Eating for Focus & Calm

by Simla on September 8, 2011

Author’s note and disclaimer:  This information is provided for educational purposes only. The recommendations included in this informational article are not to be construed as medical advice and do not take the place of medical advice. You should seek medical advice and continue to consult with your existing medical practitioners as needed. This article is not meant to formally and thoroughly address ADHD or ADD, but some of the common symptoms and root causes shared by those diagnosed with these conditions as well as those with general overwhelm.

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September is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) month. I decided to dedicate today’s article not just to those of you diagnosed with the increasingly common ADHD or ADD, but to all of you who have ever had extended periods of being unable to stay calm and focused on the task at hand.

There are many contributors to our increasing inability to get and stay focused, such as:

… and so on.

Today’s focus, however, is on what and how you can eat to neutralize feeling scattered, light-headed, anxious, distracted, confused, forgetful, apathetic, unproductive,… and any of the other ways in which “inability to focus” shows up for you.

The impact of food on attention span and feeling calm is considerable. Even after accounting for other stresses in your life, food plays a very large role in how you direct and control your focus and related moods – whether you’re aware of what you’re doing or not.

Here’s how to take control of your attention span and sense of calm on purpose:

1. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels

Here’s how: make sure all meals and snacks contain a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Aim for at least 8-12 grams of protein with snacks, and at least 18-25 grams of protein with meals. Do not skip meals, ESPECIALLY breakfast.

Proteins include all animal foods, such as dairy, meat, seafood, and eggs; soy-based foods; legumes, and nuts.

2. Discover and address your food intolerances

If you have undiscovered food intolerances or ignore the ones you have, you are undoubtedly contributing to an overall burden on your body. Food intolerances may contribute directly or indirectly to your ability to focus and your sense of calm (or, conversely, anxiety and/or depression). Your call to action: request a food intolerance IgG (not IgE) test panel from your allergist or functional / integrative doctor, and follow up with a comprehensive elimination-challenge diet that is designed to also address all the other recommendations in this article. A good example is the Delicious Cleanse (click here to learn more).

3. Replenish your nutrient stores

It’s almost a guarantee that you have at least a few nutritional deficiencies. Why? Even if you “eat healthy,” our soil quality and the levels of nutrients we get from our foods has declined, we’re constantly bombarded by environmental toxins and many other stressors so our bodies just have a lot to contend with; ultimately, we get depleted. The best antidote is to eat a well-rounded diet based on real, whole foods with a large variety of vegetables. The next best antidote is to get a professionally designed, personalized supplement plan that you can use as a transitional measure to quickly alleviate existing deficiencies as you move towards improving your diet.

4. Cut down on the junk and processed foods

High fructose corn syrup, refined sugars, refined flours, sugar-added foods, diet foods, low-fat foods, colas / sodas, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, colors, additives, hormone-and-chemical-laden animal foods that come from conventionally raised animals. They can aggravate symptoms of ADHD and ADD, and cause agitation and inability to concentrate in those who are sensitive, AND further deplete your body’s reserves, compromising your body’s ability to function at its best.

Just say no.

5. Beware of caffeine

A small amount of caffeine has been shown to help improve concentration levels. But don’t get your hopes up. I’ve met very few people who use only a “small” amount of caffeine. Overuse and dependency on caffeine, which is by far more common, actually backfires and makes it harder to focus and concentrate. Even “just one cup” a day may be compromising your ability to focus and feel calm. So, proceed with caution. In fact, I recommend you quit. You’ll be in much better shape for the long run, in as little as 1-2 weeks.

Note that all of the above recommendations work best when done together but you’ll benefit even if you do just one.

Comment below and let me know which of these you try and how it goes…

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Simla Somturk Wickless, MBA, CHC, CNE, is the founder of Delicious Health LLC. Simla is a health, nutrition, and balanced living coach whose mission is to transform Busy Bodies into healthy, Balanced beings TM. Simla loves working with women entrepreneurs, professionals, and autoimmune clients to help them double their energy, tame their stress, get to their natural weight without dieting, and take back control of their health to live intensely pleasurable and impactful lives. Learn more  at www.EnjoyDeliciousHealth.com or www.DeliciousHealthBlog.com

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