Eat These Foods to Boost Your Mood!

Throughout each day your mood will be influenced by many different things. These can, of course, be both positive and negative and will affect the way you feel during each day. As well as your interactions with other people and your environment, the food that you consume will play a role in influencing your mood.

People who consume processed or sugary foods regularly are likely to find that they experience a low mood or even depression. This can be because these foods wreak havoc with our blood sugar levels which causes a fluctuation in energy levels. This can quickly lead to irritability and fatigue which will make even the happiest of people quite grumpy! Making healthy, positive changes to your diet across the whole is a great way to keep your mood steady but you can also try including certain superfoods for a quick boost!

Raw cacao powder is one of these foods and I would suggest you include a serving in your diet every day, especially if you are already struggling with a low mood. Cacao has a seriously impressive range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals within and is responsible for the perception people have of chocolate improving your mood. However, with processed chocolate products you also get an unhealthy dose of additives and other chemicals which can disrupt your hormones and actually be of detriment to your mood! Stick to raw, unprocessed cacao powder and you will soon see the benefits!

Chilli is another fantastic ingredient you can use to bring a dose of happiness to your day. Studies have shown that when we consume chilli, in any form, it increases the presence of endorphins in the brain which in turn gives us a pleasurable feeling! It is so easy to scatter just a pinch on your lunch and dinner, alternatively you can choose a delicious chilli sauce!

As you will know if you read my blog frequently, I am an advocate of the amazing health benefits of coconut oil and when it comes to your happiness this is especially true! The composition of healthy fats in coconut oil, as well as coconut milk and other coconut products, boosts your brain health. A healthy brain leads to a healthy mind and I would suggest consuming it in moderation regularly!

Most importantly of all, be sure that the majority of the food that you eat is real, wholesome, plant-based food! Don’t sabotage your mood with rubbish that is going to weigh your body down and disrupt your happiness!

For more top tips on how nutrition is essential for a healthy body and mind, check out The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Raw Chocolate Brownie with Goji Berries

I’m always looking for ways to get the Super Hero foods into my kids diets and this recipe has come out on top!  All four of my kids love chocolate and there are some GREAT raw chocolate bars out on the market now – but with four kids, I can’t keep up with their demand and rushing out to Whole Foods all of the time!  So, I whipped this up over the weekend and as I type this on Sunday – they’ve all been greedily consumed!  I think this is going to be a household staple.  And the good news….. it’s SO easy to make!

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But the other goodie about this recipe is that it’s NOT made with refined sugar but instead made with the whole foods, a natural sweetener called DATES!  Fresh dates are composed of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly.  Dates are also rich in dietary fibre, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut.  Additionally, the fibre works as a bulk laxative whereby helping to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

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Dates contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.  They are also an excellent source of IRON!  Yes, iron… can you believe it?!  And potassium is right up there as well as calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium.

So you can see, I’d much rather have my kids eat dates than refined sugar (which BTW has NO nutritional value whatsoever…..)

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So grab these ingredients if you don’t already have them!

Serves 16

2 cups walnuts

2 cups pitted dates (medjool best)

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup carob powder

1/4 cup goji berries

1TBSP coconut oil

1 cup almonds, chopped

1 TBSP coconut palm nectar, agave or maple syrup

sprinkling of sea salt or pink himalayan

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In  your food processor, pulse the walnuts until nicely ground.  Then add the salt, cacao, carob and continue to mix in the food processor.  While the food processor is on, add the dates one by one until you get a nice paste.  Once you get this lovely paste, add in your sweetener (coconut palm nectar, agave or maple syrup)  and the coconut oil.  Remove the paste into a mixing bowl and using your hands (much easier than a wooden spoon) mix in the chopped almonds and the goji berries.

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Place the mixture in either a 8×8 or 9×13 baking tin lined with parchment paper and press the mixture down so that it won’t fall apart.  Finally place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Once the 30 minutes are up, cut into squares and then try not to eat the entire batch!

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Mint CocoChip Ice Cream

I truly love mint anything!  Mint tea, mint on potatoes, mint in smoothies and now mint in my ice cream.  And this ice cream is not only dairy free and refined sugar free….. but utterly delicious.  I concocted this recipe because my 12 year old is a mint-a-holic just like his mom. 🙂  And we were gagging for something minty and cold over the weekend.  But not only is mint uber refreshing and delicious it’s nutritious too!

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Mint is amazing at aiding in:

Skin Care and Pimples: While mint oil is a good antiseptic, mint juice (yes, the juice!) is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin, and helps to cure infections and itchiness, as well as being a good way to reduce pimples.

Nausea & Headache: The very strong and refreshing fragrance of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Even just the smell of freshly crushed mint leaves or eating with mint, and your stomach issues will be alleviated.

Respiratory Disorders and Coughs: The strong fragrance of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, and lungs, which in turn relieves respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold.

Weight Loss: Mint stimulates the digestion of fat! You can chop the mint leaves and add them to any dish!

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So, dust off your blenders and grab the following which serves 2!  Or ONE if you’re greedy.

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 avocado

4 drops peppermint essential oil

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/2 cup spinach

4 mint large mint leaves

2 dates

3 ice cubes (optional)

Blend together and then fold in nibs….

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Either serve immediately or put into a container and pop in freezer for later… although once you’ve tasted it, I doubt you’ll be able to wait that long!
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Rose Chocolate Truffles

Let’s face it, the reality is that 3 out of my 4 kids are boys.  And boys are like dogs: they need to be walked at least three times a day!  2 of my boys are WAY into their sports – from rugby to football to cricket and then there’s our frosting on the cake, Nestor, who is 6 and the baby of the family.  When asked what he wants to be when he’s older…. he proudly replies:  ‘David Attenborough.’  So, in order to keep up with these active sportsmen and an explorer-to-be, I’ve got to fuel them with some REAL energy, some REAL foods, some NON-chemical, NON-pacakged, NON-processed foods.  So the gist of the recipe was created for my boys…. but then I do have ONE girl and I needed to include something a bit girlie, right?  And that’s where the Rose Water came in and so in all fairness, these power truffles are 3/4 boys and 1/4 girl.  I think I managed to please everyone in the family with this one……. now that’s a first!

ImageGrab yourself these cool ingredients: For 16 truffles (4 for each child if you have 4 kids!)

20 dates, de-stoned

2 Tbsp. coconut butter or oil

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3/4 tsp. carob powder

2 tsp. lucuma

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

and the final ingredient:  1 tsp. rose water (so amazing)

You will also need Goji Berry powder, Blueberry powder and ground almonds for dusting.  The flowers in the photos are optional, but highly recommended if you have a girl!

ImageTake all ingredients and either blend in your high speed blender or simply just use your food processor to create a gorgeous paste.  Scrape out as much paste as you can into a bowl and use about a heaped teaspoon per truffle – roll in your hands to create a lovely, round ball.

ImageNext, roll those amazing truffles in some goji berry powder, blueberry powder or ground almonds.

ImageAnd Voila!  Takes no time at all to appease everyone in the family, including yourself!  If you’re having a dinner party, these are great incredibly healthy ‘after-dinner’ treats with some fresh mint tea!  These deliciOSO treats have NO refined sugar.  I used my favourite sugar replacement…. Dates…. instead.  Here are my FOUR top facts about amazing dates.

  1. Dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat and are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
  1. They are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.
  1. Dates help improve the digestive system as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers and different kinds of amino acids.
  1. Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose.

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Julie’s SUPERnut Butter Cups

Okay, so when I was younger, my hands down favourite treat was Reese’s peanut butter cup! If you’re not American, you may not know about these treats! But trust me, they are SOOOOOO good! Back then we didn’t know about the ‘badness’ of high fructose corn syrup, however as an American we did know how yummy the combination of peanut butter and chocolate is! I want my four kids to taste a seriously yummy butter nut cup too but perhaps not a Reese’s one……..So, I came up with a healthy, but to me, even MORE delicious alternative and I can tell you that these were a hit with all of them. My youngest is already asking if I can make them for his birthday party (which isn’t until October but I’ll keep it in mind)!

Let’s start with the chocolate sauce which frankly, can be used on pancakes, ice cream and strawberries! So keep this at hand.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrainsIngredients:

200g of cacao butter
10 – 12 tbsp. of raw cacao powder
4 tbsp. of coconut nectar (or agave or raw honey)
4 tsp. of lucuma
1 and a 1/2 tbsp. of carob powder
1 tsp. of maca
1/4 tsp. of pink himalayan sea salt

Almond butter filling:

1/2 cup almond butter (I used white almond butter and it was delicious too!)
1 Tbsp. coconut nectar (or raw honey or agave)
1 Tbsp. lucuma powder
1/4 tsp. pink himalayan sea salt

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (2)In a saucepan, melt the cacao butter over low to medium heat or use a double boiler. Fold in the rest of the ingredients. Next, line your cupcake tray with paper cups and spoon in enough chocolate sauce to cover the bottom. Place in the fridge until the sauce is solidified; this should usually take about 15 minutes.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (3)For the Almond butter filling, combine all of the ingredients together so that it eventually looks like cookie dough. Then, get a good heaped teaspoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Using your hands, flatten to just less than the diameter of the base of the cups. Now you can add these almond nut butter saucer shapes to the cups and spoon the remainder of the chocolate sauce over the top, covering them completely.

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (4)Finally, place in the fridge for a good hour and presto! You can then remove the paper cups and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Although, if you’re anything like me, they won’t be in the fridge for very long!

julies_supernut_buttercups_grassrootsandgrains (5)These tasty treats taste even better than the store bought alternatives and will provide your body with a wealth of goodness. For example, instead of being crammed with sugar, they are sweetened with lucuma and coconut nectar. As you may remember from previous recipes, lucuma is made from a Peruvian plant and is completely natural. As well as being great as a sweetener, it is a good source of fibre, beta-carotene, niacin, iron and a whole host of other vitamins and minerals. Similarly, coconut nectar is free from gluten and fat and is the perfect low glycemic sweetener!

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