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Eat Your Way to Happiness

Eat Your Way to Happiness

4.1 14
by Elizabeth Somer

Are you satisfied with your weight? Do you have enough energy to make it through the day? Do you consider yourself a happy person? All of these things are related, and your energy, mental clarity, mood and, of course, waistline are all directly connected to what you eat.

In Eat Your Way to Happiness, you'll learn that healthy eating is a lot easier than


Are you satisfied with your weight? Do you have enough energy to make it through the day? Do you consider yourself a happy person? All of these things are related, and your energy, mental clarity, mood and, of course, waistline are all directly connected to what you eat.

In Eat Your Way to Happiness, you'll learn that healthy eating is a lot easier than you may think, and that making a few simple changes to your diet can have amazing results. Discover:

The 1,2,3 combination of breakfast foods that will keep you energized all day.

Which carbs and fats to eat—and why the right ones will help elevate your mood and decrease your weight.

The 12 super foods that pack an added punch for boosting mood and slimming your waistline.

Nutritious foods that have been scientifically shown to tweak brain chemistry so you feel calmer, happier and more energetic—and more likely to stick to your diet.

The amazing studies showing that chocolate and wine can help you live longer—and more happily.

And much more!

Editorial Reviews

Eating your way to happiness doesn't mean gorging yourself into blissful oblivion. Instead, it entails making the right choices to eat good food; meals that keeps you healthy and able to enjoy a full life for many years to come. Elizabeth Somer's 350-page food tutorial offers information, not edicts. Eat Your Way to Happiness is filled with double helpings of lists and memorable tips about you can get the brain food and energy food you need without overdosing on power drinks and caffeine. A readable book that could have a greater impact than any diet plan.
Publishers Weekly
Before registered dietician Somers reveals the "secrets" to becoming one of the "happy, fit people," she proves her bona-fides by helpfully telling readers how much weight they can expect to lose applying her ideas, each of which is fully rooted in up-to-the-minute research. Unfortunately for the research-obsessed, however, Somer does not fully cite a single study in her whole book, a major oversight in an otherwise thorough treatment. Somer insists that her readers eat 75% "real food," an increasingly difficult feat in the U.S.; as such, this makes a sensible guide to navigating nutrition in an environment hostile to genuinely healthy eating. Somer also proves knowledgeable about supplements and beneficial food-combining, and backs it all up with tasty recipe ideas emphasizing fresh ingredients and nutrient density: fat-free ricotta topped with crumbled chocolate wafers, for instance, is healthy, easy, and a lot tastier than it sounds. Somer writes with a motivational spirit tempered by a fondness for information and common sense, eschewing fads to arrive at a very doable plan for making every one of your 1600 daily calories count.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

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Read an Excerpt

Blissfully thin. Take a moment to imagine what that would be like—to be joyously happy, fit, trim and sexy.

What would it feel like to wake up each morning after a deep and restful sleep, filled with energy, enthusiasm and anticipation of another wonderful day ahead of you? To have all the energy and mental sharpness to tackle any task that came your way, to thoroughly enjoy your job, family, friends and activities? To be filled to the brim every day with gratitude and hope, excitement and inner peace? To be calm, relaxed, at peace with yourself, your world, your future and your life?

What would it feel like to be lean, fit, confident and strong? To slip easily into a little black dress or the jeans you wore in high school? To have the energy and strength to bound up a flight of stairs, work in the yard all day with energy to spare, enjoy long hikes with the family or take up tennis? To feel comfortable in your own skin and to feel proud of yourself and desirable to others?

Accept that all of that is possible.

The Promise

No diet, book or teacher can guarantee bliss or a perfect figure for the rest of your life, just as no one can guarantee you will live disease-free until you die peacefully in your sleep at age 110. But I can promise that if you follow the secrets laid out in this book, you will stack the deck in favor of being blissfully fit. I also promise that if you follow my advice in the pages that follow you will feel the best you have felt in a long time, if ever, and will be thinner and fitter than you've ever been in your adult life.

How do I know that? I have been researching the link between diet and mood for decades. That research led me to write Food & Mood, which came out in its first edition in 1995. Since then, people have been sharing their stories with me of how that book changed their lives.

People have told me they followed my diet advice and found a new lease on life.

Young, old, kids, teenagers, men and women all got happier, leaner, smarter or less stressed. Their energy improved. Their memories returned. They slept better, reacted faster, handled stress better. Menopausal women told me their hot flashes disappeared, men told me they no longer fell asleep in the recliner every night. Many times their depression lifted, or they were able to discontinue, or at least reduce, their medications. Often PMS symptoms vanished, or they no longer battled the Winter Blues. They were enthusiastic about life and looked forward to the future. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me, "I never knew I could feel this good!"

Michelle, a producer for NBC's Today show, is a perfect example. When she was 12 years old, she was hit head-on by a car. "The car continued to drive with me on the windshield, and I eventually fell to the street and suffered a second blow to my head," she told me. She was left with a traumatic brain injury, as well as back and neck problems. As a result of the brain injury, she forgot how to read and do any type of math. "Even something as simple as subtracting the number 6 from 10 was difficult for me in those early years. I suffered extreme anxiety and fell into a depression as well."

Slowly Michelle regained her life, her mind and her mood:

"Good nutrition and health played a huge role in my recovery. It was Elizabeth's advice about how to eat to improve my mood that helped me understand the power of foods and the effects of my eating habits on my brain and body. I gave up sugar and refined carbs and added in all the good stuff, especially depression-fighting foods she recommended, like salmon and berries. I made a full recovery and have accomplished more than anyone ever thought I would. I graduated from college with honors, served as a White House intern and now work for NBC's #1 morning show. I can't tell you how important eating well was in my recovery. It gave me the energy, determination and health I needed to battle my injuries. Food & Mood was my bible. I'm so grateful that something inspired me to pull that book off my mom's bookshelf. I can't imagine where I'd be today without it."

You Are Exactly What You Eat

You've heard the old adage "You are what you eat." Most of us realize the truth of that statement when it comes to our physical health. We know if we drink soda instead of calcium-rich milk that somewhere down the road we are likely to end up with bone loss and osteoporosis. We know that a diet loaded with greasy fast foods will cause heart disease, at least someday. Maybe you supplement with a few extra antioxidants in hopes of slowing the aging process.

I am in full support of getting enough calcium for your bones, cutting back on the saturated fat to protect arteries and getting all the antioxidants you can to slow aging. However, it takes months, years, even decades for a bad diet to show up as a physical problem, while the link between your diet and your mood is much more immediate.

Literally, what you eat or don't eat for breakfast will affect how well you feel, how much energy you have and how clearly you think by midafternoon. What you have for lunch may well determine how sharp you are midafternoon or set the stage for whether you battle cravings at night for buttery popcorn or gallons of ice cream. It also might affect how well you sleep that night, which then affects how alert and energetic you are the next day.

Janet, an editor and actor in Southern California, says, "When I eat the right breakfast, keep my lunch and dinner light, balance protein with quality carbs and definitely cut way back on sweets, I have tons of energy, sleep better and think more clearly. Also, I noticed that when I overindulge in 'junk' eating, I become oversensitive and 'weepy,' which is definitely not me. What a wake-up call for how food can affect me emotionally!"

Of course, your food choices today affect your long-term mood and mind, too. What you eat and how you supplement today will have a huge impact on whether you are depressed, develop dementia or Alzheimer's, or lose your independence in later years. In fact, the better care you take of yourself today, the more likely you will live disease-free, sharp-as-a-tack and independent into your nineties or beyond. As one researcher put it, "the older you get, the healthier you've been."

It Just Makes Sense

Every atom, every molecule, every cell, tissue, organ and system in your body is made up of the ingredients in the foods you eat, the water you drink and the air you breathe. Cell membranes are made up of fats and proteins from foods like the salmon or nuts you had for lunch. The iron in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your brain and tissues comes from something as simple as the black beans in a burrito. The energy your brain uses to relay messages comes from the carbs in a bowl of cereal at breakfast, and the B vitamins that convert those carbs into cell energy came from the milk you poured over the cereal. So it just makes sense that you literally are exactly what you choose to eat.

There are 40+ nutrients and more than 12,000 phytonutrients in foods that your body and brain can't make by itself but require to function in tip-top shape. The amount and balance of those thousands of nutrients determines whether you are happy or sad, smart or forgetful, energetic or lethargic, healthy or diseased, living vibrantly or dragging through the day.

Every sprig of broccoli, every leaf of spinach, every bite of tuna or egg or potato is converted into the living organism your friends call you. Give your body the right mix of the right nutrients at the right time, and your body hums along like a well-oiled, highly tuned, perfectly timed machine. Feed it junk, and it's no surprise you feel horrible, gain weight and are likely to age before your time.

You Aren't the First Human to Need Vitamin C

You know deep down in your heart that eating junk is bad for you. Sure, it might feel good to curl up on the couch with a half-gallon of ice cream on a lonely Friday night. But too many of those temporary indulgences always backfires. Always. Eat crap and that's how you will feel: physically, emotionally and mentally…today, tomorrow and years down the road.

Just as junk brings you down, eating the right mood-boosting foods—the type of foods that the human body evolved to need and thrive on—and including those foods in the right amounts at the right times can be one of life's most permanent uplifting experiences. Food really can be the way to a na tura l high! When you set aside the immediate gratification of eating a gooey, sticky, greasy, sweet glob of junk, and instead feed your body the foods on which it thrives—foods known to improve mood and slim waistlines—you will be amazed how good you feel, how much energy you have, how smart you are, how the pounds just melt away and how the mood pendulum swings from guilt and depression to pride and joy. I know because I've researched this topic for almost 20 years and have seen the results firsthand over and over and over again.

Just Take a Pill?

Oh sure, you can take medications to treat depression, anxiety and other emotional problems. In fact, medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (i.e., Prozac) are the number one treatment option for depression. I'm not against that solution when all else fails. The problem is most mood-altering medications come with a slew of side effects. Many antidepressants, for example, cause weight gain, make you drowsy and lethargic, ruin your sex drive, slow metabolism or mess with your blood sugar.

I can understand why people would be willing to make the trade and put up with those side effects just to feel good again. However, medication is not always the holy grail for depression.

You should always seek medical help if the blues last more than a month or are accompanied by other symptoms. In all cases, however, even if you choose to begin with medication or therapy, diet always will help. A change in what and how you eat has benefits that are more immediate than those often experienced with drugs, with improvements sometimes noted within as little as one to three weeks. What you eat can be the ultimate na tura l high , since it comes with no side effects except a lowered risk for all diseases and an increased chance of living longer, smarter, healthier and leaner. In many cases, a change in diet is all you need to feel better and drop pounds.

Following the guidelines in this book will help speed your return to happiness with or without medication. The guidelines are the natural-high solution to lifelong joy and a fit figure. The more closely you follow the secrets and advice in this book, the faster and more dramatic will be your results. But any change, even small ones, will help turn the emotional tide.

The Latest and the Best

We've come a long way in the past decade or two when it comes to understanding how food affects mood, mind and energy. This book is a culmination of extensive research and experience, coupled with some amazing breakthroughs and new foods that speed the process of feeling your best by eating right. The following pages are filled with people's stories of how making a few changes in what and when they ate turned out to be the ticket to joy and a sleeker figure.

In the next few chapters, you'll learn the top 10 diet secrets to happiness, distilled from decades of research and personal experience. You'll learn simple ways to tweak your diet that will have profound effects on how good you feel, how consistent your mood is, how sharp your mind is, and how energetic you can be, while you lose weight and regain your health.


Meet the Author

Elizabeth Somer is a registered dietitian and the author of several books, including Eat Your Way to Happiness and Food & Mood. She is the editor of the Nutrition Alert newsletter, a contributing editor to Shape and a nutrition advisor for Prevention. She appears frequently on NBC's Today and other national television shows. Visit her at www.elizabethsomer.com.

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Eat Your Way to Happiness 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
LHedgpeth More than 1 year ago
I have generally had a love/hate relationship with self-help or improvement books. Some of them are tedious, some are preachy, some are downright boring and others reek with the obvious intent to make a buck (and make that buck alone). I was pleasantly surprised with Eat Your Way to Happiness. I found the writing fresh and easy to take in, without an ounce of preachiness or self-righteousness. The book is broken into easy to follow and read chapters, complete with accounts of "real people" that Ms. Somer has counseled and advised. The main proponent to Eat Your Way to Happiness is the old adage "Your are what you eat". Ms. Somer takes this saying and runs with it - - encouraging readers to cut processed foods, fast foods, foods heavy in sodium and soft drinks out of our diets, replacing them with natural, whole foods, the right kind of carbs and fats, and a better combination of foods that will keep you energized and work with your brain chemistry to keep you calmer and happier (and therefore more likely to stick with the diet). And yes, chocolate and wine can be good for you! Eat Your Way to Happiness not only mentions several different types of diets, such as Mediterranean and Vegetarian, but also includes suggested menus, recipes and a shopping list. It also encourages the reader to combine better eating with exercise, shaking off the notion that any diet alone will successfully instigate weight loss. I enjoyed and appreciated this book so much that I began following some of its tenants (not all of them . . .yet). I have noticed a difference in my general demeanor - - less tired, more energy and less stressed - - which is perhaps the best recommendation a self-help book can get. To anyone who is interested in changing their diet in order to lose weight, or simply to improve the way they feel, and especially for those who dislike any type of dieting, Eat Your Way to Happiness is an excellent choice and I would highly recommend it.
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