We are back again for a #FRIDYFIVE where I share some nutritional tips, good recipes and benefits to the foods that you eat. I am always looking for foods that help calm, help you deal with stress and just give you that extra hug when needed.
You are probably also asking what is this delicious looking banana and peanut butter sundae dessert standing in the way of this stress less post? Well its a recipe that can aid with stress…read down for recipe.
From my own personal experiences, I have headed back into my second year of college studying Nutritional Medicine full time and pretty much working full time. I can be the first to raise my hand and let you know that stress levels are running high. However, this year is no way as bad as last years feelings (see how I helped with my good night sleep remedy here). I am not going to let stress run or ruin my life! For me the very first remedy are early nights, it might sound lame, but an 8 hour sleep can do wonders to your body’s coping mechanisms, clarity of mind and immunity.
For those who know me, I find it incredibly hard to switch off, my mind is constantly whirring with new ideas, recipes, blogposts, reading, assessments, exams, photography etc etc the list goes on.
My schedule is tight and focussed. But I do manage to have moments of “switch off” during the week, if you follow my instagram account you will see my 30 minute breaks; whether heading for a swim, coffee with a mate, reading 10 pages of my favourite book, mindful cooking, food markets and so on. I keep Sundays as my day off to completely relax, otherwise I think I would lose my marbles!
This year I have increased structure in my week, I compile lists on my my FREE wunderlist app for my phone, it saves lots of paper that I can never find, I tick off as I go along, utterly lifechanging! (by the way this is not sponsored! just like sharing the love).
I can’t stress the importance enough by training your brain for structure especially when you are freelancing, a student or part time, set days for certain tasks and jobs in a calender and stick to them. My stress levels are lower than they have ever been before and my workload is the largest it has ever been.
Now onto foods and recipes that can help combat stress. At college we are just learning the role of hormones in the body and cortisol is a hormone that is released from your adrenal glands (which sit superior to your kidneys). Cortisol is released into your system in response to stress, it prepares you for “fight or flight” mode, it gets you pumped to rock on! If you are a sufferer of highly stressful situations, your body will keep releasing cortisol this is where danger happens which can lead to much more serious problems occurring.
When cortisol is released, your body’s other functions are suppressed (stopped!), problems arise such as terrible immunity, weight gain, sugar cravings and unhappy sleep patterns.
- BANANAS; I have mentioned time and time again in my recipes, the benefits of bananas, but they are really so fabulous for you. A source of potassium (helps you keep alertness and prevents muscle fatigue – great for post workout) and fibre which also include tryptophan (which helps make serotonin) and B6 which can help with depression and anxiety and help you feel less stressed as well as helping you combat sleeplessness. This book is a great one for more foodie information. Banana Recipes: try my chia pots for breakkie, anti-inflammatory turmeric smoothie bowl or my papaya boats or my delicious peanut banana sundae (recipe for that one is below)
- PROTEIN; Did you know that good quality protein can help alleviate high stress levels, it can help stabilise your blood sugar spikes and the “heebie-jeebies” experienced through. Protein is essential to help support your hormones in your body, by having these in good stead will allow your body to function optimally. My protein packed recipe ideas: soulful whole chicken soup, chicken in milk, veggie noodly broth, fragrant lamb and eggplant stew, supercharged scramble, turmeric eggs & toms.
- FERMENTED FOODS; so much research has proven than digestive health is heavily linked to mental health. To naturally improve your digestive health, get eating foods which are rich in naturally occurring probiotics. Sauerkraut and Kimchi is my go to and its so cheap to make, try my simple recipe here (store bought is a little more pricey, but I love this and this brand), I love following the Cornersmith (if you are Sydney based they do wonderful fermenting workshops) and their cookbook is seasonal, fresh & real food).
- EAT YOUR GREENS; I know our mother’s have been telling us for years to eat our greens. We should listen to them, its true. Green veggies offer an abundance of nutrients that are so incredibly beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, green beans, Brussels sprouts, herbs are all rich in beta carotene, this is the precursor to vitamin A (great for eye sight health) and also vitamin C (which is for your immunity). They also provide a good dose of fibre soluble which can help with blood cholesterol levels and insoluble fibre to help bulk out your stool and removes any baddies from our guts to help improve your digestion. 5 a day of veggies is a must. Who said eating your greens have to boring. Check out my fave green goodness veggie recipes: Vietnamese veggie noodle salad, broc fritters, supergreen veggie bowl, party sprouts and baked green eggs and Waldorf salad.
- SUNSHINE & EXERCISE; this time last year I was not getting outside in the sunshine much as I felt that every deadline had to be met and I just wasn’t getting on top of things, life was stressful. Now I spend about 30-45 mins outside everyday to get that dose of Vitamin D. It calms my nerves I breathe deeply and just feel a lot better. Did you know that vitamin D is a crucial part associated with calcium for bone formation. For our Northern Hemisphere friends who don’t get as much sunshine as Aus, do not panic! Eat tiny fish (mackerel, herring) I love to make my nordic nicoise, fast fish pie or sardine salad. Eggs are a good source of Vit D and you can also supplement with good quality fish oil (I like this brand or this one). In regards to exercise, get off your butt for 30 mins a day, even if its a stroll in the park, swim, yoga session (free online classes here), run or a gym session, make it a regular habit every day.
Banana Sundae Recipe:
300g Frozen Ripe Banana
Pinch sea salt
2-3 Tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter
1-2 Tbsp Nutella, Dark Melted Chocolate or Vegan Coconut & Cocoa Spread
1-2 Tbsp Crushed Peanuts
With a food processor. Blitz frozen banana and a small pinch of sea salt into a smooth ice cream style paste, it goes thick and creamy. Load up a glass, douse it in chocolate, followed by a dollop of banana ice cream, then peanut butter, followed by more banana ice cream then more peanut butter. Finish with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts. A perfect dairy free stress-less recipe for any night of the week.
I have mentioned previously in my sleeping tips post that it is a training process and you will not get results overnight, keep practising, don’t give up, be mindful of what you eat each day. Be conscious in times of stress that you are trying to help your body get through it in the best practise you know how. Like my mother has always said, we have one body, try to look after it.