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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: 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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When Salad Goes Bad

From low calories to nutrient potential, salads can be a go to in “healthy eating.”  It’s an easy option to lighten up a meal encounter and comes with a variety of options.  It does have some pitfalls.  Eating raw is not for everyone and every digestive track.  Lightly cooking  veggies is a healthy option if veggies in their original form is detrimental to your food relationship.  Salads can fall into the monotonous status that is tasteless and boring.  Certain choices can hurt your relationship and health if you are not careful.  Fortunately a boring and unhealthy salad encounter can be fixed.

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Caution

When you’re out eating and trying to stay committed a salad seems like the no brainer option.  Often it’s not the case. Spend a few obsessive hours researching restaurant menus and nutrition, then most often you find there are hidden”fees.”  Croutons are not the sole culprit.  You pay for higher sodium in dressings, fried foods,  tortilla strips, sauces, etc.  Too much salt sucks out the good part of you.  Then there are the bad fats.  Not like “ooh bad” or guilty pleasure.  Like bad, bad.  Physically and mentally bad for you.  From too much processed cheese, fried toppings, and dressings.  Short lease those fats.  An every once and awhile entanglement is okay.  Then there’s your salad base. The semi- green base that’s the meh to your food relationship, it looks pale or wilted.  That’s your salad connection dying.  Read below to fix that.  When you are settling in at home or meal prepping, it’s a similar problem with salads.  High sodium, high fat, not enough variety thus nutrients.   It’s time to find the balance.

The Salad Fix

  In every relationship there needs to be a base to spring from.  In making a salad there are more supportive options such as Mixed greens, spinach, kale. These does more than carry the “fun stuff.” They have their own contributions to your nutrient profile on a plate. Once you have your base, then you need lean sources of protein.  Chicken breast, chick peas, cauliflower, nuts, seeds, turkey pepperoni, lunch meat are a few choices to add on. “Whole” is best, meaning it doesn’t require a label or comes with a few listed ingredients.   While it does this part well, protein is more than a filler.  It has it’s own set of nutrients and it builds from muscles heart to brain to body. When adding on to your base and protein, for nutrition and simplicity sake, rainbow variety needs to be your salad motto.  Each pepper, tomato, carrot, broccoli, cabbage, and so on is packed with their unique set of nutrients.  This is a great way to get multiple vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants.  It’s a better calorie burn with increase function of brain, nerves, eyes, etc.   When dressing a salad, it needs to be the right one.  Low calorie, low fat is not necessarily the best.  There are fats your body needs plus those low cal/fat option may have artificial ingredients that are harmful.  Avocado, sesame oil, avocado oil, or olive oil are a few examples of a short leased but great options to get dressed in.  Read ingredient lists;  the least amount listed on that bottle the better.

Not so salady options

Salad don’t have to look like the precursor to an entree.  An Asian vinaigrette with lean pork or chicken on chopped mixed greens/ bok choy is delicious.  Ground turkey taco meat with salad on greens is a naked taco. Who doesn’t love naked?  A limited use of pepperoni, turkey deli meat, ham deli meat with an italian dressing and greens makes a lighter cousin to the sub version.  There is so much more less salady options on Pinterest.  Just watch the base, ingredients, and dressing.   Armed with the right green base, you can break that food relationship boredom and not pay for it with your health.

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