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Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey

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Health Foodie Fast Food: Mexican Chicken Bake

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It’s about as Mexican as in you’re driving down the road hungry craving “Mexican” and you stop at some taco place. As much as I love cooking, there are times when I want something quick that stops just short of drive through. This is less sketchy and healthier- A “not a drive through- that satisfies my need for spiciness plus throw it in a pan” creation.

 

What you need

Pre cooked chicken diced

* cook it your self (1 lbs)  or buy rotisserie, packaged. No judgement zone

Brown Rice 1 dry cup cooked

* get the “it takes 5 minutes kind”

Diced Tomatoes   1 14.5 oz can

* no salt added, machinery may be involved

Corn 1 14.5 oz can, no salt added

Onions  1/2 cup diced

Cilantro 1 Tbsp

Garlic  2 Tbsp or 2 cloves diced

Cumin 2 Tbsp

Cayenne 2  Tbsp

Shredded Cheddar Cheese 4 oz, reduced fat

* separate into half – 2 oz and 2 oz

Reduced Fat Cream Cheese 8 oz

Turn oven on to 350 to preheat

Making it

Step one- get it prepped and together.  If your chicken isn’t cooked, cook it.  If your chicken needs to come off the bone, do it.  Cook your rice. Open your cans. Open your packages. Measure your stuff.

Step two- dump it all but 2 oz of cheese.  Then stir it together.

Step three- Sprinkle the remaining 2 oz of cheese on top

Step four- shove the dish in the preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 mins.

This can be vegetarian converted- replace chicken with two 14.5 oz cans of kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or a combo.

Namaste your hunger quickly

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Health Foodie: Taking A.M. Lightly

I have food infatuations. There are several items that are my staples, several in rotation, and an obsession of the moment. Egg plants and sweet potatoes have been it. At some point our relationship will cool a little and they will become part of the fridge stock.

Except salsa. We are always hot for each other. I love the substance of the sweet potato and avocado to fuel with the lightness of egg white and salsa.  It comes with a variety of nutrition which goes beyond the fuel. Antioxidants, vitamins, minerals are a few things that fight disease, enhance bodily functions, and reduce aging. It is gluten free with “make it gluten options.”  An incredible balance to get us going.

A. M. Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes cooked and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  1. Mash sweet potatoes and flour together- start boiling water20180223_1019541067962792.jpg
  2. Spread out on a flour surface and shape a square
  3. Cut into 1 inch squares
  4. Place a few squares in boiled water- wait for it to float then let it ride the waves for about a min
  5. Pull out and let cool
  6. Continue for the rest of the squares

In picture it is topped with egg white, avocado, and pico.  Walnuts and raw honey would be a great option for a sweet tooth and omega brain boost.  Some whole fruit with yogurt or kefir is great. Tomatoes, oregano, chopped garlic, and chopped spinach are an amazing combo too.

Simple Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • One medium onion
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 table spoon of cilantro
  • Sea salt
  • 1 jalapeño dice
  1. Dice tomato and onion and jalapeño  then mix
  2. Squeeze in lemon or lime on mixture
  3. Stir in cilantro with add salt to taste

This is food satisfaction from the start that doesn’t have to be overly complicated.  The gnocchi recipe can be halved for a smaller amount or the full recipe offers leftovers for the next day.

Namaste and Start Your Day

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No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

No Salt Added- Spice Up Your Food Life

Healthy food and meals can loose their excitement.  Especially when you take away the fats, sugar, and salt.  Wait, I am to entice you to eat healthy. Hang with me.  Decades ago salt was left by the way side as a  primary means to flavor food for me.   We are in deep with spices and herbs.  By this I mean I get way too excited when they go on sale and enjoy picking them out.  I am in deep.  I love the choices, options, and various ways to can make different flavor profiles.  I love that my food doesn’t taste bland and doesn’t cause me to bloat (salt does! bastard).  Even better, this is a friends with benefits relationship.  Most spices reduce inflammation which benefits your digestive system, joints, muscles, heart, and brain.  Brain and body love.  Certain herbs aid in memory and concentration, are rich in vitamins (some even have iron!), boost immune systems, and fight free radicals with antioxidants.  If you are not familiar with free radicals, those are the bullies who pick on your healthy cells which may lead to cancer.   You are constantly surrounded by free radicals. Herbs are a great free radical bully buster.  Food love with benefits.

There are some things you need to know.  Some spices and herbs may not be safe if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.  Most help with that but a few may need to be run by your doctor.  This is noted with that particular spice and herb below.  Please practice spice safety.  Herbs come in two forms: still looks like the plant (fresh) or confetti (dried).  Dried herbs store for longer periods of time and organic in a glass container is recommended.  Dried herbs are in the spice aisle and fresh herbs are in the produce section (in a bunch you bag or in a plastic container).  Spices can be whole or ground.  I haven’t picked a side and don’t see a reason too.  I am passionate about trying to stick with glass and organic when possible.  Dried spices and herbs are more at home in a dry, cool place.  They don’t do well in direct sunlight.  Let them live their vampire existence in a dry cabinet away from heat.

Now the good stuff. I kept this list basic with it’s benefits, draw backs, flavor profiles, and what I use them in.  Have at it.

Spices

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbs

That’s the short list.  These are common in many recipes which gives you a great base for cooking.  As you expand you will find there is so much more love out there.

Namaste and rekindle the food love

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Health Foodie & Veggie Relationships: Let Them Love You Back

I like flexibility in my food relationships.  Could this be a fajita? A wrap? Ditch the tortilla for a salad? Add some spices for Italian flare? It all depends on what the mood today.  Buying a  few, key ingredients that work in multiple ways can be a powerhouse to you and your budget.  Freshness variety is great.  Too much variety of perishables in a small window of time can be costly and if you can’t eat it all before expiration, wasteful.  It’s about intent.  This list can have a few additions and be used in multiple ways for delicious health.

The Core List:

Bell Peppers

Mushrooms

Roma tomatoes

Spinach

Green Onion

Kale

What you can add on for flavor variety

  1. Lightly cook peppers with mushrooms.  Then put on a couple corn tortillas with a half to a full ounce of neufchatel cream cheese on each tortilla.  Add red pepper flakes, a few slices of avocado, and the rest of the veggies. Corn tortillas and neufchatel cream cheese are lower in fat and calories.  
  2. Roast veggies-  add black beans with salsa, a half cup of brown rice.
  3. Light roast veggies with 1 tablespoon of oregano and basil with two cloves of garlic; add whole grain pasta with a light butter sauce
  4. Lean meat the size of your hand palm to numbers 1-3 like chicken breast, 90% beef, ground turkey or chicken.
  5. Breakfast: lightly roast veggies and add egg/egg whites, lean bacon or sausage

Caution:

Be good with your tortilla, rice, and pasta carbs.

You need carbs within the suggested serving.

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These veggie combos love you much.  Most the vegetables contain vitamin Bs which makes your calorie fuel burn better.  Vitamin Bs and magnesium are essential for nerve function thus your brain, they have that too.  Eat it now to help with focus and handling stress later.  Quite a bit of these veggies are packed with antioxidants, especially vitamins E & A.  This means reduced cancer risk and help with the fight in aging at the very least.  Vitamin C dominates in this group and brings more than immune boost to the table.  C also plays a vital role in helping to absorb other vitamins and minerals.  We could go all day about nutritional value in this list, but take this start.  Work your short list for the long list of total body benefit.

Please leave a comment on the veggie you love/tolerate and the ones on your black list. Me: spinach and I have a love affair.  Brussel sprouts are earning my trust.  I become faint by smell of cooked turnip greens.  

Namaste and Let Your Veggies Love You

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Health Foodie Loving More Veggies… Because Bacon

This would not be categorized as a vegetarian dish because of our bacon entanglement.  Also, I am literally eating my words on this whole “I won’t eat brussel sprout thing.” This collaboration of previous brussel sprout consumption dare and my ghost child’s new professed love of goat cheese with bacon enhancement.  All culminating in a simple and quick delicious recipe.  Anyone has the time and skill for this.

 

Ingredients and Prep

Brussel sprouts (steamed, cut in half)

Bacon (cooked, diced)

Goat cheese crumbles (package opened)

Olive oil- one tablespoon

Steps to brussel sprouts in bacon, cheese glory

1.  Preheat oven to 425 F

2. Lightly drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan

2. Steam brussel sprouts and cut in half then spread out on pan

3. Cook bacon but barely (light brown and soft) or cheat like me and buy the pre cooked.  D

4. Dice barely cooked bacon and sprinkle over brussel sprouts.

5. Place pan in the oven for ten minutes.

6. After the bacon brussel sprouts cool for five to ten minutes, sprinkle goat cheese over.

Done- Bacon fulfillment with sneaky nutrition

Namaste 💓🥓🥗