Can you tell that managing stress is really up there for me at the moment?
I know it seems like I keep harping on about it, but I am really aware that January is a stressful month for many people. In my life at the moment, I am desperately attempting to get organised so I can cope if I go back to work, plus I am preparing for a job interview and I am painting the hallway in the new house. I need as much help as I can get in managing those stress levels right now.
Getting stressed and anxious is less about what is happening outside, but more about the reaction inside. But managing the stress levels and anxiety is not just regulating your reaction; what you eat can have a major impact on how you feel when confronted with those ARGH moments that we all get from time to time.
The bad news is that the things you might think would work a treat (sugar, chocolate, chips) are precisely the things you should avoid. They actually stress your nervous system and therefore should be avoided at all costs. The good stuff though, the stuff which supports your nervous system, is the stuff you know you should be eating. Ideally you should be eating alkalizing foods like fresh sprouts, high quality protein, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, root vegetables and cultured milk products such as yogurt, kefir or buttermilk. Lemons are good as well as grapefruit, nuts and seeds. If you want to have a healthy nervous system, then you need energy, and these foods will provide that.
The other things you need to do is to add calcium to your diet. You need calcium to have healthy nerve function, and this is what we are aiming for. If you have too little calcium in your blood, then you might be nervous, irritable, get muscle spasms, get muscle cramping, be hyperactive and probably not sleep very well. Thankfully getting calcium in the diet is fairly simple.
Obviously dairy products helps. It helps more if they are cultured. Plain milk has surprisingly little calcium in it, so choose yoghurt instead. You can also eat lots of green leafy vegetables such as spinach. chard, broccoli, turnips greens, kale, beet greens and parsley. Surprisingly large amounts of dietary calcium can be found in seaweed as well. To be honest, taking in calcium rich foods is going to have very little effect unless you also have adequate levels of Vitamin D. Either get out into the sunshine, no matter how cold or watery it is at this time of year, or take a supplement. I take a supplement with added calcium in it.
If you are feeling like things are all getting on top of you and you are struggling to cope, then you might want to consider making a high quality calcium tea. You take 1 part horsetail, 1 part nettle and 1 part oats. Combine the herbs, pour boiling water over them and leave to steep for 5-15 minutes, depending on how strong you like it. Strain the herbs and add honey to taste and then drink it all up. If that doesn’t sound appetising (and to me, it really doesn’t!) consider taking some herbs with high quality calcium in them. Chickweed, Amaranth and Dandelion Greens are good sources, must so are Mustard Greens, Horsetail, Nettle, Oats and watercress. A lot of those will be easier to get hold of come the spring!
Still, there are a lot of lovely foods to choose from.