We could all use a few mood boosters during these times. For some, that’s adopting Facetime as the new way to stay connected, and for others, it’s spending time outdoors or binge watching Netflix.
There’s another accessible way we can implement to boost our mood on a daily basis: Food.
There’s never been a better time to start thinking about how to improve your mental and physical health. With the uncertainty that this pandemic has brought upon us, many of us are turning to natural and plant based foods to improve our immune system (and mental health!).
One thing to be said about a plant-based diet is that it doesn’t have to be restrictive. For instance, you can eat plant-based 30% of the time and still see huge gains in energy, quality of sleep, and of course, mood!
Here are five easy recipes to get you started:
Superfood Blueberry Muffins
These muffins are made with blueberries which are associated with a more positive mood due to the high amount of antioxidants called flavonoids. Research suggests that blueberries can also lower the risk of developing depression. In addition, blueberries are high in potassium and Vitamin C. They are also anti-inflammatory and can help lower the risk of Heart Disease and Cancer.
- 1 cup almond milk or any non-dairy milk substitute
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup apple sauce (you can sub this with coconut yogurt)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
In a bowl, mix all ingredients in any order. Don’t over mix. Add batter to muffin liners and garnish with more blueberries and brown sugar. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until edges appear golden. Store in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 2 months.
No-Bake Cashew Kiwi Mini Cheesecakes
These tangy mini cheesecakes are super easy to make and are packed with mood-boosting ingredients like cashews. Cashews are a great source of B6, magnesium, niacin, and even tryptophan. B6 helps convert the tryptophan into serotonin (a.k.a. The happy chemical).
- 1 ½ cup of raw cashews
- ½ cup almond milk
- 3 cups of pretzels
- 1 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 tsp. agave or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- Kiwi Slices For Garnish
- A rounded silicon mold
To make the cookie base, add the pretzels and dates into the blender and process until a compact mixture is formed. You should still be able to see some dates and pretzel pieces. Press the dough to the bottom of each mold. Let it sit in the fridge.
For the cheesecake filling, add the cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla and agave into the blender and process until a cream is formed. There should be no chunks. If so, just add more almond milk. Add around 1 tbsp. of the mixture to each mold. Let it sit on the fridge for 1 hour and garnish with kiwi slices.
Maple Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are known to be mood boosters due to their high level of antioxidants such as beta-carotene. This component helps reduce free radical damage to brain cells and oxidative stress which can protect against anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.
- 3 small sweet potatoes
- 1 ½ tbsp. sesame seed oil
- 1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a pan. Peel and wash the sweet potatoes. Cut into small squares. Let sit.
Combine the sesame seed oil, agave and salt and pepper. Marinade the sweet potatoes for about 3 minutes in this mixture. Add the sesame seeds and mix.
Place sweet potatoes into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes. Turn over potatoes and bake for another 20 minutes.
Chocolate Berry Power Smoothie
This antioxidant smoothie is packed with veggies, protein and vitamins but tastes like chocolate covered berries. Chocolate not only tastes heavenly. It also helps us feel good by helping in the release of multiple peptides in the brain and gut.
- 2 scoops of chocolate plant-based protein or any plant based protein.
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup berries
- 2 tbsp. cacao powder
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 tbsp. chia seeds
- ⅓ cup ice
- Cacao nibs (no sugar)
Combine all ingredients into a blender and process. Garnish with cocoa nibs.
Coconut Almond Raspberry Nicecream
You only need 5 ingredients to make this mood-boosting nicecream. Made with natural coconut which is proven to boost energy and combat fatigue.
- 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk (refrigerated)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- 2 tbsp. almond butter
- Freeze dried raspberries for garnish
- A coconut cut in half to use as a bowl
Mix the coconut milk, vanilla and maple syrup. Don’t over mix. Drizzle in the raspberries and almond butter. Garnish with dried raspberries. Store in the freezer. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Next time you’re feeling down, give these recipes a shot. For more mood-boosting and healthy recipes follow Lucia Sastre on Instagram @luciasastrewellness. You can also book your free 30-minute health consultation by calling (954) 980-6146.
Learn more about Lucia:
My name is Lucia Sastre and my mission is to help as many people as I can live happier lives by improving their physical, emotional and spiritual health. I have over 7 years of coaching experience in the areas of nutrition, mindfulness and emotional counseling. I’m a certified Integrative Wellness Coach by the International Wellness Association as well as a Mindfulness Instructor with a focus on meditation and breathwork. In my career, I’ve worked with clients suffering from auto-immune disorders, mental imbalances and a varied array of physical problems. All of which obtained outcomes that helped them live happy and normal lives. I currently own my own wellness and emotional coaching practice. You can follow me on Instagram at @luciasastrewellness
I’ve been featured on several magazines and have partnered up with countless national and global brands advocating the benefits of a plant-based diet. I’ve also moderated multiple interviews and Q&As on workplace wellness for brands like Intuit, Aetna, Johnson & Johnson while working at Wellness Coach by meditation.live.
I’m originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but spent most of my life living in the United States, Mexico and South America. When I’m not working with clients, I’m a freelance photographer, avid marketer and tennis player. I’m planning on publishing my first book in 2021 called Evolved which celebrates a plant-based lifestyle.