the connection between food & mood is something that i’ve been interested in for 20 years. i’ve struggled with slow metabolism (and some thyroid issues), along with some form of depression and terrible pms for most of my life, and i first got interested in how food affects these things when i befriended a nutritionist at the age of 18. she was kind enough to make a food plan for me that involved lots of protein and healthy fats (in the low-fat 90’s), and when i was in my late 20’s another nutritionist gave me the book the mood cure. this book is like my bible- and it prescribes a diet that is high in protein/healthy fats, cuts out processed foods & sugar, and includes amino acid supplements. here is a great roundup of the scientific evidence behind amino therapy, but my personal experience with aminos has been incredible. i think clearer, sleep better, handle stress better, have more energy and even have sharper vision when i take amino supplements. i recently started taking natural factors thyroid health formula, and l-glutamine (to help with sugar cravings) and 5htp to help with all the things. i’ve also been using ashwagandha for several months to help with anxiety and sleep.
supplements aside, foods play a big role. throughout my life i’ve tried pretty much every diet out there but what sticks out through all of them is that i don’t do well with diary (bloating, cloudy thinking/low energy & acne), gluten (same as dairy), or corn (foggy, bloated & jumpy heartbeat anxiousness) and i am allergic to soy (instant canker sores). i also find that i just don’t handle starch well. any starch. i’ve always felt leaner, lighter, brighter and less bloated when i eat a diet that focuses on protein and veggies and avoids starches and dairy. after a little over a year on a vegan/plant based diet, i felt sort of exhausted all the time and decided to change my diet to one that included meat (red meat for pms), lots of fish (for omegas) and cut out most of the starches that i was eating just to keep going (even though they were healthy ones). i also cut out the dried fruits (dates and “energy bars” made with dates) that i was super hooked on and found that my sugar cravings went down, my energy shot up, my bloating went wayyyy down and i lost some weight. i also re-introduced amino acid supplements and i feel so, so much better. while i like cooking, i’m hecka busy and not rolling in the dough (punny), so i try to keep my meals simple and easy to prepare. i thought i’d share what i eat in a week.
my morning routine is the same 6 days a week: i have a glass of water with lemon; 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar in water; and 2 cups of coffee with unsweetened almond milk. breakfast is a smoothie made with mixed greens, 1/2 avocado, sun potion ashwangandha, sun warrior warriormeal protein powder, and water. my mid-morning snack is always trader joe’s “just a handful” of dry roasted unsalted almonds. here is the rest for a typical week:
monday: lunch: leftover roast chicken with sauteed spinach. dinner: parchment packet salmon with zucchini, squash & onion. after dinner snack: 1/2 bag of raw cashews (really went for it).
tuesday: lunch: 4 eggs with 1/2 avocado. afternoon snack: raw cashews. dinner: crockpot chili.
wednesday: lunch: canned salmon with yellow mustard on bed of spinach. dinner: pressure cooker mexican chicken topped with avocado & black olives with oven roasted zucchini, red onion & bell pepper.
thursday: lunch: canned chicken with cilantro, green onion & coconut vegan mayo. dinner: oven roasted tilapia topped with trader joe’s zhoug sauce with curried cauliflower. after dinner snack: raw cashews.
friday: lunch: albacore tuna with trader joe’s tahini, pepita & apricot slaw (hold the apricots). dinner: out- salad with grilled chicken & veggies with 2 glasses of dry champagne.
saturday: lunch: 4 eggs with 1/2 avocado. afternoon snack: little cup of blackberries & raspberries with raw cashews. dinner: organic chicken sausage with mixed baby greens and trader joe’s turmeric almond butter dressing. dessert: choczero chocolate and a la croix water.
sunday: breakfast: 4 egg omelette with spinach & black olives. snack: handful dry roasted unsalted almonds. lunch: grilled chicken & raw veggies with cauliflower hummus. dinner: trader joe’s roasted chicken patties with zucchini noodles and trader joe’s turmeric almond butter dressing.