March is National Nutrition Month!

If you are reading this, you should be aware that the month of March is National Nutrition Month! With that being said, I would like to challenge you to do something different, as it relates to your nutrition, for the entire month.

Here are some ideas:

- Make a smoothie or juice at least 3x per week
- Cut down on eating out (you'd be surprised how much money you save)
- Find a new recipe each week and cook at home!
- Steam, bake or grill only, no frying!
- Take 1 day out of the month to just explore the aisles of the grocery store or your local farmers market
- No red meats! Try eating only seafood and chicken for the month (watch
  your energy increase)
- Try something new (ex: fruits, beans, etc.)!

Make sure to have fun along the way. You only have one body, be sure to take good care of it now, rather than later when disease and illness has set in.

My personal goal for the month, is to only eat a plant-based diet. I am trying my hardest to cut back on eating chicken. I just love it so much!! :-)

To learn more about National Nutrition Month, follow this link to the be re-directed to

Mood Boosting Supplements: Folic Acid

Folic Acid is my third post for Mood Boosting Supplements. Folic Acid has been known to treat symptoms of depression. It is found in virtually everything we consume from leafy green vegetables to fortified breads and cereal. Let's say that you are not clinically diagnosed with depression, but you have some of the traits of someone who is. A low mood in general can be the result of various stressors in your life such as work, finances or even family.

The daily recommendation of Folic Acid intake is 400 mg. If you are a women and are in your childbearing age (let's say 25 & up), you should increase the amount to 800 mg per day.

In addition to taking your supplements every day, let's look at a list of 15 foods high in Folic Acid:
  1. Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach, Collards, Turnips & Romaine
  2. Broccoli
  3. Asparagus
  4. Citrus Fruits: Papaya, Strawberries, Oranges, Grapefruit & Raspberries
  5. Beans, Peas & Lentils
  6. Okra
  7. Avocado
  8. Brussels Sprout
  9. Seeds & Nuts: Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseeds, Peanuts & Almonds
  10. Corn
  11. Beets
  12. Celery
  13. Carrots
  14. Squash: Summer & Winter
  15. Cauliflower
To learn more, click here to be routed to Vitacost. Please remember, if you are taking anti-depressents, do not stop cold turkey before consulting with your primary care doctor first.

Reader Recipe #2: Chicken w/ Goat Cheese & Arugula

This entry is brought to you by one of my dearest friends, Chimere. She has recently decided to take control of the foods that she consumes by eating healthier meals, cooked at home. After seeing this picture on Instagram, I had to have the recipe! I love almost anything stuffed (mainly Chicken and Salmon). If you are worried about the Goat Cheese, don't worry too much! It's packed with a few good health benefits, and it's low in calorie.

Now onto the fun stuff, the recipe:

Roasted Broccoli w/ Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 bunches broccoli, cut into 2 1/2-in florets
- 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, whole
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add broccoli to a large bowl. Add the shallots, cherry tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes  with 4 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat and spread onto large baking sheet. Roast until the stems are tender-crisp and lightly golden brown, about 18 minutes. Grate the Parmesan over the broccoli while its hot.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed w/ Goat Cheese & Arugula
- 2 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, cut into pieces
- 4 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- Salt & pepper
- 1 bunch arugula, washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped (3 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

Directions: Combine cheese and garlic in a small cup. Trim excess fat from chicken; season with salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each breast to form a deep pocket. Stuff each pocket with an equal amount of cheese mixture and arugula. Press edges of chicken together to seal.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken, 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium; add broth to pan. Cover and simmer, about 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately, discarding any remaining broth.

I cannot wait to try this recipe! If you remember the healthy eating plate, be sure to add a grain to your meal. A side of brown rice would be excellent!

Thank you Chimere for sharing your recipe! She is a huge part of this blog and the content you see in the "About" section. I cannot wait to customize a nutrition plan for her for the month of March, so that she can see and feel the affects of Food & Mood.

If you have a great tasting recipe that you'd like to share, please email me at to be featured on the blog.


Goji Berries

An item that I pick up at the grocery store when I am feeling as if the benefits outweighs the cost, are Goji Berries. I love these small, yet powerful berries in my smoothies, yogurt and teas.
Let's look at just some of their health benefits:
  • Coined the "fountain of youth"
  • Used to treat common health ailments including high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Filled with antioxidants that may prevent cancer and heart disease
  • Potential to boost brain health and "protects against age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's"
  • Studies have shown benefits in mental well-being and calmness
If you don't mind spending $15 for these, I'd suggest grabbing a bag the next time you're in the health & wellness section of your grocery store! Vitacost also sells them, click here to read more.

Food-Mood 101's First Event!

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." - Confucius

Himalayan Pink Salt

Recently while talking with a relative, I learned of her iodine deficiency. I am not a huge salt lover, in fact, I've had the same sea salts in my pantry for over a year. I typically will use a lot of garlic salt, if any. So with that being said, learning of an "iodine deficiency" pushed me to begin exploring ways to add healthy salts back into my diet and on a regular basis.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of Himalayan Pink Salt.

Mood Boosting Supplements: L-Tryptophan

As I mentioned in my initial post on supplements that boost your moods, I will share and briefly review several supplements. In this post, I will discuss L-Tryptophan.

Please note: I am no scientific researcher, so the information within my posts are very broad, yet specific to mood disruptions. 

So let's begin! Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that can only be found in animal or plant protein. The body is unable to produce this chemical, therefore, it can only be gained through food consumption. Studies show that it has been used to treat symptoms of depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

As mentioned above, the body is not able to produce Tryptophan on its own. However, the body needs this essential amino acid to convert to serotonin. We all need serotonin because this is the hormone that communicates to our nerve cells. Altering mood swings can be a result of changes in our brain's serotonin levels. Tryptophan does this naturally without having the horrible side effects of prescription antidepressants.

Below you will find a list of foods where Tryptophan is found:
  • Meats: Cod, Salmon, Tuna, Turkey, Venison, Chicken, Lamb, and Shrimp
  • Vegetables: Garlic, Raw Edamame, Spinach, Brocoli, Celery and Soybeans
Of course, if you struggle with your moods or know that you have a serotonin deficiency, I recommend taking a supplement to fill in the gap of food and overall wellness. You can eat until you can't eat anymore, so you want to be sure that you are giving your body an opportunity to absorb all of the nutrients through food and supplements. Take a look at Vitacost's L-Tryptophan to start.

Stay tuned, there's a few more mood boosting supplements left to discuss!

Hydrate w/ Stawberry-Kiwi Water!

Growing up, I hated the taste (or the lack of taste) of water. Honestly, I only consumed fruit juices such as Hi-C Orange, Capri Sun and a slew of Minute Maid brand juices. Making the transition to become healthier, I had to ween myself off of those toxic drinks. I struggled for a very long time, but I am happy to say that it's been over a year and I have drank water consistently on a daily basis.

Let's discuss some ways that I was able to shake my bad habit and obtain my recommended intake of water.

The ultimate craze for "flavored" water came via added lemon wedges in your water to create a palatable taste. I would use lemons and then shortly thereafter, I converted to limes. The lime added variety to my taste buds. Then, while researching online the health benefits of raw honey, I learned of the anti-imflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, so I began adding raw honey to boost my immune! Of course, after a while, I felt as though I was drinking fruit juice because of the sweetness. I then went back to adding either the juice of a lime or lemon.

Now on to the gems! We are already eating fruits, so why not add them to our water? Buying carbonated flavored water has the potential to have chemicals that are no good for your body, so I would advise avoiding these. I do, however suggest taking the time to purchase fresh fruit, chop them yourself and add them to a pitcher of H2O! You have the ability to mix up your fruits for a variety of flavors and have better control of your nutritional intake. This week, I decided to chop up some Kiwis & Strawberries and added them to my Bodum Ceylon 51 oz. infusion pitcher filled with water. These lovely fruits have so many health benefits, including fiber, healthy digestion, and blood sugar control.

In addition to adding Strawberries & Kiwis to your water, here are some other fruit infusions:
  • Strawberry & Mint
  • Cucumbers
  • Cucumbers, Lime & Lemons
  • Green Tea, Mint & Lime
  • Lemons, Lime, & Oranges
If you are wondering how many ounces of water you should be drinking on a daily basis, an easy way to calculate it is to take your weight and split it in half. I'll explain, using myself as an example. I currently weigh 134 lbs. and half of 134 is 67 ounces. This calculation means that I should be drinking at least four 16 oz bottles of water a day.

Have you tried fruit/water infusions? I'd love to hear your feedback and if adding the fruit to your water has made it easier to consume.

Almond Butter

We discussed almonds in my almond milk post, but I thought I'd continue with adding almond butter to the site. Almond butter has become my healthy alternative to peanut butter. Like many nut butters, almond butter comes in "creamy" or "crunchy". Crunchy happens to be my preference. Add this butter to green smoothies or on a whole grain bagel to get the adequate amount of nutrients.

Dandelion Root

While having a hectic week, I found my way to chocolate candy and am now suffering from a bit of an acne breakout. I decided that I was going to do a short detox, so I picked up some roasted dandelion root tea to cleanse my liver. Dandelion tea is also a good alternative to drinking coffee.

The body has so many functions and to cleanse your body of impurities, there are several areas that you can focus on including kidneys, lungs, skin, intestines and liver. I decided to focus on my liver mainly because this is where toxins are processed for elimination. The dandelion root is used to stimulate the liver, so that it is prepared to push the impurities through.

For purposes of this post and personal knowledge, I decided to share with you the benefits of dandelion root and how it affects your moods. This "weed" is known to alleviate symptoms of depression due to its high amount of vitamin B-complex. I think it is interesting how natural ingredients are also used as mood enhancers.

I'll be sure to report back on my skin, as well as my mood after drinking the tea daily for a week or two.

Mood Boosting Supplements: EPA/DHA

Recently I met with a potential client, who has struggled with depression for most of their life. For only about 6 months of their 30+ years, they were taking Lexapro, a antidepressant to treat their symptoms.

This triggered some brainstorming and research to find a mood boosting supplement mix to replace prescribed medications for mental health diagnoses. I will reveal them over a series of post.

In this first post, I would like to introduce you to: EPA/DHA. For starters, EPA is Eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA is Docosahexaenoic acid. Whew, that's a mouth full! In a nutshell, these two are members of the omega-3 fatty acid family. They both support brain and mental functioning. When you think about it, the brain itself is 60-80 percent fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are found under the fattest layer of cold-water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, and flaxseed (just to name a few). It can also be obtained through supplements. Through research, I found that EPA effects one's behavior and mood. DHA, on the other hand, is one of the primary fatty acids in the brain and it has been reported that the brain functions more efficiently when there are higher levels of DHA in the body. Studies have shown a strong correlation between omega-3 fatty acids, or a lack thereof, and symptoms of major depression.

Let's look at what  EPA/DHA supplements reduce symptoms for:
  • Attention deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD
  • Depression
  • Mood Disorders
  • Schizophrenia
This is one supplement that I plan to recommend to clients who want to naturally boost their moods, and perhaps even create a "wellness cocktail" with it included. If interested in purchasing EPA/DHA supplements, click here. These are pretty pricey, but the reviews are good and I support Vitacost.

Are you interested in reading about the remaining mood boosting supplements? Stay tuned, there's four more left!