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The psychological outcomes of intentional lifestyle choices

Author: Philip A. Croatan

Author Affiliations: University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Troy University, A. T. Still  University, University of San Diego


If we identify Mental Health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community, then we can further identify causative factors and correlations of which compose mental health per individual. Emotional, psychological, and social well-being are tertiary resultants of the autonomic biochemical processes of which are occurring perpetually in response to nutrient intake or lack thereof, subsequent endocrine fluctuations, and nervous responses to social exchanges and traumas relative to the perceptional reality or truth of events. Engaging in brain-healthy habits such as ordered-eating, productive movement in terms of exercise and or activities of daily living (ADLs), and the delivery of certain brain nutrients is critical to an optimal functioning brain. For example, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging done by Amen Clinics observes closely how the brain functions in contrast to computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans viewing the brain’s anatomy. Within the SPECT scans, blood flow and activity patterns demonstrate significant reduction in the brain following alcohol consumption (Dispenza. J, 2012). The reduced blood flow to the brain attenuates nutrient delivery and theoretically leads to the early onset of diseases such Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia given the behavioral effect to neurotransmitters (Prestia. A, 2011). When neurotransmission is perturbed, an increased hypothalamic response disrupts neuropeptide reception to glands of which release the perfect balance of hormones to create your “personality.” How easy is it to blame atypical behavior on a hormonal imbalance, whether acute or chronic? We are the total sum of our thoughts and behaviors, both physically and quantumly.

However, health status is not only determined by the type of food products, but also the quality and amounts of kilocalories consumed. One kilocalorie is equal to the amount of heat needed to raise one liter of water by one-degree Celsius. Cardiorespiratory exercises are typically prescribed as an intervention to effectively reduce body fat. The metabolic process to burn fat as an energy source and reduce fat mass composition is an oxidative process. Although oxidation phosphorylation is a highly efficient energy pathway in terms of kcal per gram, it is a slower process that requires more heat due to the nature of carbon bonds. It has been observed in research surrounding metabolic training that 3,500 kcal (think internal heat production) is required of the to burn one pound of fat tissue. American dietary guidelines recommend 2,000 kcal per daily consumption. There is approximately 335 kcal in both a medium-sized burger and medium-sized avocado. The carbons bonds have significantly differing affinities in burgers (saturated) compared to avocados (polyunsaturated) and thus yield disparate effects to the body. Therefore, is important to ensure that our food selection is nutrient dense. In areas suffering from food insecurity, correlations of increased depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders are commonly observed. Concomitantly, when volitional food insecurity and poor physical activity are combined, even a healthy population of freshman university students showed increased signs of depression and perceived stress (Arenas et al, 2019: Bruening, 2018). The diets composed of what we think, watch, eat, and do are ultimately what we become. The correlating chemistries are our resulting genetic composition. Wellness; impartially, must be perceived as the comprehensive expression of self and the subsequent reactions to behaviors in order to demand the benefit by product of homeostatic balance in one’s reality.


Arenas, D. J., Thomas, A., Wang, J., & Delisser, H. M. (2019). A Systematic Review and Meta- analysis of Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Disorders in US Adults with Food Insecurity. The Journal of General Internal Medicine, 34(12), 2874-2882.

Bruening, M. (2018). A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Disorders in US Adults with Food Insecurity. BioMed Central, 15(1), 9. doi:10.1186/s12966-018-0647-7

Dispenza, J. (2012). Breaking the habit of being yourself: How to lose your mind and create a new one. Australia: Hay House India.

Prestia, A. (2011). Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia: Evidence of a specific, shared molecular background. Future Neurology, 6(1), 17-21. doi:10.2217/fnl.10.61

World Health Organization: Mental Health. (2021). Retrieved December, 2020, from https://www.who.int/