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How your happiness and mood can dip from one daily innocent ritual

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“I need a quick pick-me-up,” said Beth Cartwright. “But by the time I pick my daughter up, go to the store for groceries, and arrived back home, I notice I am shaky, depressed and feel overwhelmed.”

Beth says she has every reason to be happy, with a wonderful husband, family and home, but has “underneath type sadness that just overtakes me every evening.”

With further discussion, Beth mentioned has the same ritual every afternoon, usually stops by the same fast food restaurant for a 32 oz. cherry limeade drink on her way to pick up her daughter from elementary school.

Bingo! There is no wonder Beth feels this way.

After looking at the nutritional value of her drink, we were shocked to find out she was drinking the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar in each cup.

The 32 oz. drink has 340 calories, 91 grams of carbohydrates and 88 grams of sugar. There is no dietary fiber, protein, Vitamin A in it. It does have 10% of the recommended daily requirement for Vitamin C though.

Beth, like many Americans was suffering from depression, sluggishness and general despair because of her ritual.

“A week later of no soft drinks and I felt like myself again,” Beth observed. “I had a tough few days, even a headache, but now I have more energy and can’t even believe I was actually addicted to those (drinks).”

The old adage, you are what you eat, has much wisdom. A powerful key to happiness begins with basic nutrition strategies:

  • Eat often and don’t skip meals. Eat every four to five hours to ensure your body has a continuous source of fuel and to keep your blood sugar levels steady. This stabilizes your mood. It’s important to talk with your doctor if you feel like your blood sugar might be dipping frequently. By all means, do not bypass the most important meal of the day--breakfast.
  • Stay away from food culprits that will bring you down. The big ones are sugar and other refined carbohydrate. You can find these simple sugars in both junk foods and hidden in everyday foods like jams, fruit juice, or syrup. Refined white starches such as white rice, white bread, and crackers can also put you in a bad mood. Blood sugar ups and downs can leave you with a short-lived burst of energy followed by a tired, irritable feeling.
  • To stay healthy and enjoy more happiness stick with proteins, foods with vitamin D, and fiber. Foods with soluble fiber like brown rice, pears, and peas will slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and decrease mood swings.

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