5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood

For those of you who have read my about me page, you know that I have been researching and improving my health for over 18 years.  Last year I completed a sports nutrition certification and realized, yet again, how many of the health issues we face today can be altered and slowly improved with just the right tweak in our diets.  I believed so much in it, that in just 1 year, I had completely turned my life around from removing the foods that were causing me pain and “flare-ups” of my diseases.  Depression was not going to get me once I identified what foods made me worse.

So today, I was minding my own business gathering ingredients for a nice big salad, when a processed food display jumped right up and tried to grab me.  <<< not really, but it almost did.  Chocolate is my weakness.  But this chocolate was on something that is a known flare for me and causes me to crash so much right after eating it I feel like I can’t move.  I become that tired.  So I knew what I had to do and I want to help you do the same.  Let’s grab some of these great foods instead!

5 Great Foods to Boost Your Mood:

  1. Go bananas <<< technically I linked to my favorite dry snack, but I love this version of dried bananas.  So what do these yellow fruits help us with?  Bananas employ mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.  What happens in the body?  You get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy as well as mood.  Mind you, this is natural and not some made up thing like “high fructose corn syrup”.  <<< icky for autoimmune responses…well just plain bad honestly. So I always stay away from that.  At our house, we tend to use bananas in smoothies, but if they have been there and are ripe, I will actually cut them up and put them in the freezer for later use as “banana cubes” in my blender.
  2. Sunflower seeds (or butter) <<< I love this stuff times 10.  I was doing research a few years ago on a theory I had that my prior acid-blocking supplements (completely weaned myself off them using natural remedy) were causing an issue with my magnesium levels.  Why is this important?  Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, is vital for many body functions to operate normally. Magnesium deficiency can be responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (triggers increase in adrenaline), and it’s been linked to various mood disorders. However, stable magnesium levels can help the body and mind achieve a calm and relaxed state.  Some scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  Boom!  There it was yet again.  That feeling to go down the right path and unravel the mess my doctors, no offense to anyone, had caused in my gut.
  3. Dark chocolate is the bomb dot come in my world.  <<< the one linked I often see in my grocery store as a savior if I am desperate to have something chocolate.  I have to read all ingredients, but this one is safe for me.  The organic cacao powder is my go-to for smoothies, baking and drinks of the hot kind.  Yummy.  How does this help me?  Sorry men, but PMS time, seriously, come in the house with this in the shopping bag.  Here is why: Among its many nutrients, cacao beans contain a slightly stimulatory, mood-boosting caffeine derivative called theobromine. Theobromine, a molecule with a structure similar to caffeine, has been shown to support mood and increase focus:)  I am big into plant-based or phyto healing, so as this chocolate melts on your tongue, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body.  Yummy.
  4. Pass me my green tea y’all.  <<< I linked my all-time favorite recent discovery of this muscle recovery tea I drink after a hard day of yoga.  So why is tea, especially green tea helpful?   Tea, the green variety more so, provides catechin antioxidants that have been shown to support brain function and promote proper balance of the stress hormone cortisol.  Further, a toasty mug of tea can supply you with L-theanine, an amino acid that might promote you being alert a bit more.  Also a report published in Public Health Nutrition showed that study participants who sipped four or more cups of green tea daily reported having a more positive mood.  I recently started making my green tea 30 minutes ahead of time in the fridge using cold water and mint leaves.  I then drink it cold and I know that provides a metabolism boost as well.
  5. Walnuts were also on my list of foods to eat.  <<< again, I have to be careful.  No glaze, no almonds (I personally found out they cause me stomach pain…who knew? Autoimmune is a tricky navigation.), no additives.  JUST walnuts!  Why are they helpful?  Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to the elusive good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.  Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings.  Boom!  Grab you some walnuts friends.  Or nutty friends…either way. Normal suggested dosage of omega-3 oils is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You’ll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts.  I put them on my yogurt, but yogurt is a whole different story, so read the ingredients!  I personally have been enjoying some Brown Cow yogurt…but prior to that is was the Stonyfield Farms kind.  Again, navigate so that you can actually read all the ingredients as I discuss in my 4 Weeks to Wellness course.  You don’t want things you can’t read going into your body.  It really does flare all kinds of things that are just bringing you down.

Thank you guys for reading this and go out and clean your pantry today!  Stock up for better health!

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5 Steps to Being Healthier Today!

5 Steps to healthThis post was so popular that I have decided to add a contact form about the greens if you are interested in learning more about them!  Read until the end!

5 Steps to Being Healthier Today!

1. Eliminate processed foods.  Have you ever looked at the back of a “FAT-FREE” box of coffee creamer as compared to real cream?  Just look at the ingredients.
2. Drink more water.  Why?  “Water’s involved in every type of cellular process in your body, and when you’re dehydrated, they all run less efficiently — and that includes your metabolism.
3. Add a Greens smoothie to your day.  Why the “Greens”?

  • Detoxify, alkalize, and promote pH balance within the body
  • Acidity-fighting magnesium and potassium blend
  • Cutting-edge probiotic support for digestive health
  • 38 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods
  • Multiple servings of fruits and vegetables in every scoop
  • Free radical-fighting antioxidants

4. Add protein in the morning.  I prefer the things I have linked to because of these reasons:

  • Experience quicker post-workout recovery
  • Build lean muscle mass with fewer calories
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Get feel-good, mood-elevating energy with maca and cacao powder
  • Promote healthy digestion with seven different soluble and insoluble fibers

5. Cut the sugar…but you can keep the fruit.  I have gone white processed sugar-free in the last two years and don’t miss it!  What do I use if I have to make a recipe with something like sugar?  Buy coconut palm sugar.  But if you are worried about sugar in fruit, check out this link.  I am guilty of loving mangoes.

So, in a nutshell…drop the sugar, add the water, add protein, and greens, but drop the processed food!!  Contact me here if you want to know more about the greens or visit vitalizeyouwellness.com click shop!

 

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Autoimmune help on Christmas Eve.

Hi friends.  I wonder how many of you suffer from autoimmune diseases and just don’t realize it?   It’s been one year since I gave up processed foods, sugar, flour and any word on an ingredient list I couldn’t pronounce or immediately recognize.  I have good days and bad days just like anyone else.  It’s been almost 2 years since I started figuring out what triggers my “flare ups” and mood swings.  I still don’t have it down to a science the way I want to.  For example, yesterday my children and I made a gluten-free eggnog cake.  Sounds delicious huh?  It was.  I have everything on Pinterest🙂  Anyway, after eating it and drinking my tea, I began to feel weird.  I got a bad headache and my throat started hurting…signs there was something that was triggering an autoimmune reaction.  Later, bloating.  When I woke up today, red eyes that were sticky.  If you have been following me for a while, you might recall when I started putting all this together.

Bad food triggers bad responses.  Period.

I was doing research on neurotransmitters and the brain…but more specifically how food triggers reactions in the stomach to the brain thus causing depression and/or mood swings that come out of no where.  Anyway, that was last year and you can find it by searching for “New Year, New Brain?” over there on the side search thing a ma jig.  I can’t stop researching.  I probably can…but I haven’t yet.  So a friend suggested a while back that I get a light box to help with my moods during the winter as it’s harder on me.  Fibromyalgia flares up in the cold, there are people making things I can’t eat, and after 38 years of basically eating whatever anyone put in front of me, including sushi, it’s difficult for someone who loves food to be able to cope with what my body is doing to me.  It doesn’t help that every single time we go out, no matter how hard my dad tries, he passes me the bread when we get it and I say no thank you and he keeps saying “I’m so sorry.  I forgot.”

So I came across this interesting talk, and I wanted to put it out there as a reminder that there really are things we can still control without pharmaceuticals.  I know that I am the rare person trying to reverse this without “drugs”, but more and more people are thinking about this I hope.  So here it is, Brain Chemistry Life-hacks:

My husband was just shaking his head at me as I listened to this “guy”, you know a clinical neuroscientist, because he tells me to move more.  I know exercise is important.  I do.  I get it.  That’s why I go to yoga, but I don’t go enough.  So I need to change that.  I need to go at least 3 times a week.  It can be 2 yoga days and 1 walking day, but it does matter.  I have GOT to do better…at something I used to like doing.  The mind is very powerful and we have to learn how to control it as I believe it’s the key to helping people like me fight off the diseases.  Once my body is brought back into fully functioning mode, I have to take care of it better.

Getting autoimmune help is just a matter of learning your body and how it reacts.

So if you are like me, you have autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia or anything that causes flares/pain, pay attention to what you are doing.  Eating.  Putting into your body.  Stay away, far far away, from sugar.  Do not feel bad you are not putting “cocaine” as Steve Ilardi calls it into your body…he gets to that at around 8 minutes in.  Listen carefully (as a side note, I use only coconut palm sugar or pure maple now as it breaks down differently.  I also take Omega-3 supplements, mine, so see the tab Vitalize You for how to purchase what I use.  Everything I take is all-natural, with no additives, and is made using phytotherapy or plant based methods.)  It became so important to my health, that we started a business called Vitalize You Wellness.

This video runs about 10 minutes and if you are having a hard time during the Holiday season, really pay attention.  You can help your own moods, depression, and life.  You can.  So my gift to you is to think about happy thoughts, get a light box if needed, take care of yourself, go to yoga or exercise, grab a buddy, and don’t ruminate on those negatives in your head.  Don’t.  Experience changes the brain.  Change your thoughts.

** Author’s note, this was written before I went through 200 hours of yoga teacher certification, completely re-trained my body to move again, and then was additionally trained in using yoga to help with pain and arthritis.

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