Sowing My Wild Oats: Mood Boosting Foods and a Whole Foods Giveaway!

In a recent article in Eating Well, the author suggested that feeling depressed or anxious can be related to the foods that you are eating. Below are some suggestions to help you not want to find the nearest bridge when you are feeling  down in the dumps.

1) Pick fruit, vegetables, fish and other whole foods.

In a recent study of close to 3,500 men and women published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, those who reported eating a diet rich in whole foods in the previous year were less likely to report feeling depressed than those who ate lots of desserts, fried foods, processed meats, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. Previous studies have shown that antioxidants in fruits and vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids in fish are associated with lower risk of depression. Folate, a B vitamin found in dark green vegetables like spinach, beans and citrus, affects neurotransmitters that impact mood. It’s possible that the protective effect of the whole-food diet comes from a cumulative effect of these nutrients, says lead study author Tasnime N. Akbaraly, Ph.D.

2. Go ahead: order the bagel.

In a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who for a year followed a very-low-carbohydrate diet—which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1⁄2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans. Researchers suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. Also, the challenge of following such a restrictive low-carb diet for a full year may have negatively impacted mood, says study author Grant D. Brinkworth, Ph.D.

3. Have a little chocolate.

Eating dark chocolate (1.4 ounces of it) every day for two weeks reduced stress hormones, including cortisol, in people who were highly stressed, a study done at the Nestlé Research Center in Switzerland recently found. “Polyphenols (antioxidants) in chocolate, and also in fruits and vegetables, may have contributed to the changes [in stress] in this study,” explains Douglas G. Mashek, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Psst: Be sure to account for the 235 calories that 1.4 ounces of chocolate delivers—or you may be stressed to see extra pounds creeping on.

So, in order to kick off the giveaway, I will post a healthy, mood boosting recipe. A citrus berry smoothie full of yummy goodness that gets you high-high on life!


Yummy goodness

  • 1 1/4 cups fresh berries
  • 3/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Okay, so to get on to the good stuff-the giveaway. Post your favorite mood boosting recipe by Wednesday in the comment section of this post  to win a $15 gift card to Whole Foods. We will announce the winner next Monday, August 22nd.  We can’t wait to read, make and enjoy all of your recipes. We have to-depression sucks.

  1. I have a healthy and an unhealthy…

    Healthy :

    Greek yogurt “ice cream”
    1 6oz plain greek yogurt
    1 cup frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)
    1/2 tsp cinnamon (my favorite spice)
    1 T. Truvia
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    Blend in blender until smooth. Soma consistnecy as frozen yogurt, and super fast!

    Unhealthy :
    Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (with Fall just around the corner, these are a winner)

  2. Thanks Summer -both sound yummy.

    Since I am in principle exempt from the giveaway, I will share my favorite “uplifting” food. It’s not a recipe, but my favorite food to give me a little comfort and cheer is the Gluten-Free Brownie from French Meadow Bakery (package of 9 found in the frozen dessert section at Whole Foods). They are only 170 calories and are chewy fun, not to mention just plain tasty!

    • Meagan
    • August 16th, 2011

    Okay, this is totally unhealthy, but it definitely boosts my mood!

    Salty PB Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

    1 EGG
    1/2 C. ROLLED OATS

    Soooo good!

    Healthy mood boosters: Banana Soft-serve! (A frozen banana blended in a food processor!)

  3. Those cookies sound AMAZING – peanut butter, chocolate and oatmeal. I’m going to have to try those out. I love desserts where there is a little sweet and a little savory. Thanks Meagan!

  4. Just made an AMAZING fruit salsa:

    1 MANGO
    1 medium TOMATO (I used yellow because the red ones burn my mouth)
    About a 1/4 of a RED ONION
    A healthy dose of CILANTRO
    1 cup of rinsed/drained BLACK BEANS
    2 tablespoons fresh LIME JUICE
    1 tablespoon RAW SUGAR

    Chop everything up and voila! Tasty tasty salsa! I ate about two cups of it on baked tortilla chips the other night. My husband and I loved it so much that we made it the NEXT NIGHT to top grilled chicken and whole wheat cous cous. It’s my new favorite way to eat some wonderful summer produce!

    • Amanda
    • August 16th, 2011

    We are pretty boring around here. We don’t do many recipes, but I do have a favorite salad. I call it a “Modified Sunny Salad” since the original was from my friend Sunny.

    1 serving of favorite greens. (I prefer organic baby spinach)
    1 apple, sliced thin. (I prefer organic Gala)
    2 tablespoons diced red onion
    1 serving of your favorite nut or seed. (I alternate between sunflower seeds, cashew clusters, and plain cashews depending on what I have on hand).
    1 serving feta cheese
    2 tablespoons of Ken’s Raspberry Walnut dressing

    That’s it. Simple and delicious. I have also tried it with blueberries, strawberries, grapes, or a combo. I still prefer apple, but I’m pretty plain Jane.

  5. Banana Almond Pancakes

    Simply, healthy, delicious!

    2 bananas
    1 egg
    1-2 Tbs almond butter
    fresh blueberries
    1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
    Mash bananas in a bowl.
    Add the egg and almond butter, and whisk until well blended.
    Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
    Pour small discs of batter onto the hot pan.
    Add blueberries and walnuts as the pancakes cook on one side. Flip when batter loses its “tackiness” around the edges.
    Cook other side slowly over medium heat until fully cooked. (We line the pan with coconut oil before cooking.)

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