Eating for Anxiety!

How do I start using nutrition to ease my anxiety?

  1. Focus on blood sugar balancing – keeping blood sugars balanced is a great way to begin feeling calmer and more grounded.
  2. Swap to whole foods vs conventional processed food – whole foods are packed full of essential nutrients compared to inflammatory processed ones. Refined sugar, food additives, and highly processed foods can aggravate the nervous system.
  3. Assess your relationship with caffeine- caffeine is a trigger for anxiety. Gradually reducing caffeine levels is so helpful in regulating cortisol levels and reducing stress and anxiety. (A cacao or adaptogen elixir is a great substitute for coffee!)
  4. Eating to support your gut health- without proper nutrients to keep your microbiome healthy, the body will not have the bacteria needed to produce mood boosting neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, and GABA.

Daily habits to help take care of your mental health:

  1. Move your body! Daily exercise helps to reduce stress levels, can stimulate rest and relaxation, plus give you a sense of control over your own wellbeing.
  2. Nature walks – spending time in nature can reduce cortisol levels and increase endorphin levels & dopamine production!
  3. Mindfulness and meditation practice can help you slow down and improve your focus and concentration. It can reduce stress and even lead to self-acceptance and increased compassion for others. Try some daily affirmations: ‘I love myself and I am going to get through this.’
  4. Schedule self-care. Set aside time each day to do something that brings you joy. Self-care should not be something you feel forced to do, but something you look forward to each day [take a bubble bath, practice yoga, read a good book, call a friend, do a skin care routine…].
  5. Remember it is okay to not get everything done!

The Importance of Self-Care and How to Practice it

What is self-care?

Self-care means taking the time to do things that help you live well and improve both your physical health and mental health. When it comes to your mental health, self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy.

Self-care is necessary, but like most other parts of health, is not one size fits all. For some people, it can be as simple as taking a night off to put on a facemask and sit in a warm bubble bath. But the reality is that self-care can be a little more complicated than that. We all have different parts of ourselves that need to be nurtured and cared for, and therefore we all need different methods of carrying out this care.

How does self-care relate to Holistic Nutrition?

You’re probably wondering how self- care relates to nutrition. When most people think of nutrition they think ‘diet’ and ‘clean eating’, but there are many other important aspects to consider when practicing Holistic Nutrition. The whole philosophy behind Holistic Nutrition is that one’s health is an expression of the complex interplay between the chemical and physical, mental and emotional, as well as spiritual and environmental aspects of one’s life in order to create overall wellness.

Why is it important?

Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to assist in reducing or eliminating anxiety and depression, reducing stress, improving concentration, minimizing frustration and anger, increasing happiness, improving energy, and so much more. From a physical health standpoint, self-care has also been proven to assist in reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer (Canadian Mental Health Association).

Things you can do to practice self-care

I want to offer you a few of my favorite ideas that can help you get started on your relationship with yourself:

  • spend time in nature- find a new park in your neighborhood to explore
  • keep a gratitude journal (I love The Five Minute Journal)
  • listen to a podcast and educate yourself on a new topic
  • make a new recipe
  • set a weekly coffee date with a friend
  • take a class— art, language, dance, pottery, etc.

Other important aspects of self-care

Rest

One of the most productive things you can do for yourself is rest. We live in a world full of stressors that seem to be never ending, which can make it challenging to feel calm and easy to feel overwhelmed. By taking some time out to relax, it allows your body to be physically restored and your mind mentally alert. Rest is an essential component of working well and smart, so recuperate and return to your tasks when you feel ready.

Learn to say no

This can be especially challenging for some people, and something I have struggled with as well. Learning to say no, especially to things that are causing you unnecessary stress, is crucial for your mental health and well-being. Just because something is on your to-do list, or you made a prior commitment to do something doesn’t mean it necessarily needs to get done right this second or you can’t change your mind. Prioritizing your mental health is all about focusing on YOU and YOUR needs so that you can show up and be the best version of yourself.

Find a good routine

As humans, we thrive on routine. Our bodies crave repetition and regulation. A good routine can help improve stress levels, improve mental health, and make it easier to find time to relax. One way to practice self-care is to add journaling and meditation to your morning routine. This helps create balance and reduce stress around the day ahead. If journaling and meditation aren’t for you, consider other options for your morning routine like exercise, making your bed, a skincare routine – anything that makes you feel your best before beginning your day!

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

These black bean and sweet potato burgers are one of my favourite veggie burger recipes! They are super easy to make and are freezer friendly. Prepare in advance and keep frozen for a day you don’t have time to cook [much healthier than store bought, frozen veggie burger patties].

Ingredients

  • 1 can Black beans, rained and rinsed
  • 1 small, Sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup Corn
  • 1/2 of a diced Red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup Finely diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Fresh garlic
  • 1/3 Sweet onion
  • 1/4 tsp Black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Chili powder
  • 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 3/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 2 tbsp Flaxseed, ground
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 drops of Liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

How to make

  1. Cut your sweet potato into cubes and boil in a pot until tender.
  2. Add olive oil to a pan and sauté your onion and garlic until translucent.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend oats to make flour. Add in breadcrumbs, ground flax, nutritional yeast, cumin, sea salt, chili powder, paprika and black pepper. Blend until well combined then transfer dry mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Add boiled sweet potato, bell pepper, mushrooms, garlic + onion mixture, beans, worcestershire, and liquid smoke to blender/food processor. Blend well (it’s okay if some of the beans are still whole and the veg is not completely blended- this will add a nice texture!). Stir in your corn and transfer to the bowl with the dry mixture
  5. Mix everything together, then form into 6-8 patties [depending on preferred size]. Lay them flat on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. [Additionally, you can place on a parchment lined plate and put them straight into the freezer for 24 hours. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer safe bag/container for storage and have later!]
  7. Remove from refrigerator and heat up a pan on medium heat. Add a tsp of olive oil and cook each patty until golden/browned, about 4 minutes on each side.
  8. Serve on a bun or in a lettuce wrap or enjoy it alone!

I hope you enjoy cooking this recipe! if you have any questions or feedback please comment down below.

Love, Bailey.

xx

3 Tips to Healthier Eating!

Want to eat healthier? Here are 3 tips, without compromising your relationship with food!

ADD

Instead of trying to restrict and cut out foods, think about what you can add to your meals instead to make them more nutritious and balanced!

  • add yogurt plus fresh fruit to cereal
  • add piece of fruit to a snack

REPLACE

Try choosing a more nutritious alternative to something you currently eat!

make sure it’s a realistic alternative (ie. one that’s still tasty and satisfying!) or it’s not going to be a suitable swap.

  • swap to whole grain bread
  • swap to grainy or seed crackers

TRY SOMETHING NEW

Set yourself the challenge of trying a new healthy recipe each week!

or buy a fruit, vegetable, or grain you haven’t tried before or don’t usually eat to include that week!


REMEMBER

Part of a healthy diet is having a healthy relationship with food. That means actually enjoying the food you eat, feeling satisfied with your meals and balance to still include some less nutritious foods.

**Think balance and consistency over perfection and deprivation! **

How to Practice Mindful Eating

You’ve probably heard the term of the term ‘mindful eating’, but what does it actually mean?

The word ‘mindful’ itself means “to be conscious or aware of something.” Of course, we’re aware that we’re eating when we’re eating, but what really differentiates mindful eating is when we are truly conscious and present for the experience.

Mindful eating is maintaining an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you put into your body. It involves observing how the food makes you feel and the signals your body sends about taste, satisfaction, and fullness. Mindful eating requires you to simply acknowledge and accept rather than judge the feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations you observe. It can extend to the process of buying, preparing, and serving your food as well as consuming it.

It’s the opposite of scarfing down a to-go breakfast on your drive to work, or accidentally inhaling a bowl of popcorn before the movie even starts. Bringing consciousness awareness to your eating can help you get the most out of your meals AND properly nourish and support your body systems.


Here’s how to start eating mindfully:

1. Relax when you are eating

A few deep breaths before a meal may seem pointless, but it can help with the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. Deep breathing helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s rest and digest functions. Being in a relaxed state while eating allows the production of adequate digestive enzymes needed to properly break down our food.

If we experience prolonged exposure to stress, our body enters a state of ‘fight or flight’ which results in the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes to be put on hold to deal with the perceived threat. This is useful if you’re actually in danger, but if you’re just operating with high stress levels, you’ll want to shift into ‘rest and digest’ mode to achieve optimal digestion.

Try eating away from distractions like your phone or tv!

2. Chew your food thoroughly

Chewing quickly and not thoroughly enough results in swallowing larger than ideal pieces of food, which not only gives the digestive enzymes in your saliva less of a chance to start breaking down the food, but it can make the whole digestive process from there difficult and uncomfortable. Chewing longer allows your food to get more exposure to your saliva, making the digestive process a lot smoother.

A good rule of thumb is to chew 10-20 times before swallowing. This may feel quite uncomfortable the first few times you try it, but your gut will thank you for it!

3. Appreciate your food

Try pausing for a minute or two before you begin eating to contemplate everything and everyone it took to bring the meal to your table. Silently express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the people you’re enjoying it with.

When we stop to appreciate everything that goes into our meal and consider where our food comes from, it becomes easy to experience gratitude for everything involved in the process of creating our food [from the soil it is grown in and the farmers who harvest to the grocery store clerks and whoever prepared the meal that sits in front of us].

With just a little more mindfulness like this, we may begin to make wiser choices about sustainability and health in our food.

4. Don’t eat too quickly

Having to rush through a meal is never fun but also, it’s not good for your digestion. Eating too fast can result in swallowing a lot of air which can lead to uncomfortable digestive symptoms such as gas and bloating.

Eating too fast dulls your body’s natural satiety signals and you risk falling out of touch with your natural hunger and fullness signals, which can lead to overeating.

Slowing down and taking your time while eating will help your body absorb the nutrients from the food!

Tip: Try putting down your utensil between bites.

5. Listen to your body’s hunger cues

We often listen first to our minds, but like many mindfulness practices, we might have better outcomes when we listen to our bodies first. Rather than just eating when we receive emotional signals from the brain [stress, sadness, frustration, loneliness or even just boredom], we can listen to our bodies.

Is your stomach growling, energy low, or feeling a little lightheaded? Too often, we eat when our mind tells us to, rather than our bodies. True mindful eating is listening deeply to our body’s signals for hunger.

Benefits of Mindful Eating:

By paying closer attention to how you feel as you eat [the texture & tastes of each bite, your body’s hunger and fullness signals, how different foods affect your energy and mood] you can learn to enjoy both your food and the experience of eating. Being mindful of the food you eat can promote better digestion, keep you feeling full by eating less, help you appreciate the food you’re eating & where it comes from, and encourage healthier choices regarding what you eat. Additionally, and most importantly, it can help you free yourself from unhealthy habits/relationships around food and eating!