Rethink Your Comfort Foods to Beat Stress

Food isn't just food. It isn't simply a scientific blend of calories, carbs, fats and protein all tied up in a pretty little package. It's not just fuel for our body and we don't only eat when we are hungry. While some people do have the discipline to eat purely to fuel their bodies, I'm not talking about them... I'm talking about you and me, who turn to food for comfort and to feed our emotions as well as our souls. Bad day at work? Hello Ben&Jerry's. Boyfriend dump you? That bastard. Now, here have a triple fudge ooey-gooey brownie. Your pants won't button anymore? You can diet after you finish this big, glorious bowl of macaroni and cheese. Sounds familiar, right? Or maybe you're wrought with worry and don't want to eat anything at all which is just as much a detriment to your health as overeating. So what do you do? Easy... find comfort and the grounded feeling you're after in your favorites, made over. 

Don't cry, chocolate is good for you! Just upgrade it by buying an organic, dairy-free dark variety. 

Don't cry, chocolate is good for you! Just upgrade it by buying an organic, dairy-free dark variety. 

Think of your chubby-but-makes-you-happy-anyway ice-cream bowl of goodness as the overweight Schmidt on New Girl. {What?! You don't watch New Girl?! Unacceptable you must. Click here immediately.} It's going to make you smile for a minute, but then you are bound to get sick and bloated from mucous-forming dairy and excess sugars which put you on the blood sugar roller coaster of extreme highs and crashing lows. That's hardly the way to feel better after an already bad day. Now, picture a big and sexy bowl of the after-Schmidt nice-cream that's just as sweet, decadent and creamy but with a whole foods makeover. This sexy nice-cream will do just the opposite of the dairy-laden one, by decreasing bloating with potassium from the bananas and melting your stress away with its high vitamin B6 content which boosts serotonin production in your brain, thus melting stress away. Optional add-ins like berries and dark chocolate will only boost its stress reduction superpowers.

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Ice-cream is not the only comfort food that benefits from a whole foods makeover. Take a look below at all the foods that are known to reduce stress and create happiness. 

Rethink your comfort foods with these healthy upgrades. Plus, use code PBNJULIE at checkout for 20% off your entire ALOHA purchase... this happy superfood chocolate could be your's! :)

Rethink your comfort foods with these healthy upgrades. Plus, use code PBNJULIE at checkout for 20% off your entire ALOHA purchase... this happy superfood chocolate could be your's! :)

Superfood trail mix is a great food to reduce stress and promote feelings of happiness due to the satisfying crunch of the snack as well as the vitamin and mineral content that seeds, nuts and berries possess.

Superfood trail mix is a great food to reduce stress and promote feelings of happiness due to the satisfying crunch of the snack as well as the vitamin and mineral content that seeds, nuts and berries possess.

  • Bananas: A lovely, convenient carb-y food that comforts and nourishes with its combination of vitamins B6, A and C along with fiber, tryptophan, potassium, phosphorous, iron and proteins. The fiber prevents any signs of a sugar crash. The carbs aid in the absorption of tryptophan and vitamin B6 helps to convert tryptophan into mood-boosting serotonin. Iron is crucial for producing energy and potassium prevents cramping in your favorite Pure Barre class. Yellow food = happy mood.
  • Tart Cherries: Nature’s gentlest sleep aids are rich in the hormone melatonin which creates a mellowing effect on your brain. 
  • Avocados: These creamy green guys stress-proof your body with B vitamins and taste so good, you can't help but smile :) Avocado toast anyone?!
  • Berries: Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are rich in vitamin C which has been shown to be helpful in beating stress. 
  • Nuts & Seeds: Simply crunching these stress busters can lead you to an uplifted mood before you know it. Other than the crunch factor, nuts and seeds like cashews and pumpkinseeds contain zinc which studies have shown help fight bouts of anxiety and depression. And walnuts possess strong anti-depressant properties from omega 3 fatty acids that are abundant in the nut. In fact, one recent-ish {2007} landmark study found that humans who consumed more omega-3's had increased gray matter brain volume and that most new tissue development was observed in the part of the brain associated with happiness.
  • Oatmeal: This warm, grounding bowl of goodness provides comfort and that soothing feeling that helps overcome stress with its complex carbohydrates. They act as little soldiers in your body signaling your brain to produce the feel good chemical serotonin. These complex carbs are also great at steadying your blood sugar levels to avoid mood swings. Supercharge your oatmeal by using Purely Elizabeth's Ancient Grain Oatmeal {found at Whole Foods} which is full of superfoods like hemp, chia, quinoa and amaranth up-ing the antioxidant and vitamin content of your favorite superbowl of happiness. Try this bowl of carrot cake "z-oatmeal" in the morning.
  • Chocolate: There's evidence that antioxidant rich cacao, in moderation, will surely turn your frown upside down (: Not only does chocolate elevate serotonin levels in the brain, it's also jam-packed with theobromine and anandamide which produces strong feelings of relaxation and contentment. {Treat yourself to ALOHA Superfood Chocolate or Chocolate Daily Greens and save 20% off your entire order with code: PBNJULIE because I love you xo}

Food for Thought: It seems that B Vitamins stand for Vitamin "B Happy". 

  • Vitamin B1 is important for blood sugar control and this has a major impact on anxiety.
  • Vitamin B3 is involved in many enzymatic processes and plays a key role in the production of serotonin.
  • Vitamin B5 is super important for the adrenals and therefore helps with modulating stress.  
  • Vitamin B12 and folic acid are game changers for depression.

Stay tuned for Good Mood Food recipes throughout the week. These comfort food makeovers will provide more love than love handles and you'll feel better long after indulging. Until then, have a beautiful day xo