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9 Food Rules for When You’re Stressed to the Max

by Angela Counsel


Healthy eating, green vegetables in heart shapeAs you know this month we’re focusing on Healthy Eating. Our gut and brain and emotions are all connected which means the food we eat can have a big impact on more than just the physical aspects of our wellbeing.

It can also help with stress.

If you are right up there at the moment or even if you’re feeling small levels of stress and just a little out of whack, have a look at your diet. What can you add more of that will help you from the inside?

You work on that stress but be smart about it and get some smart food choices working on alleviating that stress too.

Here are 9 rules that will kickstart you back to optimal health.


1. Fresh: The closer the food to it’s original source or form the better it is for you. Go for leafy greens, delicious fruit that is in season, organic cuts of meat and fresh fish from local waters.

2. Good Quality Grains: Find good quality grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet and add them to your diet. Stay away from grains that have gone through high levels of processing and preserving. Head to your local whole foods supermarket. Just google away and you’ll find some on your doorstep I’m sure.

3. Variety of food and colours: The wider the variety of foods and colours within your food choices, the more likely you are to get the full range of food your body needs.



1. Include a serve of protein with every meal and snack: Nuts, seeds, meat, yoghurt, tofu and beans have high levels of protein. Just stay away from anything processed.

2. Have breakfast every day: Sorry! No skipping it. It gets called the most important meal of the day for a reason. One of my favourites, especially if I am having a busy morning and running out the door early is chia pudding. I can make it the night before and pull it out of the fridge when I need it in the mayhem of the morning.

3. Embrace fruit and vegies every day: 2 – 3 serves of fruit a day will get your pistons firing and 2-3 handfuls of vegies at least for lunch and dinner helps keep the diet balanced and the variety high.



1. Choose processed food and sugar: It comes down to what I said earlier about eating food as close to their original form as possible. If you don’t understand what is written on the label, probably best you stay away. Keep an eye out for fresh fruit and vegies that may have had some form of treatment for preservation or aesthetic value. If there is super-white garlic from China for example, alarm bells should ring. It’s probably been bleached. Garlic is not that white. Buy at local farmer’s markets or organic whole foods supermarkets to be sure.

2. Go overboard on your wheat intake: In my career as a Naturopath I have seen many health problems caused by wheat gluten. Steer clear from it if you can or minimise it where possible.

3. Skip meals: Big no no. Regular meals and snacks full of variety, colour and freshness will keep your energy levels on a manageable plateau. Skipping meals causes drastic decreases in blood sugar levels.


Remember it’s not about deprivation at all! Some of the freshest, healthiest food on the planet is absolutely delicious. And now there are so many blogs and websites that offer up alternative recipe options that are free of processed and chemically based ingredients, you won’t miss the bad stuff.

I believe in the 80/20 rule. Eat well 80% of the time and the other 20% will take care of itself. So if you’re feeling particularly stressed, look what’s in your pantry and fridge, make a few adjustments and get that beautiful fresh food and your insides working for you.

Every bit helps!

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