Looking for a natural mood enhancer? A shift in diet may influence your brain’s feel good chemicals.

The pursuit of happiness will take you down many roads, through many relationships, jobs, and life situations. However, we all know the feeling of being surrounded by material objects, people, and experiences that we at one time desired—only to feel isolation, disconnection, and a deep sense of longing.

I know this feeling firsthand, and I can tell you that my struggle with clinical depression and daily mood swings were directly related to my lack of self-love, my inability to deal with negative emotions, and, most significantly, a few key nutritional deficiencies that threw my brain chemistry out of balance.

In addition to learning new emotional healing tools, a gentle shift in my diet and optimizing my nutrition had tangible benefits for my mood and overall level of contentment. Before I made these changes, I could feel that something was definitely “off,” but I was too ashamed to ask for support. I thought I had to struggle with it alone and didn’t want to burden anyone with my pain.

 

As I dove into the research to look at the scope of depression in the U.S., I found I was definitely not alone in my struggle:

  • 14.8 million American adults (about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population) ages 18 and older suffer from depression.
  • One in ten U.S. adults takes a pharmaceutical antidepressant medication.
  • Depression affects one in four American women in their 40s and 50s.

 

Now, looking at those statistics, you may be thinking, Wow, I didn’t know it was THAT big of a problem! But, if we’re honest about it, mood swings and depressive states can strike us all . . . and for some of us, quite often. All it takes is one more domino to send the whole stack crashing down: your paycheck was late, the line at the DMV was way too long, or the distracted barista at Starbucks accidentally made your triple latte with whole milk when you specifically told her you wanted coconut milk. And then what happens? You fly off the handle like a frothing junkyard dog and act like it’s the end of the freakin’ world. Can you relate? I sure can. I’ve had plenty of those little irritating moments that feel like apocalyptic crises when in reality, they are just mirrors for something deeper inside of us that wants to be understood and healed.

 

Good Foods for Good Moods

If you’ve been feeling crappy, it’s time to take a good look at your food choices to see how they are affecting your state of being. Are you craving a lot of sweets or starches? If your blood sugar is on a roller-coaster ride from eating too much processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, and artificial ingredients, you are more likely to feel imbalanced and cranky. You’ll also feel off balance if you’ve started a super-restrictive crash diet; your GI tract will be in distress with intense hunger pangs.

Keeping your blood sugar steady and your GI tract running smoothly will do wonders for your overall health and moods.

Take a good look at your food choices to see how they are affecting your state of being. Keeping your blood sugar steady and your GI tract running smoothly will do wonders for your overall health and moods. Plus, the key nutrients you get in certain foods can influence your brain’s levels of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine. Other critical nutrients can help prevent inflammation in your body so that your blood circulates well to all of your organs.

 

Grilled Asparagus Sandwich with Vegan Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Serves 4

This recipe is all about the juxtaposition of textures. The chewy, woodsy grilled asparagus is slathered in a tangy, light, dairy-free hollandaise sauce that creates a flavor explosion in your mouth.  If you’re prone to mood swings, asparagus is a must-have vegetable in your diet because it’s packed with folic acid. Low levels of folic acid have been linked to depression, so you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of it.

Hollandaise Sauce

1 cup cashews (soaked two hours)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon holy basil powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Asparagus Sandwich

2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil

1 pound asparagus spears

4 gluten-free English muffins, halved and toasted

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/8 cup hemp seeds

 

To make the hollandaise sauce: blend all sauce ingredients in a high-speed blender for 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

Heat the coconut oil in a sauté pan and cook the asparagus spears for five to six minutes on medium heat until tender and slightly browned. Transfer to a plate.

To assemble the sandwiches: layer each English muffin with a generous amount of the asparagus spears, hollandaise sauce, red bell peppers, parsley, and hemp seeds. Serve immediately.

 

Eaternity Book Cover by Jason Wrobel

Eaternity by Jason Wrobel

Recipe from Eaternity (More than 150 Deliciously Easy Vegan Recipes for a Long, Healthy, Satisfied, Joyful Life!)

Buy the book here.

 

Vegan chef and wellness expert Jason Wrobel offers up a comprehensive recipe and lifestyle book with practical tips for creating drool-worthy dishes with specific nutritional benefits. In Eaternity, Jason explains which foods contain active ingredients to support health and longevity. hayhouse.com