After the holidays, vacations and over consumption, do you just desire and crave a simple meal of your own? At this time of year many people are pulling up their sleeves and getting their hands on a clean yourself up eating program. What are the main things this intentional eating is giving us? Mental relief? Feeling more comfortable in our clothes? Feeling a sense of control?
The goal of any program that will work for you is about adding in quality nutrition and habits that will support you toward rebalancing your emotional resiliency and stability. To support yourself in finding emotional balance and stability reverse overthinking about what not to eat and focus on what to eat.
Many of my clients feel guilty when they crave foods that give them emotional highs like pizza, sugar and other quick pick me ups. Our brain and gut are connected and when you crave the pick me up in your belly it is most likely your neurotransmitters in your brain are ready to receive some quality nutrients.
It is these moments when you need foods that are high in nutritional density. Here are some meal and snack ideas that correspond with the neurotransmitter that may be crying for help and support:
1. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that keeps your mood up. It’s made from tryptophan, an essential amino acid abundant in fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and other meats. You need Iron, zinc, and vitamins B3, B6 and C to help facilitate the enzymatic reactions that convert tryptophan to serotonin.
Snack idea for increasing your mood: If you are feeling overwhelmed and drained, sit in the sunshine (even inside by a window) take 5 breaths, and have a big tablespoon of your favorite nut butter. My personal favorite right now is macadamia nut butter.
Meal Idea for increasing your mood: Try my Anti-inflammatory Serotonin Bowl: Roasted sweet potatoes, Garbanzo beans, drizzled with avocado oil and topped with shaved apples and carrots: Check out this yummy video
2. GABA enables you to stay focused and calm. The amino acid glutamine is the principal building block of GABA and is found in halibut, legumes, brown rice and spinach. Vitamins B3, B6 and B12 work in a number of enzyme reactions to help convert glutamine to GABA.
Snack idea to help you focus: Try adding in Kevita, a Probiotic Drink as a snack in the middle of the day or if you want more substance try cherry tomatoes dipped Hope hummus when I don’t have time to whip it up.
Meal idea to help you focus: Halibut & Brussels sprouts. Check out this recipe from Conscious Nutrition Recipe Book. Try switching out the olive oil for avocado oil.
3. Dopamine stimulates many of the “highs” you feel. The brain converts the amino acid tyrosine – found in protein – to dopamine with the help of folic acid, vitamin B6, magnesium and zinc. You’ll find extra tyrosine in almonds, avocados, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Snack Ideas for stimulation: I am loving sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds. Keep an eye out at the store or make your own:
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut pumpkin open from the bottom, removing seeds with a long-handled spoon.
- In a medium bowl combine 1 T of avocado oil, 1/2 tsp of sea salt, 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/2 ginger, and 1/2 cayenne. Add seeds and stir.
- Place and spread on sheet for 40 minutes until crisp.
Meal Idea for stimulation: Avocado stuffed with quinoa salad. Try making a big quinoa pot of quinoa for the week then you can add cucumber, red peppers and onion to have it cold, or warm it up with some marinara or curry sauce. There are two different quinoa salad recipes in the Conscious Nutrition Recipe book for you to peruse.
Let me know how these ideas supported your mental and emotional well-being.
Stay stimulated and calm,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N.
P.S. We are getting ready for the first group guided Intuitvarian process of the year. I only want you to add more nourishment into your life and let’s have fun with it! I am bringing in some VERY special guest speakers to help you connect deeper with you in 2018!