Improve Your Mood: Healthy Meal Ideas to Give You the Good Feels

Improve Your Mood: Healthy Meal Ideas to Give You the Good Feels

Say goodbye to stress, fatigue, and getting “hangry”

They say you are what you eat. While none of us are over here literally turning into avocados or smoothies, the sentiment is not too far off the mark. Ever noticed yourself feeling sluggish or bloated after a fast food meal? Crashing hard after a sugar-laden snack? What about an unshakable down-in-the-dumps mood? As it turns out, the connection between what you eat and how you feel emotionally is stronger than you probably think. If you’ve felt a little off lately, may be it has something to do what you are eating on a regular basis. If this sounds familiar, perhaps some healthy meal ideas will help put some pep back in your step.

Low mood is associated with decreased motivation, unhealthy eating habits, and low activity levels. It is a vicious cycle that leads to weight gain and makes it harder to burn off fat. It is important to note, however, that it is not scientifically proven that you can eat your way out of a mental illness or disorder. This stands only for brief periods of less than ideal mood. If your lack of motivation, or feelings of sadness increase, consult your physician as these are signs of depression, rather than just an occasional bad mood.

Eating well does more than boost your mood. It boosts your general brain function, increases energy, and loads other parts of your body with necessary nutrients to thrive throughout the day. Not sure where to get started? Ready to give your weekly meal prep routine a facelift?  Try these delicious dishes, packed full of the good stuff needed to keep you smiling like its Friday, all week long!

15498943326_c1cf25b2a5_b1.  For Complex Carbs- Try Quinoa Tabbouleh

Despite the media demonization of carbs, complex carbs are super beneficial for your mood. Consuming too little carbs, like the ones found in grains, leafy produce, and legumes can lead to fatigue. By choosing complex carbs, over the over-synthesized ones found in white bread or bleached flour, you help tryptophan travel through the body. Tryptophan, when absorbed from food, becomes 5- hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) which is then converted into serotonin. Serotonin, you may know, is the brain chemical tasked with regulating anxiety, happiness, and general mood. A lack of tryptophan may be responsible for your less than happy days.

This Quinoa recipe takes a favorite of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cultures and gives it a complex -carb packed twist. Replacing bulgur wheat with quinoa, this vegetarian salad is hearty, yet refreshing.

2.  For More Omega-3s try a Salmon Poke Bowl

Poke, once a regional favorite, and now a global phenomenon. Poke is a raw fish salad, originating in Hawaii. Think of a deconstructed sushi roll, in a heaping bowl. Poke consists of raw fish, marinated soy sauce, sesame oil and onions. From there, you can find everything from rice, seaweed, cucumber, avocado, to sesame seeds and sriracha topping these colorful concoctions.

But, we’re here for the Omega-3s. Many studies have linked Omega-3s to brain health, including the neurotransmitters that help move tryptophan along.

This version of poke combines wild frozen salmon, avocado, yellow onion, scallions, cilantro, brown rice and arugula for a zesty, flavorful meal packed with omega-3 rich foods.

improve your mood3.  For a Balanced Breakfast: Peanut Butter Banana Oat Breakfast Cookies

Cookies?! For breakfast?! Well, this post is about lifting your mood via food, but what about the healthy part? While cookie-like in shape and texture, the contents of these nutrient-packed disks of joy are much closer to a homemade snack bar. Here you have the potassium of bananas; vanilla protein powder and peanut butter for an energy boost, applesauce, nuts and oats for a balanced breakfast.

So many of us skip out on breakfast, due to busy lifestyles, lack of healthy options and in some cases, a misguided attempt to lose weight. A lack of breakfast can lead to a lower mood, overeating during future meals, and low concentration. A nutritious breakfast, as opposed to one packed with processed sugar and carbs, is a mood-booster, an energy boost, and a pretty easy way to lose weight.

For those on the go, make these cookies in batches and keep them in an airtight container for up to one week. Grab 2 on your way out the door, or while you chug your morning cup of coffee. A balanced breakfast does not need to be an hour-long affair.

4.  For more Vitamin D & Folate Try a Greek Omelet

Mediterranean diets are often hailed as one of the healthiest and most conducive to weight loss. A Greek omelet is a great way to get your essential Vitamin D, which many people are deficient in. Feta cheese, while on the fattier side of dairy, is great in moderation. Feta is a fantastic choice for increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake.

There’s a reason therapists often recommend more time in the sun for greater moods. Vitamin D helps in elevating mood and moderating emotions.

Mix eggs, spinach, feta, scallions, dill and pepper and cook in a 10-inch skillet for a nutritious entrée suitable for any meal.

improve your mood5.  For B12, Iron, Vitamin K and Antioxidants, Try Nacho Cheese Kale Chips

You may want to sit down for this one. What if I told you that there was a way to curb that craving for half a bag of nacho cheese chips that you crave oh-so-badly on a bad day? Loaded with preservatives processed carbs, saturated fats, and a lot of unnecessary chemical nonsense, you’re better off skipping bagged chips. But with a little prep work, you can make a nutritionally satisfying alternative, that will also help your brain health.

A common issue for people who take up plant-based diets is the development of a B12 deficiency.  B12 is mostly found in meat and dairy. B12 is essential for healthy blood cells and a functioning nervous system. Yet, 4 out of 100 women over age 40 show signs of a deficiency. A deficiency is usually characterized by fatigue, breathlessness, numbness, poor balance and memory trouble. Not to mention the poor mood you will probably be in. A great, not-so-well known way to get your B12 levels up? Nutritional Yeast!

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that comes in a dry, flaky powdered form. It’s nutty, cheesy flavor makes it a great substitute for powdered or grated cheeses, especially if you are avoiding dairy.

Kale, a well-known nutritional powerhouse, adds a punch of iron, vitamin K, and antioxidants to your snack time treat.

Other Food-Related Problems that May be Disrupting Your Mood

  • You’re Still Eating Cold Cuts

While cold-cuts, especially those that come in the plastic container, seem like a great way to get a solid serving of protein- stop! These preservative, sodium-laden mystery meats are a HCG Diet Plan disaster. Not to mention, a lot of the junk in the meat slices could be contributing to your lack of energy.

Look to have fresh, preservative free meats whenever possible. Or, look to get your protein from alternative, plant-based sources.

  • You’re Not Eating Often Enough

Too many people assume that their weight gain is entirely attributed to eating too much. Even more often do we critique this line of thinking, stating only that it forces the body to retain fat and over eat later on. This method can also be causing your poor mood.

Some of us call this “hangry”, the short-fused, irritable behavior only quelled after a meal. This is NOT just a personality trait, it is a biological response to inadequate food intake. While sugar is generally frowned upon in a healthy diet, allowing your blood sugar to drop (also known as hypoglycemia) affects your brain function. Self-control, and actions like regulating emotions, dealing with stress, and avoiding impulses diminish.

Eat when you are hungry, and make sure it is nutritious. This can help you avoid a major, unnecessary breakdown.

  • You Have a Negative Association With Food

Perhaps you have struggled with your weight for most of your life? Maybe a health-scare made you conscientious about what you eat to the point of near paranoia? No matter the source, for some, eating alone is a point of stress and anxiety.

A negative association with food can lead to feelings of guilt or sadness after meals. In some cases, binging follows a “slip”, when you eat something that is out-of-line with your ideal diet. This is unhealthy and can lead to dietary and mental health issues. If your meals are come prepared with a side of shame, talk to your physician about ways, such as Adipex P, that can be utilized to reduce this negative association.

  • Your Caffeine Intake is Too High

Caffeine, in moderation in the form of coffee or tea, can be great for you. But if you are overdoing it, you can quickly find yourself feeling nervous, short-tempered and unwell. A high caffeine intake can lead to caffeine addiction. If you find yourself suffering from headaches, irritability, depression, or sleepiness without your sixth cup of coffee, it is probably time to wean yourself off.

If you’re ready to make the commitment to a healthier mind and body, Solutions Weight Loss can help. Our medically supervised weight-loss systems assist you in making the right dietary choices for your specific needs and goals.

How to Lose Belly Fat: What you Need to Know

How to Lose Belly Fat: What you Need to Know

A tried-and-true method for reducing your risk of severe health issues.

Everyone wants to look good and feel good. Getting fit ranks high among most people’s personal goals, especially as we grow older. Who doesn’t want to know how to lose belly fat?  When we are young, health and fitness take a back seat to fast food runs and binge-watching our favorite TV shows. But as middle age approaches, you begin to notice the direct relationship between what you eat and how you feel.  You may even start to experience health problems, like high blood pressure, insomnia and most commonly: weight gain.

Few things disrupt your confidence like struggling to put on your favorite pair of jeans. You take a deep breath and stretch the waistband to no avail. You find yourself more tired than you used to be. You look in the mirror and just don’t feel right. However, weight gain can affect more than your self-esteem. In some cases, it can be very bad for your long-term health.

Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is stored in the abdominal cavity and surrounds organs such as your pancreas, liver, and intestines. It hides beneath the visible surface fat, potentially increasing your chance of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Some studies link visceral fat to stroke, high cholesterol levels, and inflammation.

How much belly fat is too much?

how to lose belly fatWhile not an exact metric, you can get an idea of where you stand by measuring your stomach. Take a measuring tape, and measure your waist around the widest part of your hips. On average, your waistline should be below 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for women.

Keep in mind, that even thin people can have visceral fat. Fat, visible or not, can accumulate due to genetics and lifestyle. Typically, the more active you are, the less belly fat you will accumulate.

Even healthy-weighted individuals who keep a healthy diet, but fail to exercise are likely to have visceral fat.

Reducing belly fat is a challenge, but it is far from impossible. With dedication, determination and a desire to get in shape, anyone can reduce their belly fat. Doing so requires a balance of wellness in multiple aspects of your life. These factors work in tandem to allow your body to work to its fullest potential.

Follow a healthy diet

Whether you are aiming to lose belly fat or just tone up a bit, there is no alternative to a healthy diet. There is no one-size-fits-all miracle solution for weight loss. Nutritional guidelines give a decent framework for building a healthy diet. That said, every body is different. Consulting a nutritionist or doctor before starting your diet can provide insight into your body’s specific nutrient needs.

To burn belly fat, add these things to your diet.

Add soluble fiber to your diet – Fiber helps burn belly fat. A study conducted by Hairston reveals that adding 10 grams of soluble fiber to your daily diet can reduce your visceral fat by as much as 3.7% over a five year period. One cup of green peas, ½ cup of pinto beans, or two mid-sized apples all contain 10 grams of soluble fiber.

Avoid large quantities of alcohol – Modest servings of alcohol, such as a glass of wine, can have a positive effect on your health. Excessive consumption does the exact opposite. Mixed drinks and beer have high-calorie counts, sugar, and excessive carbs. It is easy to drink your way to an increase in belly fat. If you do drink, choose wines and low-calorie cocktails, avoiding mixers like soda and fruit juice.

Reduce your sugar intake – Studies show that high intake of sugar increases abdominal fat. Be aware of other names for sugar, like fructose and sucrose. To much sugar in your diet may lead to chronic diseases like fatty liver, heart problems, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

how to lose belly fatIncrease the Protein in your Diet – It is difficult to build a proper weight loss plan without a high protein diet. Protein helps to make you feel full, decreasing your appetite over a longer period of time; similar to the effects of Adipex P. This decreased appetite leads to less binge eating or empty snacking, thus reducing your weight.

Cut down on carbohydrates – If you are serious about losing weight, then you should cut down your intake of simple carbohydrates. If you restrict your carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per meal, aiming for no more than 150 grams per day, you will burn belly fat. It is most important that you replace refined carbs with unprocessed, complex carbs. Think brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice. Your metabolic health should see a boost as well.

Say no to sugar sweetened beverages – Sweetened beverages have no place in a healthy HCG diet plan. Despite conscious efforts to lower your sugar intake, drinks are often filled with empty calories. These can increase fat in the liver and add extra pounds around the stomach. Soda, juices and sweet tea are notorious for high sugar quantities. Replace these with water, for the most part, supplemented with green tea and coffee.

Skip Fruit Juices– Though fruit juice contains many vitamins and minerals, they contain a lot of sugar, natural and artificial. Both can increase fat in your body. Limit yourself to 8 ounces of fruit juice per day, when on a diet.

Get Active

Vigorous and regular exercise is not only good for weight loss, it is essential in burning belly fat. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes, four days a week.

Walking is a great way to add exercise to your daily routine. Do so at a brisk pace so your heart rate increases and you begin to sweat. When you feel comfortable, start jogging for at least 20 minutes a day, four times a week. You will see similar results, in less time.

Working out on a treadmill, stationary bike and rowing machine are great options as well.

Increasing your heart rate for almost half an hour, for a minimum of three times in a week slows down the process of visceral weight gain.

You don’t even need to get a gym membership. Playing sports, like basketball or soccer with your kids, gardening, raking, and cleaning all benefit your body physically.

You can also do aerobic exercises and lift weights to reduce your visceral fat, but it is advisable to start these exercises under a trained professional.

The most important thing is to stay active.

Manage your stress properly

Everyone experiences varying levels of stress. The way you handle your stress has a tremendous impact on your overall health. If you want to burn belly fat, you need to be able to alleviate stress. There are many ways to go about this. Some prefer meditation and mindfulness practices. Others find solace in spending quality time with friends and family. Exercise is another great option. If you find yourself unable to let go of your stress, consider seeking a professional counselor that specializes in stress management.

With your stress under control, you can make better decisions in regards to your health. Stress often leads to emotional eating, lethargy and a lack of motivation. All of which, can lead to weight gain.

Get Some Sleep

how to lose belly fatFew people recognize the relationship between sleep and a healthy weight. People who are not able to sleep well gain more weight, including visceral fat.

In a study, conducted over a 5 year period, people who slept for less than 5 hours per night, or more than 8 hours every night gained more visceral fat than those who slept for 6-7 hours every night.

Sleep has a significant role to play when it comes to belly fat. There is a connection between sleep duration and the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate hunger and stimulate the appetite.

If you are ready to discover how to lose belly fat and you need further assistance, just get in touch with Solutions Weight Loss – a medical weight loss Orlando facility. Take charge of your health, appearance, and well-being through a healthy diet, physical activity, stress management and quality sleep.

Gut Health: 7 Foods for a Healthy Digestive System

Gut Health: 7 Foods for a Healthy Digestive System

When it comes to your digestive health, you are what you eat!

Junk foods, unhealthy eating habits and a lack of nutritional education result in a lot of pressure on the digestive system. Bloating, acidity and constipation plague an ever-increasing number of people. While these might not be life-threatening conditions, poor gut health can cause a lot of discomfort. Moreover, they can also be the starting point for many complicated, and even life-threatening ailments.

Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is power. People who really care about their health recognize the importance of keeping the gut happy and healthy. Others among us may need a little guidance, and that’s okay!

The significance of healthy digestion

Ever wonder why we say “trust your gut”? In many medical circles, the gut might as well be considered a second brain. The significance of healthy digestive organs can never be overstated.

Do not underestimate the vitality of a healthy gut not only for digestion, but for the overall well-being of your body. After all, your GI tract makes up the majority of your digestive system.

Good gastrointestinal health also has a positive effect on your mood and memory.

Recent research suggests that the health of your gut has a strong connection with your mental health, as leaky gut syndrome or intestinal appear to be on the rise.

Irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, and celiac disease alongside increasing rates of depression, anxiety and autoimmune disorders draw an intriguing parallel between an unhealthy gut and mood.

Symptoms of an unhealthy gut can include bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, or reflux, but there could be less evident signs such as fatigue, headache, weakness of the immune system, and joint pain.

How to Start Working on a Healthy Gut

Where do you start if you want to make a change in your digestive health? How can you avoid uncomfortable conditions like constipation, bloating, acid reflux and other complicated bowel disorders?

The answer: start eating healthier foods. Easily digestible, non-irritating foods generally work well for positive gut flora.

This in no way means that you must ban yourself the foods you love, completely. Aim to strike a balance. If 75% of the time your diet consists of food high in minerals, vitamins and fibers, then go ahead and occasionally treat yourself. A diet closer to 25% gut-healthy foods will likely pronounce your symptoms. Remember, an unhealthy gastrointestinal system does not just affect your digestion, it affects your overall health.

7 Foods for a Healthier Gut

There are 100 trillion bacteria that reside in your gut at any given point in time. Microbial cells make up 90% of the cells in your body. As your diet impacts the growth, survival and types of microbes, you very much “are what you eat”.

Luckily, changing your gut flora does not need to be a huge undertaking to be successful!

Add these 7 foods to your diet plan to improve your gut flora:

Eat Fermented Foods

gut healthFermented foods are probiotic in nature, which helps improve your digestion by promoting good bacteria. Add Tempeh, kefir and miso to your diet to improve the presence of good bacteria in the gut.

The probiotic properties of fermented foods enhance the well-being of intestinal cells   while strengthening your immunity. Probiotics also help in treating diarrhea, reducing the chances of colon cancer and decreasing allergic reactions.

Decrease Inflammation with Chia Seeds

Though tiny in size, chia seeds have immense nutritional benefits, including the ability to keep your gut in excellent condition. Chia seeds provide fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and minerals. All of which regulate your bowel movements, increase your good cholesterol levels and decrease inflammation.

 As an excellent source of magnesium, chia seeds help increase muscle movement. Magnesium helps the intestinal wall relax during  . (That’s the constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine that pushes contents forward.)

Two teaspoons of these tiny seeds provide ten grams of fiber, or one third of your daily recommended value. Soak the chia seeds in water to remove the outer shell before eating.

Use Turmeric for Indigestion

Traditional medicine in India and China uses turmeric to treat numerous digestive problems, such as indigestion. Turmeric stimulates your gallbladder to release bile.

Turmeric can also help rid you of gases by calming your stomach. Plus, it helps improve the intestinal flora and increases intestinal absorption.

Turmeric also contains curcumin, a potent natural anti-inflammatory. Research suggests that turmeric could help treat inflammatory bowel disease, which affects approximately 1.4 million Americans.

Bananas Fight Constipation

gut healthThe FDA officially recognizes banana as a fruit capable of lowering your blood pressure, working to prevent potential strokes and heart attacks. The benefits of bananas cannot be overstated. Bananas have high concentrations of pectin, which help digestion and help to remove heavy metals and toxins from your body.

Bananas fall under the category of prebiotics. They help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your gut and facilitate the process of digestion. Bananas also yield digestive enzymes, which help nutrient absorption.

If you suffer from constipation, you need high amounts of fiber to maintain regular bowel movements. Bananas have a significant amount of healthy fiber that will assist in the fight against constipation.

Bananas replenish your lost electrolytes and soothe your digestive tract, making them an excellent choice after suffering from diarrhea.

As a natural antacid, bananas provide relief from uncomfortable conditions like heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.

Banana also helps people suffering from stomach ulcers, as it provides a protective covering to your stomach lining, against corrosive acids.

Improve Digestion with Beets

This rich source of fiber can help ease digestive problems. It normalizes bowel movements and cleans your gastrointestinal system, which enhances colon and digestive health.

Red beets also contain folate, also known as vitamin B-9, which lowers the chance of colon cancer.

Since beet stops fatty acid build up, it detoxifies your body while simultaneously boosting your energy levels.

Try bone broth to improve digestion

gut healthSince bone broth breaks down completely as a food, it works wonders on digestion. Bone broth contains gelatin and collagen, which help repair the potentially damaged state of the intestinal lining.

 Adding bone broth to your diet may also assist in fighting wheat and dairy sensitivities. It produces good bacteria in the gut and improves immunity of the intestinal tract.

Include Greek Yogurt to promote probiotics

Creamier, thicker, richer and healthier than traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt makes for a great addition to your gut-friendly diet. Greek yogurt contains 40% less sugar, 38% less salt and two times more protein than the customary yogurt. Greek yogurt promotes beneficial bacteria, which helps you keep a healthy gut.

Presence of good bacteria or probiotics prevents you from having diarrhea. Furthermore, it can help sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis.

The high levels of protein in Greek yogurt help to keep you full for longer, often leading to successful weight loss.

Taking charge of your gut health can lead to a healthier and leaner life. Incorporating these foods in your diet will help to promote a healthy digestive system. For more information on healthy living, visit our weight loss and wellness facility– Solutions Weight Loss in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Solutions Weight Loss for a diet plan that helps your gut stay healthy. A healthy gut not only keeps you in shape, but the effects on energy and mood will change your life.

Have a happy gut!


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