I can’t be without my greens! It’s something about how they make me feel. My mind is clearer, my thoughts are fluid, and my body is energized. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of my favorite greens juices, Green Goddess, or a plate full of sauteed collards. I need to eat something green almost every day. I blame it on my grandmother. When I was about 3 or 4, she would cook a huge pot of spinach. I mean HUGE!! We would eat it until we couldn’t eat anymore along with some hot water cornbread. Talk about good clean eating.
I believe that is why my body has become used to experiencing the joy that they bring. When I don’t feed my body nutrient-dense foods my mind is foggy, my thoughts are shallow, and my body feels drained. Juicing leafy greens always gives me a mind, spirit, and body reboot. I can’t wait to grow my own this season. Thanks, grandma for prepping me for the lifestyle that I live today!
Who or what inspires you to eat nutrient-dense foods?
I always get asked the question, “Tie what kind of juicer should I buy?” There are so many out there promising great results, but the proof is in the juice! When I first started on my juicing journey, I bought the Jack Lalanne. Once I used that, with unsatisfactory results, I ventured out and discovered the Breville. I love my Breville! Even though it isn’t a cold-pressed juicer, I still love it. I love the large feeding chute. This feature saves you a few minutes of prep time. Because it is a centrifugal juicer, you may have a lot of pulp after juicing but you can always throw that back through the juicer or blend it up to get the fiber.
My second love is the Omega 8000 series. I have the 8006 and 8009 editions. These are cold-pressed juicers. The pulp is extracted at a slow speed, it generates less heat, and preserves more enzymes. And the cleanup time is amazing! This juicer changed the juice game for me! It is a little more expensive than the Breville but well worth every penny. Also, the warranty is for 15 years compared to 1 year for the Breville.
So, to answer the question, you are going to reap nutrient dense benefits whichever juicer you decide to buy. How much money you decide to invest in your health journey is up to you. Just remember, juicers are beginning to be like cell phones, there’s always a new edition coming out. So try not to get caught up in the hype. Get caught up in the health and wellness of being a Health Warrior!
You all have heard me talk about how important food combination is for a healthy gut. This is a very good article from the blender girl. What do you think?
Food combining is an approach to eating that works on the premise that our bodies can only digest one concentrated food at a time. Concentrated foods are defined as starches and proteins. So, to simplify it, anything foods other than fruits and vegetables.
The digestion of starches (grains, potatoes, and many other roots) requires alkaline conditions, whereas the enzymes that digest proteins thrive in an acidic environment. So, if we eat a starch and a protein together, we’re asking our digestive systems to be alkaline and acidic at the same time. It’s not possible. Unfortunately, many of the typical Western food combinations ask the body to do just that.
Here is the lowdown on food combining, and how you can pair foods to improve your digestion and have more energy.
- bell peppers – red, green, orange yellow
- squash and zucchini
- avocado (also a fruit)
- coconut (also a fruit)
- animal (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, yogurt)
- beans (both starch and protein)
- nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts)
- seeds (hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin, sunflower, watermelon, sesame)
- bamboo shoots
- beet greens
- bok choy
- brussels sprouts
- burdock root
- collard greens
- dandelion greens
- green beans
- lamb’s quarters
- mustard greens
- onion (white, yellow, purple, green)
- red radishes
- swiss chard
- zucchini (a vegetable fruit)
Grains and Starchy Vegetables
- jerusalem artichokes
- lima beans
- potatoes and sweet potatoes
- water chestnuts
- winter squash (acorn, butternut, kabocha, pumpkin)
This is a frequent question that many people ask me. Have you ever noticed that many of us take a very broad and complex subject and somehow filter out one or two aspects of that subject fixating on them and ignoring the rest of the particulars? We grab onto one thing and don’t spend the time to investigate further. I have been asked this question throughout my journey and my answer with a big smile as always was, ” The same place that the “meat” that you eat gets its protein from, GREENS!!!!” Many of the animals, such as chicken, pork, beef, and turkey, that people consume don’t eat other animals, they graze on greens and/or grains. Okay, pigs eat some of everything so maybe they are the exception, lol. Have you ever met someone who was diagnosed with a protein deficiency? But I have met people who have been diagnosed with too much protein in their urine. The recommended amount of protein for women is about 46 grams a day and men about 56 grams a day. Take your weight and divide it in half then subtract 10 from it is the formula that I got from a nutritionist. Too much protein is known to be dangerous to your kidneys, especially those that have kidney disease.
So what is protein??? Is it the meat or is it the essential nutrients that the meat is composed of? Protein is made up of 100 or more different amino acids. These complex amino acids contain carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. I won’t go into Chemistry 101, but I had to give you an overview. Okay, so the body requires twenty different amino acids of which eight to ten are referred to as essential amino acids. There are two types, essential amino acids, which are the ones that our bodies cannot make and non-essential amino acids, which are ones that our bodies can make. The non-essential are just as important, but they form from compounds that are already in the body at a rate that meets the needs of normal growth and tissue repair. The essential amino acids are: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, and Histine, which is only essential for babies. There are fourteen non-essential amino acids, but I will spare you with the names;-)
My point is that you do not have to eat meat to get all of your essential amino acids. You just have to be more aware of the food that you eat to make sure that you are getting a complete protein, all of the essential amino acids, which is something that I had to learn to do over the years. Green vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, have more protein per calorie than some meat and they are also easier to digest as well as provide disease-fighting nutrients. It is a known fact that green veggies are about 1/2 protein, 1/4 carbs, and 1/4 fat. One hundred calories of broccoli have about 11.2 grams of protein plus fiber versus a 100 calorie steak which has about 5.4 grams of protein no fiber. I know that this is an eye full, but let’s learn to dig a little deeper before we start projecting. Please seek your own truth. Research, research, research! Breathe with the flow of life.
One of the most overlooked aspects of mental health is nutrition. Food plays a significant role in our physical health, as well as our mental and emotional health. When you are struggling with depression, it can feel a bit overwhelming to think about eating the right foods. However, some of these small changes in your diet may help to decrease your symptoms and have a positive effect on your daily life.
What Foods Can Help With Depression?
Whatever your dietary preferences, there are a variety of options that can provide mood-boosting benefits:
Wild-caught fish, especially the more oily types such as salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, and tuna (not canned), are great choices to help fight depression. Why? Because they are rich sources of Omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats help to build connections between brain cells as well as build and strengthen the receptor sites for neurotransmitters. So, an increase in Omega-3’s in your diet can help lead to increased serotonin production and improvement of mood.
Although other nuts such as cashews, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts are helpful in supplementing Omega-3 fats, walnuts seem to be the winner in this category. Walnuts are known to support overall brain health, being one of the highest plant-based sources of Omega-3 and a great source of protein to help keep blood sugar levels at a healthy balance.
Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, both of which help to maintain stable and consistent blood sugar levels. In addition to helping minimize the blood sugar spikes and dips that can affect our mood, beans are also great sources of folate. Folate is a B vitamin that helps the body use vitamin B12 and amino acids, helping the body to detox cells and create new cells. Garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas) are very high in folate, offering over 100 percent of the daily recommended value in just a half cup. Pinto beans are another great choice, with a half cup serving offering 37 percent of the daily recommended value of folate.
Flaxseed and chia seeds are wonderful additions to your diet if you struggle with depression. As with some of the other foods mentioned, these two types of seeds are particularly great sources of Omega-3 fats. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds provides approximately 61 percent of your daily recommended amount of Omega-3 and one tablespoon of flaxseed provides roughly 39 percent of the daily recommendation. As you can see, these two seeds pack a powerful punch if you are looking for small ways to improve your diet and your mood.
Pumpkin and squash seeds are a great addition to increasing tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that produces niacin and helps create serotonin. Although turkey is what most people tend to think of when hearing the term tryptophan, there are many other food sources that offer greater amounts of this essential amino acid. Pumpkin and squash seeds near the top of the list, with just one ounce providing approximately 58 percent of the recommended daily intake of tryptophan.
Yes, you need to eat your veggies! Although this is important for everyone, eating vegetables can be of great help if you struggle with depression. Leafy green vegetables, in particular, are good sources of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is one of the three main types of Omega-3 fatty acids, the other two being DHA and EPA. When considering vegetables to help increase your Omega-3’s, the powerful players tend to be Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, and watercress. Folate, fiber, and other nutrients also make vegetables, especially the darker leafy greens, a wonderful choice when looking for foods to help improve and stabilize mood.
One Ingredient Foods
Generally speaking, it is best to allow your body the freedom to digest foods as close to their natural state as possible.
Many of the processed foods or things you might find at a convenience store are filled with preservatives and offer little to no nutritional benefit. Your body is trying to make sense of what to do with such food, and it can significantly interrupt or rob your body (and mind) of key nutrients and energy it needs to function at its best.
What Foods Aren’t Helpful for Depression?
If you’re coping with depression, it can be just as important to know what not to eat. Unfortunately, many of these foods are of the sort that many people turn to when they’re having a rough day. Being aware of the negative impacts of these foods on your mental health can help you make better decisions:
We know that sugary foods and drinks are not good for our bodies. What you may not realize is that, just as sugar can impact your waistline, it can also significantly impact your mood. There are food choices all around us that are filled with sugar such as cakes, cookies, cereal, drinks, and even condiments such as barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and more. You may also be surprised how many foods are perceived as “healthy,” yet contain extraordinary amounts of sugar. Examples of tricky foods like this are granola bars, energy bars, trail mix, and honey roasted nuts.
Keep in mind that sugar will not always be labeled simply as “sugar” on the ingredient list. In order to be on the lookout for added sugar, you may want to also look for the following terms:
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Be mindful of your choices, and limit foods that are high in sugar, particularly those with added sugars. Keeping your blood sugar levels more evenly balanced through the day can help your mood stay more evenly balanced, too.
Just as with sugar, we are surrounded by processed foods that use refined grains. The term refined refers to forms of sugars and starches that don’t exist in nature, as described by psychiatrist and nutritional expert Dr. Georgia Ede, MD She goes on to share that, “If you are looking at a sweet or starchy whole food that you would come across exactly as in nature, you are looking at an unrefined carbohydrate.”
Many of the foods we seek for convenience are the very things that may be hijacking your mood. Foods such as white rice, pasta, crackers, bread, chips, and breaded foods are full of refined carbohydrates that offer little to no nutritional value and rob you of important B vitamins in the process of digestion. Keeping these refined carbohydrate foods in your diet will take your blood sugar levels on a roller coaster ride throughout the day, which can also result in symptoms of low mood and fatigue.
Not to ruin the party, but limiting alcohol is in your best interest if you struggle with depression. Alcohol is a depressant and can lead to impaired vision, judgment, and reaction time. Many alcoholic beverages can actually be quite sugary which, as we’ve been talking about, has a way of sabotaging your mood and causing blood sugar levels to elevate and crash. Although some research has shown that small amounts of alcohol such as red wine can be helpful, it is in your general best interest to steer clear if you struggle with depression. As suggested by Dr. Ede, “Alcohol will not solve any of your health problems, because no health problem is caused by a lack of alcohol.”
Yes, caffeine can help you start your day with a boost. However, it can also lead to crashes later in the day, and leave you feeling as if you need more to regain energy. Many Americans find themselves over-caffeinated, as we drink coffee and energy drinks regularly. Although caffeine itself has not been shown to cause depression, it is suggested that caffeine be consumed in moderation and not be used as an energy source. A better alternative is green tea. In addition to antioxidant benefits, green tea is also known to provide theanine, an amino acid that offers an anti-stress benefit that can be helpful for those struggling with depression.
Food for Thought
Our bodies interact with the foods we eat and the choices we make each day can impact our body’s ability to function at its best. Although there is no specific diet that has been proven to alleviate depression, we can see that there are plenty of nutrient-rich foods that can help to keep our brains healthy.
It is a good idea to talk with your medical provider before making significant changes to your diet. Remember to also be patient with yourself as you begin to try new foods and give your body time to adjust to the changes you are making. Making better food choices can help your overall health as well as make a positive impact on your emotional wellness.
“We all hold the power to weave ourselves into the web of life, to bring us all we need to be abundant, sustained, and connected.” ~Womb Wisdom
Breathe With The Flow Of Life
Ok, I’m over this weather! Now usually I am one with Mother Nature. I spend a lot of time outside no matter how cold it is. My winter gear keeps me cozy and warm. Feeling the crisp air caress my face, reminding me to wrap my scarf around it. Watching Ginger and Zen run through the snow chasing after their balls. Listening to the birds sing a happy song with cold air heating up their rhythm. But I am ready to grow some food!
I’m getting anxious! Anxious about how much deeper our souls of the soil is going to be. What’s going to bloom; what’s not going to bloom? What will we learn about ourselves this season? Mother Nature, please spare me.
I need to feel the wiggle of a worm on my hands. I need to smell the sweet air of compost. I need to be needed by the spicy mustard greens and picky pickles. Mother Nature, please spare me!
I need to, Breathe with the flow of life, today!
I’m on a roll Health Warriors! Nori rolls with sunflower sprouts, broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots. And a side of spicy mustard. I am so full of energy. Off to the trails with my special two. The Sun is beaming with love today!
What gives you energy?
I personally can’t stand moving time forward in the spring and back in the fall. It doesn’t do my inner clock any good! And, my poor dogs get totally confused because their feeding time changes, LOL. So, here is a breathing exercise that helps me relax and stay balanced during these man-made times.