Dr. Shannon Vander Doelen, ND
“You are what you eat” is how the saying goes – and while it may not be true in the literal sense, it should come as no surprise that what we eat can influence how we feel. In fact, our food choices can contribute to how stressed and anxious or how calm and relaxed we feel. This is largely related to our blood sugar levels. When we eat foods that are carbohydrate rich, processed, or lacking in protein or fibre, our blood sugar levels spike and then drop quickly, resulting in hypoglycaemia – a state that causes us to feel tired, irritable, shaky, and hungry (Hanger anyone?) In honour of #Relaxation Month at IHI, I wanted to share with you a smoothie recipe that is chalked full of ingredients that will help you to drink that stress away (in a good way!) It makes an awesome breakfast or snack since it’s rich in protein, fibre and healthy fats to help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Recipe (Makes 1 large smoothie)
¼ cup frozen blueberries
¼ cup frozen mango
2 handfuls spinach
¼ cup steel cut oats
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop brown rice protein powder
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup water
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth! Add more liquid or ice as needed to get your desired consistency. Relax, and enjoy!
How These Foods Calm You Down
Blueberries – contain fibre to balance blood sugar levels, contain vitamin C and the B vitamins to help reduce the impact of the stress hormone, cortisol, or our body and mind.
Mango – rich in vitamins C and B6, important for stress reduction and increased energy.
Spinach – contains fibre to balance blood sugar levels, rich in magnesium to promote a feeling of calm and help with muscle tension, contains B vitamins to help support adrenal gland function (the glands that release cortisol).
Avocado – contain fibre and monounsaturated fats to balance blood sugar levels, rich in folic acid and pantothenic acid (vitamins B9 and B5) that are important for cortisol regulation by the adrenal glands.
Oats – rich in fibre that stabilize blood sugar levels, B vitamins required for production of calming brain chemicals, and magnesium which helps promote physical and mental relaxation.
Yogurt – contains the good bacteria called probiotics, which have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression by balancing chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
Brown Rice – rich in tryptophan, the amino acid that increases serotonin and melatonin in the body resulting in a feeling of well-being and more restful sleep.
Almonds – rich in B vitamins and magnesium, which are two nutrients that are vital to our bodies ability to cope with stress.
Shannon will work with you to help you live your healthiest and happiest life. Since this means something different to everyone, she is excited about exploring your individual needs and working with you to create a treatment plan that is unique and sustainable for you and your busy lifestyle. Shannon is passionate about health and happiness and believes that the two go hand-in-hand.
Clinically, Shannon practices functional medicine. She maintains a general family practice, with a special interest in managing fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression; digestive health; skin health; irregular or painful menstruation; and endocrine/hormonal disorders.