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20 Natural WAYS To Boost Mood & Improve Your State!

It absolutely is possible to influence your “state”. By state, I mean you can influence your mood, your energy levels and your state of mind.

When you are in your optimum state, the world is your oyster, you perceive more possibilities and feel more capable, and you are usually better able to access joy!

Here are 20 really simple and easy to implement ways to improve your state. A healthy mind and mental state needs to be nurtured.

If taken for granted or neglected it can quickly deteriorate. If you have mental illness, like any disease, recovery and feeling well require consistent daily management; there is no “quick fix”.

Try some of these everyday, you will be better for it. 😃😃😃

Diet has been scientifically proven to influence mood, performance, brain chemistry, your health and your overall state of well-being. To get yourself into an optimum state and play at the top of your game... it’s a good idea to start with the basics.
1.  Eat three servings a day of top-quality amino containing foods like fish, lean white meat (free range), egg, soya, quinoa, combinations of beans, lentils, pulses, and sprouts. This will make sure you are getting all the essential amino acids you need for optimum brain chemistry.

2.  Choose low "Glycaemic Load" carbohydrates.
Eat reasonable portions of carbohydrates as whole grains, vegetables and fresh fruit, and stay away from processed sugar and refined foods.

This will make sure you have a steady stream of good quality calming carbohydrates as well as essential amino acids entering your system which are vital for maintaining the perfect state of being. Your brain, your nerves, your red blood cells and your muscles all rely on carbohydrates for energy. Give them the fuel they need to perform.

By choosing quality carbs you help keep this supply stable and avoid highs and lows that negatively affect mood, energy and other body systems.

Extra tip: Combine protein with carbohydrate. This is a very effective strategy to help keep your blood sugar levels stable which has a profound effect on your mood and ability to concentrate.  This means you won’t become a victim of cravings and addicted to stimulants that will make you edgy and weak.

3.  Save your antioxidants for your power not for your defence. Avoid hydrogenated fats and reduce your intake of saturated fats from meat, dairy produce and junk food. Avoid artificial additives and preservatives. They can deplete you of nutrients, damage your cells, steal your good mood and negatively affect your state.

4.  Boost your essential oils status. Omega 3 fats contain EPA and DHA which are mood enhancers as well as mind and memory boosters. Eat good quality oily fish three times a week instead of meat, or take fish oil supplements (good sources are sardines, mackeral, salmon, tuna... sardines are naturally lowest in mercury).

Have a tablespoon of ground flax seeds every day or munch on some walnuts. Use cold-pressed seed oils in salad dressings.
5.  Drink 1 – 2 litres of water a day (naturally caffeine free herbal teas can be included in this.)  Dehydration will affect your performance and concentration whereas enough water will keep you clear, alert and energised.

Some herbal teas, have the added benefit of being a “pick up” or “calmer” so choose the one you need. For example: Peppermint and Liquorice tea are great for afternoon energizers. Camomile is great for relaxing. Lemon and Ginger are great for after meals and Jasmine is the perfect social tea.

6.  Enjoy whole and fresh natural foods for greater vitality, energy and zest for life. Real foods contain many more vitamins and minerals and goodies than we could easily name off the top of our heads.

If your brain and your body is well nourished, you feel well and capable. If you are malnourished, lethargic, or carrying a burden of chemical toxins (like preservatives, trans-fats, and artificial additives) it is really difficult to improve your state because you just don’t feel good and healthy.

7. Get a daily dose of lecithin. Lecithin supports acetylcholine a neurotransmitter involved in memory and mood.  Foods containing lecithin include organ meats, red meat, seafood, eggs, cooked green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli, legumes, such as soybeans, kidney beans, and black beans

8.   One or two squares of raw dark chocolate (or good quality organic dark chocolate) can be wonderfully calming and uplifting, especially if eaten with a handful of almonds. Almonds are great for the amygdala, the emotional centre of your brain.

9.  Chop some fresh herbs onto your meals.

Patrick Holford, founder of the Institute of Optimum Nutrition, promotes the benefits of the following culinary herbs:
Basil can sharpen the senses and improve concentration.
Coriander is reputed to have a refreshing, stimulating and uplifting effect on the mind and may help with lethargy and tension.
Marjoram is helpful for calming the nervous system and reducing anxiety and feelings of stress.
Peppermint is a cooling herb that can reduce angry feelings and nervousness. It can also help with mental fatigue.
Rosemary is a stimulating herb, reputedly good for improving memory.

So plant a herb garden and get in the habit of sprinkling some fresh and revitalising goodness onto at least one meal a day!

 


10.  Use spices like cinnamon or foods like ginger and liquorice to warm you up or uplift you. Cinnamon can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, helping to keep your mood stable.

 

11.  Magnesium can help calm anxiety and relieve tension by relaxing your muscles. If you battle to sleep, this will dramatically affect your state when you are awake. Try taking 300 mg of Magnesium in the evening before bed to help you relax. Or you could add some magnesium salts to a nice warm relaxing bath.

12.   If your energy levels are low and your stress levels are high and you are relying on stimulants to get through your day, consider taking a vitamin B complex after breakfast or at lunch time, rather than a coffee or other stimulant like sugar.

You will be delighted by the lift (and don’t be put off by your bright yellow wee!) Vegans might benefit from supplementing vitamin B12 sublingually (under the tongue) and Spirulina. Vegans are often low in B12 and iron.

13.  Focus your attention.
Choose where you focus your attention be aware of what you give power and energy to. If you can laser tune your focus, you will elevate your state and achieve greater results.

Focus on positives, notice when you are in a repetitive cycle of focusing on the negative or worst case scenario. We can train ourselves to pay attention to different things and to become aware of positive things at play in our lives. Our state and progress can be affected by focus.

"Choose what you would like to pull into your focus...."

 14.  Balance your brain with meditation, prayer, or quiet reflection.

15.  Choose your circle of influence carefully. Your “unconscious” mind is open to suggestion, make sure that those speaking into it or influencing it are mostly positive and supporting, enrich your perspective or lighten your state and your mood, or create an environment where you feel loved, accepted and like you belong.

A sense of community, connectedness and belonging will also increase neurotransmitters like Serotonin and GABA which help us feel calm and stable, even happy.

16. Movement through light exercise or some aerobic exercise can get that vital energy going. It will invigorate your brain, raise endorphins and as an added bonus, burn some fat. Exercise has been proven to help people recover from depression.

Dancing has been associated with elevated mood, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s and improved mental health. Walking in nature releases GABA, a stabilising calming neurotransmitter.

17. Sunlight. Maximise natural light in your room, with natural daylight or full spectrum lighting.

Sunlight and vitamin D are important for the pineal gland, for hormone regulation, for your immune system and can ward off depression.

Sit out in the morning sun or afternoon sun for 20 minutes a day, face and arms exposed to the rays (and of course keep out of the mid day sun, so that you don’t get sunburned).

18. Smell is so powerful that it acts directly on the brain like a drug. Our smell sense is directly wired into the limbic system, a part of our brain that acts as an emotional switchboard.

Fragrances can relieve pain, call up deep-seated memories and generally affect personality and behaviour.

Scents like essential oils: Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Rose, Patchouli, Jasmine, Vanilla and Musk are both relaxing and stimulating. You could burn these essential oils in an oil burner, add drops to your bath, or burn fragranced candles to help improve your state.

19.  Create a state of ecstasy or calm through music. You can use music consciously to alter your state- as a natural stimulant, relaxant, mood booster and connector, both at home and at work. Music with 60 beats per minute aids concentration and puts you in a receptive and calming learning state.

‘Half an hour of music produces the same effect as ten milligrams of Valium.’ Raymond Bahr, Director of Coronary Care, St Agnes Hospital


20.  Sleep. Increased REM sleep is an excellent mood enhancer. Get enough sleep.

People who are sleep deprived tend to be lower in serotonin, lower in growth hormone, less productive, feel more stressed and can be ineffective.

Aim for 6 to 9 hours a night. Take siestas, a well-timed nap can be tremendously invigorating!

The role of stress and emotions in the manifestation of disease, as well as its effect on recovery

This is not a new idea, but it's often understated or underestimated and often misses out on adequate attention in the treatment cycle.

I have been collecting literature on this topic for years but recently found an interesting article which describes it pretty succinctly here.

Stress can affect our ability to protect ourselves from illness and our ability to heal. While not all stress is bad, the ongoing assault of chronic stress or persistent daily stress is more impactful than most people realise.

"...Chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness. It raises catecholamine and suppressor T cells levels, which suppress the immune system. This suppression, in turn raises the risk of viral infection. Stress also leads to the release of histamine, which can trigger severe broncho-constriction in asthmatics.

Stress increases the risk for diabetes mellitus, especially in overweight individuals, since psychological stress alters insulin needs.
Stress also alters the acid concentration in the stomach, which can lead to peptic ulcers, stress ulcers or ulcerative colitis.

Chronic stress can also lead to plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis), especially if combined with a high-fat diet and sedentary living.
The correlation between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the correlation with medical or physical illness. The relationship of stress with psychiatric illness is strongest in neuroses, which is followed by depression and schizophrenia.

There is no scientific evidence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the immune system changes and the development of cancer. However, recent studies found a link between stress, tumour development and suppression of natural killer (NK) cells, which is actively involved in preventing metastasis and destroying small metastases."

Arguably stress is not always avoidable... however we can learn techniques to shield ourselves from some stressors, we can improve our ability to self regulate and recover better through others... and we can make sure we support ourselves physically with good nutrition and mentally with adequate emotional or psychological support and connection.  Eat plenty of nourishing food and try to limit “stress eating” junk food, which puts further strain on your body and can cause further inflammation. 

Sometimes in life, there are times we need to hold on, to "vasbyt" (a great Afrikaans term which kind of means "endure") and push through stress because it's necessary or temporary or because there's something worth holding onto, and sometimes there will be times when it becomes necessary to "let go" or change something big, because your health will require it.  

Sometimes our desire or need to be in control needs to be soothed by acceptance of circumstances outside of our control, and a redirection of energy to embrace other opportunities, consider other options or to recover and renew and regroup.  Happiness and contentment can be found in many different places, as can success, and fulfillment and hope.

Consider: “what’s causing you stress”, and “is there anything you can change”, and “where you can get support”, also look for little ways you can support yourself through it like getting more sleep, spending time in nature, eating nourishing food and talking to friends and family.

Order your healthy meals delivered in Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coasts here.


Ref:  Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences, Vol. 15, No. 4, October 2008 (9-18)

Why Healthy Meal Delivery Can Be the Best Gift for New Parents

 

Bringing home a new baby can be overwhelming and without a doubt, exhausting. If it’s a couple’s first child or even fourth, the first few months following a new arrival are always hectic and tiring, yet somehow magical.

It can be difficult for new parents to think about food prep or recipes, let alone to prioritise healthy eating at all. While trying to recover from the most physically and emotionally exhausting event that is childbirth, they have their hands full (literally), they are tired and they are hungry. That’s why healthy, wholesome and delicious prepared meals can be an absolute lifesaver during that precious and all-consuming time.

We are absolutely certain that new parents will appreciate our lovingly prepared meals delivered to their doorstep, with no prep of any kind required – no chopping, no mixing, simply heat and eat. The perfect gift to cut out the stress of shopping, cooking and washing up.

Our hand-prepared frozen meals are packed full of nutritious fresh ingredients (locally sourced where possible) to support the postpartum healing period and allow more time for care and rest for the new parents. Each Wholesomeness meal comes labelled with nutritional information and microwave and oven heating instructions.

A Wholesomeness gift voucher would make the perfect gift for new parents. Alternatively, if you would prefer to just purchase and send the new parents a box once the little one has arrived, you can do that as well.

For a couple who have only just become parents, we would recommend our pack of 14 x one-portion meals. This would provide the new parents with 7 nights of dinners. For an extra treat, add on a pack of our yummy guilt-free vegan cakes (a huge customer favourite) for the couple to enjoy together once the baby is (finally!) asleep.

For families who already have children, our family meal pack would be perfect. Our family meal pack includes 5 x 1.2kg kid-friendly meals (each meal is designed to feed two adults + two children).

Purchase a gift voucher here.

Order and send meals to the new parents here. Delivery is every Tuesday.

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things…hope, a dream of possibilities.”

- Eda LaShan

Wholesomeness Superfood Breakfast Packs

 

Did you know that we make delicious breakfast packs that you can add onto any order for only $20?

Our breakfast packs are made in house by our clinical Nutritionist and are gluten free, dairy free, preservative free, cane sugar free and additive free. We can also make them low FODMAP!

Our breakfast packs include a mix of smoothie packs and our homemade cereal packs (some weeks we mix it up a bit and make our yummy breakfast frittata too).

Our delicious superfood smoothie packs are the perfect blend-and-go brekkie for those busy mornings – simply blend with your choice of milk or water. No prepping, no waste and no mess!! For an added boost, you can also add a serving of our homemade protein powder blend, which can be added onto any order. 

We make our own cereal blend from scratch, using premium ingredients (and no added refined sugars in sight!). We keep our dried fruit content low, occasionally we might add xylitol, honey or maple syrup, but it's rare and it's minimal. We like to use wholesome, nourishing ingredients in our cereal…think puffed quinoa, pepitas, sunflower seeds, shaved coconut and freeze dried fruit, just to name a few! We are constantly creating new cereal blends with different and exciting ingredients to add variation so that you’re never bored…which we believe is essential for an enjoyable, yummy breakfast!

Perhaps you have a super busy schedule, or you have some food sensitivities, or you simply just want more time for a sleep in! Add a breakfast pack to your next order here. Breakfast is one of the most important nourishing opportunities of the day. Make it count. 

 

 

Author:
Lisa Cutforth
B.Sc Nutrition with Psychology (Dual Degree)
Consulting Clinical Nutritionist to The Banyans Wellness Retreat
Owner and Managing Director of Wholesomeness

Top 20 of the Healthiest Foods to Add to Your Diet

Instead of a list of foods to avoid, we’ve put together a list of amazing nutritionally-dense foods that you should be eating (unless you have specific intolerances/allergies or are on a low FODMAP diet). Eat from this list daily, and your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to create as many of your meals with these foods in them as you can.

Here are our top 20 healthiest foods to add to your day:

  1. Berries especially blueberries and blackberries. High in antioxidants like polyphenols and despite being a fruit they aren’t going to spike your blood sugar terribly.
  2. Lemon: squeeze it into water, over meat, over salads, over avocado
  3. Coconut: eat the flesh, drink the water, use the oil (cold pressed)
  4. Sardines (in a can): high in omega 3, without the mercury, and because they contain the bones they are also high in calcium.
  5. Fresh herbs like basil, mint, coriander, rosemary and thyme don’t just add flavour to meals, they have great health qualities too.
  6. Sugar snap peas… yummy crunchy, green and full of B vitamins, fibre, protein and yumminess.
  7. Broccoli and cauliflower (preferably organic): there is so much goodness in cruciferous veg!  Wonderful cancer fighters.
  8. Tahini (sesame seed paste) high in calcium…and yummy in dips or dressings
  9. Apples (organic and washed!) – full of gut-friendly prebiotics
  10. Chilli or Harissa
  11. Cinnamon (this is a spice, not a food, but it can actually help you manage your blood sugar levels so eat it with foods like pumpkin, oats, apple)
  12. Olives
  13. Pistachios (one of the best nuts to eat for a number of reasons!)
  14. Walnuts: bursting with ALA, the omega 3 fatty acid and super-antioxidant that works to scavenge free-radicals and repair and protect cell membranes in the brain.
  15. Sauerkraut or Kimchi (fermented foods are great for gut health)
  16. Ancient grains: quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat (all wheat free and naturally gluten free, so these grains are not going to irritate your gut like other gliadin grains tend to, they are also high in essential amino acids)
  17. Leafy greens especially watercress, Chinese cabbage, beet greens, dandelion greens, spinach and kale (which are great “liver cleansers”)
  18. Ginger and Turmeric (cook with them, add them to stir fries, rice, casseroles…so good! Read all about the healing properties of turmeric in our blog post here.
  19. Sprouted legumes or beans – bursting with B vitamins!
  20. Great quality cocoa – full of antioxidants!

Some other tips: garlic is amazing, any veg especially mushrooms, artichoke hearts, asparagus, spaghetti squash, tomatoes.  If you are going to eat potatoes opt for purple or red skin new (small) potatoes or sweet potatoes.

If you are going to eat meat, go for organic where possible and always grass fed, same applies for chicken. Game meats and bone broth are great and full of goodness too.

Organic soya beans or tofu have amazing health benefits, are rich in B vitamins and have actually been found to be protective against cancer.

Of course, this list of healthy foods can go on for ages, but these are some of our favourites that we love using in the Wholesomeness kitchen 🖤

References:

Harvard Health

Aha Journals