Food for a Better Mood
Updated: Mar 16, 2021
by Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND @The Running Nutritionist®
Fullei Fresh Chef Ambassador
It’s natural to be feeling unnatural during this most unique time in our lives.
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor/Nutrition Therapist, and author of Performance Nutrition for Tackling Stress, I can assure you are not alone, as the stress of being housebound 24/7 for the past 5 weeks causes our bodies to react with all sorts of emotional, physical, and metabolic responses.
If you have ever taken a psychology class, you’re familiar with what experts call “Fight, Flight or Freeze” reaction to stress.
You see, to cope with stress, we ALL do one of 3 things:
Fight the stress with healthy coping mechanisms like nourishing meals, exercise and mind-body centering strategies; or
Flight the stress, by emotionally “running” from the stress with quick fixes like alcohol, recreational drugs and/or comfort foods like sweets, high carbs or fats, or
Freeze and hold all our emotions inside until we are ready to burst! In fact, freezing aka dissociation or numbing is the most common way to deal with stress. In one way, it helps us disconnect from the pain and emotions associated with anything troubling us, gives us temporary relief, however it’s also associated with long term mental health and chronic disease issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
The ONLY way to gain control of even this uncontrollable situation and empower your body, mind and spirit is to include nourishing foods and beverages in addition to some form of daily activity, mindful meditation or prayer and companionship through family, human or furry friends.
The quality of our diet is our first line of defense against stress. Sprouts, wheatgrass, farm fresh vegetables, fermented foods or cultured dairy, fatty fish like salmon or nuts, seeds and whole soy foods like tofu and tempeh ensure we’re getting essential nutrients such as protein, antioxidants, Vitamins A, C, B vitamins, the minerals zinc, magnesium, potassium, probiotics, omega-3 essential fats and fiber to build your immune system which in turn will build a healthy mind.
It’s hard not to notice, the grocery stores are jam packed with shoppers, stocking up on all things paper and oh those comfort foods like sweets, high carb snacks like chips and crackers and meals like mac and cheese, and lots of booze to wash it all down. And what’s up with all the baking supplies missing?
Blame it on neurotransmitters, the chemicals in the brain that make you feel good, relaxed, elated, ecstatic, joyful and at peace. The main neurotransmitters responsible for this are serotonin & dopamine and wait for nourishment to let your body know how you’re feeling. When you feed your body processed, sweet, high fat foods or alcohol, you get a neurotransmitter rush which temporarily makes you feel relaxed and ok. However, without the essential nutrients, protein and fiber, this is a short-lasting quick fix.
The key then is to consume the high fiber, plant based recipes I am sharing with you today along with nutritious beverages like wheatgrass juice to give you a slow steady stream of beneficial carbohydrates for energy, protein for building the immune system, maintaining musculature and all the attributes that contribute to beautiful skin, hair and nails.
This month’s recipes include ingredients that overlap so there is no waste and simple to prepare. For example, after juicing the wheatgrass, I used the pulp to fortify the veggie burger and arepas.
The wheatgrass juice was used in the bread and infused fermented garden-fresh daikon radish and carrots and arepas.
Wheatgrass Infused Sprouted Loaf
1 cup water
¼ cup juiced Fullei Fresh wheatgrass (the amount of raw unjuiced wheatgrass will vary by juicer. You will need roughly 8-16 oz make 1/4 cup of juice. Save the pulp to make the burgers below.)
½ cup Fullei Fresh Organic Alfalfa / Clover Sprouts
1 package Bob’s Red Mill 10 grain bread mix
3 Tbls Walnut Oil (great source of Omega 3)
1 package active yeast (included in bread mix)
Add water, wheatgrass juice, sprouts, flour, oil and yeast in that order to the bread machine.
Bread machine takes about 3 hours to complete breadmaking process—knead, rise, rest, bake.
Slice warm and serve with farm fresh salad, fermented veggies, soups or as a quick energy snack.
Raw Sprouted Garbanzo Bean Veggie Burgers
1 cup Fullei Fresh Organic Sprouted Garbanzo Beans
½ cup Organic Crunchy Mix (mung beans, green lentils, red lentils, green peas, adzuki beans)
½ cup organic black beans drained
½ cup gluten free organic seasoned breadcrumbs
5 cloves minced roasted garlic
1 Tbls fresh Cuban Oregano, chopped
1 cup Fullei Wheatgrass pulp obtained after juicing wheatgrass
1 small onion diced
½ tsp. Florida sea salt
2 tsp organic chili powder
Roast garlic for 5-10 minutes until browned. Mince
Mix ingredients in food processor
Press into cookie circular molds
Consume raw or air fry to desired crispiness and serve with Wheatgrass Infused Sprouted Loaf or arepas, Farm Fresh sprouted green salad, and Fermented Wheatgrass Infused Daikon (recipe below.)
Fermented Wheatgrass Infused Daikon and Carrots
2 ¾ pounds Farm Fresh Daikon, diced or matchstick
1-pound assorted carrots
1 Tbls Florida Sea Salt
3 ½ cups water
½ cup Fullei Fresh Wheatgrass juice
1 Tbls Florida Honey
Small to Medium size Mason Jars
Put vegetable slices in Mason jars.
Mix brine, salt, honey, water and wheatgrass juice.
Close jars and ferment 5-7 days.
Store in refrigerator.
For Pickled Recipe, use:
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
¼ cup wheatgrass juice
1 cup organic sugar
1 tsp Florida sea salt
Slice or dice Daikon and carrots to desired shapes and sizes.
Heat water, wheatgrass juice, salt, sugar and vinegar until sugar and salt dissolved.
Allow to stand 24 hours minimum before tasting.
Store in Refrigerator.
Known internationally as The Running Nutritionist®, Lisa is an award-winning leader to industry, academia, the public & press for more than 3 decades. Lisa has built a global integrative culinary sports nutrition & performance private practice & corporate consulting business working with Olympian athletes, and prestigious luxury resorts such as Ritz Carlton, Sandals & Norwegian Cruise Lines. Lisa designs, writes and speaks about delicious dishes, menus and diets and travels worldwide sharing the “gospel” of good food, fresh tastes and plant-based cuisine. Her passion for food, fitness, emotional balance and for life is contagious.
A ’19 President’s Council National Excellence in Practice Award Recipient, Lisa is a Licensed Nutritionist/ Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, Certified Chef, Certified USAT&F & USA Triathlon Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Certified Horticulturist & Fellow of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She served as the ’08 US Sailing Olympic Team Nutritionist for Beijing Olympics & Nutrition Expert for the Zumba Plate® program.
Her recipes are inspired by collaborations with some of the top chefs at Sandals Resorts, Ritz Carlton, Culinary Vegetable Institute/Chef’s Garden; restaurants, spas, wellness/fitness-focused programs as instructor at Johnson and Wales University & Miami Culinary Institute, & member of prestigious organizations such as Les Dames d ‘Escoffier, American Culinary Foundation, and the James Beard Foundation. She is Chef Alliance Director for Slow Food Miami.
The author of 8 books, Lisa has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN & has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside & Runners World magazines. In her spare time, Lisa has competed in more than 35 marathons (PR 2:52:32), Ironman USA Lake Placid, and hundreds of running and multisport races and was a member of TeamUSA at the ’04 World Long Distance Duathlon Championships.