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Feeling Down? Try These Mood-Boosting Foods

Everyone gets down every once in a while. Sometimes simple pick me ups such as running or meditating can help you get out of a mood funk. But your diet plays a role in how you are feeling as well, after all, food affects your hormones by providing nutrients to your body to keep it stable. Making sure you have a balanced diet is essential to keeping you feeling good and providing you with energy to get you through the day. Here are the top foods to boost your mood and fight depression:

Flax seeds

Flax seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to be mood lifting and possibly help combat depression. Several studies have found that increasing the omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can aid in preventing major depression disorders. Flax seeds are also great for preventing heart disease – thanks to their inflammation fighting properties, which prevent plaque build up.

Getting omega-3s can be difficult if you don’t have fresh fish available to you, but there are many other sources you can get them from! A few of our favorites are peanut butter, oatmeal, flax seeds, walnuts, brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

Berries

Berries are considered one of the healthiest foods. There is nothing worse than letting stress get in your way, especially when you are feeling down. This can lead to an overwhelming spiral–exhausting you mentally and physically. Blueberries can help prevent the release of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal gland during stressful situations, that travels to the hippocampus (a major portion of your brain) and provides emotional responses. Berries can help control and counter the effects of this hormone’s impact on your mood.

Berries are loaded with anthocyanidins, known to boost brain function and antioxidants, which promote brain and nervous system health. Berries are also low in sugar and calories, so pile them on!

Blackberries

Limit sugar intake

Keeping your blood sugar level steady is more important than you think. When your blood sugar gets low you are more prone to feeling depressed and irritable. This means that paying attention to what you are eating is essential to maintaining your glucose levels to keep you in a balanced state of mind. Sugar promotes inflammation in the body that is directly correlated to promoting depression and anxiety. It also interferes with the balance of hormones within the hippocampus because of the inflammation it promotes throughout the body. Furthermore, sugar creates spikes in your blood levels, promoting you to eat unhealthy and to make poor food choices more frequently. It becomes an addiction for quick pick-me-ups, but will not help your mood in the long-run. Choose healthy wholesome foods that will make you feel great. Try choosing a balanced meal with lean protein, vegetables and whole grains to control your blood sugar and prevent inflammation.

Folic Acid

Folate and vitamin B12 are important for mood control because low levels can lead to depression and other mental issues. Studies have shown that low blood levels of these vitamins are sometimes related to depression, although no one is exactly sure why. Some scientists believe that these vitamins are used by the body to create serotonin, one of the key neurotransmitters that help normalize mood. This vitamin is especially important for women and even more important during pregnancy. Some foods that provide folic acid are lentils, leafy greens, citrus, asparagus, kidney beans, oatmeal and broccoli.

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, which are key nutrients for good moods. Research has shown that vitamin B6 deficiencies can lead to higher stress, irritability, tiredness and depression. By choosing whole grains, you can get your carb-comfort food fix–boosting your mood without derailing your diet. So, don’t eliminate all carbs — just make smart choices when choosing which carbs to put into your body. Limit sugary, unrefined carbs (such as cakes and cookies) and pick smart or “complex” carbs (such as whole grains), along with plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes, which all contribute healthy carbs and fiber.

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Find out what works for your body to ensure you are staying balanced. Don’t let your mood get in the way of your enjoying your day! Try changing your diet to promote a healthy lifestyle and most importantly a healthy better feeling you.

Smashed Avocado Toast

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…Smashed Avocado Toast…

Ingredients

18 oz precooked polenta

1 avocado

Olive oil

Himalayan sea salt

Red pepper flakes

Directions

Slice the avocado in half; remove the flesh and place into a small bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium high heat. Slice the polenta into 1/4 inch think rounds and place on grill. Grill each side for 3-5 minutes or until browned. When cooked, remove from grill. Assemble each round with a small amount of avocado, red pepper flakes and salt. Drizzle lightly with your best tasting olive oil.

 

A St. Paddy’s Day Soirée

St Paddy's Day Entertaining

St Paddy's Day Entertaining

Happy St. Patricks day! It’s a day for wearing green, drinking your favorite beer and most importantly, making great food. We have a couple of mouth watering recipes that are perfect to enjoy with friends and family. From dips to dessert, these festive bites will get the party started; and don’t worry, there is green in everything!

Lucky Cucumber Coolers … 

St Paddy's Day Entertaining

… Kale Artichoke Dip …

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Kale Artichoke Dip 3

Rainbow Rolls

Veggies

Rainbow Rolls

St. Paddy's Day Entertaining

Lastly, for dessert we have the perfect cupcake to celebrate with.

Irish Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting

Cupcake

St Paddy's Day Entertaining

St Paddy's Day Entertaining

Pledge for a Healthier Food System

Every time we eat, we have a chance to make a difference. Know what’s going in your mouth! Say yes to more history, less mystery. The 1% for the Planet pledge is LIVE, thanks to our friends at takepart.com. Help us reach our goal of at least 5,000 signatures.

Meet the leaders at the forefront of changing the way food gets produced, distributed, and consumed.

Here at purely elizabeth, we donate 1% of sales to preserve the health of our environment and to provide for future generations. We support Rodale Institute, the pioneer in the organic food movement, in their groundbreaking research in organic agriculture, advocating for policies that support farmers and educating people about how organic is the safest, healthiest option for people and the planet.

If you eat food, learn more about why you should care at onepercentfortheplanet.org/food.

1% for the Planet Food Activation

Amaranth Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Fritters

amaranth fritters

…Amaranth Sweet Potato and Swiss Chard Fritters…

Ingredients 

2 cups sweet potato puree (or sub squash/pumpkin)

2 cups amaranth, cooked

2 cups swiss chard, chopped

2 eggs

1/3 cup purely Elizabeth original oatmeal

1 tsp garlic powder

Coconut oil (as needed for frying- roughly 2-3 tbsp)

Directions

In a large bowl, add all ingredients and combine well. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Scoop out ¼ cup patties and place on skillet. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Serve

Losing Weight the Right Way

Today, tips and tricks to lose weight are seen everywhere. We can’t pick up a magazine or get through a set of commercials on TV without some solution to dealing with weight! But, shedding off the pounds shouldn’t mean eating less or restricting yourself from foods you love. At Purely Elizabeth, we believe that you are what you eat. This means feeding your body with wholesome pure ingredients and treating your body with what it needs, such as whole grains and vegetables.

We want you to feel good about your body and the food you are putting in it everyday, which is why we strive to make products that are packed with nutrition that taste amazing. Forget the scale and start eating right! If you want to change your weight, consider some of the reasons that might be preventing you from accomplishing your goals. Some common reasons why you aren’t losing weight:

1. Calorie restriction

This is a dangerous way to lose weight and a trend that needs to stop today.Your body needs calories to function! Start focusing on nutrient dense food that will make you feel great and keep you full for longer. Set realistic goals for yourself, this means not trying to loose 20 pounds in two months, you must consider your metabolic rate before taking extreme measures. Everyone’s body functions differently, which means finding out what works for you and not what you saw on TV.

Nutrient-Rich Foods to Include in Your Daily Diet:

Almost all vegetables: especially dark leafy greens and bright colored ones; kale, swiss card, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets

This is the lowest calorie way to get you daily vitamin and minerals you need. Vegetables are basically zero calories because your body uses almost the same amount of calories to digest them. Eat as many vegetables as you can! 

Fruits: avocados, blueberries, bananas, peaches, papaya and mangos

Some fruits are high in sugar so try choosing lower sugar fruits like berries and avocados. While this sugar is different than refined sugar, too much can lead to weight gain and also spike your insulin levels. 

Beans: black, black-eyed, butter, lentils, kidney, soy and so many others!

These have really high protein content and fiber so they’ll keep you full for a really long time. Beans are also packed with minerals, essential for various body functions. 

Almost every type of nut: almond, cashew, peanut, pine, sunflower and pistachio

These are healthy fats and help you stay full for longer because of their high protein content. These are great snacks for in between classes or while sitting at your desk. We recommend a handful of nuts or two spoonfuls of nut butter a day. 

Whole grains: amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet, brown rice… the list goes on 

Great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Whole grains are great for your body by providing energy to last throughout the day.

IMG_55752. Believing that all calories ARE created equal

Eating a cookie that is 120 calories is not the same as eating a large banana for 120 calories. Junk food will leave you hungry sooner than you think with cravings for quick sugars, instead of good healthy food. Though this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cookie every once in a while! Don’t tell yourself you can’t eat something because it’s bad for you, just keep junk food or your secret cravings to a minimum. Try making deserts that are free from refined sugars and provide some nutritional benefit, such as dark chocolate and chia pudding. It will satisfy your craving but not deter you away from your goals. The key is balance in your diet, which will keep you away from binges. Listen to your body and what it needs.

3. Eliminating fats from your diet. Not including good fats in your diet.

Your body needs fat to function. It is recommended that you consume 20%-30% of your daily calories from fat. Restricting your fat intake can lead to poor vitamin absorption, depression, heart problems, high cholesterol and overeating. Most vitamins are fat soluble, meaning they need fat to use them! How can eating less fat be problematic for your heart though? We always hear that low fat diets will prevent heart disease. This is true, but by restricting fats from your diet it will lower your good cholesterol (HDL) and prevent it from being able to eliminate the bad cholesterol from your blood. All fats aren’t the same – there are good fats and bad fats, so keep this in mind when picking out your food. Some good fats include, nuts, salmon, olive oil and avocados. Everything should be consumed in moderation, so consider keeping track of your fat until you get a good idea of how much you should be consuming everyday.

4. Skipping breakfast

We love breakfast, so skipping it isn’t an option at purely elizabeth. Not only is it because we cant get enough of our oats and granola, but also because skipping breakfast slows down your metabolism by putting your body in a fasting state. When you finally decide to eat breakfast mid-day, you are super hungry, not just a little bit (we’ve all been there)! Your body will crave the quick sugars and fats leading you to pick unhealthy options and too much of it.

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5. Not getting enough sleep

How can this be contributing to your weight? Sleep is essential for your body because it helps control your metabolism. Loss of sleep can lead to a dangerous cycle of eating quick energy foods to help you wake up, not exercising and being lethargic. Sometimes going on a walk or going to the gym tired is the best time to work out. Being sleep deprived also messes up your hormonal imbalance of Ghrelin and Leptin (they control your hunger). When you are lacking Zs it signals to your body that you are hungry (even if you actually aren’t) and doesn’t tell you to stop eating.

6. Still caught in atkins world. You need the right carbohydrates in your diet (high glyvemic load and high in vitamins, nutrients, fiber)

Eliminating carbs is extremely dangerous because your body needs fiber and energy. By not eating carbs your body can go into ketosis, your body is now breaking down fat leading to the production of ketone bodies. This can cause you to binge and make you sick.

7. Ignoring how you eat (are you relaxed, eating slowing, actually chewing your food?)

If you don’t pay attention when you are eating, you are more likely to over eat. Food is delicious! Don’t eat mindlessly–pay attention to every bite you are consuming, while appreciating and enjoying it. If you take the time to chew your food you are more likely to know when you are full because your body takes some time to get the signals from your stomach that it is full. When you scarf down a ton of food, your body hasn’t yet processed how much you have eaten, leaving you feeling sick or uncomfortable when it figures it out. Enjoy your food, which means taking the time to sit down and have a meal.

Overall, changing your diet has endless health benefits, including weight loss. Once you change the way you eat, you will notice a change in the way you feel. At purely we think you are beautiful the way you are and shouldn’t focus on the scale, instead focus on eating right everyday (weight loss will only be an added perk). Ask yourself, what can I add to this meal to make it healthier? When making a salad, this can mean adding some spinach or sprinkling on some hemp seeds for extra nutrients.

Grab a Spoon And a Fork because it’s Italian Night! Healthy Pizza, Pasta + More

What makes Italian food so close to heart? We can all admit that pizza and pasta are some of our favorite dishes to share with friends and family. What makes this food so special isn’t just the amazing taste, but the quality and care that goes into making intricate sauces and complex flavors. Baked, sautéed or simmered, we complied our favorite dishes from a slew of talented bloggers who have a flair for Italian cooking.There is something so satisfying about a hearty warm dish during the winter, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unhealthy. These 10 dishes offer that hearty, satisfying taste with a healthy spin. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

by: Taylor Kiser

Spaghetti Squash Primavera {GF, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Low Carb + High Protein} - Food Faith Fitness

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

A classic Italian dish that’s loaded with light-weight veggies! Food Faith Fitness features delicious recipes, stunning photography and essential advice for encouraging faith + fitness.

by: Bree Hester 

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Braciole 

A delicious, hearty dish–Braciole uses a combination of two cheeses and white wine to create its savory baked sauce. BakedBree offers meal ideas for any occasion, we could scroll through for hours!

by: Victoria Berman

Pasta with Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce and Ham

Pasta With Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce and Ham

A gluten and dairy-free option–this pasta is covered with a creamy cherry tomato sauce and topped with sautéed crispy ham creating a colorful, flavor-packed dish! Using coconut milk to create the thick, creamy texture–Avocado Pesto is right up our ally!

by: Dorit Jaffe

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Tomato Soup

A rustic tomato soup that is made with fresh tomatoes, carrots and onions. Whole Healthy Glow has a beautiful blog filled with great meal ideas for any time of the day. She believes that being healthy encompasses a physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental state of well being.

by: Anjali Shah

Homemade Whole Wheat Pita Pizza

An easy, vibrant dish, made with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. This whole wheat pita pizza is an easy go-to meal for The Picky Eater, who inspires readers to try healthy alternatives that still taste amazing! We promise you won’t be disappointed.

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by: Elizabeth Stein

Mushroom Ravioli in Tomato Sauce Spoon 

A gluten free Mushroom Ravioli with tomato sauce is a simple dish that can be served before dinner. It has a cashew filling that is creamy and packed full of flavor. Elizabeth focuses mostly on gluten-free and vegan options.

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By: Jess Pelasky

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Italian Sausage with Peppers Pasta 

Jess loves pasta, so you know she takes her Italian dishes seriously! This pasta is perfectly paired with sausage and peppers to creates a wholesome hearty dish that is packed with flavor. Her blog is filling with ton of meal ideas that will always leave you wanting more!

by: Heather 

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Paleo Pizza Sticks

Is there anything better than pizza sticks? Especially ones that aren’t from Domino’s or Papa John’s?? These Paleo Pizza sticks from Multiply Delicious hit the spot and are perfect to make with the family. Check out Multiply Delicious for advice and even has meal plans to help with paleo eating.

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by: Brittany Mullins

Skinny Tofu Zucchini Lasagna // Eating Bird Food

Skinny Tofu Zucchini Lasagna 

Skinny Tofu Zucchini Lasagna is packed with protein and wholesome ingredients. This bubbly pot of goodness is an easy way to enjoy comfort food without the guilt. EatingBirdFood has great advice for finding balance in your diet and making recipes you’ll love eating.

by: Sunnie Heers

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Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Vegan Vodka Sauce

This is a delicious vegan dish made with cashews and peas. It is so creamy, but soo good for you! Modern Girl Nutrition is all about balance and learning to eat without counting the calories.

WOLFANG PUCK’S POTATO PANCAKES WITH SMOKED SALMON

In honor of the Oscar’s, chef Wolfgang Puck shares with us his gluten free potato pancakes with smoked salmon being served at the ceremonies.  Look out for our feature interview with Wolfgang Puck in our upcoming Purely Spring Magazine out this April!

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POTATO PANCAKES WITH SMOKED SALMON

(recipe courtesy Wolfgang Puck, “Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy,” Rutledge Hill Press, 2004)

Yield: 4 servings, 12 to 14 latkes

1 pound russet baking potatoes, peeled

1 small onion, peeled

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon  salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

1 teaspoon minced fresh dill

Lemon juice

1/2 pound smoked salmon, sliced thinly, skin and bones removed (you may substitute smoked whitefish, trout, or smoked sturgeon)

  1. Using the large holes of a box grater/shredder, or the grating disk on a food processor, shred the potatoes into a mixing bowl. Grate in the onion.
  1. Line a large bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer the mixture to the towel-lined bowl, twist the towel around it and squeeze out as much liquid as you can (alternatively you can pick the mixture up by handfuls and squeeze dry). Transfer to another bowl. Add the egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Stir with a fork until well blended.
  1. Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large, heavy skillet or in a an electric fryer set at 350 degrees F. until it ripples and feels quite hot when you hold your hand over it. With a metal tablespoon, carefully place a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil. Press down on the mixture with an offset spatula to form an evenly thick pancake about 3 inches in diameter. Add more spoonfuls, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook the pancakes until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning them over carefully with a slotted metal spatula. Transfer to a tray or platter lined with paper towels to drain. Continue with the remaining mixture. If not serving right away, allow to cool completely. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and heat in the oven until crisp, about 10 minutes.
  1. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche or sour cream and dill. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  1. To serve, transfer the hot potato pancakes to a platter. Spoon a small dollop of the crème fraîche mixture onto each pancake and top with flakes of sturgeon. Serve immediately.
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