When we think of the components of a weight loss program, we most think of diet and exercise right? And those two things are very important. Changing your diet and increasing physical activity can help you have more energy, can improve your skin, can help you lose weight and can improve your health. But there is another factor to consider, a factor that is equally as important, that is stress management.
When you become stressed, your brain shifts into a reward seeking state, so when you become stressed, you will crave whatever your brain perceives as a reward and are convinced that is the only way that you will feel better. A lot of time, these rewards are in the form of sweets or some other more harmful behavior.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of stress include headache, muscle tension, chest pain, stomach upset and sleeplessness. Stress can also impact your mood, causing irritability, anger, frustration or sadness. It’s important to know when you are stressed and how it manifests itself in your body. For me, I feel stress in the form of stomach cramps and shoulder and neck tension. I know when I start feeling those symptoms, it is time for me to take a step back from any situation and practice some stress relieving strategies.
Some of my favorite stress relieving strategies include reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk and listening to music. I also help prevent stress by keeping a notebook by my bed at night, when I have a thought that threatens to keep me awake, I will write it down so it is out of my head and onto paper. I can sleep soundly and deal with it in the morning.
Some other stress relieving strategies include:
- Diaphragmatic breathing- breathing in and out without moving your chest, breathing in from your diaphragm
- Investing time in a creative hobby
- Spending time with family and friends (unless they are the ones causing your stress)
There are some foods that can actually help with stress relief as well. Here are some foods to snack on when you are feeling stressed:
1. Nuts- stress decreases your B vitamins, so eating a handful of nuts can replenish those vitamins, giving you a boost of positive energy.
2. Red peppers- red peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C than an orange. Vitamin C will help boost your immune response and aid in coping with stress.
3. Spinach- spinach is high in magnesium which helps regulate cortisol and blood pressure.
4. Oatmeal- helps with the release of serotonin, which aids in de-stressing.
5. Dark Chocolate- helps with lowering cortisol and the fight or flight hormones.
6. Drink Tea- those who drink tea tend to de-stress faster than those who don’t.
So, at the first sign of stress, sit back, relax, drink a cup of tea and have a piece of dark chocolate!
Whether you’ve fully adopted a plant-based diet or are simply dipping your toes in the water, there’s no doubt that wholesome food is at the center of one’s wellbeing.
Here we’ve rounded up five of our favorite cookbooks that are chock full of nourishing recipes and nutrition tips that are sure to assist in your healthy eating goals:
1. Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook
If you watched the Forks Over Knives documentary (read more about it here , along with the rest of our top documentary picks), you know what FOK is all about – the concept that degenerative diseases afflicting so much of the U.S. today can be controlled and even reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods. This cookbook features 300+ plant-based recipes which place fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes in the lime light.
2. The China Study Cookbook: Over 120 Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes
This cookbook came to fruition thanks to The China Study; a book touting one of the most comprehensive nutrition studies ever conducted which reveals that a plant-based diet leads to optimal health and can halt or even reverse many diseases. The China Study Cookbook shares 120+ plant-based, nutrient-dense recipes that promote optimal health.
3. The PlantPure Nation Cookbook: The Official Companion Cookbook to the Breakthrough Film
PlantPure Nation, yet another noteworthy documentary created by the same producers as Forks Over Knives, provides this trusty companion cookbook boasting 150+ plant-centric recipes. It’s also filled with tips, tricks, and grocery lists for people interested in a whole food, plant-based diet.
4. Plant-Powered Families: Over 100 Kid-Tested, Whole-Foods Vegan Recipes
Inspire healthful, plant-based eating among the whole family with this must-have cookbook from Dreena Burton. From delicious school lunches to appetizing on-the-go snacks, this book supplies more than 100 kid-tested and approved recipes and serves as an excellent reference for parents raising young ones on a whole food, vegan diet.
5. Crazy Sexy Kitchen
Don’t let the risqué title of this one deter you. Author and cancer survivor Kris Carr attributes her triumph over cancer to her lifestyle changes, most especially her diet. After embracing a diet made up of whole, plant-based foods, she soon discovered the transformative power of nutrition and felt better than she ever had. This cookbook offers 150+ recipes that includes everything from fresh-pressed juices to delectable desserts.
Also recommended: Oh She Glows, Minimalist Baker, But I Could Never Go Vegan
What are some of your favorite cookbooks? Share on our Facebook page !