Your brain & body are amazing.
They come with a 24 hour, all natural, highly efficient pharmacy that dispenses the right drugs in the right amounts at the right times.
During stressful times, the brain & body produces bio-chemicals and hormones from this pharmacy that help you stay calm, alert, focused and elevate your mood.
One of these bio-chemicals is serotonin – a natural antidepressant and sleep aid.
We also have a supply of chemicals needed for focus and vitality. These little guys keep us alert, upbeat and give us an overall sense of well-being – they are called catecholamines.
Serotonin, catecholamines and other bio-chemicals are made from the food we eat, specifically, from amino acids which are the building blocks of protein.
Different protein foods have different amino acid profiles. Two aminos in particular – tryptophan and tyrosine – are involved in the production of serotonin and catecholamines.
Our body’s natural pharmacy can also become depleted by recreational drugs, stimulants (caffeine), dieting & skipping meals, processed foods that have crappy flours, bad fats, sugars and artificial sweeteners.
Our all-natural pharmacy can either be fully stocked, totally depleted or anywhere in between – depending on our diet & lifestyle.
When we are stressed, we naturally use up these bio-chemicals. So it makes sense then to choose foods that are higher in these aminos to support us in times like these.
Unfortunately, most people tend to do the opposite. Many Americans do things that deplete these bio-chemicals, like reach for coffee, alcohol or junk food. Excuses like ‘it takes the edge off’ or ‘it calms my nerves’ or delusional concepts like ‘comfort foods’ often accompany this approach. Before you know it, your overwhelmed, overweight, exhausted, underslept, underfed, have bags under your eyes, blood pressure is off the charts! Welcome to Burnout.
A much more intelligent, sustainable and profitable approach to reducing stress, improving health and vitality and preventing burnout, would be the exact opposite of what’s most popular. Eat specific foods that enhance health, give us energy and keep our body’s pharmacy stocked up, simultaneously avoiding the stimulants & habits that deplete them.
These 5 foods are high in tryptophan and tyrosine which support your body’s production of serotonin and catecholamines. These foods can alter your mood and offer many other benefits that are essential for reducing stress and improving health & wellness. Best of all, there are no side effects, nervousness and no risk of addiction.
One of the primary reasons for choosing organic and grass fed foods is the fact that pesticides are potent neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors. These man made chemicals are poisonous to the brain and alter hormonal levels. Do your best to eat grass fed and organic foods whenever possible.
Eggs – Make sure you get truly free range, pastured chickens that run around outside eating the insects & foods they are supposed to eat which allows them to lay healthy eggs. Eggs are high in tyrosine and tryptophan. They also contain cholesterol and saturated fat which are essential for the production of all your hormones and helps sustain good energy levels throughout the day.
You can eat them raw, fried, hard boiled or baked. Keep the yolk intact when eating eggs. You can eat eggs often, but only have scrambled eggs and omelets occasionally.
My favorite sources are: grazinangusacres.com
Pumpkin, Sesame, Sunflower & Chia Seeds – Mineral dense and packed with energy and essential fatty acids which support brain health. These seeds are also highest in tryptophan. You can easily make your own trail mix by adding some figs (and other fruits) which is another good mood food.
Coconut oil – this is my favorite oil to cook eggs with. Although it doesn’t have any amino acids, it is required for overall brain health and hormonal balance. The cholesterol is needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Low cholesterol levels are linked to aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies. Cholesterol is also a primary ingredient for our ‘repair & recovery’ hormones that allow us to recover after a day of hard work and other hormones that maintain steady blood sugar levels (energy levels), proper mineral balance and blood pressure. Coconut oil also supports healthy thyroid function.
My favorite source for coconut oil and trail mix: wildernessfamilynaturals.com
Stress Reducing Fruits – the fruits that are highest in tryptophan & tyrosine include avocado, kiwi, cranberries, raisins, guava, plantains, figs and last but certainly not least, starfruit. If some of these fruits are not part of your normal routine, then when would be the perfect time to get more variety into your diet while eating good mood foods that are also juicy and delicious.
My favorite source is the local green market: localharvest.org
Wild Game – Wild game, especially duck and goose, are much higher in these powerful amino acids than chicken or turkey. Elk, caribou and rabbit are the highest game meats with tryptophan. Lamb, rabbit and bison (buffalo) are game meats that are highest in tyrosine. Wild game meats are mineral rich and supply fat-soluble vitamins A and D which are catalysts for the assimilation of protein (aminos) and minerals. Vitamin D, whose only food source is animal fat, can fight fatigue, depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Venison is also a high performance, nutrient dense protein that is also mineral rich and loaded with B vitamins which are necessary for energy production.
My favorite source is: grasslandbeef.com & brokenarrowranch.com
Healthy Native Americans who ate a 100% organic, grass fed diet. They had no air conditioning, no central heating systems, no Advil, no Prozac, no Tums with Calcium, no Muscle Milk and hunted wild animals. Cabeza de Vaca wrote “The men could run after a deer for an entire day without resting and without apparent fatigue. . . one man near seven feet in stature. . . runs down a buffalo on foot and slays it with his knife or lance, as he runs by its side’
Their diet was high in saturated animal fats & protein, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruits & vegetables they were a strong and robust culture that lived virtually free from modern diseases like depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
So I gave you more than 5 foods. I gave you a bunch of whole foods that will enhance your overall health, wellness, vitality, energy levels and even help you get more variety into your daily routine – all of which support you while dealing with stress. Because these foods are high specific aminos that help supply our natural pharmacy with serotonin and catecholamines, a comprehensive stress management program means not only avoiding foods & habits that are stressful, but also choosing smart foods that are supportive.