Tag Archive for: healthy eating

Stress Busters, Super Foods

Eat Your Stress Goodbye – Stress Fighting Foods

We have all felt the anxiety that has come with the virus in our midst and all the life changes that have occurred over the past few months through the pandemic. Now it is time to turn our attention toward battling that beast with some powerful foods!

When you are stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this is not a good permanent solution.

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress!

Foods that Fight Stress

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.

Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:

  • Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
  • Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
  • Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime so
    other, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
  • Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
  • Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
  • Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
  • Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.


Putting Together Your Diet Plan

Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.

Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. When combating and dealing with stress in the long run, it’s important to make sure that for the most part, you are eating a diet which is healthy and balanced.

In order to stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week and plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to make meals and snacks from when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.



A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu would be:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit and a handful of pistachio nuts
Lunch: A fresh salad filled with plenty of leafy greens, whole grains like quinoa, crunchy veggies and avocado. Dress with a drizzle of olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice.
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate and walnuts
Dinner: Wild salmon with lightly sautéed vegetables and quinoa
Before bed: Chamomile tea

Of course, you don’t need to stick to this menu – but it gives you a good template! Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.

For a deeper dive into the role that stress is playing with regards to your wellbeing, look at my stress test here


Connect with me at suzyshine18@gmail.com to book your FREE 1 hour nutrition coaching session – a $90 value!

Best of Health!

4 Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year To Practice

A New Year has just begun and it’s the right time to think about your resolutions for a healthier you. If you are guilty of indulging in junk food and rich carbohydrates because of a busy lifestyle then now is the time to make the change. Believe me, incorporating healthy eating tips into your everyday is not as complicated or tough as it sounds and with a bit of innovative thinking, preparing meals can actually be fun.

I’ve been a Health Coach for years and I can tell you that losing inches off your waist, feeling more energetic and maintaining a healthy BMI begins with small baby steps. Here are my top 4 highly recommended healthy eating tips you can put in action starting with your next meal:

Mindful Eating

A lot of the times, we pile our plates high with food and gulp down everything without even remotely tasting what we are eating! Eating mindfully means using all 5 senses to appreciate the food in front of you, sticking to smaller portions and enjoying every bite. When you eat mindfully, you allow your mind and body to absorb maximum nutrients without over-indulging. You’ll face fewer instances of bloating, feeling stuffed or even indigestion.

Eating Regularly

When you skip meals frequently, your body naturally goes into a state of energy and fat conservation. It means that the next time you eat something, you are likely to overeat for sure because the brain isn’t certain when you will consume your next meal. Think of a polar bear saving up all its energy during hibernation. Eating irregularly also hampers with your body metabolism and triggers off the onset of many lifestyle diseases. Breaking down your meals into 5-6 smaller meals which are spread throughout the day ensures that your body is never devoid of fuel to function.

Go Slow on Sugary Foods

White sugar is often called a ‘silent killer’ and can be highly addictive too. Forget what your favorite brand of cereal says about it being ‘healthy’ for you and focus on what actual nutrition you give your body per 100 grams, just by studying the nutrition label. Sugar gives the brain a quick high and that ‘feel good’ feeling we love, which could be one reason why it is added to so many packaged foods. Slowly replacing sugary foods with healthier alternatives like fruits, jaggery and maple syrup for a touch of sweetness is one of my favorite healthy eating tips.

Prep Meals Yourself

Cooking for yourself and for your family does not have to be this huge ordeal that you go through mentally and physically. The Internet is full of easy to put together recipes that require minimal effort and which do not compromise on taste or nutrition. One of the most important healthy eating tips I can give you today is to take the time to understand whether the food you eat every day is medicine for your body or a slow poison. Planning what to cook ahead of meal-times gives you time to cut, grate, dice or blend the ingredients and store them in the fridge. You’ll feel more satisfied enjoying the flavors of a home-made meal than a frozen store bough dinner.

Did you know that according to a survey conducted in 2018, 60% of Americans wanted some form of health coaching and healthy eating tips but didn’t know who to ask? If you too have been thinking about enjoying the benefits of total wellness and didn’t know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help you begin the New Year on a much healthier and happier note. So, write in or call me and let’s do this together!

Natural Foods That Boost Serotonin

Also known as the ‘Happy chemical’, serotonin is a very important neurotransmitter in the body which silently plays a number of roles which directly and indirectly contribute to your well-being.


What Does Serotonin Do

  1. Well, for starters it helps the body adjust and re-adjust its internal clock by regulating your sleep-wake cycles.
  2. It helps you to keep you happy and your spirits ’lifted’.
  3. This chemical has a big role to play in your social life (read the way you behave with others) too.
  4. It also silently has a big impact on digestion, memory and even on one’s sexual appetite.


Its Other Face

Here’s the scary part- low levels of this happy chemical have been linked to depression and if the body is unable to produce serotonin in adequate amounts, many other symptoms may also be noticed. High anxiety, feeling ‘blue’, sudden aggression, lack of appetite and even insomnia have been linked to low serotonin levels in the body.

So now that we’ve established that normal levels of this happy chemical are so essential to being your best self, here’s the good news- It’s very much possible to get your daily boost of serotonin just by eating the right foods! Trytophan which is used by the body to make serotonin is found in many protein sources.


7 Foods To Elevate Serotonin Levels


So, we knew that salmon ranked high when it came to omega 3 fatty acids which give skin a natural glow and also make the brain smarter. But did you know that eating just two portions of salmon per week could keep you happy inside out? Yes sir, it most definitely can!


Eggs have been getting quite a rap for being bad cholesterol boosters and the like but the fact of the matter is that, one boiled egg when eaten with the yolk can not only put your body into happy chemical production mode but also give your health so many other benefits. Don’t miss out on them by just eating the egg white.


There’s a reason why eating a slice of pizza makes you feel so fulfilled and it’s all thanks to the cheese. Yes, cheese does have plenty of saturated fat which is why I advise eating it in controlled portions but when you do cut yourself some cheddar or brie, savor every bite because you’ve made your inner self very happy.


Vegans rejoice! Soy is an excellent source of tryptophan so if you’re feeling blue and just not up for anything, sip on some chilled flavored soy milk or just shallow fry a few cubes of tofu. Soy helps boost the production of hormones in the body and gives you plenty of easily absorbed calcium too.

Nuts & Seeds

So, you said no to a slice of hot buttered toast and reached out for a handful of mixed nuts instead. Good for you! Nuts are probably one of the most underrated healthy snacks you could enjoy guilt free primarily because they contain so many healthy fats which help your body. Plus, not to forget they have so many vitamins, trace minerals, antioxidants and even fiber that keeps your serotonin levels high.

Nutritionists say that your body is able to absorb tryptophan better when healthy protein is eaten with a helping of good carbohydrates. So make sure that you serve wholesome grains, leafy veggies, pulses or legumes at mealtimes so that the food you cook truly nourishes the body from within.

8 Healthy Food Substitutes For You

Eating healthier is a lot easier than you think and if you’ve been wondering if you could swap an ingredient here and there so that your family could enjoy more wholesome food, then you’re definitely not wrong. Sneaking in protein and nutrient dense ingredients can actually enhance the flavor of your dish itself and I think your family will love the extra zing in their food. Here are 8 food substitutes that I highly recommend for your kitchen:

Replace White Flour

White flour on its own does nothing for your health but when you use black bean flour as a healthy food substitute, you give your health a boost. Chock-full of iron, fiber and protein, black bean flour is gluten free and is ideal for weight loss too. Your signature brownies will taste just the same.

Veggie Ribbons For Pasta

Carb lovers can’t do without their pasta fix but what if you could put a little spin on traditional carbonara and make it really healthy too? Squash and zucchini are two veggies that are becoming quite popular as white pasta replacements. They’re easy to cook, are light on the tummy and have plenty of nutrients to offer thus making them affordable food substitutes.

Goodbye Butter

If you love baking sweet treats, then I’ve got a healthier alternative to butter for you- unsweetened applesauce. I bet you never thought that this healthy brown mush could work as a food substitute but it does. Applesauce contains fiber, Vit C , is naturally low fat and has much fewer calories than butter.

Substitute Dairy

Dairy allergies are on the rise in the country and if leaving out dairy from your cupcake recipe seems unthinkable, then I have a yummy food substitute to suggest- almond milk. Low in calories and high on taste, almond milk is a blessing for those who are lactose intolerant. Plus they strengthen bones and are rich in Vit D too.

Say No to Sugar

A daily cuppa without its best mate sugar sounds depressing. But what if you could use a natural flavor enhancer minus the ill effects of sugar crystals? Vietnamese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce blood sugar levels naturally, making it one of the best food substitutions you should adopt today.

Substitute Cheese

Again, a wonderful lactose free food substitute which is both vegan is low in calories, sodium-free and sugar-free, nutritional yeast comes in both fortified and unfortified versions. The highlight of these flakes or granules is that it releases a nutty cheese like flavor which enhances any dish that it’s added to.

Reduce Sodium Intake

Food without salt is tasteless but do you know that high intake of salt every day actually stresses the body out, especially the kidneys? A healthy food substitute to consider especially for patients with hypertension, is lemon juice instead. Its tart flavor is also packed with Vit C and acts as a gentle toxin cleanser too.

Healthy Sautéing

Sautéing is one of the best ways to bring out the hidden flavor of veggies and meat, but shallow frying in oil does little for your health. Try using veg broth instead without compromising on the brown flavorful texture as it won’t interfere with your heart health the way oils do. It’s an easy to adopt food substitute for your family.

Food is actually medicine for the body and the right nutrients can help keep a host of illnesses and diseases at bay. Living a healthy life well into your old age is no longer impossible. To find out how to become a healthier version of yourself, get in touch with me through email or by phone today.