A Zen Guide to Surviving the Season with Superfoods

Stress Busting Foods

All you want for the holidays is for your niece to get her two front teeth, for it to be white (but not polar vortex white), and to be as Zen as a yogi while wearing cute yoga pants. Well, I don’t have a direct line to the Tooth Fairy or Mother Nature, but I do know something about maintaining inner harmony using the power of food.

Add these stress-busting, energy-fueling superfoods to a meal or enjoy as a mid-gift-shopping snack and stay mentally balanced while maintaining your fab yoga figure.

Avocados For the Win

You can’t go wrong with a few slices perfectly ripened avocado. The texture is a mix between buttery and heavenly, and the heavy dose of vitamin B they offer perks up your alertness while taking down your anxiety levels. Try half of one with breakfast.

Go Bananas

Pair your morning cereal, organic pb and honey, or kale smoothie with a banana. Their mega-dose of potassium pumps up your energy while simultaneously reducing your blood pressure. Feeling wild? Try a fruit salad with both bananas and avocado (avocado isn’t just for guacamole anymore!).

More Milk, Please

There’s something to the tradition of hitting the hay with a glass of warm milk after all. High in tryptophan, milk is a natural way to calm down and yes, fall deeply into zzz’s. Or of course, drink it fresh from the fridge – either way, it’s soothing.

Carbs (Not Simple, Complex)

Tantalized by toast or riveted by rice? Don’t worry – we all are. Stick with complex carbs like whole-wheat bread and brown rise to raise serotonin levels and keep you happier than Dean Martin sipping eggnog and slurring carols.

Tuna, Salmon and Arctic Char

Consider eating these fish to take you to your adrenaline-free zone. The omega-3s in these fatty fish make staying calm easy. Yes, even when the printer biffed your holiday cards and your mother-in-law is writing Facebook posts about how she’s clearly been cut off of mailing lists.

Do You Cashew?

Zinc does a body good, and cashews are full of it. Blessed with the power of relieving stress and fighting off infections, a handful of cashews are almost as deserving of the title “savior” as someone else whose name comes up this time of year.

Orange You Glad…

When you’re stressed out (whether from debating about Pound Puppies vs. Pound Purries for your best friend’s kid, or from trying to cook the perfect holiday meal), your vitamin C levels drop. Grab one of these pulpy beauties to fight stress, and thus infections.

Dessert of Champions: Dark Chocolate

Sing it with me now: serotonin! I don’t expect you to skip sweets and treats – just do so wisely with anti-oxidant rich, mood-boosting dark chocolate. Try drizzling it over orange slices for a decadent mid-day pick me up or delectable dessert.

When you’re running full-steam ahead to make the Holidays happen, be sure to give yourself the gift of healthy food! Come by Intelligent Gourmet for a quick pick-me-up any  time you need it.

 

 

 

Eat This Food Once a Week for a Better Memory and Healthier Brain

Fish and alzheimer's

Having a few more “senior moments” lately? Forgotten where your keys are a few too many times this month? Walk into a room and wonder why you came in? They happen to all of us, and we joke about them with our friends, but for those concerned about getting Alzheimer’s or dementia, these moments are no laughing matter. However, new studies on Alzheimer’s prevention are coming out with some interesting suggestions – one of which is to eat more fish.

UCLA resident radiologist, Dr. Cyrus Raji, lead research that found that people who eat fish regularly have bigger, stronger, healthier brains, which protects against Alzheimer’s and dementia.

How often do you need to eat fish to reap the benefits? Just once a week.

But there’s a catch to ordering the catch of the day: While any kind of fish is beneficial, the benefits tank when the fish is fried. Nix the fish sticks.

Cultures with more fish-heavy diets around the world, like the Japanese, have significantly fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s not just the fish intake, it’s the entire lifestyle. Alzheimer’s has been linked to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes – which can all be controlled through diet and exercise.

Here’s one of my favorite fish recipes. You’ll be amazed at how delicious salmon is with a hint of vanilla!

Garam Masala-crusted salmon with mint-yogurt sauce

Ingredients: salmon fillets with skin on, 1 whole vanilla bean, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), garam masala, Greek yogurt, mint, fresh greens, figs (optional).

  1. In a pan, heat EVOO with 1/2″ fresh vanilla bean, infusing the oil over medium heat.
  2. Coat a salmon filet in garam masala liberally, and place it in the pan, flesh-side down, with the oil and vanilla.
  3. Sear the salmon, then flip and finish cooking skin-side down.
  4. Pro-tip: You know the salmon is perfect when it begins oozing out white all over.
  5. Mix a tablespoon of Greek yogurt with fresh torn mint.
  6. Plate the salmon over fresh greens (with quartered figs if they’re in season), and top with a dollop of yogurt sauce.

Eat Yourself to Sanity: Top 5 Stress-Busting Foods

pistachio
Fall can be a stressful time of year, can’t it? The kids are back to school, you’re back to work following your summer excursion to a Caribbean beach, and the soothing embrace of the holiday season feels hopelessly far away. Wait, did I say “soothing embrace”? I think I meant “existential dread and pressure-packed gift buying”. In that case, we should also change “feels hopelessly far away” to read “looms ominously and approaches at warp speed”. Ah… Fall!

So how can eating well help you get a handle on your active, busy life? Below are five excellent stress-fighting superfoods that can help take the edge off and, as an added benefit, help balance your hormones without adding empty calories to your diet. You’ll be back to shopping for overpriced Halloween costumes with a smile on your face in no time!

1. Oranges. Research has shown that eating an orange can help you relax and return your blood pressure and hormone levels to normal.

2. Dried apricots. These contain both a natural muscle relaxant and magnesium – a known stress reliever.

3. Walnuts, pistachios, and other healthy nuts. In addition to regulating blood pressure, they also provide vitamins B & E.

4. Turkey. Tryptophan can make you sleepy, but it can also beat back anxiety and tension. Just keep your portion on the smaller side to avoid a long nap.

5. Fish. The omega-3 fatty acids in many fish can help regulate adrenaline and cortisol hormone levels, which flush away the lingering feelings of stress.