Eat Your Way to Happiness

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Background

In Eat Your Way to Happiness, Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietitian provides dietary advice to help to improve your mood, eliminate cravings, and achieve your ideal weight. She explains that many of the foods that are a major part of our normal diets can actually have a negative effect on our energy levels, leaving us feeling tired and unmotivated.

Somer’s plan focuses around adding foods to your diet that will boost your energy and motivation so that you will lose weight naturally. She says that “nutritious foods have been scientifically shown to tweak brain chemistry so you feel calmer, happier, and more energetic – and more likely to stick to your diet”.

Eat Your Way to Happiness Basics

eat-your-way-to-happinessSomer explains that making small adjustments to your eating habits can dramatically boost energy. For example, she provides information on the combination of foods to be eaten at breakfast that will enable you to maintain your stamina and mental clarity throughout the day.

She also reveals the best sources of carbohydrates and fats to include in your diet so as to improve your mood and explains how they can do this as well as help you to lose weight. Low glycemic index carbohydrates and especially whole grains are recommended. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are also a large component of the diet.

Somer advises dieters to consume 75% “real food”, which includes foods that have not been processed such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, eggs, seafood and lean meat. She also introduces dieters to twelve superfoods that increase happiness and support weight loss.

The meal plan is based on an intake of 1600 calories and involves three meals, one dessert and one snack daily. Eat your Way to Happiness includes tips on how to prepare healthy meals when you are short on time and she provides a list of ideas for a “one-minute breakfast”.

Other information included in the book is advice on what foods you should eat to improve sleep as well as guidelines on how to select the chocolate that is best for your health.

Recommended Foods

Berries, cherries, oranges, pomegranate, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, beet greens, butternut squash, carrot, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, nuts, legumes, whole-wheat bread, whole-grain couscous, oatmeal, omega-3 eggs, salmon, chicken, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, soy, chocolate, low-fat salad dressings, green tea.

Sample Diet Plan

Breakfast

Two omega-3 eggs scrambled with ¼ cup diced red pepper and two tablespoons diced onion
One slice 100% whole-wheat toast topped with one teaspoon butter
One medium tomato, sliced
1 cup low-fat milk with DHA
Green tea

Lunch

Black bean burrito with low fat cheese, avocado, cilantro and salsa
Ten baby carrots
One tablespoon low-fat ranch dressing
2 small oatmeal cookies
1 cup low-fat milk with DHA

Afternoon Snack

Half a whole-wheat bagel
One tablespoon fat-free sour cream
1 teaspoon all-fruit jam

Dinner

4 ounces grilled chicken breast, marinated in wine, garlic and herbs
2/3 cup steamed green peas and carrot
Half an acorn squash, baked and drizzled with 1 teaspoon honey and ½ teaspoon rum extract
Tossed salad made from two cups deep green lettuce, half a pear and two tablespoons fat-free vinaigrette

Dessert

Fruit and chocolate fondue

Exercise Recommendations

Eat Your Way to Happiness hails the beneficial effects of exercise to reduce stress, boost energy and alleviate fatigue and she advises dieters to be physically active every day.

Somer recommends a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training and reminds dieters to always include a warm-up and a cool-down in each exercise session. Recommended activities include walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, kickboxing, weight training, pilates and yoga.

Costs and Expenses

Eat Your Way To Happiness retails at $16.95.

Pros

  • Includes dietary suggestions to improve mood and reduce cravings.
  • Promotes awareness of the relationship between diet and health.
  • Encourages the intake of high nutrient foods.
  • Encourages the intake of low glycemic carbohydrates and essential fats.
  • Includes a meal plan and recipes.
  • Based on scientific research.

Cons

  • May be difficult for many dieters to follow over the long term.
  • Dieters must eliminate many foods including cheese and potatoes.
  • Encourages the use of artificial sweeteners.
  • Many dieters will not respond well to the high amounts of bread and grains in the meal plan.
  • Some of the advice is questionable such as eating chocolate-chip cookies and milk for an energy boost.
  • Not suitable for those with allergies to wheat and dairy products.

Conclusions

Eating Your Way to Happiness will appeal to dieters who are interested in learning more about the connection between food, mood, energy, and health. Although it does not contain any particularly ground-breaking information, the book provides general advice to get you started on a healthy lifestyle and is presented in a very user-friendly format.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: February 15, 2010. Disclaimer

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