Eating to Reduce Stress

Eating to Reduce Stress

If you are a busy working mom, I bet you are often stressed.  If you have kids that are super busy in sports and school like mine are, I KNOW you have stressful days every week.  Am I right? As I mentioned in this week’s Facebook Live Monthly Introduction, in addition to sharing how I use the essential oil Lavender, I will be sharing all kinds of stress relief tips and tricks this month.  Lavender is our oil of the month and so stress relief is the perfect complimentary wellness topic to dive into. When life feels stressful, often the first thing many of reach for is sugar and coffee.  Although they may taste and feel good in the moment, in the long run they aren’t going to help you relieve stress at all,  in fact, they will probably make you feel worse.  Sugar and caffeine release “feel good” chemicals in your brain (serotonin, endorphins and dopamine for you scientific types).  Thanks to this, the positive feelings are real and you do feel better, but unfortunately, that happy high quickly turns to a drop in your moods and you feel tired and perhaps even worse. So what should you eat instead? Leafy greens.  Spinach is an easy source and contains magnesium which can help activate B vitamins – B vitamins give us energy.  Popeye knew what he was talking about! Red peppers.  These slightly sweet veggies can help curb sweet cravings while boosting our Vitamin C levels. Salmon.  Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3’s.  There is research that shows that cultures that eat foods with high levels of Omega-3’s have lower...
Chocolate Coconut Bites – a healthy alternative to a Mounds bar!

Chocolate Coconut Bites – a healthy alternative to a Mounds bar!

Ready for our last chocolate recipe of the month?  It’s another simple and tasty one – just four basic ingredients and a few minutes of hands on time. Chocolate Coconut Bites makes about 6, double or triple if you’d like more 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut 1/2 to 1 T. honey 1 t. coconut oil 1/2 cup good quality chocolate chips Step one:  Mix coconut, honey and coconut oil.   Will be sticky, but should hold together – add a bit more coconut oil if it doesn’t. Step two:  Shape into small balls (about 1-inch).  Place on a piece of wax paper and place in the fridge for a half an hour or more. Step three:   Melt chocolate and pour a spoonful over each coconut ball.  Place in fridge for an hour or more until chocolate has hardened.  Store in fridge. These are super tasty and a nice alternative to a typical candy bar.  You could also add a nut to each one to bump up the protein (Almond Joy anyone?).  A fun dessert idea would be a plate of these coconut bites, some banana bites and some fruit dipped in chocolate.  Simple, pretty and a much better choice versus a heavy chocolate cake! Wonder why you should add coconut to your diet?  Raw coconut contains several healthy fats (including caprylic, capric and lauric fatty acids) which are antibacterial and antiviral and help boost your immune system.   Coconut is high in fiber, and also contains monolaurin which may be particularly useful for combating viruses. Ready to start each day off feeling GREAT?  Get your FREE copy of my 3-day e-course...
Go Bananas for THESE Chocolate Treats!

Go Bananas for THESE Chocolate Treats!

Okay, here is another seriously simple and surprisingly delicious little chocolate treat. Plus, you get some bonus health benefits (that’s my kinda treat!). If you don’t care about the benefits, skip on down to the recipe. Last week we talked a bit about chocolate, so I won’t go into that except to recommend you use the best quality for this recipe you can get your hands on – it will taste better AND be better for you.  By including some peanut butter, you’ll add a little healthy fat and protein to this treat – plus they will fill you up, so you won’t be reaching for another snack right away.  But the star of this recipe is the banana.  Even if you aren’t a huge banana fan, I encourage you to give these a shot.  The chocolate and peanut butter enhance the sweetness of the banana and mask a bit of the strong taste.   Plus, bananas are high in potassium, provide energy, are a natural antacid (so they counteract some of the acid formed from the chocolate), are high in iron, AND high in dietary fiber.  Whew, that’s a lot of goodness in one simple fruit! Chocolate and Peanut Butter Banana Bites 1 banana 1/4 cup good quality chocolate chips (or equivalent chocolate from a high quality chocolate bar) 1 T organic peanut butter (make sure there are only two ingredients – peanuts and salt) Step one:  Melt the chocolate and peanut butter in the microwave or double boiler (or do what I do and use a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water). Step two:  Cut...
Mocha Coffee Creamer or Hot Chocolate – YOUR Choice

Mocha Coffee Creamer or Hot Chocolate – YOUR Choice

Like you need another reason to enjoy chocolate, right?  Here is the perfect little recipe to sweeten up your mornings . . .  To make:  Mocha Coffee Creamer (or Hot Chocolate Base) 1 cup half and half (organic preferably) 3 T maple syrup 1 t. vanilla 2-3 T cocoa powder (look for organic and fair trade) Step one:  Dump all the ingredients in a blender. Step two:  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a jar and store in the fridge for about a week. To enjoy: With coffee:  Add a quarter cup to your mug and pour hot coffee on top.  If you like your coffee a little sweeter, add a bit more maple syrup. As Hot Chocolate:  Fill your mugs about 2/3 full of the mix – one batch will make two small mugs.  Heat in microwave (or heat in a saucepan on the stovetop).  Add a dollop of real whipped cream and enjoy! Or, if you are like me, it’s terribly tempting to just put a little in a bowl, top with whipped cream and eat with a spoon.  YUM! This would make a terrific treat for Valentine’s Day or an after sledding popcorn party!  Or just a nice way to start your morning! Looking for more ways to create everyday and special memories for your family? Join my bi-monthly newsletter and get extra tips I don’t share anywhere else! Shared on Inspire Me Monday, WFMW, Real Food Wednesday and The Mommy Club  ...
What everybody ought to know about CHOCOLATE!

What everybody ought to know about CHOCOLATE!

Yum.  Chocolate.  Most of us love it, right?  And we’ve all heard about how “healthy” it is.  Today I thought I’d dive into that a bit and discover the best way for us to enjoy this delicious treat. And let me tell you, it was rough going – testing out all this chocolate – the things I do for you, right? Without a doubt, dark chocolate is your best bet.  And by dark chocolate, I’m talking about chocolate labeled at least 70% dark.  Any less and the benefits start to diminish. Most people have a preference dark versus milk, but even if you prefer milk chocolate you can learn to love dark too – the taste is definitely more bitter, but it is still sweet and satisfying.  Just start with 60% dark, move to 65%, then 70%, etc.  Eventually, you’ll enjoy it all. The biggest differences between dark and milk chocolate are that dark chocolate contains more cocoa (and milk typically contains milk or milk products).  Pretty simple.  Some of the benefits of dark chocolate: can lower blood pressure full of antioxidants (which gobble up free radicals in your body) contains flavonoids (epicatechin specifically) which help keep cholesterol from gathering in your blood vessels) tastes heavenly Knowing that dark chocolate is best, what should a quality bar contain?  The best brands simply contain cocoa and some form of sweetener. Many brands also contain an ingredient called soy lecithin.  Soy lecithin is an emulsifier (a by-product of soybean oil) often added to chocolate to help the cocoa and the cocoa butter stick together.  Is it bad?  Well, if you can...

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