Within the past 4 years or so, Spinach has been a staple item on my grocery list. I just can't get enough! Ways to utilize this green leafy vegetable are endless. See below how I incorporate Spinach into my diet:

- Green Smoothies: remember, 50% or more of a green leaf veggie!
- For breakfast, when scrambling eggs, I'll add in a couple of handfuls of Spinach to make a scrambled omelette. Delish!
- Sautéed with EVOO, few dashes of cayenne pepper, chopped or minced garlic & a bag of Spinach (see photo).
- Any tomato based meals, such as spaghetti, lasagna or meat loaf.
- I always add chopped Spinach to Salmon Croquettes. It's another way to add veggies to your plate!

As you can see, the list goes on. Try adding Spinach to your recipes and see your love for the vegetable grow!


I have been meaning to create a cocktail of essential supplements to take and I finally decided to put more focus into it. I have been paying close attention to areas that I know I could benefit from by the daily use of supplements. I have never been big on taking my vitamins, especially more than 2 a day. So I purchased a pill case and want to try to stick to taking my vitamins for the next 21 days. Remember, it takes 21 days to create or break a habit!

It is my nature to seek out products that make me feel good. Let's take a look at what all I am ordering from Vitacost and why:
  • Living Green Multivitamin for Women: I selected this one because I need a vitamin that pretty much covers all basis. I really liked the fact that it is "living green", which means it is plant-based. Double win! Check the supplement facts for servings.
  • Healthy Skin and Hair Plus Nails: I think the title says it all! I am obsessed with clear skin, so this makes perfect sense. I also can use a little help when it comes to growing stronger nails. The serving of Biotin is just what I need!
  • Neem Supplements: This one is in addition to my skin treatment. Neem is a known acne and eczema fighter. I do have occasional breakouts from an eczema allergy I developed a year ago. This will help clear the rash like texture naturally.
  • A Probiotic: I have used a probiotic earlier this year when I was out of health insurance coverage and I wanted to heal a vaginal yeast infection naturally. It worked wonders and I was consistently moving my bowels. Your intestines can never be too healthy.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: The reason I chose Ginkgo is because of my poor memory. I have been told many times that I should give it a try and since I am on my vitamin kick, the timing is perfect! It is also known to promote positive moods.
  • Chlorophyll: Another supplement I can't seem to get enough of is Chlorophyll. I already eat tons of greens and of course I love my spinach, but why not add more greens to my diet?
I'm still perusing various types of supplements and may end up ordering more. I will be sure to update you after 21 days to let you know how I feel and what I have experienced.

Vitacost always has great discounts! Make sure you take advantage, especially around the holidays!

What vitamins do you take on a regular basis?

Wellness Break: Cholesterol

I began working with my first client on 12/6/12...woohoo!! I actually should be more excited than I appear to be, but I really am jumping for joy on the inside. I truly focus on results, so until I see change, I hold my applause.

The background on my client and his presenting problem is that he recently went for a health check up due to having heart palpitations and learned that he had high cholesterol. Per his doctor, he needed to lower his cholesterol within 3 months to avoid having to be prescribed medication. This topic is one of which I have personally experienced. Our stories are in fact, mirrored in the sense that we are both former athletes with fast metabolisms and we both felt that eating healthy was not a priority. Until a poor bill of health is handed to us, of course!

Having excess cholesterol can cause a build up in your arteries and may cause major health concerns. A main reason for being prescribed medication to lower high cholesterol is to inadvertently lower the chances of having a heart attack and/or serious strokes.  What most do not understand is that you can lower your cholesterol by making a few changes. Especially changes pertaining to the foods that we eat, in which have high cholesterol.

Obviously, I practice holistic methods, so here's how I was able to lower mine and keep it lowered:

  • Diet - I began eating less fast food. Or if I were to eat from a fast food restaurant, it was very few and far in between. I also cut back on fried foods, such as chicken and fish.
  • Exercise - As a former track & field athlete, exercise was something that was in my nature. However, after high school, I wasn't quite getting the amount of exercise needed to have a healthy heart. I began with light cardio, roughly 30 minutes of running 3 times per week.
  • Fruits & Vegetables - Increase! Increase! Increase! I cannot stress to you how important it is to eat fruits & veggies on a daily basis. These are your friends, who are rich in fiber and low in cholesterol. 
  • Fish - Eat more of it! At least 2-3x per week you should be eating any type of fish. Though tuna and salmon contain higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, you shouldn't feel limited to the various types. 
  • Other foods - Oats, Nuts, Garlic, Flaxseed and Green Tea

Keep in mind a few things:
  1. You do not have to be overweight to have high cholesterol.
  2. It can be a matter of small changes in your daily habit. 
  3. Please consult with your doctor, as my client, prior to making the decision to substitute medication for an alternative method. This is one topic that can be a matter of life or death.
I look forward to sharing with you my clients' success in the next 3 months. Until then, be in good health! Your health is your wealth!

Healthy Eating Plate

I found this via Harvard School of Public Health's website. This example that you see, has pretty much been my rule of thumb when eating/cooking. You want to make sure that your body is getting the right amount of nutrients that it needs from the food groups.

Click to enlarge
Staying active, limiting sugar and increasing whole grains are 3 areas in which I struggle. It is definitely a work in progress and not something that I have been able to achieve over night. I am happy to say though, that I am consistently drinking water and with the addition of green smoothies, I enjoy eating almost all types of vegetables - especially the leafy green ones!

What do you think? How achievable is this "Healthy Eating Plate" to you?

Williams-Sonoma & Vegetables!

As an early Christmas gift, I received this lovely little cookbook! I have not yet had an opportunity to cook from it, but I'm excited to delve in!

If you love your veggies and are looking for creative ways to cook them, this is the book for you!! Click the link below to be re-directed to the site.


Thank you KLT!


Naturally, I love eating prunes. I have had a bag of dried prunes in the fridge for over a month now and thought to use them in my smoothies. For some odd reason, it never crossed my mind before.

As you know, prunes help to regulate the human gastrointestinal tract. Some shy away from prunes because "they make you go!!", but I actually like having a bowel movement. Having a regular bowel movement lets me know that I have a healthy colon. A healthy colon means a healthy body.

And a healthy body may equal an overall healthy mood!

Here's a list of health benefits caused by eating prunes:
  1. Phenols, an antioxidant that is known to prevent oxygen-based damage to fats.
  2. Normalizes Blood Sugar
  3. Aids in Weight Loss
  4. Lowers Cholesterol
  5. Regular Bowel Movements & Intestinal Protection
  6. Increases Absorption of Iron
Are you a prune lover? Please share any experience you may have had with eating prunes.

Bay Leaves

Ever wonder what Bay Leaves are for? Well, prior to cooking them in dishes, I had no clue regarding the amazing health benefits of these precious leaves. They have a very aromatic smell and can be found in many foods, to bring out the flavor of your meal. An also, not so known fact is that Bay Leaves were used to crown the winners in the Olympic games. Who knew?! It's symbols peace, protection and wisdom.

Bay Leaf Infusion
If you are seeking to boost your mood, Bay Leaves have long since been considered to bring happiness. Try making a Fresh Bay Leaf Infusion and see how you feel. This will also help to reduce fatigue.


  • Place 3 Bay Leaves in cold water and allow them to soften overnight. Drink a little of the water the following morning. 


As it relates to my health, one of my most favored purchases this year has been my NutriBullet. I mentioned in a previous post Green For Life, that I indulge in a green smoothie every morning for breakfast. Well, the NutriBullet is not just a blender, nor a juicer, it's an extractor! According to their website, its extraction process "makes extremely beneficial vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients BIOAVAILABILE, which means they are broken down for optimal absorption into the bloodstream."

Sipped w/a straw!
I love my NutriBullet because it is extremely powerful and affordable - $99 at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond stores. The price alone, saved me from buying a much more expensive blender, with about the same watts!

See mine in action (photo on the right)! I switch up recipes every day, pending on my mood. In this particular photo, I used spinach, bananas (bananas are a staple ingredient for me), blueberries, pineapples, ground flaxseeds, honey, goji berries, raw oats and Vega One supplement powder.


Goji Berries

Goji's in my Green Smoothie

Goji Berries are berries that are mostly grown in Tibet or China. They are full of antioxidants and are known to naturally boost your energy levels and provide you with an overall greater sense of well-being.

To me, Goji Berries taste awful if you're eating them alone. However, I like to add them to my smoothies to jump start my day! They can be found here on Vitacost. I've also found them in my local health food store for a higher price.


Have you tried Goji Berries? What do you think?

Pantry Organization

A major factor for me in eating healthy is having fun with it! I allow for my OCD traits to take over when bringing home groceries! I find it so pleasurable to open up my pantry and be able to put my hands on exactly what it is that I am searching for. It always makes re-stocking less time-consuming, because you already know where it goes! Also, you know when you are out of something in order to add it to your grocery list.

If interested in having me organize your pantry or go over specific ideas, there is a special package included along with the Grocery Store Tour!

Email me at jennifer@food-mood.org to find out more!!


A sweeter banana to try
are Baby Bananas.
I talk a lot about adding bananas to my smoothies, but I haven't told you why. I enjoy them because they are sweet and I prefer the creamy texture in my smoothies, but this lovely fruit has much more to offer!

Bananas are full of amino acid tryptophan, which can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, insomnia and premenstrual syndrome. They also contain serotonin, which naturally helps to overcome depression.

Bananas are filled with dynamic antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin C, which helps to boost your immune system and protects you from heart disease and cancer. Vitamin B6, which is also in bananas, helps to regulate your nervous system and promote healthy skin.

Grocery Shopping = FUN!

I have a secret to tell...some years ago, I used to hate going grocery shopping! Truthfully, the more I grew accustomed to eating healthier, the more I loved running to the store to pick up my weekly fruits and veggies.

Let's look at 5 ways I made grocery shopping more like a hobby:
  1. I make small lists that cover the essential food groups, but also explore every aisle. I do this because there is always something new that I find, that I would not have normally found by sticking only to the list.
  2. Go on a day when there's not many shoppers. I've learned that if I go grocery shopping during the week, I run into less buggies. This allows for more exploration.
  3. Sample foods! Well, my favorite grocery store is called H-E-B (Here Everything is Better -- & it is!) and there's someone giving out food samples around almost every corner.
  4. Find a new recipe in your favorite cookbook (or online, like I do) and search for ingredients. You'll be surprised at how many different foods you'll find when you're shopping for things you've never cooked before.
  5. HAVE FUN!! Try not to look at it as a chore. Your Health = Your Wealth!

Power of Garlic!

Garlic Bulbs
I am an avid garlic user, and when I say "avid", I mean I use it in just about any meal I am cooking! I love the smell of garlic oozing out of my pores! Many may not be aware of the benefits of eating garlic and the affects it has on your moods. Garlic is one of many herbs that can be eaten raw or cooked in dishes. According to the Ayurvedic Cure website, researchers have shown that those who eat garlic raw, experienced lifts in their mood and had increased feelings of well-being. The site also goes on to list how garlic can lower feelings of anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and agitation (all common symptoms associated with depression).

Mental Health Break - Suicide

As a mental health professional who prefers to work with the adolescent population, I am faced with topics that are very serious in nature. The one that I wish to discuss briefly is suicide and prevention.

  1. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24.
  2. Suicide takes the lives of almost 30,000 Americans, every year.
  3. Many who attempt suicide, never thought to seek professional care.
  4. 80% of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully. 

It is known to many as a "silent epidemic", where no one is talking about it. If you know anyone who may be silently suffering, reach out to that person and urge them to talk about their problems. It is always better to know that someone is concerned.

Depression is one mental illness that oftentimes lead to suicidal ideation. However, it is a known fact that what you eat can drastically change how you feel. Creating a healthy eating habit may have the ability to significantly lower your symptoms of depression. Keep in mind, it is always best to consult with your physician before going "cold turkey" off of anti-depressants (if you are taking them).

Also remember, that you will not notice a change within a day or two, but over an extended period of time. You can take smaller steps to adapt to eating healthier. Drink plenty of water, get tons of fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates and fresh fish!

What's for Breakfast? - Green Smoothie w/ Avocado

If you want to drink a creamy & filling smoothie, try adding Avocado to the mix!

  • Spinach
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • Blueberries
  • Raw Honey
  •  2 Bananas
  • Ground Flaxseeds
  • Ice & Water

What's for dinner? Honey Teriyaki Salmon & Asparagus

I just wrapped up a two week fast, where I only ate fruits, vegetables and seafood. I also incorporated whole grains, water and 100% fresh juices. I had gotten in the habit of doing spiritual fasts, where no meat was allowed, that I was extremely excited with the addition of seafood! I'll discuss fasts later, when we learn about detoxification.

Honey Teriyaki Salmon, Garlic Asparagus
& Brown Rice
So, for tonight's dinner, I prepared Honey Teriyaki Salmon, Garlic Asparagus and Brown Rice. This meal is equipped with not 1, but 3 "bad mood" busters! Salmon is rich with omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, two known sources that influence our moods. Also, if you recall from my Dr. Oz post, Asparagus is filled with folic acid, which is great if you are experiencing mood swings! I always cook using tons of Garlic, but I will have a separate post on the benefits of eating Garlic and your mood...so stay tuned!

See my recipe below:
  • I marinade my salmon for about 2 hours in rice wine, raw honey, soy sauce, minced garlic, and sesame seeds. Afterwards, I heated some extra virgin olive oil in a grill pan and seared the salmon. I like my salmon to be flaky, so almost well done, but not dry.
  • In a separate pan, I heated extra virgin olive oil and about 10 tsp of water in a pan. After clipping the ends of the asparagus, I placed them in the pan, along with minced garlic and a dash of garlic salt. Cover and allow to simmer for less than 10 minutes. This is a mix of steaming and sauteing.
  • Return water to boil with a tsp of extra virgin olive oil and cook brown rice until it's done.
Enjoy! Bon appetit!

What's for dinner? Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
A few weeks ago (during my fast), I cooked Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers and they turned out absolutely delicious! I found a few recipes online, combined them together and created my own recipe, which is something I typically do. To learn how I made this dish, email me at jennifer@food-mood.org.

Quick Facts:
Not too many people know that bell peppers have the ability to lift your mood, particularly red and green bell peppers. These vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, which helps to regulate the neurotransmitter, norepinephrin, which in turn affects your mood.

In addition to the bell peppers, Quiona is filled with Vitamin B. It's a known fact that Vitamin B helps keep the mind sharp, maintains brain volume and...stabilizes your mood.

Reader Recipe #1: Ground Turkey & Veggie Tacos

My sister, Tiffany, recently requested a grocery list of various items to purchase and she immediately went home and began cooking! I love leaving the grocery store and feeling inspired to make a new or tried and true tasty dish! Her meal for the night was Ground Turkey & Veggie Tacos

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • cloves garlic finely chopped 
    (can use garlic in squeezable bottle 2 TSP)
  • 1/3 or 1/4 cup Chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms 
  • Favorite Taco seasoning packet
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
  • 2-3 TSP Sour Cream
  • 2-3 TSP of fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Avocado
  • Favorite Shredded cheese 
  • Lettuce
  • Flour or Corn torillas

In a pan, brown your ground turkey, when ground turkey is almost brown add your onions and garlic.  Once the onions and garlic softens add the portobello mushrooms. Then add your taco seasoning pack; follow directions as on packet.  Let simmer.
Separately heat your favorite black beans. Along with warming your tortillas (I prefer warming them in a skillet for a slight crisp).
In a small bowl combine sour cream, garlic and cilantro. Can add salt and pepper to your liking (not needed). Set aside until you're ready to top your tacos.
When ready to serve top your meat mixture with cheese, black beans, tomatoes, dollop of the cilantro sour cream, avocado and lettuce. You can eat the black beans and avocado separately.
Add or omit based on your taste buds!
Enjoy & happy eating from my sister, Tiffany!

Green For Life

If you have been wondering how I came into nutrition, I want to share with you a little bit about my "green" journey. Some years ago, I was working full-time, in school for my master's degree and interning for a mental health outpatient clinic. I was so busy with life that I was running low on energy, so I began to research ways to naturally increase my energy. I was thinking along the lines of juicing, but being that I was gearing up to quit my full-time job and increase my internship hours, I really did not want to spend $200+ on a good juicer. It was at that time that a light bulb went off! So I said to myself, "Jennifer, work with what you have...you have a blender!"

Granted, I had done a lot of smoothies in the past, but just your typical fruit smoothies (no greens). So while doing my research on increasing my energy I conducted a web search for "juicing vs. smoothies" and I was amazed at the outcome! It has been debated, but I found an overwhelming amount of information on the absence of fiber from juicing, that I just decided to go ahead and start blending!

If you don't know me personally, a fact about myself is, once I commit to something, I obsess over it for days and sometimes months before I fully dive in. One of my favorite obsessions during this timeframe was finding "Green For Life", a small 186 page book by Victoria Boutenko. Packed inside this book was an abundance of information to aid me on my "green" journey. Within, you will find green smoothie recipes, the Roseburg Study, healing powers of chlorophyll and the benefits of digesting fiber (just to name a few).

After one month of drinking green smoothies for my breakfast (daily), I noticed that I had achieved my goal of increased energy! In addition to my energy levels, I had regular bowel movements and I was more focused, mentally. I cannot express to you how drinking my greens changed my life! I felt so much better and I began to crave green vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I just could not get enough!

I purchased my copy from Amazon due to the book being out of stock at the time of my purchase. However, I support what the Boutenko family is about, so please click the link and order here.


Gerber Organic Baby Food!

Organic Pear Spinach
So you know, healthy eating doesn't just have to end with you, right? Yesterday on Thanksgiving Day, my brother popped open one of these lovely pouches to feed my 1 year old nephew, Phillip. I was so intrigued as Phillip scarfed down this tiny pouch, that I picked it up immediately after he put it down! I couldn't believe my eyes...Gerber makes healthy baby food! In fact, they cover a nutrition guide via the Gerber website for "all stages". Being that I have no children, please excuse me if you've known about this! Also on their website, you can select the Interactive Menu Planner option and create meals for your little ones. While you're over there, check out 7 tips to better nutrition for your kiddos.

Nothing boils my blood more than seeing a family in a hurry, stopping nightly at fast food restaurants to feed their children! Remember, healthy eating begins with you and should continue on down to your children. Taking just an extra 5 minutes at the grocery store can make all the difference in your child's health. They also will be equipped with the necessary fruits and green vegetables that they so need! You'll find that adult veggie eaters were once children who enjoyed their vegetables.

An apple a day...

Honey Crisp Apple
May keep the psychiatrist away!

Apples have tons of health benefits, one of which is an antioxidant called quercetin. Quercetin is known to boost your immune system, especially when feeling moody or stressed!

Food-Mood Boosters

Obviously, I've been doing a lot of research on the topic of food and our mood. Dr. Oz has summarized how 3 superfoods can increase your moods. See below, and feel free to click the link to be directed to his website.

For Anxiety: Drink Kefir Milk
This milk is different from regular milk because it’s fermented with probiotic kefir grains. Kefir milk is also loaded with tryptophan – an amino acid that also helps raise serotonin levels in the brain – which can help reduce anxious feelings. Drinking one cup a day is enough to keep you feeling calm.

For Mood Swings: Eat Asparagus
If you’re prone to mood swings, asparagus is a must-have vegetable in your diet. It’s packed with folic acid; low levels of this nutrient have been linked to depression. Just one cup of asparagus has 66% of your daily value of folic acid. It’s easy to incorporate this superfood into your diet – you can use it as an ingredient in an omelet or throw some asparagus tips into a salad. Try to work it into at least two meals a day to regulate mood.

For Stress: Eat Oranges
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which brings high stress hormones back to normal levels more quickly. Vitamin C also helps lower blood pressure. Blood pressure can rise in response to stressful situations. Eat an orange as a snack on the days when you anticipate extra stress at home or at work. Doing so about an hour before a stressful situation can help you stay calm.

Source: Dr. Oz

15 Easy Ways to Get Your Fruits & Vegetables

Are you eating as many fruits & vegetables as you should? Here are 15 easy ways to include them, daily!

1.   Stock your kitchen with fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits & veggies.
2.   Add spinach, asparagus, bell peppers, tomatoes or other veggies to your scrambled eggs or omelet.
3.   Include fresh or dried fruit & raw vegetables in your lunch/snacks.
4.   Add bell peppers, cucumbers & lettuce to your deli sandwiches.
5.   Keep a fruit bowl on the counter of your kitchen for a quick snack.
6.   If you buy your lunch, choose the fresh fruit option instead of fries!
7.   When at the salad bar, fill your plate with greens before you add carbs.
8.   Keep a small bag of baby carrots or other raw vegetables within easy reach.
Green Smoothie (see #14)
9.   Along with fresh greens, buy vegetables that won't spoil quickly such as
      carrots, potatoes, onions and zucchini.
10. For dinner, add vegetables to the meals you already love.
11. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables, such as asparagus & roast them for a
      delicious side.
12. Add fresh or frozen vegetables to spaghetti sauce, such as spinach.
13. Salads will stay fresh longer if left undressed. To save time prepare
      enough to last a few days or buy bagged salads.
14. For dessert, make a green smoothie!  Add bananas, berries, mangos,
      peaches & top it off with spinach, romaine lettuce or kale.
15. Lastly, make healthy eating exciting!! Sample fruits
      and vegetables that you've never tried.

Remember that variety is key. Different fruits & veggies provide your body with different nutrients. I always use color as my guide. Meaning that choosing fruits & veggies of different colors helps to ensure you are getting a good mix of vitamins.

Grocery List

I thought I'd share with you items I typically pick up from the grocery store. Feel free to adjust to your liking. Also, if you are interested in how I prepare meals, please email me.

Note: The list is separated by food groups.

Fruits (fresh, frozen, canned or dried):
  • Pineapples, Bananas, Grapes, Strawberries, Kiwi, Mangos, Peaches, Cherries, Prunes, Raisins, Blueberries Dates & Apples.
Veggies (fresh, frozen, canned or dried):
  • Spinach, Collards, Kale, Romaine, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Squash, Onions, Bell Peppers, Brussels Sprout, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Lentils, Okra, Mushrooms, Celery, Green Tea/Matcha Powder, Avocado, Asparagus, & Eggplant. 
  • Brown Rice, Oatmeal, Quinoa, Honey Whole Wheat Bread, various Pastas, Wild Rice, Couscous, Barley & Spinach Wraps.
  • Ground Chicken, Chicken Thighs, Chicken Breasts, Ribeye Steak, Canned Tuna, Salmon, Shrimp, Crab, Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, Mixed Nuts, Sesame Seeds, Pecans Almond Butter & Peanut Butter.
  • Fruit filled Greek Yogurt, Mozzarella Cheese, Parmesan Cheese, PepperJack Cheese, & Daiya Cheese. I typically do not purchase a lot of dairy. If in a "sweet tooth" mood, I will grab Gelato (though it's rare).
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Almond Oil and Coconut Oil.
Please view Choose my Plate for a quick guide on creating a healthy, balanced plate.

Welcome to Food-Mood!

So happy that you have found my site! My name is Jennifer M. Philips and I want to be your Nutrition & Wellness Counselor! To learn more about me, please visit the "About" tab. In a nutshell, my background combines both mental health counseling and nutrition/wellness. I have a passion for connecting with people and helping them lead a more healthy, balanced lifestyle. Here on the site, I'll share how different foods ultimately affect how you feel.

Feel free to contact me via email at jennifer@food-mood.org and remember you are what you eat!!