5 Foods for Brain Health and Happier Moods

There is a very strong connection between food and mood.

It’s undeniable and has been proven by science over and over again.

But it still, often, gets overlooked! Someone feels consistently depressed or anxious, but their nutrition is rarely the first thing they address in order to feel better.

Food IS medicine, and it’s the first line of defense for ANYTHING that feels off in your body OR in your mind.

shelf-1285186_1920.jpg

Eating is something we do every day, multiple times a day. And, each bite takes us closer to health and happiness, or closer to dis-ease and discomfort.

The Standard American Diet, filled with too much sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and other inflammatory variables, wreaks havoc on the body and brain by creating inflammation, leaching vitamins and minerals from the body, and destroying health at a cellular level.

But, the fix is SIMPLE!

Add in the good stuff!

Add in lots of vitamin/mineral-rich fruits and veggies, whole grains, leafy greens, FRESH foods. And, pay close attention to your sugar intake, being conscious about crowding it out as much as possible.

In a recent study, participants only changed their food intake, adding in 3-5 servings of fruits AND vegetables each day, adding in healthy sources of protein, and limiting processed/packaged/fake foods that contain too much sugar, and guess what?! Within 3 SHORT weeks, their symptoms of depression changed dramatically!

Wanna try it?! Great!

smoothie-3697014_1920.jpg

Here are a few delicious foods that are powerful for brain health that you can begin ADDING IN right now.

  1. Whole grains like quinoa!

    Quinoa is a considered a superfood and can be very beneficial in improving mood and energy. It’s gluten-free, high in protein, and contains all 9 essential amino acids. It’s tasty, too!! I suggest making a large batch on Sunday and enjoying it throughout the week. One of my favorite things to do is to put it in my salad! It really makes the salad a complete and satisfying meal.

  2. Fresh fruit and veggies!

    Of course! What’s easier than this? Grab an apple for an afternoon snack. Enjoy some carrots and homemade hummus. Indulge in a glorious green smoothie, packed with spinach, kale, and fresh fruit. Those fresh veggies and fruit load your body up with living enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that bring health to every cell! You’ll rev up your energy levels, you’ll lift brain fog, and you’ll feel better able to take on the day’s challenges and opportunities with a smile on your face!

blueberry-1326154_1920.jpg

3. Blueberries!

Who doesn’t like a handful, or two (or three) of blueberries? They are another superfood for brain health. Packed with nutrients and high in antioxidants, those little blue powerhouses lower cortisol which lowers stress and anxiety. They are high in mood-lifting vitamin C, and they also have a very high water content, which is imperative for brain health. So, add them into you smoothie or on top of your salad. Or, just eat them by the handful and enjoy their sweet nutrition!

4. Fish, anyone?

When we think about brain health, we have to think about the role of omega-3’s. Low levels of omega-3’ fatty acids are associated with depression, anxiety, and other not-so-charming mood fluctuations. So if you want a healthy brain and healthy mood, omega-3’s are, well, essential. And, most of us don’t get enough. You can also find omega-3’s in flaxseeds, chia seeds, and edamame.

salmon-518032_1280.jpg

5. Walnuts!

It’s the nut shaped like a brain! Isn’t it cool how God works?! This nut is especially powerful for brain health because it’s loaded with omega-3’s, protein, and it helps to reduce inflammation in the body. They also help to increase serotonin levels making us feel happier and calmer. Add in these yummy nuts to your daily nutrition (about a handful) and watch your mood improve!

And, one more thing.

This isn’t food, but it IS imperative for an improved mood and better brain health.

PLAY! Your body is made to move, so get movin’!

Find some kind of physical activity you will look forward to doing and go do it consistently. Walking is one of the VERY best things you can do for brain health. When you move your body, you relieve brain fog, get oxygen flowing throughout the body, and feel-good hormones are released! You’ll have a MUCH better day (healthier AND happier) if you bring PLAY into the mix!

Join me in the She Shines Community on Facebook! That’s where all the fun is! CLICK HERE to join us.

My 3 Favorite Smoothie Add-ins for Beautiful Skin and More Energy

One thing I love about smoothies is that they are such a great delivery system for powerful nutrition, not only for your body, but also for your skin! And, talk about energy!! Yes, smoothies give you that, too.

Here are a few things I love to ADD IN to my smoothie for an extra skin-loving, energy-producing punch:

1. Collagen!

This helps to tighten and firm skin. I am currently using Organifi Glow in my smoothies and I love it! Not only is collagen great for skin, it's got other super powers, too. Excellent for gut health, joint health, and supports fat-burning.

2. Celery!

In my opinion, celery makes a smoothie VERY refreshing. I absolutely love celery in my smoothies. (My husband does not, however, so I have to make him a separate smoothie when I use celery!) Celery is very supportive of liver health (the liver can always use some extra love!), and because it's 95% water, it's super hydrating for your skin. Psst...hydration is key to supple and soft skin. :)

smoothy-4309396_1920.jpg

3. Plant-based protein powder!

If you are consuming a smoothie as a meal replacement (breakfast, for instance), if you add a plant-based protein powder to it, your smoothie will keep you full and satiated until lunch. And, with the greens, fruit, and added protein powder, you'll be powered up and energized all morning long. I like Garden of Life and Vega protein powders.

I also love ginger, lemon, and cinnamon in my smoothies!

IMPORTANT TIP: One thing I NEVER add to my smoothies is sugar.

They are sweet enough with the fruit I put in them. If you find that your smoothie isn't sweet enough for you, you can add a little bit of stevia or honey. But, don't add sugar. And, if you buy a smoothie from a place like Smoothie King, tell them, "no added sugar!"

Now, your turn!

What do you love to add to your smoothies?

We will be drinking lots of yummy smoothies in my upcoming "Don't Wait Until January" 3-month Program! You should join us!! This program will keep you healthy, happy, and on track with your health and weight loss goals from October through mid-January! CLICK HERE for details and registration.

Cheers,

Casey

Do You Eat These Addictive Foods?

Michael Moss, author of Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us says, “Food technologists use $40,000 devices that simulate a chewing mouth to test and perfect chips.  For example, people like a chip that snaps with about four pounds of pressure per square inch. They seek the perfect ‘break point’. Fat is a big part of the food technology stagecraft, too because it promotes crunch, creaminess and contrast, blends flavors and even lubricates mouthfuls so that people eat faster.”

What’s more is that…

These food technologists, “fabricate complex formulas that pique the taste buds enough to be alluring but don’t have a distinct, overriding single flavor that tells the brain to stop eating.”

Can you believe that? Yikes! 

snacks.jpg

I wonder if you are consuming any of these highly addictive foods.  (If so, now you understand how they are manufactured to keep you coming back for more.  Don’t let the big food giants win!)

1.  Soft drinks are often a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.  (I know from personal experience!) But, constant exposure to caffeine makes your brain compensate by decreasing the number of receptors for its own natural stimulant, norepinephrine, which makes you constantly seek the stimulation from an outside source.  It’s an endless cycle. Soft drinks are also loaded with sugar, which we all know is highly addictive. Just leave the soft drinks out of the house.  

2.  Cured meats (like ham, pastrami, salami, hot dogs, sausages) contain addictive sodium nitrite to lengthen the shelf life.  It also imparts a pleasing taste and color.  But, when cooked, the nitrites combine with other chemicals to form carcinogens.  Also, as you know, meat is highly acidifying to the body and difficult to digest. If you’re going to eat cured meats/deli meat, get nitrate/nitrite-free and organic. 

3.  Microwave popcorn is something we mindlessly consume while watching a favorite TV show or movie.  Have you ever opened a bag of unpopped microwave popcorn? Yuk!! (Do it and you’ll see what I mean.)  Though it smells good when popped, the irresistible aroma is from the butter flavoring chemicals like diacetyl and pentanedione which are dissipated into the air by the heating process. And, there are questions about the safety of those chemicals.  The fact is, it’s just not real food and has been manufactured with potentially health-harming chemicals. Instead of microwave popcorn, pop your own on the stove (in coconut oil) or in an air popper. 

4.  Fast food has a tight grip on lots of people.  The overriding features of fast food are fat, sugar, and salt.  Eek!! All of those are highly addictive. Eighty-three percent of people who eat outside of their home do so because of “cravings”.  And, 75 percent who visit restaurants more than once a week do so for a specific dish they crave. Fast food is full of everything EXCEPT nutrition.  Don’t let it be an everyday choice for you!

5.  Finally, potato chips don’t even hide the fact that you “can’t eat just one”.  That’s true because they’re manufactured to be highly addictive!!  The salt keeps you coming back again and again, and they’ve been factory-produced with just the right chemicals, and break point, to have you diving into the bag again and again.

You don’t have to be a slave to addictive foods!  You have the power to break the chains.

Focus on God-made food. 

When you ADD IN more highly nourishing God food, your taste buds will begin to normalize, and you will begin to LOVE those baby carrots and green smoothies!  (Trust me.)

 

NEXT STEP:

Be conscious of the addictive foods you’re consuming that keep you coming back for more.  Take inventory over the next week. I think this will be very eye-opening for you. And, join my September Eat Clean Challenge to start ADDING IN the good stuff!!  It’s fun, inspirational, and educational. And, so much GOOD can happen in 10 short days! Details and registration HERE.

THE SECRET THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU APPROACH WEIGHT LOSS

Tired of all the denial, restriction, frustration, and craziness surrounding weight loss?  So many different experts telling you so many different rules to follow. It’s downright complicated.

And annoying.

Counting points, counting calories, and obsessing with numbers does not have to be part of your weight loss story. 

scale-403585_1920.jpg

In fact, doing those things is unsustainable for the long term.

Would you like to know a secret that could change the way you look at weight loss forever?

ADD IN THE GOOD STUFF.

Yep.  ADD IN. 

When you add in the good stuff, it crowds out the not-so-good.  And, one powerful choice for your health leads to another, leads to another, leads to another…

You’re no longer focused on what you can’t have, but rather on what you CAN have.  While you’re adding in all that good stuff, there’s just no more room for the not-so-good.

And then a funny thing happens…

You begin to CRAVE the good stuff!

It’s true.  Your taste buds begin to change and you will actually WANT that green smoothie!

I realized this when I first began my health journey. 

Picture this.  I had been working all morning and my tummy begin to rumble.  I decided to treat myself to lunch out. I fired up the minivan and started to head down the road.  As I was driving, I was desperately trying to figure out where to go for lunch. Nothing sounded good!  Sandwich? No. Burger? Nope. Mexican? No. Italian? Again, no. 

NOTHING was appealing…except a green smoothie.  That was ALL I wanted. 

So, I whipped the minivan around and headed back to Casa de Casey and had a delicious green smoothie.  (With a cute straw, of course.)

It hit the spot.

This will happen for you, too, if you just give it time.  Just watch how you begin to CRAVE the good stuff!

At this point, you might be wondering what exactly IS the “good stuff”?

(Great question.  I’m glad you asked.)

The good stuff is the God stuff. 

It’s what He put on this planet in its most whole, natural form.  He knew what He was doing when He created this planet so long ago.  The closer we stick to the food He created, the healthier and happier we’ll be! 

Eat FOOD. Real, whole, simple food.

Let’s say this another way just to be sure you get it…

Leave the fake, processed, packaged “food” at the store.  The less you eat from a package, and the more you eat from the earth, the better you’ll feel and the more weight you’ll lose.

You CAN lose weight. 

It doesn’t have to be a frustrating, confusing journey filled with counting calories or counting points.  Shift your weight loss paradigm from one of denial and restriction to one of ADDING IN the good stuff! You’ll be happier and healthier by doing this.  Promise!

 

NEXT STEP:

Come learn how fun it is to focus on ADDING IN the good stuff during my September Eat Clean Challenge!  Registration is open. CLICK HERE for all the details.

Which BUCKET Are You Filling?

Let’s play a little game.  Health is more fun when we play games, right?

Pretend you have two buckets.  One bucket says “DIS-EASE” on the front and the other one says, “VIBRANT HEALTH” on the front.

Picture these buckets in your mind. 

Got it?

My question to you is…which bucket are you most consistently filling? 

Some things that fill the DIS-EASE bucket are:

·        Consuming too much fake food (processed, packaged, sugar-filled).

·        Not getting enough sleep.

·        Letting stress rule your life.

·        Being too sedentary.

·        Not staying hydrated.

·        Lack of forgiveness.

·        Lack of fulfillment in life.

·        Not getting enough leafy greens, fresh veggies, fruit.

·        Disconnection from your Creator.

·        Low-vibrational, negative thought life.

·        Emotional stress.

What else could you add to this DIS-EASE bucket?

strawberries-3431122_1920.jpg

Some things that fill your VIBRANT HEALTH bucket are:

·        Consuming lots of leafy greens, fresh veggies, delicious fruit.

·        Moving your body through enjoyable PLAY time.

·        Finding fulfillment through serving others, engaging in hobbies, etc.

·        Getting adequate, good quality sleep.

·        Managing stress effectively.

·        Deep breathing.

·        Connecting with God daily through prayer, scripture, etc.

·        Drinking lots of cool, crisp water.

·        Forgiving others.

·        High-vibrational, positive, powerful thought life.

What else could you add to this VIBRANT HEALTH bucket?

Back to my first question to you. 

Up until now, which bucket remains consistently full in your life?  Why?

I’d like to challenge you to picture these two buckets in your mind every day and be conscious about which one you’re filling based on your choices throughout the day.  When you make a choice, imagine which bucket it’s going into. 

The goal, obviously, is to fill up your VIBRANT HEALTH bucket each and every day.  Does this mean you’ll never put anything in the DIS-EASE bucket? No. That’s unrealistic.  But, what I challenge you to do is to focus on what you can load into your VIBRANT HEALTH bucket throughout the day. 

Make it fun! The more you put into your VIBRANT HEALTH bucket, the healthier and happier you’ll be. And, this consistency, over time, will work wonders for your overall health and well-being.

NEXT STEP:

One way to become very conscious about powerful choices for your health is to join my 10-Day Eat Clean Challenge!  We have one starting in September and you’ll be amazed at how much things can improve in just 10 short days! I’d love for you to join us!  CLICK HERE for all the details and start loading up your VIBRANT HEALTH bucket!

What is a “Green Smoothie” and What Does it REALLY Taste Like?

That’s a great question, and it’s the VERY question I asked when my brother told me I needed to try one!

I had no idea.

I knew one thing, though.

It sure didn’t sound very appetizing.

green smoothie.jpg

And, I sure didn’t want to try one.

But, my brother was persistent and I relented.

When I sipped my very first green smoothie, I could not believe how delicious it tasted.

And, I couldn’t believe that no one had introduced me to green smoothies before!

(That’s why I’m introducing YOU to them now!)

See, I thought a green smoothie was ONLY greens.  I was imagining kale, broccoli, and spinach blended up into a green mess.

Yuk.

But, nope!

Green smoothies have leafy green goodness IN them, but that’s not the ONLY thing they are.

Aren’t you relieved?

Along with those powerful leafy greens, you add some sweet, delicious fruit!

And, guess what? 

That glorious green smoothie tastes like fruit…not greens!

Sweet and refreshing.

Hallelujah!

My encouragement to you is to just try one.  Give it a chance, Sister.

I won’t steer you wrong.

(Remember this…there are MANY different combinations of ingredients you can put in your green smoothie.  If you make one you that you don’t love, that’s ok! Try again! We’ve all been there.  You will CERTAINLY find a go-to combination that you WILL love.)

Join us in the Green Smoothie & Great Scripture Reset starting SOON to learn more! (It’s FREE!)