Help Clients Improve Mood with Food

Free infographic to educate clients on how food can affect your physical, mental, and emotional being

Leslie Korn, Ph.D., MPH, LMHC

When it comes to food, what your clients eat can affect them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Learning and catering to their body's needs can drastically improve their health and overall mood. Below, Leslie Korn shares 10 things you can do to help improve mood (and overall health) with food.
  • Treat the kitchen as your pharmacy. Release yourself from myths of what a "good diet" is and instead learn the science of food. Many foods offer benefits in addition to nutrition, like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Use food preparation as mindful self-care. Determine what might be missing in your diet and find ways to fill those gaps with foods you enjoy to eat.
  • Become aware of how "mood follows food." Start a Food-Mood Diary. Write down what you eat and how you feel each day. Learn what foods make you feel good and what foods might trigger adverse reactions.
  • Think of food prep and eating as social self-regulation. We regulate through gathering together to prepare and eat food. One day a week, go grocery shopping or prepare a meal with someone you care about.
  • Practice chewing as mindfulness. Not taking time to fully chew your food can lead to a cascade of digestive problems. Try not to rush eating, and allow yourself time to properly chew your food. Be mindful of the food's taste and texture, and help make eating a good experience.
  • Gain awareness of stimulant foods. Foods like chocolate, coffee, and tea can be wonderful natural stimulants with therapeutic effects, but for many people overuse of these can cause negative side effects. Be mindful of the stimulants you put into your body and set limits.
  • Recognize food can be used for healthy "self medication." There’s nothing wrong with some forms of self-medicating, like drinking chamomile tea when you feel anxious. The challenge is making sure you are self-medicating with healthy foods. It’s about enhancing self-care through good choices that will help you feel better in your daily life.
  • Sugar is the biggest culprit. Sugar is addictive and is linked to many health and mental health issues. Reducing your sugar intake can drastically improve your mood and physical health. Get in the habit of reading labels and finding healthy alternatives as much as possible.
  • Enact the "Korn Principles of Substitution." Find ways to satisfy your cravings in healthy ways. For example, substitute honey for sugar in your tea and greek yogurt and fruit in place of the regular, processed, sugar-sweetened version.
  • Enjoy! No shame, just awareness of self-care and self-nourishment. Take time to taste your food, and learn to listen to your body and its needs. When you are mindful of your body, there is no shame or guilt in your choices.
Use this free infographic to educate clients on the principles of food in relation to mental health and how their diets can be detrimental to both their physical and mental health.

Recipes and Tips to Improve Mood, Sleep, Attention & Focus
Eat Right, Feel Right Book
Improve mood, sleep, and focus with these nutrient-rich recipes and handy tips. Eat Right, Feel Right teaches you the dos and don'ts of using ingredients in entrées, snacks, soups, smoothies, and dressings to make you an at-home mental health chef.

  • Focus-inducing capabilities of lemons and chocolate
  • How to start a love affair with beets
  • The anxiety-reducing powers of vinegar
  • How sweet potatoes support an immune system under stress
  • Benefits of watermelon as a sleep aid
  • Which foods to avoid
  • And much more!
Discover how to use integrative and nutritional medicine safely and ethically in your practice!
Nutrition for Mental Health
Clients who are eager to reduce frustrating symptoms caused by anxiety, depression, ADHD, and other mental health disorders often turn to holistic approaches like diet and nutrition to help ease their symptoms.

That's why we are offering this exclusive, online FREE training on January 18-20, 2023, to serve as your practical guide through the complex relationship between what we eat and the way we think, feel, and interact with the world.

Spend three days with Dr. Leslie Korn, renowned integrative medicine clinician and educator, and she'll provide you safe, effective, and affordable evidence-based holistic nutrition and integrative approaches that will help your clients achieve optimal health and wellness while preventing and treating common mental health problems.

Can't attend live? Register anyway for 14-day free access to the training!

Meet the Expert:

Leslie Korn, Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, is a renowned integrative medicine clinician and educator specializing in the use of nutritional, herbal and culinary medicine for the treatment of trauma and emotional and chronic physical illness. She is known for her dynamism and humor as a speaker. She has provided over 50,000 hours of treatment in private practice for diverse populations. Her clinical practice focuses on providing clients effective alternatives to psychotropics. She completed her graduate education in the department of psychiatry and public health at Harvard Medical School and her life training in the jungle of Mexico where she lived and worked alongside local healers for over 25 years. She directed a naturopathic medicine and training clinic facilitating health, culinary and fitness retreats. She is licensed and certified in nutritional therapy, mental health counseling, and bodywork (Polarity and Cranial Sacral and medical massage therapies) and is an approved clinical supervisor. She introduced somatic therapies for complex trauma patients in out-patient psychiatry at Harvard Medical school in 1985 and served as a consultant in ethnomedicine to the Trauma Clinic, Boston. She is the former clinical director and faculty of New England School of Acupuncture and faculty at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine.

She is the author of the seminal book on the body and complex trauma: Rhythms of Recovery: Trauma, Nature and the Body (Routledge, 2012), Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health (W.W. Norton, 2016), Eat Right Feel Right: Over 80 Recipes and Tips to Improve Mood, Sleep, Attention & Focus (PESI, 2017), Multicultural Counseling Workbook: Exercises, Worksheets & Games to Build Rapport with Diverse Clients (PESI, 2015) and The Good Mood Kitchen (W.W. Norton, 2017). She was a founder of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, a Fulbright scholar in Herbal Medicine and an NIH-funded scientist, in mind/body medicine. She is an approved clinical supervisor and is the research director at the Center for World Indigenous Studies where she designs culinary and herbal medicine programs with tribal communities engaged in developing integrative medicine programs.

Learn more about her educational products, including upcoming live seminars, by clicking here.

Topic: Diet and Nutrition

Tags: Nutrition | Diet and nutrition | Healthy food | Free Resources

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