My dear friend and gorgeous mama Anna Rose Speaks is sharing her favorite tips for boosting your mood and fueling your body this Spring. Anna is passionate about marketing and sales in the conscious product world she is a licensed holistic esthetician, mother and wife… oh yeah and she’s a key part of Windy City Organics – a premier organic raw food manufacturer and distributor based out of Chicago. Anna and I have been connected for so long now! Since we both have boys around the same age and share an obsession with whole foods and clean living, the connection is obvious. We finally got to meet in Portland a couple years ago and Anna’s radiance is powerful. She is such a beauty, inside and out. I’m super excited to share this very informative article with you all! Find Anna on Instagram at @annarosespeaks
7 Superfoods + Tips to Boost Your Mood
Winter weather isn’t always the most conducive to healthy eating habits. Sometimes, even when we have the best of intentions and the willpower to match, the harshness of outside can take a toll as we figure out ways to stay sane and cope. Sometimes this may involve a little too much comfort food – i.e. allll the carbs. With the promise of spring right around the corner, it’s time to focus on the foods that make us feel good, like really, really good. After all, nature is sprouting back to a vibrant state and so can we!
Try incorporating a few of these 7 feel-good superfoods into your wellness strategy this spring for an extra boost in the right direction.
These days dark chocolate is well known for being high in antioxidants. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Raw cacao and raw chocolate are amazing mood-elevating superfoods thanks to a handful of unique compounds.
Anandamide, aka the “bliss molecule”, is an endocannabinoid produced by our own brain that’s also found in cacao. Once in the body, it binds to the same brain receptor sites as THC, resulting in feelings of bliss and even euphoria.
Phenethylamine (PEA), aka the “love drug”, is an amino acid that gives us a boost of feel-good endorphins, and stimulates serotonin and dopamine production, mimicking what happens to our brain chemistry naturally when we fall in love.
Last but not least, a stimulant known as theobromine gives us a subtle boost of energy, relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. It has also been shown to act as an appetite suppressant, meaning it can be a valuable ally in weight management efforts. Together these compounds work with our own biology, and our own neurotransmitters, to inspire feelings of excitement, bliss, love, focus, and creativity. Cacao is also rich in magnesium and iron, two nutrients often low in women, especially during our moon cycle. Raw chocolate is the perfect PMS pick-me-up!
Cold Pressed Green Juice
Green juice is a one-stop shop: its hydrating, cleansing, fortifying, energizing and alkalinizing. Basically, all the things we need in order to feel our best. By separating pure vegetable juices from the fiber, it minimizes the amount of energy needed to digest and assimilate the nutrients within. As soon as it enters the body we get a nearly instantaneous nutrient transfusion directly from nature. As a general rule for daily consumption, choose lower sugar options that are mainly greens and low-sweet vegetables and fruits like celery and cucumber. Make a daily habit out of getting your liquid greens on, and reap the profound health benefits. Try this recipe from Strong and Radiant.
See just how good you can feel this spring by swapping out (at least a few days per week…) your morning coffee habit with a delicious matcha latte. Matcha is not only chock full of antioxidants for anti-aging and glowing skin (hey, we all want to feel good and look good!), it also contains a little compound known as L-theanine, an amino acid glutamate that helps boost our ability to think clearly, concentrate, and feel alert, while still feeling calm, cool and collected. It is a much more grounded, sustainable energy boost, one that won’t leave you feeling jittery or anxious.
Hemp CBD is taking the wellness industry by storm right now. So what is it exactly? CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it just one of over 113 different cannabinoids which have now been isolated from the hemp plant. However, unlike its famous cousin THC, it is completely non-psychoactive. CBD has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and is known to be an adaptogen, antioxidant, and neuroprotectant. Research has shown CBD to help support and regulate the central nervous system, immune system, and endocannabinoid systems. Feel-good for sure!
While berries are not in season currently (in the northern hemisphere anyway…), they are still an important happy-brain food to incorporate into your diet throughout the year – whether it’s in fresh, frozen, or dried form. Berries are nutritional powerhouses – high in antioxidants and valuable polyphenols, high in fiber, low in sugar, and so flavorful. The phytonutrients within these fruits have been shown to help protect our blood vessels and decrease overall inflammation in the body for an anti-aging effect. If you’re watching your sugar intake – choose low sugar berry varieties such as raspberries and blackberries. Toss frozen berries into smoothies, oatmeal, or pancakes.
Are you on the adaptogen train yet? If not then all aboard! Adaptogenic herbs such as maca root, ashwagandha root, ginseng, holy basil (tulsi), reishi mushroom (and other medicinal mushrooms), and hemp CBD can benefit most anyone as they help support the body’s ability to handle stress. They boost the immune system, improve mental clarity and overall vitality, and help support our glandular system for a healthier hormonal balance. Instead of having one direct effect like a medication, they meet the body where it’s at and help move us into a state of more balance. Blend them into tonics and smoothies, take them with water as a supplement, or get creative and incorporate them into other recipes you may be making like raw chocolate or energy balls.
Not only is coconut butter a must in any plant-based pantry due to its incredible versatility (the perfect dairy-free butter substitute!), it is also a true superfood. Coconut butter is made by grinding whole coconut flakes into a smooth, creamy nut butter. Nothing is removed – it still contains all of its fiber and all of its healthy fats. Two fats within coconut – known as lauric and caprylic acids – are highly anti-pathogenic, they help keep yeasts and funguses in check within the body (bye-bye candida) and they’re also bad news for bacteria and viruses. Coconut is also rich in medium chain triglycerides – a type of fat that’s easy on the liver, can be burned easily as energy, and helps keep our metabolism running efficiently. It is also naturally sweet and decadent without containing any actual sugar – perfect for a healthy blood sugar conscious treat.
Ditch the diet mentality and eat a rainbow of real, whole foods.
Instead of focusing on following a strict protocol which can feel limiting and restrictive (i.e. not sustainable for long-term), embrace a lifestyle change that focuses heavily on real, fresh, vibrant, organic foods bursting with the nutrition your body needs to thrive.
Nutrient-rich, not calorically restrictive
Focus on exciting new foods that you can add to your routine, instead of what you need to eliminate. It’s psychology 101: we often want what we can’t have. Ask any parent of a 2-3 year old (or teenager for that matter!) – we know all too well. Add in more of the good stuff and watch the not-so-great stuff automatically take a back seat. There’s only so much room on your plate – fill it with goodness!
Rest better to digest better
We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat”, however, that’s only half of the picture. It’s more accurate to say we are what we digest. We have two main parts of our autonomic nervous system that interact with one another: the Parasympathetic and Sympathetic Nervous Systems. The former is responsible for activities within our body that fall under a “rest and digest” state. The latter is responsible for the response we all know as “fight or flight” – the stress response. We may be eating all the best mood-enhancing superfoods on the planet, but if we don’t take the time to slow down, enjoy our food, and de-stress our mind, our digestion suffers, our body becomes depleted, and our health starts to fall apart.
Less reading, more listening
While it’s important to educate ourselves, consider new schools of thought, read up on the latest research, and be open to making changes to better our health, ultimately we have to tune in and listen to our own body and our own inner guidance. There is no one size fits all method when it comes to diet and feeling good. You do you.