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Mindfulness Practice/ Other Anxiety Tips

Create an Eating Schedule to Manage Anxiety

anti anxiety eating schedule

The Importance of Regular Eating for Anxiety

Managing anxiety with food and healthy ingredients isn’t just about eating the right foods. It is also equally as important to eat regularly throughout the day. That means having 3 delicious meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) with some snacks in between. When you skip meals or don’t eat enough, your body experiences a drop in blood sugar levels.

As your blood sugar levels drop you can experience a host of unpleasant symptoms. Symptoms can include feelings of nervousness, jitters, light-headedness, fatigue, racing heart, and more. When you are anxious and stressed most of the day and nearly every day of the week, your body over produces adrenaline. Not only does over production of adrenaline wreak havoc on your body, but when anxiety subsides your blood sugar level can drop even more. Talk about making your already burdensome anxiety feels even worse.

For some, it feels challenging to eat proper meals throughout the day. School, work, kids, family activities, or friends often make it hard to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. This leads to skipping meals or grabbing an unhealthy meal/snack.

What I have found is most helpful to me was creating an actual eating schedule for my day-to-day life. Sitting down, creating a plan, and dedicating yourself to your eating goals motivates you to stick to your anti-anxiety eating schedule! Physically writing your eating schedule down gives you something to actual look at as a reminder as well. You are more likely to stick to a plan you took the time to write and schedule out.

Create Your Eating Schedule

Make this a fun experience! For this exercise, you will be combining 2 important anxiety relieving tips:

  1. You are creating your anti-anxiety eating schedule to keep your blood sugar levels in check. This will help fight off worsening feelings of anxiety throughout the day.
  2. Mindfulness! Gather your paper, pens, markers, colored pencils, or whatever medium you want to use. Fully immerse yourself in this experience. Take this time out of your day to have fun, get creative, and unwind. Use fun colors, make little drawings on the side. Focus completely and totally on the task at hand.

You may feel a little silly doing this, but it’s a great way to practice mindfulness and take some time to distract yourself from your anxieties.

Although this will vary from person to person, I like to create my schedule to make sure I’m never going more than 3 hours or so without eating. I found this is what generally works the best for me. The days when I do skip a meal, say lunch, I can feel the effects during the afternoon. I’m moody, my head starts to hurt, and my anxiety will worsen.

Final Thoughts

Although creating an eating schedule and eating at regular intervals won’t solely manage your anxiety, it is an extra step to ass to your anxiety fighting arsenal. You can add this into your daily routine to help stop blood sugar drops and stop anxiety from getting even worse. So, try it out. See what it can do for you. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised 🙂

Questions for you:

  1. Do you eat regularly throughout the day?
  2. Do you typically skip meals?
  3. Have you ever tried an eating schedule to help improve your anxiety?

 

Breads/ Breakfast

Healthy Cinnamon Crunch Bread

cinnamon crunch bread

The Ultimate Moist & Fluffy Bread

Fluffy bread, warm cinnamon, buttery crunchy oat topping…are you drooling yet? Well, you should be! This super healthy whole wheat cinnamon crunch bread is going to make you so happy. When I came up with this recipe I wanted it to be the perfect healthy and satisfying breakfast. I wanted moist and fluffy bread, great flavor, and no dense gummy texture like many healthy pieces of bread, cakes, and muffins have. I don’t know about anyone else, but those kinds of recipes are awful and not pleasant to eat. Lucky for you I have come up with a healthy bread that has the perfect texture. You’d have NO clue there is no oil, butter, or dairy. Unsweetened applesauce holds the place of fat in this recipe.

What really makes this recipe super special is the cinnamon crunch topping. Ok, so there is a small bit of butter in the crunch part – but it is hardly anything per serving and isn’t going to hurt you 😉 I love me some buttery, crunchy oat crumble topping and on top of this cinnamon bread it is outstanding. It’s almost like you are eating a decadent coffee cake. It is so satisfying and goes great with a morning cup of coffee or tea.

Of course, this recipe is filled with anti-anxiety ingredients like cinnamon, apples (vitamin C), oats, and whole grains! More about the details about these anxiety fighting foods at the bottom of this post!

cinnamon crunch bread

The Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with cooking spray. My bread pan is 9×13 and I use coconut oil cooking spray! Set aside.


In a small bowl mix the eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and honey together. If you’re not using honey this is where you will add your other liquid sweetener of choice.


In a large bowl mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar together.


Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and fold together gently. Stir until just combined and there are no dry pockets of flour. You don’t want to overmix or you risk making your bread tough. We want fluffy bread here!
Pour the bread batter into prepared pan.

Now it’s time to make the crunch topping- aka the best part. Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt in a microwavable safe bowl. Add butter and microwave until butter is almost melted. Stir to combine. It smells so so so good. You know that brown sugar packet oatmeal you used to eat as a kid? It smells exactly like that, yummy! I mean, if you want to go ahead and do a taste test…not that I did that or anything…
Sprinkle crunch topping on bread batter.
Bake for 45 minutes. It may take some ovens longer to cook. If you do the toothpick/knife test and the bread isn’t done, bake for an additional 5 minutes at a time.

Anti-Anxiety Ingredients

anti anxiety ingredients

Cinnamon – is a great warm spice that helps control your blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels spike or drop, it promotes increased feelings of anxiety. Therefore, when you suffer from an anxiety disorder avoiding blood sugar issues is important! Cinnamon helps control it, which will help keep anxious feelings away.

Oats – have tons of vitamin B, which is essential for helping combat anxiety. Oats also are one of the best foods to help produce more serotonin in the brain – one of the biggest stress/anxiety fighting chemicals. When your serotonin levels are low, anxiety increases. Oats will help your brain produce more serotonin so you can fight off anxious thoughts and feelings.

Apples/applesauce – are full of vitamin C. Vitamin C is believed to help anxiety by elevating your mood. Additionally, vitamin C can help clear out fatigued adrenal glands. Adrenal glands regulate your body’s ability to secrete hormones. If the glands are overworked and clogged, from stress, anxiety, etc., then anxiety can run wild. Vitamin C helps clean out your adrenal glands.

Healthy Cinnamon Crunch Bread

Print Recipe
Serves: 8 Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey (or another liquid sweetener like agave, cassava, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • -------------------------------------------------
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

1

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a bread pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2

In a small bowl mix the eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and honey together.

3

In a large bowl mix the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda, sugar.

4

Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and fold together gently. Stir until just combined and there are no dry pockets of flour.

5

Pour the bread batter into prepared pan.

6

Make the crunch topping. Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt in a microwavable safe bowl. Add butter and microwave until butter is almost melted. Stir to combine.

7

Sprinkle crunch topping on bread batter.

8

Bake for 45 minutes. *

Notes

* Check to see if bread is cooked with a knife or toothpick - it should come out clean. (If it's not done after 45 minutes - bake for additional 5 minutes at time until cooked).

Other Anxiety Tips

Soothing Stones & Crystals for Anxiety

Ease Anxiety with Calming Vibes

Crystals and stones are stunning, gorgeous, beautiful…you get the point. I love them. I love to look at them, I love to display them around the house, I love them for anxiety. Certain stones and crystals are particularly healing and soothing for anxiety and stress relief. Many believe calming stones and crystals can help heal you on a spiritual level – mind, body, and soul. Unlike medications used in the modern world, these stones and crystals can help with more than just suppressing emotions, thoughts, and fear. Rather, they actually have the potential heal the mind.

Certain stones and crystals are particularly healing and soothing for anxiety and stress relief. Many believe calming stones and crystals can help heal you on a spiritual level – mind, body, and soul. Unlike medications used in the modern world, these stones and crystals can help with more than just suppressing emotions, thoughts, and fears. Rather, they actually have the potential heal the mind when used in combination with meditation or through other uses.

Energy + Stones + Crystals

Everything around us gives off energy and a lot of that energy is negative and harmful to our minds and bodies. TV, phones, computers, cars, traffic, microwaves, other people all can contribute to your anxiety level. Stones and crystals are small, compact, and gorgeous pieces of healing and positive energy to help combat all that negative. Specific stones are more beneficial for certain feeling and emotions. For instance, reducing fear may have one type of healing stone/crystal while a different stone is better sadness. We will look at some specific stones for specific emotions later in the post.

How to Use Them

You can keep them around the house, in your car, in pockets or purses. No matter where you keep them or how you use them they can have a positive effect on calming anxiety.

Around the House

Choose your favorite anxiety stones and crystals and place them around your house. Arrange them on your nightstand in the bedroom. This is a particularly good spot to keep some as it can help you sleep and keep you calm at night (night time tends to be the worst time for my anxiety. As the day settles down it gives me more time to worry and stress about stupid little things). Amethyst is great for the bedroom!

I also spend a lot of my time in my living room, so I keep some stones on my TV stand (along with a Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp…but that’s another post).

In Your Pocket or Purse

I always have a stone or 2 in my purse, just in case I feel like I need something while I’m out and about. When I’m out and can feel the anxiety start creeping in the crystal/stone is a great physical object to hold. I like to hold it in the palm of my hand, fidget with it, run my thumb along the stones smooth edges. It is soothing and relaxing and it gives your mind something else to focus on other than you anxious thoughts. Try and hold the stone in your palm, close your eyes, and feel its energy go into your hand, feel the calming wave engulfing your body.

During Meditation

If you like to meditate as part of your daily routine, incorporating crystals is an awesome way to elevate its effects. You can hold your favorite anxiety stone in the palm during meditation practice. The stone’s energy is absorbed into your body, helping create even greater feelings of peace and calm.

Best Stones & Crystals for Anxiety

I have quoted descriptions of each stone or crystal from various websites I feel perfectly showcase each one! You can click each link to learn more!

Rose Quartz

“It has a calming energy that provides a feeling of relief from worries and fears. It’s the best crystal for healing anxiety because it makes you feel nurtured and cared for.” – Energy Healing Info

Amethyst

“Amethyst is also considered a natural tranquilizer. It relieves stress and strain, soothes irritability, balances mood swings, dispels anger, rage, fear and anxiety.  Alleviates sadness and grief, and dissolves negativity. It’s pretty much the perfect stone for Empaths since it helps to repel bad energy and attract good energy. They also consider it ‘the sober stone’ so it may be a little hard to get tipsy on alcohol while you have it on you.” – The Spirit Science

Howlite

“Howlite is a wonder stone for calming upset states of mind and emotion. Howlite decreases an overly critical state of mind, selfishness, stress, and anxiety, bringing calm and relaxation. Howlite also can decrease anger originating from within or externally. The wake of such calming can help one be truly comfortable as oneself without the need to pretend to be anything but what you are.” – Crystals and Jewelry

Lepidolite

“Lepidolite’s energy is soft and soothing. Even people who aren’t sensitive to stones and crystals can feel the effects of holding or wearing a piece of Lepidolite. It is as though a cloud of calmness surrounds a person when they hold this stone. For acute cases of anxiety and panic attacks, Lepidolite can calm a person down quickly.” –  Energy Healing Info

Amazonite

Amazonite is another excellent stone for anxiety. Amazonite is soft and gentle, having a similar energy to rose quartz. It is a harmony crystal. It only takes wearing or holding it for a few minutes before it starts to harmonize a person’s auric field to nurturing, soothing energies…Amazonite is very quick-acting similar to Lepidolite in that you can feel the calming effects and reduction in anxiousness quite quickly just from holding or wearing it.” – Energy Healing Info

Blue Lace Agate

“Blue Lace Agate is a stone of communication, helping those who have difficulty being heard by others, or who’s confidence and articulation to share their truths. It provides clarity of thought and unwavering intent in regards to what matters most. It is not a stone of protection, but rather of encouragement and support. Its circular flowing energy calms, uplifts and elevates.

Since it is also a throat chakra stone, blue lace agate allows you to speak your mind calmly & clearly to get you out of those fear-inducing conflicts or situations. It is a support crystal for all caregivers, calming stress-related situations and overcoming communication difficulties.” – The Spirit Science

So, Give it a Shot!

Even if you are skeptical about this calming technique for anxiety, I’d say give it a shot! What do you have to lose? Coming into new things and experiences with an open mind can work wonders for your anxiety. If your mind and heart are open and you believe it will work, you will begin to feel the effects.

If you try this technique and find it doesn’t work for you, at least you have some beautiful crystals to decorate your house with 🙂 It’s a win-win situation.

 

Breakfast/ Extra Fast/ Single Serve/ Waffles

Peanut Butter Granola & Banana Waffles

I’m not even sure if I can consider this a recipe since it is so easy. You can make it is 5 minutes, so it is perfect for a weekday morning breakfast or before kids go off to school. It’s nutritious, sweet, crunchy, and creamy.

What makes this breakfast particularly easy is that it uses frozen waffles. Yes, frozen…if you buy the right kind. You can find healthy and delicious waffles in the freezer section of your grocery store. I always buy Van’s organic waffles. Van’s waffles are USDA organic and non-GMO Project certified. They are also dairy-free, egg free, nut-free, kosher, and have absolutely no artificial flavors or preservatives. You can pronounce all of their ingredients so you know you’re not eating anything scary. I used the Totally Original flavor for this recipe.

The Recipe

Prep 2 frozen waffles of your choice in the toaster.

Slice half of a banana as thick or as thin as you like.

In a small microwavable safe bowl add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. Microwave for 10 or so seconds so it gets melty and you can mix it together well. I always use natural peanut butter with no added oils, salts, or sugars. And please, always use pure maple syrup, none of the factory made stuff. Remember, always organic ingredients when at all possible 😉

Now, it is just time to assemble. Take your toasty waffles, lay the slices of banana on top of the waffles, drizzle over your sweet maple peanut butter. Garnish with a handful of peanut butter granola (I used homemade…I’ll do a recipe post for that soon) for a delicious crunch and some chia seeds!

 

Anxiety-Fighting Ingredients

  • Bananas: These creamy, sweet, and delicious fruits are full of vitamin B9 (also known as folate), which are proven to help fight depression. Bananas increase serotonin, the happy hormone, that make us feel better and happier of course. Studies show that about 50% people who are suffering from depression have a folate deficiency. Doctors have even recommended for those patients to increase their folate consumption to help boost the effects of depression meds. Bananas ALSO help stress and anxiety. Bananas contain tryptophan, which works along with serotonin production – both some of the most important natural anti-depressant and anti-anxiety remedies. I’m not even done yet…bananas also contain norepinephrine – this helps control our mind and bodies fight or flight response, leading to reduced feelings of stress, anxiety, uneasiness, and fear. For more banana benefits and to read where I got this info, click here.
  • Whole wheat: whole wheat and healthy carbs help increase serotonin, leading to happier thoughts and feelings of ease!
  • Peanut butter: peanut butter is a great source of healthy and natural protein, and protein help with fighting anxiety. Protein contains norepinephrine and dopamine, which are great mood-boosting brain chemicals.

Peanut Butter Granola & Banana Waffles

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 5

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen whole wheat/whole grain waffles (I use Van's)
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • Small handful peanut butter granola
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds

Instructions

1

Prep 2 frozen waffles of your choice in the toaster.

2

Slice half of a banana as thick or as thin as you like.

3

In a small microwavable safe bowl add one tablespoon of natural peanut butter and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. Microwave for 10 or so seconds so it gets melty and you can mix it together well.

4

Assemble - Take your toasty waffles, lay the slices of banana on top of the waffles, drizzle over your sweet maple peanut butter. Garnish with a handful of peanut butter granola some chia seeds! *

Notes

* You can use any type of granola you want, it doesn't have to be peanut butter. You can also omit the chia seeds if you don't have any.

Beef/ Dinner/ Pasta/ Uncategorized

“Spaghetti” w/ Kale & Garlic Meatballs

Everyone loves pasta. There are so many things you can do with it and it’s always so warm and comforting to eat. However, it is definitely not something I can eat every day, especially when I struggle with anxiety. Pasta is on the “Bad Foods” list for anxiety, so finding some alternatives to traditional flour based pasta is the trick! Now, that does not mean you can never eat pasta. That’s would be a pretty sad life to live, right? So save that traditional pasta for special occasions or treat yourself to it a couple of times per month. Maybe choose a whole wheat or whole grain pasta over white pasta. Whole grains are fantastic at controlling blood sugar and anxiety spikes. You can have your pasta and eat it too if you are smart about the decisions you are making! Controlling your anxiety and learning to live with it on a day-to-day basis is all about balance.

Now, that does not mean you can never eat pasta. That’s would be a pretty sad life to live, right? So save that traditional pasta for special occasions or treat yourself to it a couple of times per month. Maybe choose a whole wheat or whole grain pasta over white pasta. Whole grains are fantastic at controlling blood sugar and anxiety spikes. You can have your pasta and eat it too if you are smart about the decisions you are making! Controlling your anxiety and learning to live with it on a day-to-day basis is all about balance. Find a balance that works for you.

So, when it’s not one of those special doughy pasta eating days, we must look for satisfying pasta alternatives. You can enjoy making and eating so many amazing pasta sauces with spaghetti squash “pasta.” This tomato sauce is spicy, garlicky, and so rich. Paired with cheesy garlic and kale meatballs that will melt in your mouth, you will absolutely not miss the traditional pasta!

Spaghetti squash is a yellow squash that has stringy, spaghetti-like flesh. When it’s cooked you scrape out the insides and you’re left with spaghetti strands that act just like traditional spaghetti! Personally, I am in love with it and for my everyday pasta cravings, it works like a charm. It also has tons of health benefits and is a great anxiety-fighting food…but more about that at the end of this post 🙂

The Recipe

Prepare the spaghetti squash first. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop out all of those squash guts. Take a large spoon and scrape the seeds and guts out and discard.

Place the halves on a baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the halves cut-side down and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. The best way to tell if the squash is cooked properly is to stick a knife in the skin and into the flesh. If the knife slides in and it feels tender, it is done. You can also take a fork and test a little spot on the inside of the squash. You want to strands to be cooked and tender, but to also have a little crunch left so it’s not too mushy.

Let the squash cool enough so you can handle it safely without burning your fingers. Take the fork and gently scrape the strands away from the skin and separate the strands a bit so you have nice “spaghetti” and no large clumps of squash stuck together. Set aside.

Now, it is time to make the meatballs! Yummm. In a medium sized bowl, add your bread crumbs, salt, pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, water, parmesan cheese and mix well. Adding water to meatballs sounds really weird, I know. But trust me, this is the secret ingredients to making your meatballs super soft, moist, and tender. It’s my Italian grandma’s trick, and boy oh boy does it make the softest meatballs EVER.

Add in the ground beef and finely chopped kale and mix into bread crumb mixture. Make sure you mix until everything is just incorporated. If you mix too much you risk making the meatballs too tough, and we don’t want that. If you feel like the meat mixture is too dry, try adding another tablespoon or 2 of water.

Roll into 7 meatballs.

Heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all side so you get a nice golden crust. Take off heat and set aside.

Sauce time is now beginning….

In a deep pan/pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and add remaining garlic (3 minced cloves), red pepper flake, and dried thyme. This will really develop all of those flavors and will perfume the sauce. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, but don’t let the garlic burn or the sauce will become bitter.

Add the can of tomato sauce, and salt and pepper to taste if your tomato sauce doesn’t already have seasoning. I used Earth Fare organic tomato sauce, which is already seasoned deliciously. If you find your tomato is too tangy, you can add a small drizzle of honey, or another kind sweetener, to take away some of that bite! It works perfectly.

Add your meatballs into the simmering tomato sauce, cover with a lid, and simmer for at least 25 minutes. All the flavors are going to cook together, intensify, and the meatballs will become super soft and tender.

***TIP: If you can let the sauce simmer for 30-45 minutes, even better! You’ll end up with a richer, more reduced sauce.

Serve sauce and meatballs over your roasted spaghetti squash and top with a generous sprinkle of parm!

For my boyfriend, Garrett, I made him regular spaghetti because he isn’t a fan of the squash. I took a small scoop of pasta and added it to my squash, so I was able to get a small amount of regular pasta to make me feel like I was treating myself a bit. This is a really awesome way to let yourself eat a little bit of regular pasta, but not too much. Trust me, you belly and anxiety will thank you.

Trust me, you belly and anxiety will thank you.

Anxiety-Fighting Ingredients

  • Spaghetti squash: This delicious squash is high in vitamin B6, which is great for anxiety. It has the ability to increase serotonin levels and reduce symptoms of anxiety. It also has vitamin C – which elevates mood. Read more about anxiety and vitamin C here.
  • Kale: Oh, kale. It shows up in so many of my recipes, as you can see. Again, leafy greens are rich in folate, which helps to regulate your body’s mood. It also has a lot of vitamin C as well.
  • Garlic: Helps reduce fatigue and stress within the body. Anxiety exhausts our bodies and garlic can give the body a much-needed boost to help fight feelings of anxiety.
Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • -------------------------------
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 tablespoons romano/parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • --------------------------------
  • I 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme

Instructions

1

Prepare the spaghetti squash first. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2

Cut the squash in half, lengthwise.

3

Lay on a baking sheet, drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

4

Place halves cut-side down and roast in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. *

5

Let cool. Once cool, take a fork and gently scrape strands away from the skin.

6

Next prepare meatballs.

7

In a medium sized bowl, add your bread crumbs, salt, pepper, minced garlic cloves, water, parmesan cheese and mix well.

8

Add ground beef and finely chopped kale and mix together. **

9

Roll into 7 meatballs.

10

Heat a pan with a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all side so you get a nice golden crust. Take off heat and set aside.

11

Now, prepare the tomato sauce.

12

Take the 3 leftover minced garlic cloves, and add to a pan with olive oil, dried thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

13

Pour in the can of tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper if needed. ***

14

Simmer sauce with the browned meatballs for at least 25 minutes. But if you have time to simmer it for 30-45 minutes, the better the flavors will be.

Notes

* To test doneness, poke flesh/skin with a knife, and if it is tender it's done. ** Don't overwork the meat too much or you'll end up with a tougher meatball. We want these to be soft and "fluffy." *** If your tomato is too tangy, add a small drizzle of honey or other sweetener. This will take some of the edge off.

 

Mindfulness Practice/ Other Anxiety Tips

Mindfulness in the Kitchen

Practice Mindfulness While Cooking

The cooking process itself is extremely helpful and therapeutic for dealing with anxiety. Don’t look at cooking as a chore or something you have to do. Look at cooking as a fascinating and beautiful process. Be mindful. When you are cooking, focus on:

  • The way things smell.
  • How does the ingredient you are using smell?
  • Is it strong? Do you like it? Do you not like it?
  • How does peeling the onion feel between your fingers?
  • Feel the texture of the ingredient you’re using.
  • Observe the way the food/ingredient looks when it’s cooking.
  • Fully immerse yourself in the way the ingredients look when they hit a hot pan.

Fully immerse yourself in the way the onion and garlic sound when they hit the hot olive oil. Use all of your senses so you can be fully present in the moment. Every moment you are in the kitchen, every sound you hear, or smell that wafts towards you, take the time to experience and enjoy it.

Often when you have anxiety, you get caught up in your fears, worries, and thoughts all the time. You forget what it’s like to actually experience things as they are happening around you. Taking the time to practice mindfulness while cooking can train your brain to focus on small things you would typically not notice so you can distract yourself from your thoughts and focus your attention elsewhere…to something positive and fun!

It will be completely natural for your mind to wander around when you first start this practice, but this is normal. Don’t get frustrated and give up on yourself. When you notice your mind starting to wander, gently bring your focus back to the cooking task you’re doing at the moment. You’re not necessarily trying to stop any bad or anxious thought that comes to mind. Rather, you are trying to let that thought be, acknowledge it, and then simply move on from it, focusing on the task at hand.

For your convenience, I have made a graphic you can print out and keep in the kitchen to always remind you of being mindful in the kitchen.

Breakfast/ Eggs/ Single Serve

Kale & Sausage Whole Wheat Biscuit & Egg Cups

eggs cups

The Perfect Savory Make-Ahead Breakfast

I love myself a yummy egg breakfast. Sometimes I love to make fresh eggs in the morning and other times I want something super quick that can literally just be reheated in the microwave. So, the perfect solution? Make-ahead egg cups!

These are really special because they are filled with nutrient rich kale – which is great for combating anxiety – yummy sausage and the wheat biscuits are made from scratch. A healthy and wholesome breakfast is one of the easiest ways to start off your day on the right foot, especially for anxiety sufferers.

Gather your biscuit ingredients

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt into the food processor. Pulse until combined. I used pink Himalayan salt since it’s filled with super healthy minerals.

Cut butter into small pieces and add to the flour in the food processor. Pulse the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand/small pebbles. If you wind up taking it too far, don’t worry about it too much! It will still come up buttery and flakey. Aim for it to look something like the picture above.

Add in your milk of choice and let the food processor go to work. It should start pulling away from the side and begin forming into a ball. The dough may appear pretty sticky at this point. If it is too sticky and having trouble getting to this point add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together better.

Once it comes together like pictures above, turn out on a floured surface. My dough was still pretty sticky, so I added a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough wasn’t sticky and became smooth like pictured above!

Divide your dough into 12 equally sized balls and press each one into the muffin pan. Make sure the dough comes all the way up the sides so you have a good vessel to hold all those yummy ingredients.

Now it’s time to gather your ingredients for the egg part of these egg cups. These steps aren’t pictures but, mix your eggs and milk together, add salt and pepper to taste. Chop up the kale into small pieces and the sausage into small circles. Add the kale and sausage to the biscuit cups than evenly pour the egg mixture into the 12 cups. Top with cheese if desired!

I did 6 with a raw sharp cheddar and 6 without. Garrett hates cheese…that weirdo…I ALWAYS give him a hard time about it, because seriously, who hates cheese??

Put cups into a preheated oven ay 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. All oven cook a bit differently so start checking on them at 20 minutes or so. You’re looking for the eggs to fully set and turn slightly golden brown around the edges.

Anxiety Fighting Ingredients

 

 

Kale & Sausage Whole Wheat Biscuit & Egg Cups

Print Recipe
Serves: 12 Cooking Time: 30

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk (I use Silk coconut milk)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • _________________________________________
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup any milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale
  • 1 package of sausage (I used Applegate natural pork sausage ~ 9 sausage links)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

1

In a food processor, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a few times until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

2

Cut butter into smaller pieces and add the food processor. Pulse together until small crumbs form. It should have the appearance of small pebbles.

3

Add milk. Let the food processor combine the milk into the dry ingredients fully and the dough starts pulling away from the sides and creates a ball. The dough may be pretty sticky, but that's ok.

4

Turn out onto a floured surface. If your dough is pretty sticky this is your time to add flour so it fully comes together and you can handle the dough without it sticking everywhere. Knead in about 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is the right texture.

5

Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 balls and press the dough into your muffin tin - make sure it comes up along the sides all the way!

6

Chop the kale and slice the sausage and distribute evenly into the biscuit cups.

7

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and milk.

8

Add salt and pepper to taste - about 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.

9

Pour egg mixture evenly into the muffin tin.

10

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the eggs are slightly golden brown and there is no raw egg on top.

Notes

*You can customize these any way you'd like! Remember, always be creative in the kitchen and use the ingredients you have on hand. You can make them vegetarian, add any combo of veggies you have on hand, add some gooey cheese, use bacon or turkey sausage...anything you want 🙂 *Use organic ingredients whenever possible *Practice mindful cooking! See this post to learn how to use mindfulness while in the kitchen and how it's such an awesome way to help calm anxiety. Print out my handy "Mindful Cooking" guide to always keep in your kitchen. The guide is a great reminder for how to use cooking to ease your mind and keep your mind focused on the task of cooking.

Breakfast/ In a Mug/ Muffins/ Single Serve/ Vegan/ Vegetarian

Coconut & Mixed Berry Mug Muffin

mug muffin

Oh, muffins. So fluffy, cakey, and delicious. Muffins make the perfect quick and on-the-go breakfast. It is always a better idea to make your muffins and baked goods at home because you can control the quality of the ingredients, sugar level, and customize them any way you’d like!

I love making a batch of muffins on the weekends to eat throughout the week, but sometimes I find myself craving one for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, but don’t have a batched made. When that happens, a mug muffin is the perfect solution. It’s quick and simple, taking less than 5 minutes to prepare.What I also love about this recipe is you can even make it the night before and just do a fast reheat in the morning – voila, a hot, fresh muffin!

Another thing I love about this mug muffin? It is SO light and fluffy. We don’t have any of that weird rubbery and tough mug muffin/cake here. Gross.

There are also no fancy ingredients, no butter, no egg, no dairy, (making it vegan) and not a lot of sugar. It’s a win all around.

This is an extremely easy and versatile recipe, so get creative with it and use any ingredients that you have on hand. If you don’t have coconut milk, use regular milk or another milk substitute. Use olive oil or vegetable oil if you don’t have coconut oil. Use fresh fruit, or make it a chocolate chip muffin by replacing the berries with chocolate chips!

Add your dry ingredients to a large mug and whisk well. Add wet ingredients directly to the dry and stir until just combined. Don’t stir too much, otherwise, you risk a tougher muffin.

Add in your mixed berries or other add-ins of your choice!

Microwave for about 60 seconds or until all the batter is cooked on top. If it’s not done after 60 seconds, microwave in 15-second increments until done.

Enjoy!

Anxiety Fighting Ingredients

  • Blueberries/berries – rich is antioxidants and vitamin C, which can help fight rises and spikes in cortisol levels within the body. Preventing cortisol spikes is important for anxiety sufferers because it’s also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Too much cortisol causes feelings of nervousness and fear, makes your heart beat faster, and contributes to muscle contractions. This makes your body feel as though there is an eminent threat, and low and behold – anxiety rears its ugly head. Adding these super berries to your breakfast can help start your day off on the right foot by helping cortisol levels return to a healthy level.

Want to learn more about cortisol levels? Read this awesome and informative article: https://draxe.com/cortisol-levels/

 

Coconut & Mixed Berry Mug Muffin

Print Recipe
Serves: 1 Cooking Time: 1 minute

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Healthy pinch salt (I always use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1.5 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk (like Silk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Handful of mixed berries (I use often use frozen!)

Instructions

1

Add the dry ingredients to a large mug - the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder and mix well.

2

Add the wet ingredients - the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla into the dry ingredients and stir until just incorporated. Don't overmix or you'll end up with a tougher muffin.

3

Gently fold in the mixed berries.

4

Cook in the microwave for 60 seconds. If you can still see any raw batter on the top pop back in for 15-second increments until the top is dry.

5

Let cool for a minute or 2 and enjoy!

Mindfulness Practice/ Other Anxiety Tips/ Uncategorized

The Art of Mindfulness: Retrain Your Mind

When you have anxiety your mind is always cluttered with a million different thoughts at any given time. Sometimes the thoughts are fleeting, triggered by something you saw on the news or as you scrolled through your Facebook feed – that article about a deadly car crash has you marveling in fear that can happen to you or a family member, right? But often, anxiety sufferers have the same fears, worries, and scary thoughts on a day-to-day basis for long periods of time.

We become so tangled in our own minds and thought patterns we find it a never-ending battle to free ourselves from the dark and dismal nooks and crannies of our mind. Anxiety becomes a habit and we all know that habits can be extremely difficult to break.

So, what can YOU do to help gain some control back over your own mind? When you break anxiety and anxious thoughts down to its core, it’s your own mind creating these terrifying and uncomfortable thoughts. It’s not your fault that you created these thoughts, but one must take responsibility for letting those thoughts control them. Once you admit your own mind is feeding the anxiety, you take back your power and realize you have complete and total control over your mind.

In this post, we will explore what mindfulness is, how it will help your anxiety, the basic beginner steps to practicing mindfulness, and how it will retrain your brain.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being, well…mindful! But what does that mean exactly? An anxious mind wanders all over the place, uncontrollably. The mind has absolutely nothing to tether itself to when you don’t give it something productive and healthy to focus on. When you’re floating around outer space with your deepest and darkest fears and you’re not living in the here and now, your anxiety will spiral out of control.

To combat this issue, practice the art of being mindful. That means turning total focus on the present. What are you doing right now? Reading this blog post of course. How are you sitting and how does sitting feel? Are you comfortable? Do you feel any aches? How do the words look on the screen? Is your computer screen bright? These are all things you would never take note of unless you are being mindful and living fully immersed in the present.

Why is Mindfulness Helpful?

Mindfulness is so helpful for people who deal with anxiety disorder for 2 reasons:

1) It helps train your brain/mind that it has the ability to focus on something other than anxious thoughts
2) It distracts your mind from those anxious thoughts instantly so you can give your poor head a break from all that worrying you do!

Is Mindfulness Easy?

It’s very important to remember practicing mindfulness will likely be quite challenging in the beginning. It’s not something you are going to master and excel at in the first day. You have to retrain your mind and that is going to take some practice, consistency, and dedication.

When you first begin practicing you may find it hard to remain focused on being fully present and stopping your mind from wandering, and that’s normal and okay! Be patient and gentle with yourself, always softly bringing your attention back to the present. Don’t judge yourself when you fall off course or you struggle to keep your mind focused on the present. Mindfulness is less about stopping bad and anxious thoughts, and MORE about letting those bad thoughts come and go without judgment and dwelling on them for too long.

If you are dedicated and consistent with your daily mindfulness practice, you will see results and it will become easier. I promise. This may feel like a big undertaking as you sit here and read this for the first time, but take baby steps and don’t let yourself become overwhelmed. Remember…always be gentle and patience with your mind because you owe it that ☺

Your 1st Steps to Practicing Mindfulness:

1) Start with small “sessions” at any time throughout the day. Maybe you will start with once a day, or maybe you want to take a crack at it in the morning, afternoon and night. Do as much as you feel comfortable. Try to be mindful for 5 seconds at a time, if you can do more, awesome if you can only do 2 seconds, still amazing! Everything is an opportunity to be mindful. Practice while typing, walking, cleaning, cooking, watching TV, listening to music, etc.
2) Slowly build up how long you can successfully immerse yourself in the present. For instance, maybe you will add 5 seconds onto your time every week. Building gradually we help train that mind of yours without feeling too overwhelmed.
3) When you are feeling comfortable with your mindfulness practice try and incorporate the practice into the moments when your anxiety starts flying high and you begin to lose your mind. Stop, take a deep breath and focus on the immediate world around you. Where you are, how your breath feels, what you can see, feel, and taste. Ground yourself in the present so your anxious mind can remind itself it is in the here and now, and not in tomorrow, 3 months from now, or worrying about something that will probably not ever happen.

Suggestions for How to be Mindful:

• When you wake up in the morning, before you get out of bed lay there for a minute or two. How do you feel? How does your body feel? Are your eyes heavy or dry? Do you have a taste in your mouth?
• When taking a shower, how does the water feeling running down your skin? What is the temperature and how does it make you feel? How does the water feel when it hits your body? Are you calm?
• Sweeping or vacuuming the floors, cleaning tables and counters, etc. – notice what sounds you hear when you’re sweeping, notice the dirt pile up as you sweep it into the dustpan, what does it look and feel like when you wipe down a table or counter? Notice every movement you make, notice the rhythm you feel in your body when cleaning.
• When idle, notice all of the sounds, smells, touch sensations around you. Let everything in the space come to you, feel everything with all of your being and senses.
• When working out, notice how the muscles feel when you’re lifting weights or running. Imagine those muscles contracting and getting bigger and stronger. How does your entire body feel? Does anything hurt or feel uncomfortable? How is your breathing pattern? Are you out of breath or comfortable with your breath? What are the people around you doing? Feel the sweat all over your body. Enjoy the sensations of your body in movement and pushing itself. Appreciate your body.
• Go for a walk. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Hear all of the sounds around you. Smell everything that comes to you. Notice how it feels when your feet hit the ground. Count the houses or the trees that you pass.

Lunch/ Small Bites/ Vegetarian

Smokey Chickpea and Corn Fritters

These delicious fritters are the perfect lunch. They are so easy to make ahead and keep in the fridge to grab for lunch. You can eat them on a whole wheat bun, on top of a salad, or just on their own! Any way you choose to chow them down, your tummy and your mind will be happy 🙂

My Smokey Chickpea and Corn Fritters are great to keep your anxiety and stress at bay in the middle of the day (ha, I rhymed!) They have protein, healthy greens, and are low in sugar and carbs so your blood sugar levels don’t spike, which often causes increases in anxiety and stress levels. Picking smart lunches that will keep your anxiety under control are so important because your mind needs to be nourished properly to get you through the rest of the work or school day. We don’t want to have an anxiety attack, think about something stupid we did a year ago, or panic about the future when we still have things to get done. So, eating wholesome foods with anxiety-reducing ingredients for lunch can help you achieve a peaceful mind.

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Heat a pan on medium-low heat with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil. Mince the onions and garlic and cook with olive oil until slightly brown. Make sure your garlic doesn’t burn! If you’re worried your garlic may burn, add the garlic in a little later after the onion has cooked for a bit. Set aside and cool slightly.

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Drain and rinse chickpeas and place in a large bowl. Mash the chickpeas with a fork until most chickpeas form a “paste.” It’s ok to have some larger chunks as that will give your fitter great texture!

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Once mashed, add the rest of your ingredients except the egg – this way you can safely taste test the mixture to make sure it’s properly seasoned.

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Form into 5 patties, place on cookie tray or plate, and put in freezer to firm up before cooking – this is an important step to make sure your fritters won’t fall apart in the cooking process – at least 15 minutes

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In the same pan, you used for the onions and garlic, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Cook fritter on each side until golden brown – about 3-5 minutes on each side

I served mine on a bed of arugula dressed with olive oil and lemon. I topped it with some chopped tomatoes and herbed goat cheese! It was a light, delicious, and filling lunch.

Let me know how you like to eat yours below 🙂

I hope you have an awesome stress-free and anxiety-free day. And if you don’t, just remember you’re in control of your mind. Do something distracting, peaceful. If you can distract yourself and quiet your mind for just 2 minutes, that’s better than 0 minutes!

Anxiety Fighting Ingredients

  • Turmeric
  • Egg
  • Leafy greens – arugula
  • Garlic
  • Protein-rich chickpeas

Smokey Corn and Chickpea Fritters

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 25

Ingredients

  • 15-ounce can of chickpeas
  • ½ small onion
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup arugula
  • Olive oil, for cooking

Instructions

1

Heat a pan on medium-low heat with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil

2

Mince the onions and garlic and cook with olive oil until slightly brown.

3

Drain and rinse chickpeas and place in a large bowl

4

Mash the chickpeas with a fork until most chickpeas form a “paste.” It’s ok to have some larger chunks as that will give your fitter great texture

5

Once mashed, add the rest of your ingredients except the egg

6

Form into 5 patties, place on cookie tray or plate, and put in freezer to firm up before cooking - at least 15 minutes

7

In the same pan, you used for the onions and garlic, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat

8

Cook fritter on each side until golden brown – about 3-5 minutes on each side