I’ve been told a lot lately how I am one of the happiest, positive, energetic people know. Although I have my moments, as we all do, I generally have an over-abundance of energy and optimism for life.

But it wasn’t always like this – not by a long shot! I use to suffer from the rollercoaster of fluctuating energy and moods – I could be reactive, easily stressed and overwhelmed, cranky and inflexible, even when I was trying my best to be more relaxed and loving. And the cravings – oh, I was so at the mercy of cravings!

I believe to be our most effective, loving selves in the world, we need to be balanced physically.

I didn’t realise the powerful link between my physical health and my mental and emotional wellbeing.

What transformed me from a stressed-out uncontrollable sugar addict, bulimic, yo-yo dieter was focusing on what I needed to eat to balance my brain and it’s biochemistry (you might have heard of serotonin, dopamine, endorphins – these are some of the brain chemicals that helps us to feel really goooood).

I never once thought about my brain and how central it was to EVERYTHING I thought, felt and did. How what I ate and did made all those little chemical messengers get out of whack and made me and my life feel out of whack as a result.

It might have been normal to feel stressed, overwhelmed, chaotic, moody with daily cravings (as I was in good company with so many!) but naturally, when our brains and body are in balance, we feel calm, resilient, joyful and energised.

So here is what I discovered in my healing journey that led me to best energy, moods and stability I’ve ever felt:

1. Dieting is one of the worse things we do for our brains!
When we go on low calorie diets, it starves the brain of vital nutrients and calories it needs to function. I was so oblivious through all my dieting years that I was slowly eroding my mental health and capacity to cope with life.

2. When repairing our brains and maintaining balance, we need to eat more protein and good fats
This was a big shift for me after being vegetarian and dieter for so much of my life! Protein contains essential amino acids the brain uses to make all our feel-good brain chemicals. Aim for 20-30 grams every meal. Free-range and organic meats and sustainable fish are back in my diet. Along with protein powder, beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu, eggs, greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, which are all high protein vegetarian sources. Good fats I add to meals are olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut milk.

3. Eat regularly!
Our brains need constant blood sugar (glucose) to function optimally. Stable blood sugar contributes to high energy levels throughout the day, improved memory and mental clarity and helps you to be even-tempered and relaxed. So I make sure every day I have breakfast, lunch and dinner at regular times and always carry snacks on me to make sure my blood sugar never drops.

4. Breakfast with protein first thing in the morning
No other dietary habit has made a more significant difference to my life than this! It gives my brain the juice it needs to kickstart my day, stabilises my blood sugar levels, helps avoid cravings later in the day, improves my mental alertness and concentration, increases my energy levels and makes me feel more calm and resilient. For five years now I have had 20-30 grams protein with good fats and complex carbs (if I am doing carbs) within an hour of getting up. It makes me a powerhouse of good energy and stability!

5. Supplements help
I use to think that vitamins and supplements were just another way for big business to make money off us. But what I have learned is that while our bodies are designed to function optimally when we are putting in all the right stuff, to heal from all the damage we’ve done previously it helps to add in extra vitamins, minerals and supplements to support the process. B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, fish oil, vitamin c and amino acids all support our brain big time.

6. Get mindful
I stopped all distractions while eating and started tuning into how my food was making me feel. I tracked my food-feelings so I could make links and make more conscious choices. I then did more of what made me feel good and less of what made me feel bad.

7. The gut-brain connection is powerful
I am still learning how powerfully my gut health is related to my brain health and my overall wellbeing. So I have put a lot of time and energy into healing my digestion. Probiotics, fermented foods, avoiding the foods that inflame me (wheat/gluten is a big one) and getting assistance from health professionals is all part of my routine.

8. Removing what fuels biochemical imbalance
Learning what fuels biochemical imbalance like sugar, refined carbohydrates (white rice, white flours etc), drugs and alcohol and STRESS and either removing them completely from my diet or reducing them has made the world of difference to how I feel! Total liberation! I never thought it was possible to be sugar-free consistently (four years on now) but by focusing on balancing my brain by doing the things above, the cravings naturally reduced over time and I could give it up with little fuss.

All in all, I made my self-care and health a priority. I loved myself enough to make good choices for myself and my brain.

The best thing about feeling so consistently good is I am now a more effective channel for good in the world. I am adding more light, love and kindness into the world by virtue of who I am, not just what I do. As well as having the energy, stamina and focus to follow my true path. This brings me so much joy!

I want this for you too and know it’s possible, no matter how far away from great, consistent energy and unflappable moods you may feel.

As a woman with so much to give, achieving balance in your brain will give you the capacity to fulfill your vision and goals with so much more ease. That is why I have developed a comprehensive assessment that will identify areas of key deficiencies in your brain health and how these are impacting you, and create a tailored plan to have you achieve your best energy and mood ever too. If you are interested to know more, please email me at mandie@soulstrategies.com.au.

Love Mandie xx