We say every ingredient counts, because we want delicious to be empowering.
Eating to be your happiest self isn’t just about eating healthy foods, it’s also about avoiding foods that trigger inflammation, irritability or just don’t agree with our bodies for one reason or another. We call these trigger foods or food intolerances. These can be anything from raspberries, to bell peppers, to chicken or specific kinds of fish, nuts, seeds, green tea or chocolate.
Though it’s not “fun” to learn that our favorite foods may be triggering irritability, anxiety, inflammation or fatigue, figuring out which foods our best for our own body can be one of the most powerful and empowering things we can do for ourselves.
A big part of our healing journey with Kelly came from discovering which foods were triggering tantrums, insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity – many of the symptoms of autism. Food intolerance testing helped us to find her trigger foods. Without the tests, I never would have known foods like oranges or eggs could trigger those symptoms. Nor would I have discovered my own food triggers. While of course autism is more complicated than just changing the foods we eat, we are big believers in the gut brain connection.
It is true that happiness comes from within. Feed your body nourishing foods and you are investing in happiness that grows and grows and grows……
Here are five of my top fave Mood Boosters:
Why dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is rich in healthy flavonoids that do wonders for our mood. Dark chocolate and cacao contain an amino acid called tryptophan that the brain uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can increase feelings of overall happiness. This is much more concentrated and pure in dark chocolate versus milk chocolate. While dark chocolate can be a trigger for me, making me irritable and impatient, it’s powerful properties to boost energy and mood make it Kelly’s go to pick me up!
Eggs are super rich in choline, in fact they are the richest of any food source for choline. Why is choline so important? Choline plays an important role in producing neurotransmitters that make us feel happy. It is an essential nutrient our body needs for cellular repair and maintenance. Egg whites, that are notably high in protein and low in fat, do not contain any choline. Choline is only found in the yolk of the egg. So it’s important to eat the entire egg, not just egg white. Eggs are also high in vitamin D and B12 which also help with mood regulation and energy.
Interestingly, a deficiency in choline often is tied to increased liver enzymes and can cause neurological disorders. Understanding this was one of the keys to Kelly’s healing journey. Because she wasn’t able to tolerate eggs for years, we supplemented with a nutrient called Phosphatidylcholine.
Research has linked curcumin, found in turmeric root, to improve brain health. Curcumin boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, linked to mood and feelings of happiness. Being a powerful antioxidant, curcumin works to fight inflammation, and thus may help relieve the symptoms of depression tied to chronic inflammation.
Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, arugula, beet and collard greens are all rich in a wide variety of nutrients. Earthy and grounding, they are probably my favorite feel good food. With a magical mixture of fiber to balance blood sugar, B vitamins to boost brain function and iron to help regulate neurotransmitters, dark leafy greens are energizing and mood boosting. The only downside is that they all contain concentrated amounts of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid binds with minerals like calcium and magnesium, which of course we need! So how do we still enjoy greens and also avoid losing all these precious nutrients? Steam your greens for at least five minutes before eating.
We’ve all heard the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are notable for their many health benefits – vitamin C for immune health, fiber to regulate blood sugar and quercetin to help reduce inflammation and fuel neurotransmitters in the brain. While it’s not as often talked about, vitamin C also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. And while quercetin is not as well known, it is a powerful mind boosting antioxidant that your body loves!
Suzie, GF Guru Mama
Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 8