Best-selling author and queen of tidying up, Marie Kondo, has taught millions of people how to create a life in which everything in it “sparks joy.”
But what if we could apply this same logic to dieting? What if we could plan our meals based on feelings of joy instead of restriction and restraint? Would foods like brownies, French fries, and pizza spark joy? How about foods like salads, steamed veggies, and smoothies? Or would it be somewhere in between?
Can my diet really spark joy?
When I think of foods that spark joy in my life, I think about my Keto-Green Diet, outlined in my book The Hormone Fix. This approach emphasizes delicious proteins, healthy fats, and alkalizing veggies (hence the “Green” in Keto-Green) – all nutritious, filling foods that allow you to eat in a way that honors your body’s design and brings greater energy and health.
There’s certainly a lot of research that supports this way of eating and shows food really can influence brain chemistry (see, diet canmake us happier!). That’s why I’ve made sure to include plenty of joy-boosting foods in my Keto-Green Diet. Some of my favorite “happy foods” are lean beef, poultry, fish, and shellfish, like oysters. That’s because these proteins are all great sources of the amino acid tyrosine, which boosts levels of the feel-good chemical dopamine in your brain.
Other good mood foods you should add to your joy-sparking list are alkalizing leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, or broccoli. These help prevent the blues because they’re rich in folate, a nutrient known to reduce the risk of depression. And, they’re versatile! Toss them into an energizing Keto-Green Shake, or in salads or soups, and you’ve got a dish worth smiling over.
Of course, your brain needs healthy fats to stay in tip-top shape. So rather than avoiding fats altogether, go for the right kinds of fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado. Brazil nuts are also a great healthy fat option. They play double-duty by delivering a helpful dose of selenium. This is important, since some studies have linked low selenium levels to depression.
Last, but certainly not least, is the ultimate mood-booster: chocolate! If you really need a quick pick-me-up, chocolate can actually increase the happiness hormones dopamine and serotonin. This is because chocolate contains anandamide-like molecules, a fatty acid that acts like the active substance in marijuana. Did I just make your day?
How to “Declutter” Your Diet
A diet that sparks joy is one in which you toss out stuff that isn’t necessary – such as strict dieting rules. A rule like “carbs are out for life” is a good example. You’ll be a pain (to yourself and others) if you say “no” to carbs all the time. Or how about telling your friends and family you can’t go out to eat because restaurant food isn’t approved by your meal plan? I imagine that won’t go down too well. After all, food is what brings us together for joyous celebrations.
The trouble with a diet that has overly strict rules is that it is impossible to stick to for the long term. Statistics show 95 percent of people who try to lose with restrictive eating habits gain the weight they lose back within 3 to 5 years, and usually with interest.
So say “no” to nitpicky dieting rules and toss them out for good.
Instead, adopt my joy-sparking feasting philosophy: Don’t try to be perfect. Enjoy your favorite foods and beverages 10 percent of the time.
A confession I frequently hear is: “I had some red wine last night and, okay, some chocolate cake.” I say, “Me too!” Not to worry: just get right back on track. Real life happens, and to stay the course completely is rare.
A few years ago, I traveled to Poland, and I must admit that although I was able to stay Keto-Green most of the time due to the delicious whole foods available everywhere, I did quite a bit of feasting too. And yes, I admit that I had a chocolate pastry one morning for breakfast! Do your best, but give yourself a little leeway. Look optimistically toward tomorrow; after all, it doesn’t have any mistakes in it yet.
Enact Joy-Sparking Habits
My challenge to you: Think about your own eating habits and food choices. Do they spark joy? Or do they spark anxiety, misery, or frustration?
Practice the “spark joy” philosophy with your diet, and eventually it will become a way of life for you. Choose what you’ll eat, and how much, based on tuning in and listening to what your body needs - what would feel good and spark joy for you?
Your body will become accustomed to what you feed it, and as you continue along this path, embracing healthier nutrition gets easier. You’ll awaken your subtle body physiology, honoring what it needs, and ultimately become the healthiest version of yourself.
Looking to Marie Kondo your diet with a new recipe? This Creamy Vanilla Mint Smoothie from my new book, The Hormone Fix, is sure to spark joy! Indulge in this sweet and minty combination of healthy ingredients that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Creamy Vanilla Mint Smoothie
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 10–12 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
MAKES 1 SERVING
P.S. - To spark joy on the go in your own diet…
I’m giving you my Keto-Green™ On The Go Guide for FREE! Click here to download it now. EnJOY!