Why Low Carb means Low Mood: How to Eat for Happiness

iStock_sattvic_veg_Small.jpgRecent research indicates that low-carb diets might help reduce weight but are not so useful to your emotional state.

Judith Wurtman, director of the Women’s Health Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believes that low-carb diets are to blame for negative feelings including sadness and anger. She claims that people on low-carb diets “feel very angry, and their antidepressants don’t work well either”.

The diets blamed for lowering mood are high protein programs that focus on cutting out carbohydrates and eating more meat.

The obvious conclusion reached by many is that if a low carb diet is leading to these unwelcome experiences, putting carbs back in the diet is the solution. But that is only a partial answer.

Taking “You are What You Eat” to a Deeper Level
Ayurveda, India’s ancient science of healthcare, clearly states that meat is dulling to the mind. Your food affects your psychology as well as your physiology.

Ayurveda divides foods into three categories called
gunas, a Sanskrit term meaning quality or nature, according to their effect on health, mental state and consciousness.

1. Sattva guna - goodness
Most fruits, vegetables and grains come under the category of
sattva, these foods are supportive to the body and to the mind. They promote good health and a long life they, support steady moods, contentment and a positive outlook.

2. Raja guna - passion (also translated to mean action or distraction)
Foods that are processed, excessively salty, or spicy, are in the category of rajas. These foods cause excess heat in the body, and in the mind they give rise to agitation and irritability. Much of the typical Western diet falls into this category and that’s why we see so many people wandering around with antacids in their pocket.

3. Tama guna - darkness or ignorance
The final, and least desirable category, is tamas - this is the domain of junk food, stale food, old canned food, leftovers, and meat. These foods are considered dead (energetically and literally). They are heavy to digest and are heavy on the mind. Food in this category does little for longevity and nothing for intelligence and the finer sentiments of human life like empathy and introspection. Food in the mode of ignorance has a definite and detrimental influence on the mind, it drags the consciousness down, fuels addictive cravings, and increases sadness, depression and dark thoughts.

While Ayurveda acknowledges that meat contains nutritious elements, it considers its negative influence on the mind and consciousness to be a high price to pay for nutritional building blocks that could be found elsewhere without the need to eat the flesh of another living creature.

Ayurveda makes no bones about the fact that eating meat directly contributes to feelings of anger, lethargy, irritability and depression.

The Happiness & Higher Consciousness Diet
Ayurveda advocates a highly nutritious diet based on principles of non-violence and includes plenty of grains, lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Ayurvedic cooking uses gentle spices such as turmeric, cumin and coriander to assist digestion and absorption, and nurture immunity. Such foods cultivate feelings of peacefulness and contentment and promote a long and healthy life by supporting the mind and reducing the load on the digestive system.