• Dr. Heidi Lescanec

Food, Mood and Cravings

Updated: Aug 14




The Way Food Impacts Your Mood.


1. Neurotransmitters:


Our “feel good” chemicals (like seratonin) are formed from amino acids that can be supplied by protein in our diet.


We require co-factors (like B vitamins, zinc) to make these neurotransmitters out of the amino acids, so we also need to eat the foods that contain these vitamins and minerals or take supplements.


(for more info: see Neurotransmitter Flow Chart


2. Blood sugar affects our mood and energy.


• Irritability, fatigue, brain fog (lack of mental clarity, focus, and concentration), can be caused by blood sugar fluctuations.

• Our levels of blood sugar are impacted by our stress hormones (eg cortisol) and managed by insulin.


3. Cortisol (our stress, energy AND calming inflammation hormone)


Is influenced by a) what we eat, and b) how we eat, and even in and of itself this hormone plays a role in either helping or hindering neurotransmitter and energy production.


• Cortisol gets released not only when we are experiencing STRESS, but also to fight inflammation in our body.

• Why would we have inflammation due to the food we eat?

  • eating food we do not tolerate well (food allergies, sensitivities, intolerances)

  • having difficulty with break down, absorption and elimination (e.g. low digestive enzymes, low stomach acid, experiencing bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea)

  • eating foods that promote inflammation.

For more info on inflammation and food choices.


For info on the anti-inflammatory diet. download the PDF.


How does Mood Impact your Food Choices?


EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS- Michael Pollan


Such a pithy 7 word statement! We all know this is a good idea....

So why do we often veer off the path of eating “clean” in spite of our best intentions?


What is a craving?

It is the body's desire for a substance that will generate a chemical change.

Eg. alcohol, sugar, coffee, chocolate and salt.

What do these delightfully seductive items all have in common? They are acidic type foods/beverages.


While they are not necessarily foods that must be avoided as a rule, balance is key for health, and problems arise when:

  • we start to eat addictively

  • we overdo it by overindulging in acidic foods

Consuming these foods in excess can cause an imbalance in our system.


We tend not to CRAVE alkaline type foods like most vegetables.

However, we can retrain our palate by expanding our horizons and including more flavours and textures to stimulate our interest and digestive juices. Alkaline foods are also anti-inflammatory and provide us with the nutrients (co-factors) to make our feel good hormones + neurotransmitters!


Healthier Alternatives


· umeboshi plum vinegar lemon or lime juice or zest: brighten and liven up foods.

· spice mixes, eg dukha spice mix: heighten flavours and textures: sprinkle on roasted cauliflower, kale chips, grilled fish or tofu

· toasted seeds and nuts, toasted coconut are great crunchy, good fat foods excellent on salads, yogurt, porridge or granola

· hemp hearts: buttery flavour, high omegas, complete protein

· hot spices: smoked paprika, chipotle, black pepper stimulating add excitement, release endorphin

· small amounts of dark chocolate-or cocoa nibs generates warm feelings, also has magnesium (relaxant).

· bitter + sour foods, like greens, olives, pickles, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut stimulate the digestive juices (HCL and then bile and pancreatic enzymes) and the liver, preparing your body to get the benefits of your meal ahead.


Get in Touch HERE if you want to book a private consult with me.



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