If the Monday blues have you down, try this mood boosting cherry chocolate oatmeal smoothie for a quick dose of happiness.
I think we all suffer from the blues occasionally. Let’s face it, it’s hard to be happy all the time. Daily activities can weigh on us, relationships can be trying and work incredibly challenging and exhausting. It’s easy to get in a funk that’s hard to shake.
Personally, I had post partum depression with my first baby (17 years ago) and have battled some ups and downs ever since. Therefore, being a foodie and all, I felt there must be a natural way to boost your mood through food. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, biochemically derived from tryptophan, that basically makes you feel good. Tryptophan and serotonin are naturally found in many food items such as turkey, bananas, cherries and wild fish and seafood.
This dark chocolate cherry oatmeal smoothie contains 4 ingredients that have mood boosting properties – cherry, dark chocolate, banana and flaxseed oil. Not to mention whole grains and yogurt for calcium and protein. Oh yeah, and you got some omegas in there too. I personally think it’s the perfect way to start your day; especially a Monday.
If this isn’t enough to get you out of your mild funk, try these 8 quick and effective stress busters from Prevention Magazine:
1. Meditate – you can download a relaxation or meditation MP3 on itunes. It only takes about 10 minutes a day to decrease your blood pressure and activate your relaxation response.
2. Make a great iPod mix – music can have a calming effect on the brain especially while you’re facing down a major stressor.
3. Hit the sack early or take a nap – the recommended 8 hours of nightly shut-eye allows your body enough time to recover from the days stress. If you can’t get 8 hours, try to get a 30 minute nap the next day to rejuvenate.
4. Sip some black tea – the “cup that cheers” works. Naturally occurring chemicals such as polyphenols and flavonoids may be responsible for tea’s calming effect.
5. Hang out with a funny friend – the pal that keeps you in stitches may help temper your hormonal stress response. Laughter can work wonders.
6. Schedule a massage – a little pampering can rub your stress level the right way. Plus massage sessions promote the production of Seratonin and dopamine, the feel good hormones.
7. Do something spiritual – religious rituals fortifies many people against everyday pressure. If organized religion is not your thing, try finding your spiritual side on a nature hike, a stroll on the beach or volunteering for a charity.
8. Chew a piece of gum – yes, I said chew gum. Popping a stick in your mouth can diffuse tension and increase alertness.
(For more info see the original article at http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/how-lower-cortisol-manage-stress).
Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Smoothie
Recipe by Liz Hughes - Virtually Homemade Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1 smoothie
- 1 cup frozen cherries
- 1 banana sliced
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (use can also you GF oats)
- 1 cup low fat plain yogurt
- 1 ounce dark chocolate (divided) - I used 2 squares of 60% cacao Ghiradelli chocolate
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon flax oil
- 4 ice cubes
- In a blender combine the first 4 ingredients and blend until smooth. Add 1/2 of the dark chocolate, honey, flax oil and ice cubes. Blend until smooth.
- Grate the remaining chocolate and sprinkle it on top.