Happy Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”

–Massieu

Please know how grateful I am for your support the entire year through… you guys are the best!  🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Stressed Out?

It’s that time of year again– as nighttime creeps into the afternoon and it gets darker earlier and earlier, some may view the upcoming season as a stressful one.  So, if the thought of winter encroaching and the sight of holiday decorations festooning at the mall is causing you anxiety, then you’ve come to the right place!  Below you’ll find five of the most effective stress-busting foods that will ease your anxiety in no time and get you back on track to make the most out of the next few months!

1.  Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers get absolutely zero air time… it seems as if oranges and kiwi are always stealing the spotlight in terms of potential health benefits.  Interestingly, oranges only contain half of the amount of Vitamin C that red bell peppers do.  Vitamin C in peppers is powerful in combatting stress in that it steadily decreases cortisol levels.  As this reduction occurs, the body feels less and less uneasy, and more ready to face whatever challenges it is up against (Pevzner).

2.  Nuts

Hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, pistachios– take your pick!  Any and all of these options contain another vital vitamin: Vitamin B, which replaces diminished amounts of this same vitamin inside of the body.  In addition, the potassium in nuts is another thing to smile about, as one of the overall effects of potassium is a reduction in blood pressure (Pevzner).

3.  Salmon

I really wished that I liked salmon.  Like, I REALLY wished that I liked salmon.  The health benefits are boundless, and it contains immense supplies of omega-threes (DHA).  The DHA part is important here, because salmon is one of the only foods accessible to humans that contains DHA rather than ALA.  Therefore, it’s noteworthy to say that the omega-threes found in flax and soy are not as beneficial in their stress-reduction properties than the omega-threes with DHA found in salmon.  These omega-threes are incredible at boosting spirits (Pevzner)!  (So, if you like your salmon any particular way, please let me know as I am willing to try again!)

4.  Spinach

A serving of spinach contains a substantial amount of magnesium.  The reason why this mineral is so critical to maintaining mental health is because magnesium plays a large role in regulating C-reactive level proteins.  Unfortunately, people with an overabundance of C-reactive level proteins can experience mental health issues, as an imbalance in these proteins can result in depression.  So, eat these leafy greens, and remember that spinach tastes very different raw than it does when it has been cooked.  The moral of the story is that if you don’t care for spinach prepared one way, try cooking/preparing it a different way… you  may be surprised by the results (Pevzner)!

5.  Oatmeal

You can’t go wrong with a complex carb.  Not only is this complex carb a comforting and peaceful way to begin your day, it is also wonderful in that it encourages the body to produce serotonin, thereby eliminating stress.  Many people have this notion that the calmest, least stressed out people out there don’t eat any carbs at all, but this is a fallacy.  Refined carbs (anything that’s white not wheat), should be avoided, but complex carbs offer an array of different health benefits (Pevzner).

Let me know what you think of these stress-reducing foods, and also please comment on your favorite go-to stress-combatting food as well!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Pevzner, Holly. “7 Foods for Stress Relief.” Eating Well. n.d. Meredith Corporation. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.<http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/mind_body_spirit/7_foods_for_stress_relief>

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.

-Michel de Montaigne

With abundant gratitude to all veterans… thank you!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Who Knew?!

Official state snacks… yup!  It’s officially a thing!

1.  State Snack of Utah = Jell-O (Lime green Jell-O if you really want to get technical!)

Apparently the citizens of Utah made this favorite snack of theirs the official state snack in 2001. Per person, Utahians eat more jello than any other citizens in the remaining 49 states.  In addition, the Utahians proudly align with the whimsical and playful sentiment that is so often associated with this snack, and connect it to the importance they place on close, yet light-hearted familial bonds and enjoyable recreational time.  Fun fact: Every Wednesday, Utah Senator Mike Lee hosts “Jell-O with the Senator” outings at his work office in Washington, D.C.  All are invited to attend this event each week, savor the Jell-O, and talk politics with Senator Lee (Ziadeh)!

2.  State Snack of Texas = Chips and Salsa

Texans appreciate and remember where they came from, and the importance of their historical and economic roots definitely come through with their state snack collection.  Ingredients such as tomatoes and peppers not only speak to their economic history, but also tie in perfectly with their state snack.  Numerous industrial salsa producers are stationed in Texas, where the salsa is hotter and the chips are bigger 🙂  It’s only in Texas (Ziadeh)…

3.  State Snack of Illinois = Popcorn

Illinois makes on average more popcorn than most of the other American states.  Therefore, it adopted popcorn as its official state snack in 2004.  The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center testifies that in 2007 alone, Illinois produced approximately 160 million pounds of shelled popcorn!  Many of the citizens of Illinois identify strongly with their “popcorn headquarters” so to speak, located in Chicago and named Garrett Popcorn Shop, a store with fantastic popcorn and multiple locations (Ziadeh).

4.  State Snack of South Carolina = Boiled Peanuts

In 2006, this state snack of boiled peanuts became official, however, the history of this snack item travels back hundreds of years.  A staple in South Carolina, farmers’ markets boast boiled peanut stands.  However, if you can’t quite make it to the farmer’s market, no worries– you’ll find boiled peanuts in pretty much any convenience story or grocery chain (Ziadeh).

5.  State Snack of New York = Yogurt

Just a few weeks ago on the 15th of October, New York Governor Andre Cuomo helped promote the state snack of yogurt with a bill proclaiming the necessity of dairy farms for the state’s economy.  More than 740 million pounds of yogurt were produced in New York in 2013, and this number continues to grow exponentially as more time elapses (Ziadeh)!

And that wraps up the five proclamations of state snacks in the USA!  Does your home state have an official snack?  If not, what snack would you suggest your home state adopt if given the opportunity?

Let me know!

Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,

Katie 🙂

Works Cited

Ziadeh, Amanda. “Snacks so good they’re state symbols.” USA Today. 29 Oct. 2014: USA Today. Web. 4 Nov. 2014. <http://experience.usatoday.com/food-and-wine/story/news-festivals-events/food/2014/10/23/official-state-snacks/17781847/>