Autism and Nutrition: Where To Start?

Autism and Nutrition: Where To Start?

Mental Health Gut Article

It can be overwhelming and challenging having a child on the Autism Spectrum. As parents it can be hard to see your child struggle with communication and behaviour challenges, difficulties socially interacting with their peers, and/or the ability to concentrate and focus in school. 

Meal times can be especially stressful if your child is picky and refuses to eat; sometimes limiting their foods to just a couple of different items. Then you go and see a health professional, and they may recommend you remove certain triggers, thereby  restricting their food intake even more…aaarrgh!!

So, where do you start? 

First, let’s backtrack a bit and explore what causes Autism…

What Causes Autism?

Autism is a neurological condition where body chemistry influences brain chemistry. Diet and nutrition are the building blocks that affect this biochemistry. 

There is not one single cause of autism. In fact, there are quite a number of different reasons that your child may present with the symptoms or behaviours that they do. 

Autistic people have a higher likelihood of having problems with detoxification in relation to environmental pollutants; artificial colourings, flavourings, and other additives in foods (which are so common in a North American diet); and/or a decreased ability to detoxify the body of these. This can be due to a compromised immune system from gut inflammation, food allergies and intolerances, invading gut pathogens, microflora imbalances, or digestive issues such as “leaky gut”. This could also be due to oxidative stress, or differences in certain chemical pathways in the body, such as methylation and sulfation. 

The above potential variance in detoxification and metabolism in people with autism are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to innate biochemical differences that may be present. That is one reason why having a key focus on determining which underlying cause or causes (as often it can be more than one) there are for your child’s symptoms and behaviours.

So, where to begin?

Often, the first step is to determine underlying triggers, which may mean having blood work or other laboratory testing completed by a health professional that is specialized in autism.

Laboratory testing done by an autism specialist, such as an experienced Naturopathic Doctor, can provide valuable information including identifying nutrient deficiencies, food allergies and intolerances, gut issues, microbiome imbalances, immune problems and biological differences with certain biochemical pathways. 

As Nutritionists we can then help create strategies for your day-to-day life, in a hands-on way, that assist in the implementation of recommendations made by your Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Practitioner after testing. We have experience collaborating with other specialists to support the overall treatment plan required. Of course, we’re happy to offer our food or nutrient specific expertise as well!

What happens after lab tests have identified underlying issue(s)?

There are many potential options that would be evaluated on an individual basis including:

  • Supplement recommendations, as nutrient deficiencies are common due to several factors including poor diets (from being picky eaters) and imbalanced digestive systems affecting the ability to break down and absorb food. 
  • A specialized diet may be recommended for your child. Making dietary changes can promote systemic healing and help improve mood, learning and behaviour. We recognize that dietary changes in itself come with their own set of challenges.

Autism and Special Diets

Gluten and Dairy Free Diets

There is an abundance of diets that have been shown to help children with Autism. The most common and ideal starting point is going gluten and dairy free, as so many children on the spectrum are often sensitive to the proteins gluten and casein. 

In fact, a AIR Survey of parent ratings on treatment success of implementing a gluten and dairy free diet with kids on the spectrum showed that 55% of children experienced improvements on a casein free diet (based on 6950 children), 55% experienced improvements on a wheat free diet (based on 4340 children), and 69% of children experienced improvements on the combined casein and gluten free diet (based on 3593 children). It was also found that children experienced improvements on a casein free diet within a month, and that it took 1-3 months of elimination to see improvements on a gluten free diet. 

Implementing a gluten and dairy free diet can be challenging. But, working with an experienced Nutritionist to help guide you on your child’s journey through these changes can be very helpful. 

Why are gluten and casein so harmful for children with autism?

As mentioned above many children have problems with gluten and casein due to food sensitivities (IgG, IgM, IgA) or food allergies (IgE). They may lack the DPP-IV enzyme (the enzymes that helps to breakdown gluten and casein in the body) or lack digestive abilities to break down the gluten and casein proteins and absorb them. Unfortunately, these proteins can create an opioid-like response in the brain, similar to a drug addiction. If your child craves breads and dairy it may be part of that opioid-like response, where their addiction is so strong they refuse to eat other food groups, resulting in being a very picky eater. 

Gluten can create gastrointestinal inflammation and damage to the intestines resulting in “leaky gut” (or intestinal permeability, if you want to get fancy). Enzymes are diminished and nutrients are not absorbed properly leading to nutrient deficiencies which will affect mood, behaviour and cognition. This process leads to systemic inflammation, which taxes the immune system, and may result in autoimmune responses. Gluten issues and inflammation can cause depression, anxiety, and ADHD symptoms.

It is important to understand that if you implement a gluten-free, casein-free (GF, CF) diet that a child may experience a worsening of symptoms initially, due to the opioid-like withdrawal effect of removing these foods (proteins) from the diet, before they experience improvement.

Food Addictions & Autism

As mentioned above, one of the reasons why so many autistic people are picky eaters is because of food addiction. When the individual gets a “high” from a problematic food (which has shown to be similar to morphine), it can be so strong that they refuse to eat other foods and food groups. This is one reason why you may notice kids on the spectrum gravitating to food such as cheese and bread, but it could be anything. 

Symptoms and signs of a food addiction include:

  • Addicted and crave certain foods to the point that they can have temper tantrums if they don’t get it
  • High pain tolerance
  • Inattention and spacey behaviour
  • Aggression (to self and others)
  • Stimming
  • Mood changes
  • Poor eye contact
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Anxiety, depression and irritability 

Other Special Autism Diets

Although the GF,CF diet is a great starting point, there are many more diets that have been proven to be effective with improving day-to-day life and the health of kids on the spectrum. Based on laboratory test results you might be asked to explore one of the following diets or a combination of them including: 

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), GAPS Diet, low FODMAP diet, low phenols diet, low oxalate diet, low salicylate diet, ketogenic diet, paleo diet, low carbohydrate diet, candida diet, Failsafe diet, Feingold diet, Body Ecology diet, or a diet to support methylation and sulfation.

Do special diets for autism really work?

It is important to understand the goal of the diet, how to begin, and then progress from there with implementation of the special diet to help ensure the effectiveness of it. And although it might seem intimidating and overwhelming, it can be worth it! 

Based on surveys of parents with children on the spectrum that have implemented a special diet, they have reported the following improvements:

  • Gastrointestinal problems relieved
  • Diarrhea & constipation lessens/resolves
  • Improved language skills and learning
  • Greater focus and attention
  • Reduced hyperactivity
  • Improved eye contact
  • More appropriate behaviour
  • Aggressive behaviour and tantrums improve
  • Better sleeping
  • Easier toilet training
  • Skin rashes or eczema clear up
  • General health & happiness has improved

How to implement a special diet?

We highly recommend being supported by a qualified dietitian or nutritionist with specific experience addressing autism. It is likely they will work together with a Naturopathic Doctor to complete laboratory testing. Having someone to guide the foods to have and avoid in a way that is practical for your family is key. Having someone to turn to for recipes and ideas that are kid friendly, as well as strategies on how to introduce new foods, especially if your child is a picky eater is very important. Having a professional to work with will help take out the guesswork and stress off you to enable a successful outcome for your child. 

Remember you don’t have to do it alone. We know how challenging and overwhelming dietary and lifestyle change can be. But, it’s worth it!

The SuperPowers of the Superfood Jicama

The SuperPowers of the Superfood Jicama

Mental Health Gut Article

What is Jicama?

The Jicama looks similar to a potato. It is a bulbous root vegetable with golden-brown skin and starchy white flesh. Jicama is much healthier and has far fewer carbohydrates than your average potato, however.

The jicama plant grows mainly in Mexico and Central America, but can also be grown in the Philippines and many other regions of Asia. 

The white interior flesh of a jicama is juicy and crunchy, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Some say it tastes like an apple, but not as sweet. Others think of the flavour as a cross between a potato and a pear.

Nutritional Value of Jicama

One cup (130 grams) of jicama contains the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 49
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.1 gram
  • Fiber: 6.4 grams
  • Vitamin C: 44% of the RDI
  • Folate: 4% of the RDI
  • Iron: 4% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 4% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 4% of the RDI

Jicama is gaining popularity within western cultures, and there’s good reason for that! 

Below we share  8 health and nutrition benefits of jicama:

1. Jicama Promotes Good Digestion

One cup (130 grams) of jicama contains 6.4 grams of fiber, which can help you meet your daily fiber needs (1). This is the equivalent of 17% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) for fiber for men and 23% of the RDI for women. Dietary fiber helps increase the bulk of stool, allowing food and waste to move more efficiently through your digestive tract (2).

Moreover, icama contains a specific type of fiber called inulin. Studies show that inulin can increase the frequency of bowel movements by up to 31% in those with constipation (3).

2. Jicama Supports Healthy Gut Bacteria

As noted above, jicama is a dense source of a soluble fiber. When this soluble fiber is consumed, it results in something known as a “stagnant carbohydrate”. In the case of jicama, this “stagnant carbohydrate” is the oligofructose inulin that was mentioned above. What’s unique about “stagnant carbohydrates” is that they are not broken down to  sugar while passing through the human digestive system.. These carbohydrates are then able to ferment in the lower digestive system, feeding good bacteria such as bifidobacteria, and aiding in the growth of their probiotic colonies. Over 75 percent of our immune system in the gut. So, by helping  promote healthy gut bacteria growth, and balancing the flora in the digestive system, jicama can support overall health and immunity function.

3. Jicama Can Help Balance Blood Pressure

Jicama contains potassium, a mineral known as a vasodilator, which lowers the pressure in the circulatory system. The high potassium levels in jicama act as an electrolyte promoting hydration and fluid/sodium balance, which in turn may help keep blood pressure at a healthy level.

4. Jicama Is Loaded With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are vital to combat free radical damage within the body. In short, free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons that bounce around the body and can “steal” electrons from cells, resulting in molecular damage. Free radical damage is implicated in a variety of diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cognitive decline. 

One cup of jicama provides 40%  of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of the antioxidant vitamin C. It also contains the antioxidants vitamin E, selenium and beta-carotene (2). 

5. Jicama Is Rich In Water

Jicama is 85% water. Foods with a high water content can help you meet your daily fluid needs (4). Because jicama is also dense in minerals, which act as electrolytes, it further promotes hydration and fluid balance in the body. Similar to watermelon or cucumber, you can use it to help you stay hydrated, especially when it’s hot outside. 

6. Jicama May Promote Blood Sugar Balance

Jicama is an ideal food for people with diabetes because it does not break down into simple sugars during digestion. If you have diabetes or blood sugar problems, jicama is a safe snack or side dish. So although jicama may have all of the comforting starchy flavour and feel of a potato, and it does contain carbohydrates; unlike potatoes the carbohydrates in jicama have a low glycemic load, which means the carbohydrates don’t affect your blood sugar very much. (5,6)

7. Jicama and Weight Loss

As explained above, this root vegetable is low in calories and high in fiber and water, making it a weight loss-friendly food. Jicama has been found to help regulate metabolic processes, and promote the balance  of hormones.

Unlike many other root veggies, jicama is also keto-friendly! It’s also a natural source of nitrates, which have been shown to amp up your body’s natural ability to burn fat faster. (7) 

8. Jicama Can Strengthen Bones

The inulin produced during the digestion of jicama allows the body to absorb minerals more efficiently. Oligofructose inulin keeps bones healthy by slowing the rate at which you lose bone density while enabling the absorption of calcium and other minerals. Calcium is one of the more difficult-to-absorb minerals, so help boost your absorption by including jicama in your meals or snacks a couple times during the week! 

Jicama Risks

Jicama is a delicious, inexpensive, low calorie, and low-fat food that is high in fiber, water, and minerals.  BUT only the white flesh of the root vegetable is safe to eat. Jicama’s skin, stem, leaves, and seeds are poisonous.

How To Eat Jicama

Traditionally, jicama is eaten raw in slices with salt, lemon or lime juice, and chilli powder sprinkled on top. 

You can also:

  • Pickle jicama
  • Grate it into a slaw with cabbage, carrots, apple and/or onion
  • Use it in place of (or along with) carrots as a crunchy salad topping 
  • Serve it on veggie platters slices like cucumber or celery
  • Add it to stews, soups, or stir-fries
  • Boil and mash it like potatoes
  • Cut into thin strips, coat with oil, and bake or fry it

 

References:

1 https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2727/2#ixzz377hOonGG

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544045/

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25208775/

4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21737769/

5 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26175995/

6 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26798198/

7 https://www.firstforwomen.com/posts/diet/how-to-increase-nitric-oxide-weight-loss-165737

Comparing Current Common Diets

Comparing Current Common Diets

Mental Health Gut Article

There are so many diets out there, that it can be completely overwhelming. You can’t turn on the TV, listen to the radio, or use social media without being subjected to advertising or discussions about the latest diet craze. It is hard to know where to start, and what the right diet is for you.

So, we are here to provide some guidance and insight to some of the current common diets. The 4 diets we are exploring today:

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. Vegetarian
  3. “Flexitarian” Diet
  4. “Paleo”

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most researched diets in the world, as it has been around for centuries. In short, the Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditional foods eaten in Mediterranean regions such as Italy and Greece. The Mediterranean diet is considered to be the “best overall diet” by US News & World Report and many others in the nutrition and health world. Plus, the Mediterranean Diet is known to be beneficial for heart health and diabetes, plus it’s super easy to follow!

What Is The Mediterranean Diet

A traditional Mediterranean Diet is rich in plant-based foods including fruits,

vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and moderate amounts of red wine (yes, wine!); as well as plenty of good quality fats, with the main dietary fat being extra virgin olive oil; as well as fish, poultry, fresh dairy, and eggs. Red meat is used sparingly, and on a traditional Mediterranean Diet there is avoidance of added sugars, refined grains and oils, and other highly processed foods.

The Mediterranean Diet is flexible, simple to follow, and delicious! Plus, individuals typically feel satisfied and satiated thanks to the high-fibre content of the various plant-foods and goods fats being consumed.

Pros

  • Nutritionally sound/well researched
  • Diverse foods and flavours
  • Promotes heart health
  • Better diabetes prevention and management
  • Mental health benefits
  • Weight management
  • Reduced inflammatory markers
  • Cancer prevention
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Some foods are costly
  • Additional guidance may be necessary for certain conditions
  • Some dietary restrictions may be challenging
  • Concerns with it including alcohol intake
  • May fall short on some nutrients
  • No specific guidelines to follow
  • Can be time consuming

Specific Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

As a result of the high fibre intake from whole foods, and the avoidance of refined sugars and grains, the Mediterranean Diet can help prevent blood sugar fluctuations and may improve cholesterol levels (1).

The Mediterranean Diet can also positively affect physical and mental well-being. It is associated with decreased risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (2,3,4,5).

Multiple studies have determined that the Mediterranean Diet can assist with weight loss, help prevent heart attacks and strokes, reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, and decreases premature death (6). One long term study showed that the risk of combined heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease was 31% lower and appeared to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 52% (6).

What We Think?

The societal movement back to more traditional diets is a positive dietary trend. The Mediterranean Diet offers loose guidelines for overall healthy eating that the average person consuming a standard Western diet would benefit from, especially if care is given to moderate alcohol intake.

Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarian Diets have been followed for centuries, maybe millennia, in regions the world over – from Israel to India. In modern day, it’s a common misconception vegetarians are generally healthy, but this sometimes is not the case. A healthy vegetarian will focus on whole foods, but nowadays there are many vegetarians that will fill up on refined grains and sugars, which in combination with the avoidance of meat and seafood, puts individuals at high risk of nutrient deficiencies.

What Is A Vegetarian Diet?

While following a Vegetarian Diet, individuals avoid meat products. However, there are several versions of vegetarian diets:

  • lacto-ovo vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy products
  • lacto vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs
  • ovo vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products

Ideally focussed on whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fresh dairy, eggs, legumes, lentils and whole grains. Vegetarians need to take special care to ensure they are consuming adequate vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns of the risk of vitamin B12 deficiencies in vegetarians.

Pros

  • Possible reduced risk of disease
  • May boost longevity
  • May increase food variety
  • Improved weight control compared to a standard Western diet
  • Reduced food costs
  • Less environmental impact
  • Ethical treatment of animals

Cons

  • Possible nutrient deficiencies
  • Fewer food choices
  • Reduced satiety
  • Less convenient
  • Not always healthy
  • Difficult if eating out or dining at others homes

Specific Health Benefits of the Vegetarian Diet

There is ample research on the vegetarian diet. In a large cohort study evaluating vegetarian diets, researchers found that the group experienced a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, cardio-metabolic risk factors, and some cancers (7).

Vegetarians may be up to one-third less likely to die or be hospitalized for heart disease (8) and had half the risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with non-vegetarians (9).

Osteoporosis rates are also lower in countries where people eat mostly vegetarian diets (10).

Several studies have shown that people who follow a plant-based diet may lose more weight than those who do not (11). A review of studies including over 1,100 participants determined those consuming a vegetarian diet for 18 weeks lost 4.5 pounds (2 kg) more than participants who weren’t (12). However, there are many other diets that provide even more effective weight loss and weight management, so vegetarianism may not be the optimal weight loss diet.

What We Think?

Vegetarianism, done well, can be a therapeutic diet for those addressing cardiovascular conditions or some forms of cancer. Additionally, for individuals particularly concerned with their environmental impact and/or the ethical treatment of animals, the vegetarian diet addresses many of those concerns without the elevated risk of nutritional deficiencies associated with a vegan diet (where eggs and dairy products are avoided in addition to meat and seafood).

The “Flexitarian” Diet

The diet was developed by nutritionist Dawn Jackson Blatner. She believes that eating a vegetarian diet is healthiest, but recognizes that giving up meat isn’t something everyone is willing to do. Plus, it enables individuals to get some of those key nutrients found in meat such as B12 and iron. She designed a balance that keeps meat in the diet but consumed at a reduced amount and consists of healthy foods to help lose and maintain a healthy weight.

What Is The “Flexitarian” Diet?

The Flexitarian Diet is a meal plan focuses on a vegetarian based diet with consumption of some meat and fish on occasion. Flexitarians limit processed foods and eat more whole foods.

Pros

  • Emphasizes nutritious foods
  • Easy to accommodate personal preferences or needs
  • Budget-friendly and sustainable
  • Supports weight loss
  • May reduce risk of diabetes

Cons

  • May be difficult for daily meat-eaters to follow
  • Potentially low iron intake
  • Additional guidance may be necessary for those with diabetes

Specific Health Benefits of the “Flexitarian” Diet

Since “Flexitarian” diets are relatively new, there limited evidence addressing it specifically, but it is expected to offer many of the same benefits as a vegetarian diet while offsetting some of the negatives with adhering strictly to vegetarianism or veganism.

What We Think?

There are no specific rules to follow on a “Flexitarian” Diet, making it an appealing option for many individuals and allowing the space to tap in to what your body is feeling day-to-day or week-to-week and adjusting accordingly. A “Flexitarian” Diet can easily be tailored to suit your own nutritional needs and health goals, which we love.

“Paleo”

The “Paleo” Diet also referred to as the Paleolithic Diet, Stone Age diet, hunter-gatherer diet and caveman diet has become increasingly popular over the past decade. It is based on eating the way our early ancestors did.

What is the Paleo Diet?

The basic Paleo Diet consists of whole foods including: animals (meat, fish, reptiles, insects, etc.) with a focus on “nose to tail” eating consuming almost all parts of the animals, including organs, bone marrow, and cartilage; animal products such as eggs or honey; vegetables and fruits; and nuts and seeds that can be eaten raw. While following the Paleo Diet foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago are avoided including: dairy products, legumes, grains and, of course, processed foods.

 Specific Health Benefits of the Paleo Diet

There are many health benefits to following a Paleo Diet. In 2017, when researchers compared people whose diets most closely matched the attributes of a Paleo Diet to those whose diets least matched, they found a lower risk of all cause mortality, cancer  mortality, and cardiovascular disease mortality in those that followed the Paleo Diet (13).

Research has shown that participants that followed the diet had improved body composition. One study, in which participants followed the diet for just 3 weeks lost an average of 5lbs per person, as well as experiencing slight reductions in their waist circumference and systolic blood pressure (14).

There is emerging research on possible benefits for patients with MS, and other autoimmune conditions.

Pros

  • Rich in nutrient-dense foods
  • Helps some people lose weight
  • May promote heart health
  • Linked to longevity
  • Avoids many common food allergens/triggers

Cons

  • Eliminates entire food groups
  • Unclear impact on gut health
  • Small risk of iodine deficiency
  • Costly and time-intensive
  • Difficult to follow long term

In Summary

Bottom line, everyone’s biochemistry is different. The ideal diet for one person might not necessary be the best approach for the next. It really is true that there is no one diet out there that fits everyone.

Your health goals are, what disease or health conditions that you are struggling with, along with your individual genetics and biochemistry – all must be considered together to determine what dietary strategy is best for you.

We would love to help you on your health journey by creating an effective dietary plan that fits for your goals and lifestyle! To find out what is the best approach for you, please reach out to us at Koru Nutrition or book with us today!

 

References

1.Mediterranean diet adherence is related to reduced probability of prodromal Parkinson’s disease (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

2. Mediterranean diet: A heart-healthy eating plan (2019, mayoclinic.org)

3. Role of Mediterranean diet on the prevention of Alzheimer disease (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)

4. The Mediterranean Diet and Cardiovascular Health (2019, ahajournals.org)

5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-the-mediterranean-diet

6. Le, L., Sabaté, J. (2014). Beyond Meatless, the Health Effects of Vegan Diets: Findings from the Adventist Cohorts. Nutrients, 6(6), 2131–2147. doi:10.3390/nu6062131

7. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/97/3/597/4571519

8. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes

9. https://www.pcrm.org/veganstarterkit

10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/maintain-weight-loss#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26138004/

12. Whalen KA, Judd S, McCullough ML, Flanders WD, Hartman TJ, Bostick RM. Paleolithic and Mediterranean Diet Pattern Scores Are Inversely Associated with All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in Adults. J Nutr. 2017;147(4):612–620. doi:10.3945/jn.116.241919

13. Osterdahl M, et al. Effects of a short-term intervention with a paleolithic diet in healthy volunteers. Trusted Source European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008.

 

Green Tea Banana Ice Cream

Green Tea Banana Ice Cream

Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

Have you been searching for a sweet treat you can enjoy without any guilt? Hear your sweet tooth calling but don’t want to derail your nutrition and health goals?

This Green Tea Banana Ice Cream comes to the rescue! With only two ingredients, and in less than five minutes in the kitchen, this creamy dessert can be in your bowl.

Did you know bananas are a good source of potassium? An imbalance of potassium can cause many different symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, and mood changes such as anxiety. Low levels of potassium can increase mental fatigue and reduce your body’s ability to handle stress.

Green tea is known for it’s antioxidant effect, but it is also a great source of amino acid theanine. According to the research, theanine can increase feelings of relaxation and calm. One study found that participants who drank green tea showed “improvements in mood, cognition and a reduction of stress and anxiety-like symptoms”.

If you are like most folks and have a bunch of frozen bananas in the freezer for that banana bread you’ve been meaning to make, try this instead! It’s way fewer dishes too!

 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31758301/

 

Green Tea Banana Ice Cream

This Green Tea Banana Ice Cream comes to the rescue! With only two ingredients, and in less than five minutes in the kitchen, this creamy dessert can be in your bowl.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 2 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Banana sliced and frozen
  • tsps Green Tea Powder

Instructions
 

  • Add frozen bananas and green tea powder to food processor and blend. Occasionally scrape down the sides and continue to blend until smooth (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).
  • Scoop into a bowl and enjoy immediately as soft serve or for firmer ice cream, place in an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 1 hour before scooping.

Notes

Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
 
Calories - 105
Sugar - 14g
Fiber - 3g
Carbs - 27g
Fat - 0g
Protein - 1g
 
Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bake

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bake

Smoked Salmon Avocado Toast

We’ve all fallen prey to boxed dinners in our lives as a result of the convenience. But, what if we could keep the convenience and boost the nutrition and help us to feel satisfied, and energized?

This recipe is ideal for convenience and low stress because it is a one-pan dish for easy prep and easy clean-up. You can feel good about this comfort food choice instead of dreading lots of work in the kitchen or a giant mess afterwards. This ease means you’ll enjoy the meal even more! Try it yourself tonight!

Beans are a powerhouse food when it comes to satiety. Beans are loaded with soluble fibre that helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Beans are also a good source the B-vitamin, folate. Folate is the natural form of Vitamin B9, while folic acid is the man-made form of B9 that we use to fortify foods. There is solid link between folate or folic acid and mood. One such paper states that “The incidence of folic acid deficiency is high in patients with various psychological disorders including depression, dementia and schizophrenia.”[1]

 Sweet potatoes are complex-carb rock stars here. They are high in beta-carotene, which is what gives them their beautiful orange colour. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps to protect the cells of the body, including the brain, and our DNA from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be used as a biomarker for many psychological disorders, including depression and anxiety. So, sweet potatoes are not just feeding our bellies, but our brains too!

 

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2682787/

Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bake

This recipe is ideal for convenience and low stress because it is a one-pan dish for easy prep and easy clean-up. You can feel good about this comfort food choice instead of dreading lots of work in the kitchen or a giant mess afterwards. This ease means you’ll enjoy the meal even more! Try it yourself tonight!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Sweet Potato small, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups Black Beans cooked, from the can
  • 1 cup Quinoa dry, uncooked
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped
  • 3 stalks Green Onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin ground
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 Avacado diced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • In a large baking dish, add the sweet potatoes, black beans, quinoa, pepper, onion, chili powder, cumin, garlic and sea salt. Stir well to combine and then add the broth.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the broth has absorbed completely, the quinoa is fluffy and the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven.
  • Let the quinoa bake sit for 5 minutes before dividing between plates. Top each plate with lime juice and avocado. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition Per 1 Serving:
 
Calories - 311
Sugar - 5g
Fiber - 12g
Carbs - 52g
Fat - 8g
Protein - 12g