. Are you hungry for change? Love? Sex? Connection? Wisdom? Fulfillment? Chances are these deficits may leave you feeling both hungry and angry.
- And biologically, the liver itself ~ that way-station of all things potentially hostile ~ is a source of feedback for hunger. If the liver starts to release its stored sugar (called glycogen) to meet the body’s energy requirements, it will signal the brain to initiate hunger to address the energy through food.
But what I’ve been realizing this week is that sometimes its not a matter of analyzing. Instead it’s a matter of being. Being with the hunger.
The food writer Molly O’Neill says it best:
“When spring is in the air, appetite, like other basic human urges, responds.”
And ultimately, that’s my very favorite part of the TrulyFood Cleanses. Each seasonal cleanse provides an opportunity to indulge in the foods, emotions and organs of the season. It’s the immersion of nourishment. I may go in feeling hungry and angry. Those sensations may even be more stirred up as I start to bring my attention to my liver. Yet I know I’ll leave feeling sated and supported.
I know I’ve given my body the blessing of being in sync with the season.
When it comes to my liver, it really does deserve a break today. I can tell! (Gerrrr.)
P.S. There’s still time to Rejuvenate your liver.
Tune into the foods of the season.
Try some sweet little beets or cabbages. Look for fennel and asparagus. Don’t forget the mint and celery. Shallots are thought to help dispel nervousness and agitation.
And come get cleansed and inspired with us in the third annual TrulyFood Cleanse of the season, Rejuvenate: A Spring Cleanse.
If you’re left wondering what I mean by “toxins”. Let’s take a look. . .
Your exogenous (outside coming in) toxins can include:
- pathogenic bacterias
- heavy metals
- food preservatives and more
Your endogenous (inside in excess) toxins can include:
- estrogens (which lead to bloating, weight gain and increase our risk for certain cancers)
- histamine (which can increase our allergic responses)
- brain chemicals (which can lead to a wide array of symptoms from impulsivity to diarrhea, depending on the neurotransmitter)
What else is on my plate this month?
My latest little treat was inspired by Passover charoset. I’ve been throwing a chopped green apple with some Brazil nuts into my mini food processor with a spices, stevia, and a smidge of salt. My spices have ranged from cinnamon and nutmeg to maca and mesquite to carob and vanilla. When hunger strikes, break out the food tools and start playing!
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