Foods That Curb Stress

Stress can kill you….literally. And no matter how healthy your eating habits are or how much kale you consume in a day, you are not immune to the negative effects of stress.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your stress level?

Chronic stress negatively affects every system in your body, and can be the culprit behind weight gain, digestive issues, and fatigue.

And, it’s a scientific fact that stress can literally kill you. In Japan there is a word for it: Karōshi , which means death from overwork. YIKES! In the United States, we recognize Broken Heart Syndrome, or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, which in some cases, can also be fatal. But…are we over-looking a major trend in our society of ignoring stress?

So, what are you doing to manage your stress? My first recommendation is to practice meditation. Meditation has a multitude of health benefits like lowering blood pressure, returning heart rate to its natural rhythm, etc. but today, let’s talk food.

Here are 7 foods that actually help curb our stress levels – check it out.

7 Anti Stress Foods

kale

Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens contain high levels of magnesium, a critical mineral for managing stress. Stress depletes your body of magnesium, and this can lead to headaches, anxiety, and restlessness.  You won’t feel the results of eating greens instantaneously, so be sure to keep them in daily rotation to reap the benefits.

chia pudding

 Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a good source of magnesium, a critical mineral for managing stress and mitigating depression. Plus they contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the brain, resulting in less stress and anxiety. In fact, some doctors and researchers believe the growing epidemic of depression and anxiety in our population has something to do with our diet, including widespread omega-3 deficiency. Add chia seeds to your morning smoothie. Add chia seeds to your peanut butter and celery, sprinkle chia seeds in your salad.

avocado

Avocado

Creamy avocados are high in stress-busting B-vitamins, which support healthy nerves and brain cells. In fact, some studies suggest feelings of depression and anxiety may be linked to B Vitamin deficiency. I put avocado in everything; eggs in the morning, salad in the afternoon, as a side for dinner! I’ve been known to cut open an avocado and eat it right out of the skin with a spoon!

walnut

 Nuts

Nuts, including almonds, cashews, and walnuts contain zinc, a mineral that plays a crucial role in modulating the way the brain and body respond to stress. They’re also a good source of stress-busting magnesium. Check out my recipe for Roasted Pecans with Rosemary, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate

There’s no mistaking the feel good rush we feel after biting into a piece of dark chocolate. That’s because it boosts our serotonin levels, which also boosts our mood and makes us feel happier. In addition, studies indicate that polyphenols found in cocoa can reduce stress.

Opt for dark chocolate that has at least 70% cocoa (85% is even better!) and a gentler natural sweetener such as coconut sugar. Better yet, add pure cocoa or cacao powder to your smoothie, sprinkle on your almond butter or throw it in any dessert recipe. And please look for fair-trade chocolate. Endangered Species Chocolate

green tea

 Green Tea

Having a cup of green tea instead of the usual frap not only gives your body a break from high levels of caffeine – population studies indicate it reduces stress too. (Note there is still caffeine in green tea, just less than coffee, and it tends to be gentler on the body). Other studies have singled out theanine, an amino acid found in the tea, for promoting relaxation and anti-stress effects.

beans

 Beans, surprised?

Beans, like chickpeas, black beans, and cannellini beans, provide high levels of folate, a B Vitamin that has been scientifically shown to reduce and relieve stress by regulating your mood. They’re also a good source of B6 which supports the central nervous system and may aid in the reduction of fatigue.

Experiment with your food, have fun, keep a journal of how you felt an hour or so after eating – and whatever works, stick with it!

I’ll post more about meditation in the next few weeks.

Pictures by:

Tookapic, mali maeder, Brenda Godinez, Markus Spiske, Paul Morris

 

 

A Healthy, Homemade Hostess Gift – YAY YOU!

If you’re staying with friends over the holidays, or going to one of many holiday parties, you know the polite thing to do is to bring a hostess gift. Instead of picking up yet another scented candle (Zzzzz) or bottle of wine, give something with a personal touch by making it yourself. Here’s one of my favorite easy, healthy recipes, which quite easily could get you invited back!

Roasted Pecans with Rosemary, Olive Oil, and Sea Salt

  • SERVES: MAKES 3 CUPS/300 G
  • TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES
  • ACTIVE TIME: 3 MINUTES

Ingredients

  • 3 cups/300 g raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Fine sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. Arrange the pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake until browned and fragrant, about 12 minutes.
  3. While the nuts are still warm, return them to the bowl and add the oil, rosemary, and salt to taste, tossing to evenly coat. Return the mixture to the baking sheet, set the sheet on a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature.

Put these little delicious beauties into a glass jar, wrap a festive ribbon around the top with a hang tag thanking your guest for their hospitality and voila – you’re the best guest on the guest list!

Home-cooked Stovetop Stuffing

Just like mom made?

Stovetop stuffing is another popular holiday tradition. That red cardboard box had a reserved seat at most family tables and you probably couldn’t get enough. Who could have imagined that some stale bread, spices, and dried vegetables cooked up in a little butter could and would taste so good?

If you’re working to carry your health-consciousness through the holiday season, you’re probably looking for a better way to make this traditional dish. You probably can’t bring yourself to eat something that contains things like high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein (even if it is less than two percent), partially hydrogenated oils, sugar, caramel color, maltodextrin, BHA, and BHT (preservatives). Yikes!

How about…better than mom-made!

No need to fear, because with just a little extra elbow grease you can have this family favorite without all those unwanted chemicals and preservatives. Starting with wholesome ingredients from scratch and throwing in a mouthwatering combination of spices, you’ll be amazed at just how easy it is. And of course, making something yourself helps you always know exactly what’s in your food!

Homecooked Stovetop Stuffing

Don’t forget the herbal benefits

As you read through your holiday recipes, you may start to notice that the spices typically stealing the show are well known for their health benefits. If you can focus on letting these flavors and tastes shine and eliminate all the unnecessary processed sugars, bad fats and carbs and curb overeating, your holiday meal could actually be beneficial to your system.

Even Simon and Garfunkel knew the benefits of the spices used in this dish…they sang about it in their 1966 hit “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.” While this dish doesn’t use rosemary (although you can always try adding it for a slightly different flavor profile!), it puts to use all the others.

Parsley sage rosemary and thyme

Parsley is a medicinal herb that benefits the body as a diuretic and helps remove toxins from the body. It has also been touted as an effective breath freshener, but unfortunately, isn’t in high enough amounts in this dish to overcome those potent dried onions. Sage has incredible antioxidant properties that helps support better brain function. Thyme has been known to help with chest and respiratory problems including coughs and chest congestion–even bronchitis, and has antibacterial properties.

Home-Cooked Stovetop Stuffing (serves 9)

  • 3 slices bread of choice – this recipe uses Nature’s Own Wheat+Protein Bread
  • ½ tablespoon dried parsley
  • ⅛ cup dried onion flakes
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons  Better Than Boullion, Chicken
  • 1 ½ cups of water

stuffing ingredients

Directions

stuffing bread cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Cut your bread slices into 1×1 inch squares and spread them onto a foil-lined cookie sheet.
  3. Bake four minutes (until browned) then flip all squares and bake (until browned). Set aside to cool completely, but keep the oven on.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients (parsley, onions, thyme, pepper, sage and salt).
  5. Combine dry ingredients with bread crumbs and stir or toss gently to coat.
  6. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add Better Than Boullion and stir to combine.
  7. Add bread and spice mixture and heat through, stirring frequently until well-coated and warm (at this stage it will look and smell very similar to the boxed stuff).
  8. Set entire mixture aside, emptying pan. Add 1 ½ cups of water and three more tablespoons of butter and bring to a boil.
  9. Add stuffing mixture back to pan, stir to combine. Cover and remove from heat.
  10. Let stand five minutes and fluff with a fork.
  11. Transfer to a baking dish and cook in 350º oven until top is a little crispy, times may vary depending on how soggy your stuffing is.

 

 

 

Transfer to a baking dish and cook in 350º oven until top is a little crispy, times may vary depending on how soggy your stuffing is.

Recipe Notes

  • If you don’t think stuffing is stuffing without celery, you can add ⅛ cup of it in. Also to sweeten the profile, put in ⅛ cup of sugar free dried cranberries.
  • To save time, you can forego the baking of the stuffing in the oven and serve it directly from the stove top, just like momma used to.
  • If you need this to be gluten and dairy free, use a gluten free bread of your choice and use dairy-free butter.
  • If you don’t have Better Than Bouillon, you can substitute it with an equal number of bouillon cubes (flavor of your choice), but the final sodium content of your dish will be slightly higher.

How 8 Successful Business Leaders Unplug Let’s all take a cue (or two) from them.

In today’s hyper-connected world, it can feel nearly impossible to take a step back from our devices. Luckily we have role models to look to for real-world unplugging inspiration and insights, including many in the business world. Here’s what eight extremely successful leaders say about taking breaks from tech to unplug and recharge, their relationships with their phones and how they deal with email.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of Linkedin

  1. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“My phone is the most essential device I use, though it’s not in the bedroom while I’m sleeping.”

On how he deals with email:

“To receive less email, I try sending less email. I also try to clear out all unread email at least once each morning and each night. Lastly, I don’t send email after 11 p.m. or before 5 a.m. ”

Megha Mittal, Chairman of ESCADA

  1. Megha Mittal, Chairman of ESCADA

“I have made a conscious effort to not have my phone with me in the evenings when I am with my children because they deserve my undivided attention, which is impossible around one’s phone! I have also stopped sleeping with my phone. I still check my phone too many times during the day. So this is work in progress.”

Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co

  1. Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“No, it charges in the closet. I try to keep it in my back pocket when I’m with family or in meetings. I’m not always successful.”

On how he deals with email:

“I check regularly but I am purposely not on email all day. If I have an urgent question, I’ll call or text. And when I’m in meetings — and that’s most of my work day — I make an effort to be present and not multi-task. Instead, I run through email in the morning first thing; again late morning; and again end of the workday in the office. Occasionally I check in the evening at home. I’m also very conscious of the ‘signal’ the time of my emails send to people — so I try not to send emails late at night or extremely early in the morning.”

Mike O'Neill President and CEO of BMI

  1. Mike O’Neill, President and CEO of BMI

When asked by the New York Times about his work culture, O’Neill said:

“One of my favorite things when we go into a staff meeting is to say: ‘Anybody waiting on a call? Is there an emergency? If not, turn your phones off. We’re here for 35 minutes to an hour, whichever it may be. We can focus for that. If you have something that’s time sensitive, you can step out of the room and do it, but just let us know beforehand.’”

And when asked if that’s a rule he’s always enforced, he said:

“Always. It’s like sitting on that lifeguard stand. You could focus for an hour. The internet is very intrusive in that way. I used to sit in meetings and see people on their phones and wonder, ‘Why are you here?’”

Alexandra

  1. Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder and COO of TheMuse.com

“My phone and I have a co-dependent relationship, but I’ve done a better job of drawing boundaries since I did a tech curfew last year. The key for me has been removing all alerts and notifications from my phone, so that I choose when to check it, and then being super careful on weekends and on vacation. It’s easy to develop a Pavlovian response to your phone, reaching for that Gmail app without even realizing that you’re doing it. I like to use airplane mode strategically and on my honeymoon went so far as to delete email off my phone for two full weeks.”

Martin Lindstrom corporate and consumer branding expert and NYT Bestselling author

  1. Martin Lindstrom, corporate and consumer branding expert and NYT Bestselling author

On whether his phone sleeps in his bed:

“Absolutely not — you must be crazy. Seven years ago, I made a very conscious decision not to jump onboard the smartphone wave — simply because I noticed how it kills our lives. We never get bored anymore — yet boredom is the foundation for creativity. So I bought an old analog Nokia — yes they’re hard to get hold of these days. Only option: eBay. But they’ve allowed me to be present. We’re never present these days — thus we never observe, never connect with people (in the physical world), and, yes, never get bored. In fact, now when we’re talking about it — I can’t even tell you where my phone is — perhaps because I only use it a couple of times a week.”

On how he deals with email:

“I have appointments with my emails twice a day. That’s it — it’s addictive, I know — so I try to control ensuring that I allow time for what really matters.”

Susie Lee, CEO and co-founder of Siren

  1. Susie Lee, CEO and co-founder of Siren

On whether her phone sleeps in her bed:

“Since I run a tech company, I require it far more than my natural inclination, but heavens no, I don’t sleep with it. The phone is, by far, the least interesting partner in bed.”

Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life

  1. Danielle DuBoise, co-founder of Sakara Life

“I’m pretty attached to my phone during the workweek, but it’s important to unplug. My husband and I practice something called ‘Sacred Sundays’ every week…no screens, no emails, no texting, no calls, just connecting with each other and being in the moment!”

Give your mind a rest and UNPLUG!

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com

Keto-approved Vanilla Protein Fudge

Vanilla Protein Fudge

Primal Diet approved!

Makes 36 squares, serving size = 1 square

 

These addictive treats pack a punch of healthy fats and protein. One decadent square is usually enough to satisfy even the over-the-top sweet-tooth!

Calories: 72                                        Fat: 7 grams

Carbs: 1 gram!                                   Protein: 2 grams

 

INGREDIENTS

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

½ C grass-fed butter, at room temperature

½ C raw almond butter (smooth, not chunky)

2 ½ T erythritol

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 scoops Primal Kitchen Vanilla Coconut Primal Fuel or other protein powder (see note below)

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan, melt together the cream cheese,butter and almond butter over low heat, stirring frequently. (you can also do this in the microwave. Combine the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 20 seconds, stir, and if needed, microwave another 10 seconds until soft and smooth.)
  2. Scrape the cream cheese mixture into a bowl and add the erythritol, vanilla, and protein powder. Use a hand mixer or immersion blender to blend until smooth. Do not skip this step! You will see after 30 seconds or so of mixing that the consistency changes to become smoother and more fudge-like. Keep mixing until thickened and somewhat sticky.
  3. Line a 6 inch square baking dish with parchment papter or grease with coconut oil. Scrape the mixture into the baking dish and smooth as much as you can with a spatula. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to harden.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut into even squares. Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.

Primal Fuel

NOTE: if you do not have Primal Fuel Protein Powder, you can substitute ½ C of another whey protein and adjust the sweetness as desired. You can also substitute powdered stevia or another powdered sweetener blend in the appropriate amount for the erythritol.

Erythritol, what is it?: erythritol is a sugar alcohol that’s 60-80% as sweet as sugar, but it isn’t completely digested so it has a very limited effect on blood sugar levels. Five grams of erythritol have just 1 calorie. Some stevia-based sweeteners also contain erythritol – read your labels to know.

I would love to hear how you like this recipe! Share photos, comments, anything and everything about this recipe – I know I’ll be making and bringing this to the next party!

Sugar-free Holiday Cookie Recipe!

I just found this delicious sugar-free cookie recipe on Gabby Bernstien’s blog and wanted to share it with everyone.

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Candice Kumai

Makes approx. 12 cookies.

Candice is the golden girl of the wellness world! She based these super moist and delicious cookies on the most popular cookie recipe from her first book, Pretty Delicious. Pretty Delicious Cookbook

Pretty Delicious Cookbook

They taste even better the next day!

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients
– 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract
– 1/3 cup organic sugar OR 6-8 drops of stevia
– 1 large ripe banana, mashed
– 1 cup gluten-free flour
– ½ tsp. baking powder
– ¼ tsp. sea salt
– 1 Tbsp. high-quality matcha powder
– 1 cup organic rolled oats
– 1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips or sugar-free chocolate chips

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a large baking bowl, add unrefined coconut oil, vanilla and sugar (or stevia if making sugar-free), whisk well to combine. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Mix in the mashed banana, whisking until well incorporated.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk until they’re combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the oats and chocolate chips. Sprinkle in your sifted matcha powder and fold into cookie dough using a rubber spatula.
5. Chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Use a tablespoon to scoop out 1½-inch dough balls, placing them about 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.
7. Bake until slightly golden on top, about 10-13 minutes.
8. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

A Gentle Detox to Heal Your Gut

As an Integrative Health & Wellness Coach, I’m always finding new ways to help heal the gut. Everything about you starts in your belly. And for 100’s of years, Doctors have been saying that your stomach is your entire system’s brain – if it’s out of whack, you’re out of whack.

gut-bacteria

Did you know there are tiny, living microbes in your stomach and intestines that can make a big, positive difference in your waistline, brain, and immune system? There are about 100 trillion bacteria in or around your body right now. Some estimates say that each human has at least one or two pounds of bacteria living in their guts at all times. When you’re feeling a bit off, or sluggish, or constantly tired, or your skin breaks out, etc. the first thing I recommend is a Detox as they can be very helpful in healing your gut flora – and this one is SO simple yet SO effective!

So, if you want to cleanse, lose body fat, boost energy and help reverse disease, then adding natural detox drinks to your diet can help you improve your quality of life … fast!

Secret Detox Drink by Dr Axe

Dr_AxE_Homemade_Detox_Drink_With_Apple_Cider_Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is full of enzymes and good bacteria. It contains acetic acid, which has been shown to lower blood pressure up to 6 percent. It can also help eat up the starches if you do eat grains in your diet.

Lemon juice helps balance blood sugar and has an alkaline effect on your body helping to regulate PH. It also contains vitamin C.

Cinnamon is one of the best antioxidants on the planet. It’s the number one herb/spice for balancing blood sugar.

Cayenne pepper has been shown to drop blood pressure, increase metabolism.

I recommend consuming this drink three times daily, 20 minutes before meals for two weeks, then consuming it one time a day before breakfast or lunch after the two weeks is up.

Secret Detox Drink Recipe

TOTAL TIME: 2 MINUTES

SERVES: 1

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 glass of warm or hot water (12-16 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½-1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, I recommend Ceylon Cinnamon – https://www.amazon.com/Simply-Organic-Ground-Ceylon-Cinnamon
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional, but if you don’t like the taste of ACV, I highly recommend using it!)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Warm the water – you can use a tea kettle, you don’t want to put ACV in a microwave as it breaks down it’s healing properties.
  2. Mix all ingredients together, I’m constantly stirring it because the cinnamon is constantly falling to the bottom.
  3. Best served warm but drink at your desired temperature.

 

I’ve grown accustomed to the taste and really enjoy it but my husband hates the smell of ACV so here’s a tip for those who don’t like the smell:

  • Put all ingredients together but omit the water – and shoot it like, well…remember back to your college days?

What to expect:

  1. No, you won’t have to stay close to the bathroom, this detox drink is gentle and works over time.
  2. Your pee might smell odd but that’s just all the yuck being filtered through and out of your system.

I’m doing this Apple Cider Vinegar Detox now and am on Day 5 – I feel great! And with the Holiday Season upon us, cookies being passed around, holiday candies, festive cocktails…I know my body is thanking me for this.

RAW VEGAN MINI CHOCOLATE BITES

I just found this recipe by Leena Oijala and had to share – these are delicious and so simple to make. Healthy fat, low carb, raw, vegan, keto friendly and I believe if you’re on the Whole 30 they’re good to go too! Any of you dear readers that are on the Whole 30 – let me know!

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ½ cup coconut oil (close to liquid form/room temp.)
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or raw honey
  • ¼ -½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • Extra flavoring of choice (about 2 tsps — be careful if using cayenne, adjust down to about 1/2 tsp!)

Yields 4-6 Servings

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender or food processor and mix until fully blended into a thick chocolate syrup.
  2. Pour the syrup into small candy molds or tiny paper baking cups set on a tray or baking dish. If you like, sprinkle chopped nuts over them.
  3. Freeze for at least 20-30 minutes, or until completely solidified.
  4. Remove from the molds or baking cups and store in an airtight container. These mini chocolates will keep for at least month if stored in the freezer.