Food for Thought - A New Look at Food and Behavior written by Dr.'s of Psychology, Saul and Joanne Miller published in 1979 by Prentice-Hall, New Jersey.

How the right foods can help you reduce stress, increase strength, prevent disease, achieve sexual satisfaction and feel centered in mind and body.

The food we eat affects what we think, say and do.
4 major factors influencing behavior: (1-3 affect 4)

1. constitution - inherited
2. conditioning - learned
3. external environment - confronting situation and demands
4. internal environment - electrochemical impulses
Nothing has greater control over our biochemistry than food.

The authors, a husband and wife team, one a Clinical Psychologist, the other a Social Psychologist, begin by defining foods on the following continuum:
drugs, alcohol, sugar cheese, eggs, fish
coffee, tea, syrups, honey & fruit juice fruits and vegetables
grain, seeds & legumes salt, butter & meat

size: larger smaller
location: above below ground
growth rate: fast slow
texture: soft hard
moisture: liquid, Juuicy solid, dry
taste: sweet, sour salty,bitter
nature: vegetable animal
climate: moderate, warm extreme cold, desert
preparation: less cooking, raw more cooking
movement: outward inward
chemical: potassium sodium
Ph: alkaline forming acid forming
behavior: expansive contractive

Mother's milk is 8 - 10% protein, 26 - 29% fat and 65% carbohydrate. Centered, balanced and whole foods have a similar protein to carbohydrate ratio as human milk; that is 1.7. Extreme expansive foods have a 0.01 ratio of protein to carbohydrates; while extreme contractive foods have a 25.0 ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Whole grains are considered the most balanced of foods; the most like mother's milk. The Japanese word for peace and harmony is Wa; it is composed of 2 characters symbolizing grain and mouth.

Biologists have observed that all living things are motivated by a need for homeostasis, the continuous balancing of life systems.

Extreme expansion balances extreme contraction; or sweet balances meat. This is the law of opposites. Meat also attracts alcohol and tobacco. The way most people eat in the U.S. and Europe today, balancing in the extremes, consuming more energy than balancing near the center, is wasteful, stressful and tiring. A balanced diet is part of a balanced lifestyle. An unbalanced diet correlates with disordered behavior. A diet heavy in contractive foods leads to a craving for sweets.

Expansive behavior is defined as open, loose, flexible, spontaneous, giving out, expressive, diffuse, spiritual, light, bright, outward, holistic, verbal and extroverted. Contractive behavior is closed, tight, inflexible, controlling, taking in, possessive, concentrating, material, heavy, dark, inward, analytical, written and introverted.
These 10 Principles of Sane Eating leave one satisfied and attractive:
1. Expansive food leads to expansive behavior.
2. Contractive food leads to contractive behavior.
3. Expansive food leads to contractive food. (The law of opposites.)
4. Extreme food leads to extreme behavior.
5. A centered diet leads to a centered and balanced disposition.
6. Natural food leads to natural behavior.
7. Disintegrated food leads to disintegrated behavior.
8. Alien food leads to alienation.
9. Fatty food blocks energy flow and reduces sensitivity and vitality.
10. Overeating reduces sensitivity, vitality and attractiveness.

I recently had a woman working for me go completely bonkers; she tried to burn our house down; she burned our books, our mail and Xmas gifts to our grandchildren. She crashed her truck and left it in a ditch; then went to our neighbors' and broke into their china cabinet. She would not sleep, eat, nor get dressed. She smoked cigarettes constantly and drank all the alcohol in the house. She required 24 hour attention and restraining. The sheriff came and took her away. She was taken to a mental institution from jail. Her blood was found to be full of methamphetamines.
(Stay away from that stuff unless you want a really warped personality!)
I struggled to understand what had happened to this woman I had liked and trusted. All I know for sure is she did not take care of herself; she did not eat right. She ate no greens. Goddess bless Drs. Joanne and Saul Miller, wherever they are right now for sharing this valuable information that I impart in all due respect to you! It helped me understand that diet correlates directly with personality. After presenting and explaining their continuum; the Millers focus on the principles of sane eating in great detail: what we eat determines how we think, feel and act.

The rules of food combining:
Foods that combine well are digestively compatible; meaning they are processed by similar parts of the digestive system at similar rates of speed.
Eating simply means limiting the number of foods eaten at any one time.
Sugar interferes with the digestion of most food.
Eat grain with vegetables, especially greens!
Eat vegetables with grain, fatty foods (nuts, oil, dairy and eggs) and meat or fish!
Always eat fruit by itself! (For example, 20 minutes before a meal.)

Refined food is a cause of mental and physical disorder. If your diet is not centered and is extreme you are more inclined to extreme desires, extreme thoughts and extreme actions. Eating an extreme diet makes self control more difficult and increases tension, frustration, stress and disease.

Less protein leads to greater sensitivity and pleasure. With a centered diet people are more inclined to be sane, sensitive and self controlled. Eating meat and sugar in the quantities most Americans do leads to marked increases in high blood pressure which correlates with psychological hypertension, feelings of tension and anxiety.
Too much of either extreme affects behavior and limits performance.
Too much tension (over contraction) and not enough tension (over expansion) reduces effectiveness and pleasure.

Extreme expansive food leads to over expansion which is: being too open, spaced out, vague and impractical; thoughts are divorced from action and plans, daydreams unrealized; lack of direction and order; too permissive, too expressive, too impressionable; distorted discriminative sense, anxiety; project thoughts and feelings onto others; disorganized, lazy and confused.

Extreme contractive food leads to over contraction which is: too closed, too tense or uptight; fear of losing control; continuously attempting to control; repressing and denying feelings; too discriminating, too withdrawing and too exclusive; inflexible, reduced ability to empathize; materialistic, possessive and hoarding.

It's possible, of course, to be something of both, especially eating both extremes. The end result of both is the same - a loss of effectiveness, power and pleasure. Anxiety is emotional disease, an irrational fear, underlying neurotic behavior, and an intuitive sense of imbalance. Being over contracted or over expanded results in a feeling that something just isn't right.

Arthritis is joint disease. Joints become over contracted, hardened, tight and inflexible; or over expanded, inflamed, swollen and inflexible. Anxiety and arthritis interact. The same with heart disease and emotional disease! Extreme contracting food makes deep relaxation much more difficult.

Exercise generally has a contractive affect; attracting one to expansive food. Extreme exercise is NOT the ideal remedy to an over acid condition. The richest source of natural mineral salts is seaweed. Prolonged, excessive use of salt leads to over contraction, hypertension and rigidity.

The most common way of treating ALL mental problems today is to remove symptoms with drugs (NOT FOOD) which have an extreme expansive effect on behavior.

Fast when feeling disoriented, confused or dissatisfied for a greater sense of clarity, lightness and awareness! Fasting can be an effective short-term remedy for behavioral, emotional and physical imbalances. See my article on cellular detoxification for what is meant by fasting!

A diet of refined carbohydrates does not support life. A diet of refined carbohydrates and animal foods is a diet of affluence and is associated with physical and mental disorder. (Anyone thinking of who I'm thinking of?) A variety of human disorders are reported to improve drastically when refined foods are eliminated from the diet, including: ulcers, tumors, cancers (especially colon), gallstones, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, heart and vascular disease, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, tooth and gum disease; as well as psychotic behavior, anxiety, apathy, depression, AND uncontrollable, violent and anti-social behaviors.

Because of the intimate connection between the gastrointestinal system and the coordinating and integrating mechanisms of the nervous system!
Now, I've had the image of the colon being connected to every other part of the body through the nervous system but did not understand this important detail as thoroughly before. Non-specific nerve fibers ("C" fibers) are dispersed throughout the intestine and conduct impulses to the "arousal" center of the brain (the reticular activating system.) This energy input primes the CNS (Central Nervous System) and facilitates effective conduction of all incoming and outgoing messages. Eating whole high fiber foods leads to rapid, continuous smooth transit of food through the intestines; which leads to regular continuous firing of non-specific nerve fibers into your arousal system and more effective neural conduction; which results in more integrated and coordinated behavior. AND even more basic, refined foods promote incomplete, inefficient DIGESTION with slow transit times and the accumulation of TOXINS. Anxiety, aggression and depression are all nurtured by eating a diet of meat, eggs, cheese and refined carbohydrates; with the slow transit times the animal foods putrefy in the intestines producing toxic by-products; and if not quickly eliminated, cause biochemical and behavioral disorders. BRAN is not a whole food; nor is it a substitute for whole food.

Vitamin deficiencies are caused by massive refinement of food; processing food destroys the dynamic vitality in food. Vitamin deficiency is linked with mental disorders including anxiety, hyperactivity, delusions, psychotic episodes, depression and mental retardation.

The Millers believe vitamin supplements are unnecessary when eating centered, balanced, natural and whole foods. Refined foods such as alcohol and sugar are unbalancing and disintegrating; as their metabolism depletes the body's reserves of vitamins and minerals. The absence of simple, whole food on our supermarket shelves is evidence of social and economic disintegration. We have to learn to eat adequate sources of nourishment.

Whole meal bread requires more chews per bite and reinforces this behavior by becoming tastier with increased chewing. The way people chew their food, an important part of digestion and one over which we have the greatest conscious control, indicates how they live their lives; the response tendency carries over into daily life. Hence, the phrase, biting off more than one can chew! Gestalt therapy notes: adults who swallow their food in gulps without chewing are impotent; they demand immediate gratification, are unable to achieve satisfaction and indiscriminately accept what they are told.

Chewing is a multi-functional process which:
1. mechanically increases surface area enabling the beginning of starch digestion;
2. stimulates flow of gastric juices;
3. is psychologically relaxing and integrating;
4. stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to stimulate digestion;
5. provides a normal healthy outlet for aggression;
6. is a meditation harmonizing the body and preparing it to receive food.

Slow careful eaters are more sensual in bed. Chewing whole food well is relaxing and integrating and improves health and digestion.

These adverse effects of sugar have been documented for over 100 years:
* replaces nutrients
* depletes vitamins and minerals
* affects behavior
* destructively influences circulation (heart and vascular disease), digestion (from tooth decay to hemorrhoids), locomotion (arthritis) and the nervous system (disordered behavior)
* distorts discriminative taste and desensitizes you to your food, and
* leads to hypoglycemia and then diabetes.

Low blood-sugar level and blood sugar imbalance are linked to extreme and sudden shifts in mood, mania, depression, anxiety, indecision, distorted body image, confusion, apathy, indifference, the blues, uncontrollable emotional outbursts and violence.
Why does sugar so drastically affect human behavior?
A very simple process is intimately linked with what we eat. The nervous system uses glucose as fuel. Special brain cells called glucoreceptors of the hypothalamus continually monitor and regulate glucose in the blood. When sugar is deficient, stored sugar is released and inverted to glucose. When sugar is in excess, insulin is released to metabolize the excess. All the more expansive drugs have a marked effect on blood sugar and behavior. Caffeine lowers blood sugar by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce epinephrine which stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Tobacco also! Alcoholic beverages affect blood sugar by upsetting carbohydrate metabolism. "The Munchies" are proof of marijuana's devastating effect on blood sugar. Large quantities of fruit juice can cause mood swings and emotional instability. Whole grains and vegetables break down slowly into glucose readily absorbed and metabolized into stable behavior. The carbohydrate that most upsets the nervous system, the endocrine system and behavior with a disruptive effect on the whole organism is sugar, white or brown. Sugar causes extreme, unstable behavior; usually a period of hyperactivity and agitation followed by a period of hypoactivity and depression.
Blood sugar imbalance correlates with:
Depression - drowsiness, fatigue, lethargy, listlessness, whining, crying and the blues;
Agitation - anxiety, excitability, impatience, insomnia, irritability, nervousness and tantrums;
Erratic Behavior - irrational behavior, black outs, confusion, indecision, delusion, disorientation, inability to concentrate, memory lapse and violent outbursts.
Sugar leads to disintegrated behavior because it reduces the availability of substances the brain uses to make neurotransmitters, the chemical compounds carrying information from neuron to neuron in the brain.

Eat a centered diet and avoid the extremes of meat and sugar! Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables, and salads! Eat less meat, candy, pop and pastry!

Why is there no focus on diet in the hospital psych wards or with the criminally insane? Low blood sugar correlates with assault, arson, murder, robbery, vandalism, domestic violence, self destructive acts, suicide, car and hunting accidents.

WHAT IS ALIEN FOOD? Food that is not part of our natural environment! What kind of alienation does alien food lead to? The disintegration between man and his environment! Unnatural rhythms with increasing reliance on technology to keep ordered determines his feelings and state of health. The most alienating foods are the ones that are NOT part of our natural environment AT ALL, meaning the 6 - 12 pounds of chemicals the average person ingests per year. (And that is a 30 year old figure.) Refined and processed foods with lost minerals and vitamins are linked to allergic reactions and behavioral disturbance.

IS IT MAN MADE? Don't eat it without disordered and unnatural behavior resulting! The absence of some vitamins and minerals have a marked effect on behavior. Psychological disorders which accompany deficiencies in Vitamin B: (Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, found in whole grain and beans, and Cobalomin, found in naturally fermented foods) memory loss, appetite loss, nervousness, apprehension, hallucinations, insomnia, agitation and paranoid behavior. Mineral deficiencies of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc have all been associated with abnormal physical and emotional states including apathy, lethargy, all of the above and emotional outbursts. The data is clear; nutrition influences behavior directly. Normal psychological function depends upon the presence of all nutrients (found in a centered diet of natural food) IN CORRECT PROPORTION.

Eating seasonally and regionally keeps harmony and reduces disease. People in cold regions who eat tropical fruit become dependent on over heating, excessive fuel and reduced health and vitality. In tropical regions with a centered diet eaten, less artificial cooling is required.
Dairy Food, used excessively, has become a major part of the diet. It stimulates rapid expansion in the very young; and can be too much, too rapid expansion. There are a variety of physical ailments linked to dairy, such as: allergic reactions, arteriosclerosis (present in most 2 year old American children!), arthritis, sinus and respiratory problems including discharge, deposits and blockages, and degenerative ailments. Psychologically, bottle feeding increases feelings of separation, fear and anxiety with repercussions in later life. Excess dairy nurtures and reinforces tendencies toward attachment, sentimentality, dependent thinking and depression. For different reasons, depression and dependent thinking can result from prolonged periods of protein deficiency and a high sugar diet. Today most dairy foods are very unnatural, chemically treated and processed. AND not necessary; there are many more vital sources of calcium, like, greens, seeds, nuts and seaweed. Tahini, miso, and tofu are wonderfully tasty dairy substitutes.

Quantity destroys quality and beauty. Overeating is an unnatural eating pattern, a stress the body cannot handle and profoundly effects mental well being. Metabolic disturbance is the result not the cause of fat people eating too much. Oxidation rates are influenced by eating habits.

Formula for weight control:

1. A centered diet;
2. Avoid extreme and unnatural food!
3. Chew well!
4. Exercise!
5. Do not overeat!
6. Reduce dairy and sugar!
7. Distinguish between whole and refined carbohydrates! (The latter puts on the weight.)
8. Appreciate balance! (Meat attracts sweet.)

How to eat:

1. A warm drink 20 minutes before each meal (not coffee and not sweet!)
2. Relax!
3. Eat slowly!
4. Increase eating awareness! (Write down everything you eat!)
5. Eat when you feel hungry (not right before bed!)

Indigestion leads to irritability, impatience, nervousness, fatigue, insomnia and depression. Causes of indigestion include extreme foods and eating too much, too late, too fast, when emotionally upset and improper combinations.

Sexually stimulating foods do not lead to satisfying relations. Eating to increase sexual satisfaction means eating to be more natural and balanced and not overeating sexually stimulating foods. Diet patterns like eating too much and too rich lead to sexual dissatisfaction. Extreme foods lead to strong urges and strange ideas, not pleasurable. Any extreme is taxing, unbalancing and not satisfying. If experiencing decreased sexuality, alter diet to CENTER. Animal and synthetic hormones are transmitted to the meat eater from the meat. The effect of these steroids on sexuality and weight have been ignored. Eating too much and too rich suppresses satisfying social and sexual relations.

Junk food is the food of the learning problem generation. Learning problems affect 1/3 of all U.S. school children. Diet is one of the factors accounting for the increase in educational problems today. Typically ignored, the unnatural, junk food diet contributes to emotional, disciplinary and learning problems. Most experts advise treatment based on chemotherapy and usually stimulants. The Millers suggest marked reduction in all extreme and unnatural food. No magic diet can eliminate brain damage or severe retardation; but dietary change can increase performance and socialization. Eliminate all refined carbohydrates and chemical additives and reduce dairy!

For all kinds of behavioral and emotional disturbances in kids and adults change of diet is the first step toward sanity. From conception to age 5 is the most critical. Just a few days of a pregnant mom's chaotic eating, drinking and drug taking can profoundly affect the fetus and on into adult behavior.

Food-Induced Emotional Reactions (cerebral food allergies) demonstrate clearly the link between food and behavior. The most reactive foods are extreme, disintegrating, or unnatural. People become hypersensitive to chemically treated and refined foods or foods that have been abused in the past. Whole foods gradually eliminate the problem even with young people. There are some cases of people reacting to natural foods, especially wheat, corn, nuts and seeds. Some allergists suggest sensitivity to cereal grains may be a major cause of mental illness. Tests are needed to confirm Food-Induced Emotional Reactions; then there are these 3 basic approaches to treatment:

The restrictive diet approach avoids the allergic foods. Temporarily or as a way of life only meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, no grain, are eaten.

The desensitization approach uses steroids to remove symptoms. Bad eating habits are reinforced as no change in diet is made.

The metabolic approach as in hypoglycemia reduces sensitivity by eating properly to improve metabolic function.

The Millers consider the primary causes of indigestion associated with grain to be eating too much, not chewing well, improper food combining and not buying organic. Be sensitive and self aware enough to appreciate what foods contribute to your well being and avoid the ones that affect you adversely!

Cooking is contractive. Balance is some of both. Extreme is one or the other. People who eat only raw food are expansive. It's good to eat more raw in summer and more cooked in winter, with 35 - 50% whole grain in winter. The top portion of plants, the fruit and blossoms, can be eaten raw; cooking destroys Vitamins C and A. The middle portion, the stalk and leaves, are less digestible and may require a little cooking. The bottom portion of plants, the parts underground, should be cooked; and cooking is not as destructive to the vitamin content of roots and tubers. Always avoid overcooking!

Excessive and insensitive food preparation decreases food energy and reduces vitality. Alchemy in daily life profoundly affects health and consciousness. Home cooked with love has been proven through Kirlian photography to have more energy. Good cooking takes into account taste, appearance and health.

Diet is basic to family integration and communication; part of that is eating together, too. The current trend, most meals eaten away from home, is reflected in family relations. Community and family cohesiveness is influenced by diet. Eating simply together fosters harmony. The rise and fall of nations and waves of political influence have been directly related to food.

The magic diet depends on knowing who you are and what you want out of your life. Everyone is unique and everything is changing. Being too restrictive is not balanced and leads to disorder. Eating a balanced and appropriate diet, you enjoy your food and feel well.

Basically, eat a centered, natural diet and avoid extreme, disintegrating and alienating foods!

1. Eat centered foods!
2. Avoid extremes! That means low meat, low sweet, low fat, low salt, no coffee and no alcohol.
3. Remember the law of opposites! Expansion balances contraction.
4. Eat naturally!
5. Avoid overeating!

Again, centered means a low meat, low sweet, low fat (less than 10%), low salt, sugar free and caffeine free diet. Natural means an unrefined, unadulterated, whole food and high fiber diet. Centered foods are whole grain, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Fat foods are eggs, cheese, butter, margarine and fatty meats. Extremely contracting foods are salt, meat and eggs. Extreme foods include chemically processed and chemical additives. Extremely expansive foods are stimulants, sugar and alcohol.

Along with a sane diet these other basic factors affect mental health:
* Be mentally and physically active!
* Relax effectively!
* Have a positive attitude or direction!
* Be able to enjoy and learn from life!

I found this ALL very interesting and hope you do too. If you can find a copy of the book, Food for Thought, you will see that Drs. Joanne and Saul Miller have 100 years of documented research to back up their claims about the important relationship between nutrition and mental health.

Author's Bio: 

PhD. Natural Medicine
Ordained Minister
Lifestyle Consultant
Author of 5 books
Your Mobile Day Spa
Thomas Creek Retreat