Got a treat for you guys today. 

Stefano, a fellow blogger contacted me to ask if he could write for me. I accepted his proposal cause I think what he does is awesome! He’s a holistic, lifestyle coach, meaning he totally knows what’s up when it comes to food and shit. As in, he knows what foods you should eat for a healthy life. And yep, the food you eat are linked to your emotional health. Let’s go!

Increasing emotional vitality is essential in order to experience a sustainable state of well-being & happiness. Emotional vitality is a multidimensional subject and holistic in nature. Eating habits, lifestyle factors and, of course, spiritual practice in everyday life are interdependent and interrelated, and heavily influence your emotional & mental state.

Emotions are an essential component of how we experience the world, and help us sense life. Being emotionally sensitive is to be sensitive to life. The more compromised your emotional vitality is the more disassociated you are from what is happening inside & around you, creating the base for anxiety, depression and dullness.

Let’s get clear about something. Who you are, your consciousness, is above your physical body. However, consciousness, in this human experience, is the physical product of bio-chemical interactions that create the electrical charge in your body, which you sense as your sentient awareness or awareness of yourself. Without that charge you couldn’t breathe, think, move, or do anything.

Everything that affect the biochemistry in your body, immediately affect the quality of your thoughts and emotions. The more chaotic your internal biology is, the more difficult it gets to think clear and make sense of yourself & the world around you.

Now, let’s see what are the most common roadblocks in maintaining an optimal biochemical balance for emotional stability and mental clarity.

Processed foods

Sugar, refined grains, pasteurised/homogenised dairy products, alcohol and highly processed foods in general disrupt the bio-chemical balance in the body, and ultimately the brain. Their metabolic by-products fill the neurotransmitter receptor sites in the brain, which under normal conditions facilitate the neurotransmitters naturally produced by the brain. The brain down-regulates its own production of neurotransmitters, even in the case that we do provide our body with the raw materials to manufacture them (high quality proteins). This creates chaos in the brain because these by-products don’t behave like natural neurotransmitters. That results to emotional & mental dysfunctions –feelings of anxiety, depression, mental fogginess etc.


Sound scientific research shows that about 50% of the human population have negative reactions to gluten. Only 12% of these individuals feel digestive discomfort (bloating, gas, reflex etc.). The others have extra-intestinal manifestation, which means that gluten sensitivity can show up as thyroid problems, joint aches, muscle issues, behavioural & mood issues, mental fog and other problems away from the bowels. The symptoms are experienced hours or days later.

Gluten causes immune reactions & inflammation in the gut, which leads to the gradual atrophy & destruction of the villi & micro-villi (the lining in the small intestine that is absorbing food molecules). That impairs the absorption of proteins (and also calcium, iron, b & c complex vitamins, trace minerals) which are necessary for neurotransmitter production.

What you see here is a vicious cycle. Processed food and gluten (which is contained in most processed foods) are preventing the natural functioning of the neurotransmitters in the brain, and at the same time, progressively limiting the ability of the body to produce them!


Sugar, coffee, tea, and energy drinks are very seductive to our body, because they cause a boost in serotonin levels in the brain, giving short-term emotional enhancement. However, they have medium to long-term negative effects.

Stimulants force the body to release “feel-good” chemicals which are making you feel fantastic. However, this sense is short-lived because the serotonin levels are subsiding very quickly. Not only that, the more you use stimulants to feel good the more you deplete the brain’s serotonin levels and you basically experience what is called “serotonin debt”, which creates exactly the opposite feelings. Now, you are more motivated to consume stimulants to elevate your decreased mood which cause more serotonin depletion. Also, stimulants supress appetite which keeps you away from eating the very foods that build serotonin (proteins).


Check yourself for gluten intolerance. The cheapest and probably most reliable and accurate method is the following: go 60 days 100% without gluten. It takes about 60 days for the inflammation in the small intestine to even begin subsiding. After 60 days, assess how you feel; what is your emotional outlook in life; how your skin is affected; are you getting less pain & aches; are you losing weight? If you feel better, you are gluten intolerant and you should stay away from it. If you cannot notice a substantial difference, you are not gluten intolerant, or the changed happened so gradually that you didn’t sense it. In that case, deliberately ingest a lot of gluten containing foods for 2-3 days and assess how you feel.

Gluten Free Grains: Rice, Buckwheat, Millet, Amaranth, Quinoa, Sorghum, Arrowroot

Gluten Containing Grains: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Spelt, Kamut, Teff, Semolina, Couscous

Avoid processed foods and stimulants (coffee, tea, energy drinks –especially after 3pm) that interfere with the normal functioning of the brain and hormonal system.

Rotate foods. Try to rotate your foods (don’t eat the same foods for at least 3 days. E.g. if you eat apple, pears, broccoli, cabbage, chicken etc. on Monday, don’t eat them again up until Friday).  Foods that you consume a lot are very likely to produce immune reactions, turning you intolerant to them.

Eat high quality proteins. Within the confines of your individual, nutritional, bio-chemical requirements (Metabolic Typing), consume grass-fed, morally & organically farmed animals. This high quality meat will support the recovery and repair cycles in your body, and give you a full hormonal and neurotransmitter profile.

Mixed-fruitStefanos Matrakoukas is a Holistic Lifestyle Coach. He supports individuals implement & manage the principles that build health, vitality and well-being. He is the founder of CAUSE BASED APPROACH; a brand that runs events, talks, seminars & workshops that educate on well-being and redefine the context for fun & social interaction. Find more on

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  1. Caleb - December 3, 2013 4:38 pm

    Great post man. I eat a vegetarian diet, and was on a high raw food diet for 2+ years. I felt amazing during that time, and still feel great today! The effects of food truly are greater than people know. Gluten Free is one I would like to experiment with one day, but I love tacos and pizza too much 🙂 However, I know my diet has far less gluten than the general public. Much Health man, keep rocking the great posts.

  2. Stefanos - December 3, 2013 10:14 pm

    Thank you Caleb. This is so true; most people don’t understand the link between nutrition and mental/emotional/behavioural traits.

    Vegan & vegetarian diets are great because they bring living foods & variety in your diet, providing your body with nutrients that enhance detox and digestive health. But as you read here, even high quality grains could potentially create problems.

    The more in-tune we are with our body, the more we avoid foods that make us less healthy.

    Are you on a vegetarian diet 100% of the time, or you introduce some animal flesh from time to time?

  3. Ludvig Sunström - December 10, 2013 12:58 pm

    Nice post Stefano.

    I agree with most of the things you say. I’ve dropped gluten and lactose from my diet in the last two years and it’s made a pretty big difference, especially in getting ripped.

    Two things I’d like to add:

    1. In addition to what you say about stimulants, another thing worthwhile mentioning is that they block/reduce mineral absorption such as magnesium and zinc – making it harder for your body to relax. That’s why people who drink a ton of coffee regularly may have more mucle twitches/cramps than those who do not, and they have more trouble relaxing.

    2. A good, cheap, and quick way to find out about one’s vitamin & mineral deficiencies is to do a hair analysis. With that said, self-experimentation is of course the best, but it takes a ton of time.

    Have you perchance read the book The Ultramind Solution by Mark Hyman?

  4. Stefanos - December 15, 2013 4:29 pm

    Those are valid points Ludvig.
    There mineral absorption inhibitors in grains as well (phytic acid). Phytic acid is present in grains, legumes, and nuts. You can deactivate phytic acid by sprouting or soaking in water for 8-12 hours.
    Biochemical testing for nutritional deficiencies are very good guides for assessing one’s physical condition and making the appropriate nutrition & lifestyle changes. However, the most important thing, in my opinion, is to cultivate a relationship with your body, in order to understand how satisfy your ever-changing nutritional needs consistently. That’s one of the objectives of Metabolic Typing Technology; a system that identifies your individual nutritional requirements and develops a customised nutritional plan tailored to your body’s specific needs.
    No I haven’t read The UltraMind Solution but it looks very interesting. I put in on my list.
    Your website looks very good by the way.

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  6. Stefanos - December 28, 2013 6:07 pm

    You can contact me directly through email or phone, and arrange having a chat on skype. You can also subscribe to CBA list for staying informed on latest posts and activities here: Phone No.: +44 (0) 753 078 6212,Email:, Skype name: stefanos5001, Website:, Facebook: http://www.facebook/cbapproach, Twitter: @cbapproach, LinkedIn:

  7. Stefanos - January 2, 2014 12:06 pm

    You can contact me directly through email or phone, and arrange having a chat on skype. You can also subscribe to CBA list for staying informed on latest posts and activities here: Phone No.: +44 (0) 753 078 6212,Email:, Skype name: stefanos5001, Website:, Facebook: http://www.facebook/cbapproach, Twitter: @cbapproach, LinkedIn:

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