Eat away your depression, anxiety, and pain with the sudist diet!

Did you know that what you eat not only influences your physical health but also has a tremendous impact on your mental health?

Most nutritionists will agree that the healthiest way to eat resembles the way our ancient ancestors ate: natural, whole foods with nothing removed from them (such as fiber). What most people do not yet realize is that foods that contain flavour enhancers—sugar and alternative sweeteners, as well as savourizers such as salt and MSG—carry a steep, hidden price: worsened moods (including depression, anxiety, and irritability), increased chronic pain, and becoming progressively more numb to the natural everyday pleasures of life (anhedonia).

The sudist diet does not prescribe ratios of macronutrients (i.e. fat, protein, carbs) nor portion sizes or eating times. As such, it can be combined with many other popular diets (e.g. paleo, keto, vegan, Mediterranean).

If you buy any prepared foods—whether from restaurants, vending machines, or the grocery store—one of the very best things you can do is to regularly check the list of ingredients and the nutrition facts panel. It only takes a minute but will benefit you greatly by making you keenly aware of the many hidden sweeteners, salt, and MSG that will negatively impact your mood within hours or days of consuming them.

Looking at the tables below, see where the foods you eat fall in the Worse, Better, or Best columns. To help alleviate any mental or physical health problems you may be experiencing, consider gradually moving away from the foods in the Worse column and towards the alternatives in the Better and Best columns. The more you switch to healthier foods, the better you will feel!

  Where to get your food  

Typical prepared foods from restaurants, street vendors, vending machines, or grocery storesPrepared foods with reduced sodium, sweeteners, or MSG from restaurants, vending machines, or grocery stores

Homemade foods with typical amounts of sweeteners or salt added by hand
Homemade foods with little or no sweeteners, salt, and MSG


Sweetened soda / pop🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Water, sparkling water, unsweetened club soda
Juice🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Water
Sweetened milk (e.g. chocolate, strawberry)🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Unsweetened milk
Sweetened milkshake🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Unsweetened milkshake made with whole fruits, berries, and spices
Sweetened protein powder / beverage🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Unsweetened protein powder
Sweetened energy drinksPlain coffee or teaWater, herbal teas
Iced or sweetened coffee or teaPlain coffee or teaWater, herbal teas, roasted chicory or barley beverages
Sweetened hot chocolateMilk with cocoa powder and less sugarUnsweetened milk with cocoa powder
Alcoholic beveragesDealcoholized beveragesWater, sparkling water, unsweetened club soda
Regular (salted) vegetable or clamato juice🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Low-sodium vegetable or clamato juice, or passata (strained tomatoes) with water


Sweetened cerealsReduced-sugar cereals (e.g. plain Cheerios)Unsalted / unsweetened whole grain cereals (e.g. Shredded wheat, Muffets)
Sweetened oatmealReduced-sugar oatmealPlain oatmeal with fruit or spices
Salted eggsReduced-salt eggsPlain eggs with herbs or spices
Bacon, sausages, and hamReduced-sodium bacon, sausages, and hamUnsalted, unprocessed meats with herbs, spices or vinegar
Hash brownsFried unsalted potatoesOven-baked unsalted potatoes with herbs or spices


Salted / sweetened nuts or peanutsLightly salted / sweetened nuts or peanutsUnsalted / unsweetened nuts, peanuts, or seeds
Salted or sweetened popcornLightly salted / sweetened popcornUnsalted / unsweetened popcorn
Salted chips or pretzelsReduced-salt chips or pretzels
Low-sodium kale chips or seaweed crisps
Unsalted / unsweetened nuts, seeds, or popcorn
Salted crackersReduced-salt crackersLow-sodium crispbreads (e.g. Ryvita Rye crispbread), homemade whole-grain, low-sodium crackers
Fruit leather, fruit roll-ups🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Whole fruit, dried fruit
Flavoured yogurt🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Plain yogurt with added fruit, cocoa, or spices
Sweetened/salted Energy bars, protein bars, granola barsReduced-sugar/salt barsUnsweetened/unsalted bars (e.g. homemade bars, some bars made by Larabar).

  Meat-based dishes  

Butter-infused turkey (e.g. Butterball)🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Unsalted turkey or other meats
Salted hamburger patties or meatballsReduced salt hamburger patties or meatballsUnsalted, pure meat patties or meatballs with herbs and spices
Seasoned or breaded chicken (e.g. chicken nuggets)🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Plain chicken with healthy seasonings and condiments (see Seasonings and Condiments section); use oats or other whole grains as breading
Seasoned or breaded fish (e.g. fish sticks)Plain fish with reduced saltPlain fish with healthy seasonings and condiments (see Seasonings and Condiments section); use oats or other whole grains as breading
Hot dogs, ham, jerky🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Unsalted meats
Deli meatsReduced-sodium deli meatsSliced unsalted meats

  Other savoury foods  

Salad with prepared salad dressings, cheese, croutons, or bacon bits🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Salad with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, passata, tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, herbs and spices.
Standard (salted) cheeseLower sodium cheese (Emmental / Swiss)Unsalted cheese (paneer, bocconcini)
Prepared pizzaPrepared pizza with added vegetable toppingsHomemade pizza with low-sodium ingredients, including passata (strained tomatoes) instead of salted pizza sauce, and whole wheat low-salt crust.
Prepared white breads and bunsPrepared whole grain breads and bunsHomemade whole grain breads and buns with reduced sodium and sugar.
Prepared white pasta/rice dishesPrepared whole grain pasta/rice dishes

🡐 or mix these 50/50 🡒
Homemade whole grain pasta/rice dishes with healthy seasonings and condiments.
Prepared seasoned vegetable dishesReduced-sodium prepared vegetable dishesUnseasoned frozen or fresh vegetables with healthy seasonings and condiments.
Prepared French friesFried plain potato friesOven-baked potato fries
Prepared soupsReduced-sodium soups

🡐 or mix these 50/50 🡒
Homemade soup with unsalted broth, vegetables, meats, herbs, and spices
Prepared sandwichesSee advice for breads, cheese, meats, and condimentsSee advice for breads, cheese, meats, and condiments


SaltUsing less saltNo-salt seasons (no sodium) such as Mrs Dash or Nu-Salt
Garlic salt🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Garlic powder
Onion salt🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Onion powder
Seasoning mixes containing salt or MSG🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Homemade mixes of herbs and healthy seasonings without salt or MSG.


Prepared mustard🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Turmeric and vinegar
Ketchup, salsa🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Passata (strained tomatoes) with vinegar
Prepared pizza or pasta sauce🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Passata (strained tomatoes) with herbs and spices
Pickles, olivesReduced-sodium pickles, olivesPlain cucumbers, or homemade pickles and olives made with vinegar and salt-free substitute
Prepared salad dressings (e.g. ranch, caesar, vinaigrettes) 🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Homemade unsalted dressings including balsamic vinegar (avoid those with added sweeteners or fruit juice), lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, tahini (sesame seed paste), and the herbs and spices of your choice.
Soy sauce, liquid aminosReduced-sodium soy sauceApple cider vinegar, toasted sesame oil
Sweetened/salted peanut or almond butterReduced-sodium or reduced-sugar peanut or almond butterNatural (unsweetened, unsalted) peanut or almond butter
Hazelnut spread🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Natural (unsweetened, unsalted) nut butter with cocoa powder


Sweetened chocolate bars and candies70%, 80% or 90% dark chocolate bars with fresh or dried fruit100% pure baker’s chocolate with fresh or dried fruit
Fruit pieces in syrup🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Cut up fruits or berries without syrup
Prepared cakes and cake mixesHomemade cakes with half the sugar, or using applesauce in place of sugarUnsweetened homemade cakes
Candies🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Whole fruits and berries, dried fruits
CookiesHomemade cookies with reduced sugar or sweetenerWhole fruits and berries, dried fruits
Regular (sweetened) chewing gum🡐 Mix these 50/50 🡒Plain chicle (natural gum without sweetener)

If you can’t find low-sodium or unsweetened versions of your favourite foods, don’t hesitate to ask your grocery store manager or food manufacturers if they can provide these for you. The more we ask for these healthier options, the more they will make them available for everyone to benefit from!

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