Foods Which Ease Anxiety Symptoms

This post is a hard one for me to write.

It’s also incredibly near and dear to my little banana loving heart, which is why I feel like I need to share.

PrioBlog-Life-Do-I-Have-an-Anxiety-Disorder

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Anyone who has ever dealt with an anxiety disorder can tell you, it’s a real son of a bitch. I’m not one of those folks. In fact, if I’m being completely honest, anxious people make me anxious. How’s that for a catch-22? 

My personal coping mechanism falls into the ignorance is bliss philosophy, and I downplay troublesome events at every turn. Case in point, here’s a snippet of an actual conversation I had with someone, a few years back: “What? You need brain surgery? Pfft, no worries, they do it on Grey’s Anatomy all the time.” 

My thought process is the opposite mentality for someone with anxiety, so when people start losing sleep over stuff I consider non-consequential or things I’m not ready to confront, I get uncomfortable at best and frustrated at worst. Guess what though? Anxiety is something I’ve had to come to terms with because it’s a part of my world now, for a variety of reasons, which we don’t need to get into. Oh look, my defense mechanism rears her head.   

Here’s the thing, life occasionally throws you a curve ball you can’t catch or dodge, no matter how hard you try, so you learn to deal with it the best you can. For me and my type A personality, this involved understanding everything I could about anxiety disorder and then making any change possible to help alleviate those symptoms. Enter a healthy lifestyle, stage left. 

For those impacted, anxiety disorder is not something one can just wish away or simply shrug off. Anxiety disorder is brain chemistry gone awry, with environmental and genetic factors playing a role. Quite frankly, the idea of telling an anxious person to calm down and relax is laughable and not at all helpful. Basically, I wouldn’t recommend it.

What I do recommend though is natural ways to try to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Typically, cutting back on sugar, sugar laden products and caffeine is a good bet since overstimulation isn’t the best idea when you’re already on edge. While ditching these things from your diet can help, I’d rather focus this post on the foods you can and should eat to ease symptoms.

Let-food-be-thy-medicine(source)  

While I do believe food has medicinal properties, I don’t think eating a banana will stop a panic attack in its track. That being said, a healthy lifestyle, when employed regularly, can impact the strength and severity of the symptoms. A good psychiatrist, coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy, should also be a part of your care plan. Those guys get paid to understand the ins and outs of brain chemistry for a reason.    

Foods To Reduce Anxiety Symptoms.

  •  Foods Rich in Calcium and Magnesium. Bear with me while I get a bit scientific: When you’re anxious, your nerves are generally overstimulated and your muscles are tense and tight. Calcium and magnesium work together to help regulate nerve conduction and muscle contraction.

Some calcium rich foods include leafy greens, broccoli, dairy products (hello cheese) and figs. Avocados, seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, flax powder, dark chocolate and summer squash are all foods rich in magnesium.

Broccoli Stalk

  • Tryptophan helps manufacture serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter.

Bananas are one of my favorite sources of tryptophan, although they are in good company with dairy products (hooray, more cheese), eggs, oats, seafood, poultry, dried dates, peas and turnips.  

  • Complex carbohydrates help your body absorb tryptophan, while also elevating your serotonin levels.

Complex carbs include whole grains, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans, lentils and peas. This would entail whole wheat bread, pasta, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, oatmeal, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, pumpkin, broccoli, spinach, green beans, carrots, radishes, and asparagus.       

Saturday Morning Baking Muffins and Bread

  • Vitamin B6 assists in the manufacture of brain chemicals, with serotonin being one of them. Serotonin helps us cope with stress and anxiety, and foods high in Vitamin B6 include fish, poultry, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, bananas, beef, bell peppers, chickpeas, avocados, and potatoes.  

I’m a practical creature at heart, so while it’s great to know bananas and potatoes are mental health rock stars, I find seeing them in action even more worthwhile. With that being said, here’s a host of recipes or recipe ideas, which include at least one, if not many more of the above ingredients.

Banana Oat Greek Yogurt Muffins from Running With Spoons

Banana-Oat-Greek-Yogurt-Muffins4

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Sweet Potato, Spinach and Cheddar Pancakes from The Big Man’s World

Sweet Potato Cheddar Pancake 2

Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Blue Cheese, Red Onions and Walnuts. Replace the strawberries with banana slices and the walnuts with sesame seeds, and you’ve got yourself a bowl of anxiety reducing goodness.

Strawberry Blue Cheese Salad with Red Onions and Walnuts

 Vegetarian Cobb Salad with Avocado, Carrots, Bell Peppers and Feta

Saturday Salad

Pumpkin Burgers from Peas and Crayons

Pumpkin Burger & Asparagus Fries Crock-Pot Mexican Based Potato Soup from Peas and Crayons

Mexican Based Potato Soup

Stuffed Baked Potato with Bell Peppers, Cheddar, Green Onions, Butter and Greek Yogurt

Baked Potato 2

Lentil Soup with Swiss Chard

Lentil Stew

Thai Inspired Vegetable Soup

Thai Inspired Vegetable Soup

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Lemon Parmesan Roasted Broccoli

Garlic Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes

Garlic Roasted Asparagus

Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables Uncooked

 Veggie Pizza with Carrots, Bok Choy and Green Beans

Veggie Pizza

Creamy Avocado, Bell Pepper & Hatch Chile Enchiladas from Farm Fresh Feasts

Enchiladas and Rice

Simple Vegetable Stir Fry over a bed of Brown Rice or Barley

Veggie Stir Fry Rice and Garlic Bread

 Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch

Pumpkin Cranberry Crunch

Chocolate Mousse Smoothie from Running With Spoons

Chocolate Date Smoothie

 Butternut Baklava Bites from Peas and Crayons

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It’s nice to know food which tastes absolutely amazing can make you feel good too, so the next time you find yourself dealing with anxiety disorder, sit back – no need to relax – and enjoy your eats.   

Looking for Natural Ways to Reduce your Cholesterol, click here.  

Have you ever dealt with an anxiety disorder or someone else who has one? How did or do you manage anxiety? If you’ve got any tips or have ever done a post on this topic, please feel free to link up in the comments section below.

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Guess Who’s Back? Back Again.

♫ “Guess who’s back, back again, Clean Eats is back, tell a friend.” ♫ 

Meg T-Shirt

Hold up a sec. I think I forgot my pants.

Ok so remember the rut I talked about almost a month ago? Wait, what do you mean you don’t recall that particular post? Pish posh, I’m not sure why the details of my personal life don’t stick with you because they totally should. Am I merely a giant bowl of granola in your eyes? A walking bag of oats, nuts and banana chips? Gasp.

Clearly, I’m disappointed in this sudden revelation. We may even need to have a serious chat, although in the meantime, I’ll wait, patiently even, while you go back and read the post I’m talking about: What The Rut. It’s a short one; sort of.

*Whistles, while she waits.

All caught up now? Good, much better. 

The same rut I was content luxuriating in, may be over now. Similar to how it began, there was no trigger for the change, just a simple and slow progression towards a new direction. It’s been a nice, natural, ebb and flow, a smooth transition if you will. I can’t really say I did any one thing or even worked my way out of this. I kind of let it be, and things just started percolating as a result. Specifically:  

I started running, which is weird for me. My family will back me up here, not that I need backing up because you should take everything I say as gospel, minus the whole carrying a tune part, and believe me, it’s not for a lack of trying.

Nike Sneakers

I started singing again. Or rapping, as seen in my introduction. ♫ “Two trailer park girls go ’round the outside, ’round the outside, ’round the outside.” ♫ I can also spit mad lyrics to Snoop’s Lodi Dodi. Some people would be embarrassed to admit this; not me.

Oh, and there’s been plenty of dancing too. A little bit of hip shaking, coupled with money-making, minus the actual exchange of cash because I’m not that kind of girl.

I’ve been laughing a lot. Mostly at stupid stuff, which is appropriate given my taste level.

Fuzzy Balls

On Sunday night, I was dubbed the Mighty Mac Daddy. I like this assessment.

I’ve also spent hours upon hours with my furry friends.

Somebody's gotten into the nip again.

Somebody’s gotten into the nip again.

And, I spent a glorious handful of unforgettable minutes with the Hubby. Of course, I mean it like that.

I drank my first ever chocolate smoothie. Yes, it involved bananas.

Chocolate Date SmoothieI ate hands down, bar none, the best wrap ever from Nature’s Bin. It was chock full of sweet potatoes, barley, beans, cheddar, peppers, onions and I have no idea what else. All I really know is it was out of this world.

Nature's Bin Sweet Potato Cheddar Wrap

I started cooking again and more than just donuts.

Butternut Squash Chedar Drop Biscuits

I prepared and ingested multiple servings of my beloved veggies.

Minestrone Soup and Biscuits

I made and devoured my first salad in months. Who cares if I forgot the tomatoes? It just gives me a reason to make another one.

Vegetarian Cobb Salad Dec 2014

I made it a point to spend less time at the office and even enjoyed a three-day weekend recently. It was sweet, sweet bliss.

I made my way back to the yoga studio, where the instructor not only played an acoustic version of Outkast’s Hey Ya, he sang it too. That’s my kind of teacher right there.

Yoga Dec 2014

I listened to guided imagery on stress management, where I fell asleep often. Naps do a body good.   

I removed expectations for myself.

It’s amazing how much smoother things happen, when  you erase the pressure to make them happen. Plus at the end of the day, it’s hard to beat yourself up or feel guilty if you’ve made no assumptions about what your day should resemble. Now, when you do accomplish something, you’re ahead of the game, a rock star so to speak.

For me, surrendering to the rut and embracing the same is what actually allowed me to change my trajectory, yet again.

I was in a rut, and I was happy. I’m no longer in a rut, and guess what, I’m still happy.

Do you embrace being in a rut, or do you fight it? If the latter, does it work for you? Have you ever tried guided imagery? 

Posted in Bottoms Up, Good Eats, I Work Out, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Banana Bread Granola Recipe

I consider myself to be a granola connoisseur. Of course I do.

Banana Bread Granola B with Header

Granted, there wasn’t any contest, although if there had been, I would have said, “sign me up,” especially if the prize included a bedazzled crown and maybe even a scepter. I like the idea of carrying a big shiny stick, although speaking softly has never been my forte.

Had there been a granola making contest, I like to think I would have won. Then again, a healthy self-esteem has never been a problem for me, at least not since the days of my youth. The funny thing about aging, minus the wrinkles, the force of gravity, and the grey hairs, is the older you get, the more confident you get. It comes with a shred of wisdom too, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I find it to be soothing to my ego, and I like to keep her happy whenever possible.      

Banana Bread Granola

I’m not really sure what any of that has to do with granola other than to say I’ve been around the block a few times, in a scandal free way. I like granola, and I make it on an almost weekly basis. I eat it just as often too, which is why I’m always tinkering with new flavors. It’s important to mix things up from time to time; it makes life interesting.

This latest version has been a work in progress for months and months now. With each batch, I’d make one subtle change and then seek out the feedback of others because as much as I think I’m a rock star, it can’t hurt to get some additional opinions, especially when it comes to a recipe I’m sharing with the masses. I might have gone a little overboard though (who me?) because after the umpteenth taste testing, I was receiving conflicting observations, which left me scratching my head. It got to the point where I wasn’t even sure which batch was better anymore. By the time I baked this last go around on Tuesday night, I was questioning my own skills.

With an air of uncertainly, I removed my granola from the oven and set it on my cooktop to cool. I took one sample bite and promptly burned myself. Intrigued and pleasantly surprised with the overall flavor, I went back for another spoonful and burnt myself yet again. As I stood over my stove, spooning more and more into my mouth, despite racking up the first degree burns, I realized if it’s worth burning myself repeatedly, it’s definitely worth sharing.

Banana Bread Granola F

This Banana Bread granola has a suggestive banana flavor, coupled with a dollop of sweetness from the dates and the maple syrup. I avoid using refined sugars in my granola recipes because I don’t find them to be necessary. Also I like to keep things on the healthier end, so long as I’m not sacrificing flavor. This granola fits that bill.  

Dates are a most welcome addition as well, since along with sweetness, they bring an impressive list of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They also have been known to replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, which makes this granola a pleasant pick me up. It’s also packed with walnuts, a healthy fat, which comes with it’s own laundry list of health benefits, including cancer fighting properties and supporting brain health. They’re also brimming with antioxidants, and we all know I’m a fan of anything which might make me look younger.

Basically, my Banana Bread Granola not only tastes good enough to burn your mouth for, but it’s healthy for you too, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, although I still would like a scepter.

Banana Bread Granola
A Banana Bread Granola that is as healthy for you as it is tasty.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups Rolled Oats
  2. 1 cup Sweetened Banana Chips, diced small.
  3. 2 cups Walnuts, chopped.
  4. 3 Tbsps. Flax Powder or Wheat Germ
  5. 1/2 tsp. Salt
  6. 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  7. 2 tsps. Vanilla Extract
  8. 1/3 cup Oil of choice; I used organic Canola Oil.
  9. 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  10. 1 cup Dates, diced small.
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 300, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly (from the rolled oats through to the cinnamon).
  3. Add in vanilla extract and your oil of choice. Mix to coat everything. Add in the maple syrup, stirring to coat everything. Mix in your diced dates.
  4. Once combined, spoon mixture onto a baking sheet. Leave clumped together. Do not spread out on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  6. Will keep in an airtight container for several weeks.
Notes
  1. If you like your granola on the crunchier side, you can cook it longer.
  2. Also, if you like big clusters, don’t stir once you remove it from the oven. When it cools, it will harden into clusters.
Clean Eats, Fast Feets http://cleaneatsfastfeets.com/
Looking for other granola ideas? Here’s a few more.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Granola

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

Coconut Lime Pineapple Granola

Coconut Lime Pineapple Granola

Coconut Lime Pineapple Granola

Orange Cranberry Granola

Orange Cranberry Granola with Greek yogurt and raspberries

This post is being brought to the table at the following fabulous parties: Anyonita Nibbles Tasty Tuesday’s, Hun… What’s for Dinner’s Simply Supper Tuesday’s, and The Novice Gardener’s Fiesta Friday

Are you a fan of granola? Do you make your own? Any particular flavor profile you’d like to see me dabble with next?

Posted in Good Eats, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments