Resilience in Times of Anxiety

August 23, 2020

Living in the midst of a pandemic, we all have a lot on our plate (no pun intended) and on our minds. Two nutritionists share four tips and tricks they use (and help their busy families use as well) to help end the day in a positive place.

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian and I'm in studio this morning with Teresa Wagner, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian. We have both been part of the Nutritional Weight & Wellness team for the past several years. As for me currently, because of my responsibilities at home, for those of you that maybe aren't longtime listeners, I'm not currently seeing clients in a one on one setting, but I do teach classes for Nutritional Weight & Wellness. At least I was teaching quite a bit before COVID-19 hit, but I am teaching some of our online classes now. And certainly I am co-hosting this Dishing Up Nutrition program on a regular basis. And Teresa, I know for you, in addition to all of your home responsibilities with three young kids, you too are teaching online classes. Of course, you're, co-hosting the radio show AND you're seeing clients via zoom or by phone appointments as we're in the middle of a pandemic. You're seeing clients two to three days a week. So I guess we both have in common that we're busy moms, but I think another thing we have in common is that we both treasure the value of feeding our families real food. Real food cooked from scratch at home. And both Teresa and I are well aware, this takes more time than going through the drive through. Certainly takes more time than having a pizza delivered. Takes more time than preparing those prepackaged foods, but it is so worth it. And today as working moms, we want to share our approach to managing these high stress, high anxiety times that we're in. We just want to give you some tips and tricks of how we're still getting a meal on the table each night and what we're doing to fuel our bodies and the bodies of our family so that they can manage these times of high stress as well. So our topic today is building resilience in times of anxiety. It's going to be a great show. We have a lot of great information to share. So with that, welcome to all of our listeners and welcome Teresa.

TERESA: Well thank you, Cassie and, if you're at all like me, which I know Cassie, you are, but listeners, if you're at all like me, you're a cook. You're a house cleaner. You're a referee for your kids, perhaps their entertainer. And now soon to be a teacher's assistant. And on top of all of that, you may be working from home too. At this time, we have a lot on our plate, no pun intended. Cassie and I have some ideas that we use everyday that help us to end the day in a positive place. And that is, you know, something that is really hard because the patience, it wears thin by bedtime, doesn't it?

CASSIE: And when everybody's in the house and there's not a lot of outside activity, you know, extracurricular activities right now. Yeah. You can wear pretty thin by the end of the day.

TERESA: Yes. So today we are going to talk to you about some tips and ideas that we can share with you to help you cook healthy meals at home without stress and anxiety.

CASSIE: So in preparation for today's program, I actually dusted off my hard cover Webster's dictionary.

TERESA: You didn't just Google it?

CASSIE: No, I thought about it. I'm like, oh, there's that Webster's up on my bookshelf. I haven't had that out in years. So I did it the old fashioned way and I looked up the term resilience. And this is what the definition says in Webster's, "resilience is having the ability to recover readily from an illness, from depression, or from adversity." So we really want to talk today about what are some lifestyle and nutrition habits that will help build resilience. And as I was thinking about this this past week prepping for today's show, I came up with four top things... four priorities in my mind anyway that are lifestyle and nutrition habits that can really help build resilience. I have two that tie for first place. So one of those is getting enough sleep. That is so important to building resilience. So what do we mean by enough sleep? Right? I mean, I think that's a good question. Sufficient sleep or enough sleep means getting at least seven and a half to nine hours of sleep most nights of the week. And I mean, actual sleep, not just laying in bed, but you're sleeping for seven and a half to nine hours. The other thing that ties for first place in terms of building resilience is eating real food. And we want you to eat that real food several times throughout the day, at least four times. And the reason is you want to eat frequently so that you keep your blood sugar balanced. And we'll describe the importance of that balanced blood sugar later on in the show. You know, and if you have young kids at home, they're probably going to need to eat more than four times a day. My teenage boy eats six times a day, never misses a meal or snack, you know, and he needs that. And I noticed too that when my kids do eat regularly, their energy and their moods are so much better. Well, I've noticed that for myself too. So those two tie for first place. The other two things that came to top of my mind when I think of building resilience: drinking enough water, preferably filtered water. We all should be drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of water a day. And then longtime listeners, you knew I was going to say this one, right? Number four: limit sugar. Maybe even cut it out entirely. And certainly limit the amount of processed carbs that you're eating as well, because we know those processed carbs, like the bagels, the bread, the pasta, the crackers, the granola bars, those just turn to sugar. So limiting sugar and processed carbs in your diet because when you're constantly spiking your blood sugar with those types of foods, it messes with our hormones. And we'll talk more about that too, as the show goes on, but it's sort of stresses us from the inside out and results in more anxiety.

TERESA: Yeah. And I want to confirm that most of us are absolutely living under an extremely high level of stress right now. Research shows that just two years ago, so in 2018, about 18% of adults were experiencing anxiety. And today in 2020, 60% of adults are experiencing stress and anxiety. So that's an increase of 42%.

CASSIE: That's a huge jump.

TERESA: Many of us have financial stress right now, or the stress of wearing too many hats, like I was talking about before. Or the stress of practicing all the strategies required to stay safe and virus free during this time. Maybe it's the stress of social unrest, which has been plaguing our cities in the U.S. And around the globe. All kinds of stressors and I don't want it to make it seem like I think food can solve all these problems and fix these stressors. You know, it really, it doesn't do that, BUT it can help the way we handle ourselves and how we react to stressful situations that we find ourselves in.

CASSIE: I'm glad you said that because yeah, we don't want to give anybody any false notions here with our topic. We're not saying that if you eat the right way, coronavirus is going to go away or any of those things.

TERESA: Wouldn't that be nice? Let's get that going.

CASSIE: Yeah, right? I do think your body can fight it way better, but yeah,

TERESA: Agreed.

CASSIE: We're not going to take away external stressors simply by putting some grass fed beef in our mouth. But I like what you said, Teresa, it's all about eating in a way that helps YOU be your best self so that you can handle these stressors to the best of your ability. I mean, take a minute right now and just imagine yourself as somebody who has a lot of anxiety, you're irritable, you feel like your temper is going to flare, you know, with just snap of the fingers and you're not sleeping well, your word recall isn't there, your memory isn't clicking like it used to, and you go to work on Monday and there's some big issue at work... you know, I don't know some big problem, right? Are you going to handle that outside stressor very well with your high anxiety, your temper, your irritability? Now I want you to imagine yourself as having a great mood, your energy's high, you have great mental focus, your memory is clicking, you're sleeping solid through the night, and now you go to work on Monday and there's some big catastrophe. Aren't you going to handle that big catastrophe so much better? And that's what we're talking about today. Building your body from within, in a way that's going to help you to really roll with the punches of whatever life is going to bring, because we all know that right now, especially in the middle of a pandemic and with all of the social unrest, there are a lot of unknowns, so we need to be ready for whatever and handle it with grace and ease, hopefully. And we are going to go to our first commercial break and come back and talk more about how to build resilience during these times of high anxiety. If you're just tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Again, our discussion today is all about foods that will help you build resilience to manage stress and anxiety. So stay with us. We'll be back after this commercial break.

TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. To build resilience, to manage stress and anxiety, especially during these trying times, it's important to drink a sufficient amount of filtered water. Drinking sufficient water is key to a healthy body and brain. Once you are drinking eight to 10 glasses of water daily and hydrating your brain tissue, you may find that you can manage your day to day stress and anxiety much better. Water is a great anti-anxiety beverage. Soda or a glass of wine may feel good in the moment, but might actually have the opposite effect.

CASSIE: So true. And you know, if I've had a night where I haven't slept well, that's when I am really my best at getting eight to 10 glasses of water in intentionally, because that's an energy drink.


CASSIE: So when you think of a day where you got a lot of stressors going on, don't you need a lot of energy to handle that? And that's where water comes in versus wine or pop would be a diuretic and would make you lose water, let alone the blood sugar effect. We'll talk about that later. So, you know, I just want to make sure we don't leave out our kids in this discussion because teenagers can experience, you know, kids of any age really can experience anxiety. I think we hear about it a lot in our teenagers and maybe I'm sort of hyper-aware because I have my oldest starting high school here in September and I'm hearing from all the moms, how mental illnesses, you just ramp it in that age group at the high school. And so just be aware, teens are having anxiety and I have the statistics right here: right now one out of three teenagers struggles with anxiety. That's a lot. So we want to talk about what are YOU doing in terms of your food choices to be your best self, so you can manage stress and anxiety, but pass this information onto your kids too both by example and by word. So we know, Teresa and I are well aware that if you have lost your job, whether it's from COVID or something else, you're under a lot of stress right now. If you're unable to pay your rent or your mortgage, certainly you're stressed out. If you can't make your car payment that creates stress and anxiety. Or how about this one, which is kind of new for some of us this year, if you're hearing gunshots on a regular basis, that's stressful. Even for me, way out in the safe Western suburbs, there have been nights where I've heard firecrackers. And my first thought is, oh my gosh, is that a gun? And I would never would have thought of that before all that went on in May with George Floyd and all of that, but we're just all sort of on edge. So all these examples that I just gave are referred to as outside stressors or sometimes we call them environmental stressors. Most of the time, we don't have a lot of control over those outside stressors, but the good news is we do have control over the inside stressors. And if we can control those and eat in a way and have lifestyle factors in place that help us calm from the inside out, then we can handle these outside stressors so much better.

TERESA: Right. So let's talk about those things that we can control. Has it ever occurred to you that what you eat could be causing more anxiety? Maybe your source of anxiety is how you start your day. Perhaps it's that cup of coffee and pastry you eat every morning for breakfast. If you get the coffee jitters, how do you think you're going to handle outside stressors?

CASSIE: That's a good one and I hope some people connect that dot. I have a, I won't say... I have an in-law, let's say that way cause she listens so I don't want to point her out, but she figured it out years back that coffee creates anxiety for her. So she has decaf or she has herbal tea in the morning, but I don't think everybody makes that connection. Caffeine can really exasperate anxiety for a lot of people.

TERESA: Yeah. You could also have anxiety because you're skipping meals like breakfast or lunch.

CASSIE: Yes. If you're not getting at least seven and a half hours of sleep each night that can be your source of anxiety or are you having pizza delivered on a regular basis or maybe you're popping the frozen pizza in oven. Those, the pizza, the pasta, those high sugar foods can be your source of anxiety.

TERESA: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, what's with this, with this situation that we're in, the restaurants that are doing really well are exactly the restaurants that we probably shouldn't be going to well maybe as often, you know, I don't, maybe ever, you know, you see the lines around the drive through and it's oh man.

CASSIE: Yeah, yeah.

TERESA: Feeding that anxiety,

CASSIE: Feeding it and making everything worse.

TERESA: Another source of anxiety could be self medicating with alcohol. You know that alcohol feels really good in the moment, but the consequence of that is that it causes your blood sugar to get all off base.

CASSIE: Which then causes your cortisol to get all out of whack.

TERESA: Right. And that's your stress hormone. And it also has an effect on your neurotransmitters, but your neurotransmitters are your chemicals that help you feel things and feel good. And if, and we, it basically lowers those neurotransmitters so that we don't feel as good the next day or even maybe that day, the day that we're having the alcohol, that we're medicating.

CASSIE: That we're self medicating.

TERESA: And of course, maybe a source of your anxiety could be eating way too many processed carbs and sugary treats.

CASSIE: Absolutely. Yeah. These are all great examples that Teresa and I just gave of how a lot of Americans create stress for themselves from the inside out. Now I'm betting some of our listeners still need us to connect some dots here. So I want to list off a couple of symptoms or we could call them telltale signs that you are having anxiety or think about your kids in these scenarios too, because maybe they're having anxiety. I don't think everybody always recognizes anxiety for what it is. And until you recognize that it's there, it's hard to fix it. So here's one: if you're having trouble falling asleep at night, because you can't turn your mind off, you're probably having some anxiety or maybe you can fall asleep pretty decent, but you toss and turn all night long because of those regurgitated thoughts. Could be a sign of anxiety. Here's one that I don't think a lot of people stop to think about: digestive issues. Those not always, but they can be the way that your anxiety shows up. So if you're having a lot of acid reflux or intermittent diarrhea that could be because of anxiousness. Or how about constipation? That's when I don't think a lot of people connect at all, but I actually have a relative and I've had a couple of clients back when I used to see clients too that that's how their body showed their anxiety. And it makes sense if you think about it, because when we're anxious, we usually kind of clench up, right? I mean, I, I get it in my shoulders. I get really sore shoulders cause I hold my stress there. But any muscle that gets tight and pinched that can be from anxiety. And if that happens to your colon, which is a muscle that can cause constipation.

TERESA: You know, I had a client that has had ongoing diarrhea for the past five months and just think when Covid started. And so what she found is that when she lowered her anxiety, her diarrhea went away. So there was the connection there.

CASSIE: There is such a huge connection between our gut and our brain. So it really, yeah, they're talking to each other. So you have to calm yourself. Another example of, or a telltale sign of anxiety, would be if you are that person that just worries about everything. And a lot of times too, that'll show up and not be being able to fall asleep at night. But, and I think a lot of us right now in the times that we're in, we're living in a state of fear of the unknown. And certainly that can make us anxious. And like I mentioned before, let's not forget about our teenagers because they can certainly be experiencing anxiety too. And it doesn't just have to be the teenagers. It can be kids of any age. I remember my daughter when she was around seven, eight, nine, and would have some just terrible outbursts, sort of angry outbursts at times. And they seem to be really uncalled for, and it might've looked like she was being naughty, but I could get inside her brain and I knew she was anxious. And so waiting til your child calms down and kind of talking through those things is helpful. And then also giving them the tools through real food and good lifestyle habits to be able to become their best selves. We'll talk more about this when we get back from this break, if you're just recently joining us, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I'm Cassie. I'm in studio with Teresa today talking about how to build resiliency, to manage stress and anxiety. Before we had to break, though, I have an announcement I'd like to share. Now through the end of August, we're offering all of our 90 minute online classes for only $10 a piece. That is a steal. Every one of these classes is packed with valuable nutrition information., we haven't mentioned those yet. We're going to be mentioning two great classes that are part of that $10 a piece special. So we'll be telling you about those when we come back and also Teresa's going to share some of her favorite online classes. So stay with us.

TERESA: As Cassie said, I want to share some of my most favorite 90 minute classes that we are currently offering for only $10 each. One class I like that I think would be beneficial for everyone during the COVID-19 crisis is *Immune Building Foods And Nutrients*. The other classes I like are *Stress Food and You*, *The Magic of Minerals*, and my all time favorite is *Gut Reaction: Restore the Digestive Health Through Nutrition*. Go to our website, or call our office at (651) 699-3438 and a staff member will walk you through the process of enrolling in the class. So before the break we were talking about, well, our topic today is building resilience and dealing with anxiety. So in doing research for the show, I looked at 17 different research studies to find the answers to the question of how do we dampen our response to the stress we're living with? Half of the studies found that diet modification is the most beneficial for doing that. Is that surprising to you? Diet modification, the most beneficial thing to do in order to...?

CASSIE: Well, not to me, but you're not talking to me. Right? I would've thought that all of the studies show that, but...

TERESA: Yeah, the most beneficial thing that you can do to decrease anxiety. So Cassie and I want to highlight some of these dietary modifications that can help you lower anxiety. The number one recommendation was to eat breakfast. One major cause of anxiety is skipping breakfast. You may do this because you're just too busy or maybe you don't have much of an appetite from the high stress. Maybe your belly is full of the anxiety butterflies and food just doesn't really sound good. So Cassie, can you tell us some of the side effects of skipping breakfast?

CASSIE: Yes. Let's connect the dots here because I really want listeners to think about the last time you skipped breakfast and how did you feel? We all react a little differently because we all have our own unique biochemistries. For some of you, it might be that your anxiety really starts to rise throughout those morning hours when you don't have that morning meal. For some people, they get to work and maybe they have this big, intense project they're supposed to work on, but they can't focus. That can be because you didn't fuel your body and your brain with a good breakfast. I'm raising my hand on this one: some of us have intense cravings, especially for carbs and/or sugar if we skip breakfast. And this makes sense biochemically, if you think about it. If you don't eat breakfast, I mean, there's a reason it's called breakfast, right? Break the fast. You haven't eaten since the day before. So if you skip that morning meal, so it's been 12, 14, 16 hours since you last ate, imagine your blood sugar, it's going lower and lower and lower and lower. And when you hit a rock bottom blood sugar, then your body says to your brain, you better grab something that turns to sugar fast and fuel me because I have nothing to run on here. And so those cravings can become pretty intense. For some people, their memory kind of shuts down, especially that word recall piece. And that can be embarrassing, if you have to give a morning presentation or you have to go talk to your boss. A lot of people feel irritable. Their patience sort of goes out the door. I'm going to raise my hand on those two as well, irritable and lack of patience. And I, this brings back a memory, oh, it's been eight or nine years ago. Now Marisa was in preschool and I remember we were upstairs in her bedroom. She was looking through the closet. She had a specific outfit in mind that she wanted to wear and she was determined to find it. And we couldn't find it. I don't know it was probably in the laundry, but I'm looking at my watch, thinking I need to get to work here, girl, we got to get going. And I could feel that my temper was going to blow. And then it's like, I had this light bulb and I thought, oh my goodness, I didn't have breakfast yet. I mean, I had gotten her up. I'd fed her, made sure she went to the bathroom, brushed your teeth, all of that. But in the midst of that craziness, I had forgotten to eat. So I said, "Marisa, I'm just going to run downstairs quick and grab something to eat". So I ran down to the kitchen and I don't remember that was so many years ago, but I'm sure it was something super fast. I always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge. So maybe I grabbed a couple of hard boiled eggs, probably a handful of grapes and maybe some walnuts. So I had my protein, my grapes was my carbohydrate, and then the walnuts would be the healthy fat. That magic number three, it balanced out my blood sugars. And I went back upstairs to Marisa and I could handle that situation with calm. Such a difference in how I was handling that outside stressor based on how I was on the inside. So food matters and let's not forget that this happens in our kids too. If they're not eating breakfast, they're not going to be able to handle the stress of the day. And they might become more irritable and cranky. I mean, I'm betting some parents out there listening, especially if you have those teenage girls that get in that bad habit of skipping breakfast, maybe you're having an aha moment right now.

TERESA: Right. And Cassie I'm like you, I look at breakfast as an anti-anxiety self care meal. Lately, even though it's been busy and stressful, I still take the time to eat a real food breakfast. And because it's been really busy, I have made a shortcut in what I make for breakfast by making a deconstructed sausage. So Cassie, we were talking about this before, and I didn't know that you did this too!

CASSIE: And I said, hey, I've been doing this for years.

TERESA: I was like, why didn't you tell me? Because it makes it so fast. But basically I just take ground pork and ground turkey. And I mix those two together and brown it, like I would be browning something like for taco meat or chili or something like that. And then there's only five spices that I add. Sage, fennel, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. That's it.

CASSIE: I got one up on ya. I only add three because the kids don't like the fennel and the red pepper in there.

TERESA: Oh okay! Even faster!

CASSIE: Even faster... just salt, pepper, and sage. But isn't that a delicious, super simple recipe?

TERESA: Super simple, super fast. You can make a whole bunch of it and then just put it in a container and then take a scoop full and reheat in the morning. I like to throw some roasted veggies, maybe some leftover roasted veggies. This time I actually added veggies too as I was browning it. So I have some, I think I put carrots and celery and cabbage in it, I think, cause that's what I had. It's just easy then it's all in one, all in one meal.

CASSIE: And just to make sure listeners know, this is our Turkey Breakfast Sausage recipe that's on our website, It's just that Teresa and I don't get our hands all full of raw meat making patties. We just dump the raw burger into the pan and scramble it up with the spices.

TERESA: Yep. Super fast and easy. And when you do that, your brain feels calm and turned on. You're focused and you're full of energy. And you know, if you're concerned about adding on the quarantine 15 or getting rid of the quarantine 15, then listen up: protein, either in eggs, which would be great for breakfast as well, or that Turkey Sausage recipe has been found to activate your metabolism and support better and stronger muscles. Now I'm not talking about bodybuilder type muscles. That is a look that is really hard to achieve.

CASSIE: And we don't want, personally.

TERESA: But muscles are great for, for helping your body, you know, stay young and look young. So it's important to have that protein in your diet as well. Protein is the building block of all your brain chemicals. So you have a good mood and a better memory.

CASSIE: So really the questions we should ask the listeners are, do you want to rev up your metabolism? Do you want to have better moods and a good memory? If you're shaking your head, yes. Then you need to have that animal protein, not just at breakfast, but at every meal, it is really important. You know, and back to breakfast, I think we should get the word out to everybody that not all breakfasts are created equal. We're talking about the downside of skipping breakfast. So some of you might be thinking off, well, she's not talking to me cause I eat breakfast every day. But if you're eating a breakfast of cold cereal, maybe you pour skim milk over the top. That's sugar topped with some sugar. And then if you have a glass of juice on the side, there's more sugar that just adds to anxiety. If you're maybe not a cereal person, but you're in the habit of stopping off at the coffee shop on your way to work and getting what I call a fufu coffee drink, basically meaning a coffee drink full of sugar, those fancy ones. That's not good either. And a lot of people will grab a muffin when they're at the coffee house to go with that high sugar coffee. Sugar and sugar and anxiety follows. So when you know, I'm sure some of you are thinking, what is she talking about? Why does eating cereal? Why does having that coffee and a muffin increase my anxiety? It all comes back to your blood sugar. When your blood sugar is out of balance, your body releases the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol lessens our ability to deal with the stressors of the day, if we're chronically running high cortisol. Not only that, but if you chronically have high cortisol, it usually results in unwanted weight gain and it'll show up as that belly fat or that spare tire around the middle. And I probably, I can see you have more to say on that Teresa, but I think we'll take our next commercial break. And then we'll come back and talk more about the topic of building resilience. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition before we break though, as I often do, I want to give you a little food for thought, if you are thinking to yourself, oh, I really need to get back on track with healthy eating. Maybe you've kind of gotten off being quarantined these past months. First, I think you should join Britni and Leah this coming Saturday, because they're going to discuss ways you can start the fall with healthy eating. In addition, maybe you'd like to do what one of our online class participants named Donna did. If you listen to Dishing Up Nutrition regularly, you might remember that we mentioned Donna a few shows back. Donna signed up for our Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program. I think it was back in January. So now that I say this, maybe she was able to take the in person class, but whatever the deal online or in person, she had great results. She put into practice everything that she learned while she was taking the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series. And since January she's lost 41 pounds. She is so happy. She's down to a size 10, but I think what's even better than her losing all that weight. She says she has more energy and here are her words exactly. She said, "I am feeling just great." Doesn't that sound like a place that we all want to be. So if you're interested, you might want to sign up for our next 12 week Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series. Teresa will update you on the days and times available after this break. Stay with us, we'll be right back.

TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. While it's still grilling season, I'd like to suggest making the grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, which is on our recipe website. It must be new because I haven't seen it quite yet and I'm thinking I might make it this weekend.

CASSIE: That word chimichurri has me excited. That sounds so flavorful. I think I might make it too!

TERESA: Yeah. So it's on our website: If you need a boost to help you regain your good, healthy eating habits, I suggest taking the next series of Nutrition 4 Weight Loss. That includes 12 weekly classes and individual nutrition sessions with a dietitian or nutritionist. You can take this series online anytime at your convenience or you can take it virtually in small groups through zoom meetings. We will be happy to explain both options to you and the individual appointments that are also included with that dietitian or nutritionist. Call our office (651) 699-3438 to get your questions answered. And of course you can find this information on our website at So we were talking about stress and anxiety and building resilience. So let's just hop right back into it. If you are feeling moody, tired, anxious, you know, if you are having those stress butterflies that we were talking about, if you're shaky with cravings for sugar or have the inability to focus and concentrate, it may be the result of either skipping meals or eating high sugar processed foods. Sadly, the Standard American Diet also appropriately known as SAD is actually a stressful eating plan because it is loaded with processed foods and lacks the basic nutrients to build resilience. Sugar is not a health food.

CASSIE: Truer words were never spoken. I think for those of you out there like me who like a little science. Don't worry, I'm not going to get too deep, but I want to share sort of in simple terms, what's going on biochemically. You know, you're talking Teresa about skipping meals or eating high sugar foods. And we've said this more than once already today, eating high sugar processed carbs can lead to anxiety. So let's talk about what's happening. Let's say you get up in the morning and have a bagel for breakfast. I used to do that every morning during my college years and I thought it was a healthy choice. Our long time listeners know that is a high sugar food. So if you eat that bagel, now imagine you're visualizing your blood sugar. It's going up, up, up, up just like a rollercoaster ride going up that big hill to its peak. So when we do this to our blood sugar, when we push it up too high beyond normal that's stressful to our brain and to our body. And I'm sure you've heard me say this on past shows. What goes up must come down. So in a bit, I'll explain the detriments of that low, low blood sugar that follows the high blood sugar. But first let's talk about this high blood sugar. When your blood sugar is sky high, like it is after eating that bagel, or maybe it's a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk, your body sends a message to your pancreas to hurry up and release insulin. Insulin, I always think of as this army of men that get pushed out into the bloodstream whose job it is to run around the bloodstream and pick up sugar molecules and get them out of your blood because we don't want all that sugar circulating for very long, right? Otherwise we have diabetes. So you eat the bagel or you eat the cold breakfast cereal. Sugar goes up, up, up, up in your bloodstream. That sends a message to your pancreas to release this little army of men called insulin. Now couple of bad things happen here. First of all, those army men are very efficient and they clear the sugar molecules pretty fast typically and they over-correct. And then our blood sugar drops too low. And I'll talk about that in a bit. But the other thing is insulin is also called our fat storing hormone or some people call it our fat making hormone. That doesn't sound good, does it? So if you eat that bagel for breakfast, you get too much insulin circulating to pick up that sugar. Insulin then dumps that sugar into fat stores and increases your fat stores. Again, that's why it's called the fat storing or the fat making hormone. Again, the body typically over-corrects and clears all that sugar from your blood and now your blood sugar drops below normal. Like I said, what goes up, must come down. And when you have this super low blood sugar, then your brain doesn't have enough blood sugar to function. I know we make sugar out to be the all evil, but the truth is our brain needs a little bit of sugar to operate, preferably from fruits and vegetables. But if our blood sugar drops too low, our brain doesn't have that fuel. And for most people they will experience anxiety at this point.

TERESA: Yeah. And that's how we describe the blood sugar roller coaster.

CASSIE: Up, down, up, down. So a much better choice... Teresa mentioned the Turkey breakfast sausage. Another good choice is some eggs. And I know we've talked about this on past shows, but I'm going to say it again. It's so simple to get up in the morning, heat your pan, crack two or three eggs into there. Then I walk over to my fridge and open it up and see what I have for leftover vegetables. If I were in my kitchen right now and opened my fridge, I have leftover asparagus that we roasted a couple nights ago. So you could take that out, cut it with your kitchen sheers into maybe one inch pieces, scramble that up. And then if I have leftover sweet potatoes, I like to grab a half of a sweet potato and warm that up as well. And that keeps your blood sugar balanced. And that's where you are your best self.

TERESA: Yep. And every time my blood sugar drops too low, I feel stress and anxiety with, you know, a headache. Maybe my patience goes away, like we talked about before or maybe even get brain fog. To avoid low blood sugar, every day, I try to eat two to four ounces of protein, one to two cups of vegetables and some type of healthy, beneficial fat. And beneficial fats, you know, we've talked about these before, but butter, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, nuts, or seeds. And I do this at each meal.

CASSIE: Yes, we need that fat to stabilize blood sugars. You have to add some added healthy fat at every meal and every snack. And you know, we just have to remember here, food makes a difference. That's the bottom line and everything we're telling you today. And in fact, there are studies I was looking at for preparation for the show, studies that compare the Standard American Diet to a real food diet and found the risk of developing depression and anxiety were 25% to 35% lower in people eating that real food diet. So again, when we say real food diet, we mean real protein, like grass fed meat, pasture raised hogs, wild caught fish. And then you want to get some real carbohydrates, preferably vegetables. Right now we have a lot of garden grown vegetables available. So this is a great time of year to get those veggies in. When it's not summer and we don't have a garden, you know, giving us plenty of cucumbers and tomatoes like mine is right now. Frozen vegetables are good too, but be sure you get plenty of vegetables, maybe a few fruits for your carbohydrate choice. And then when we say real fats, we mean things like butter, olive oil, unrefined coconut oil, avocados, nut butters, nuts and seeds, heavy cream. Those are all delicious, healthy fats. And that's that magic number three that I often talk about protein, vegetable carbs, healthy fat. That balances out our blood sugar and that's when we have great energy, great mental focus. Anxiety is not there. We're sleeping better through the night and let's not forget the importance of water. We should all be drinking at least eight to 10 glasses of filtered water each day. And as we wrap up today's show on building resilience to manage anxiety. I want to share a quote from Gandhi. I came across this a couple of days ago and I think it fits well with our topic today. This is what Gandhi said, "A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." Isn't that so true?

TERESA: Yes. And at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we believe to have positive thoughts, our brain needs key nutrients that we can only get from eating real food.

CASSIE: It all comes back to what we're putting in our mouth day in and day out. And the good news is that choice is up to each of us. We are in control. And as we always do, when we wrap up the show, we want to remind our listeners that our goal at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks to all of our listeners for joining us this morning, be safe and be well.

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