Stress is a normal response to change, so why does it cause so many problems?
This question has many answers. One factor has to do with the broad range of manifestations that stress can take on the body including “physical, mental, and emotional responses.” On top of that, it’s not just negative circumstances that can cause a stress response, but also positive “life changes such as a promotion, a mortgage, or the birth of a child.” No matter how you experience stress, the severity of the health ramifications depends on the consistency. When there’s no relief, “stress-related tension builds” and “this response can become chronically activated … [causing] wear and tear on the body — both physical and emotional.”
Luckily, plant-based foods can help alleviate stressful symptoms by balancing moods and balancing the body at the same time! Here are 15 recipes from the Food Monster App that may help you relax and destress:
Source: Raw Coconut Brazil Nut Truffles
These selenium-rich Raw Coconut Brazil Nut Truffles by Teffy Perk are a delicious treat. Along with inflammation-reducing selenium, these truffles also have antioxidant and adaptogenic raw cacao powder.
Source: Spinach Blender Pancakes
Spinach is a plant-based source of vitamin B which “gives you energy while also playing important roles in enzyme production.” Had a stressful day? Whip up these one-of-a-kind Spinach Blender Pancakes by Kristina Jug and Mitja Bezensek for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to get a whole dose of stress-reducing, body lifting vitamin B!
Awakening your body and mind with this warm and welcoming Banana Split Oatmeal with Roasted Almonds by Natalie Yonan will not only empower and energize you, but it’s also a great way to manage stress and stay calm throughout the day. Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that helps the production of serotonin — “a brain chemical that helps the body relax” — and is also “rich in Vitamin B6 – a known anti-stress vitamin and melatonin, a hormone that supports a healthful relaxation and sleep.”
Never heard of a bircher? This Quinoa and Spiced Blueberry Bircher by Tiana Haines is an excellent recipe to begin with. Classic bircher recipes focus on dairy-soaked overnight oaks — think yogurt, milk, or cream — yet Haines has recreated this traditional delight especially for vegans with creamy coconut milk, bulk-boosting quinoa, and a healthy dose of stress-reducing blueberries!
Pistachios are oftentimes thought of as the dessert nut and for good reason! These nutrient-rich morsels are decadent, salty, and filling making them perfect for vegan sweet and savory treats like this 4-Ingredient Pistachio Nice Cream by Aryane Heroux-Blais. Plus, pistachios are high in healthy fat, fiber, and antioxidants, which “keep blood vessels open and relaxed during stressful moments.” Whip this incredibly simple non-dairy, banana sweetened, and pistachio enriched ice cream up as a delightful treat to destress from the day!
Source: Pumpkin Pomegranate Cheesecake
Ever wonder how to squash that stress and relax in the face of a dinner party? Create a meal of delicious relaxing foods, such as this Pumpkin Pomegranate Cheesecake by Amanda Smith. This frozen dessert is the perfect quick creation for your group of friends, plus its chock full of potassium-rich pumpkin seeds, known to manage blood pressure and “reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.”
Source: Grilled Bean and Avocado Burrito
Start, highlight, or end your day with this calm-inducing Grilled Bean and Avocado Burrito by Melanie Sorrentino. With only 5 ingredients and 3 steps, this burrito is perfect for a quick, healthy, and filling breakfast or lunch. Plus, it’ll keep you calm and collected throughout the day with a healthy dose of avocado, which is shown to “shut down stress-eating by filling your belly and making you feel more satisfied.”
Source: Macadamia Cashew Butter
Pistachios aren’t the only nut to steal the sweet and savory and stress-reducing vegan scene! Cashews have 11 percent of the recommended daily zinc — “an essential mineral that may help reduce anxiety” — and they also happen to be an excellent ingredient for healthy fat-filled nut butter such as this Macadamia Cashew Butter by Nikki Zuzana. This slightly sweet nut butter is great to add to smoothies, oatmeal, spread onto your favorite toast, or consumed as a raw snack straight out of the jar!
Source: Olive Oil and Orange Cookies
Extra virgin olive oil is high in healthy fats and antioxidants making it a wonderful plant-based food for your body, your mind, and your kitchen! Get creative and find your inner peace with these anxiety-reducing Olive Oil and Orange Cookies by Angelina Papanikolaou. Bring them to work as your healthy donut alternative that still offers a bit of sweetness and a satisfying crunch!
Source: Raw Fermented Coconut Yogurt
It’s all about those gut-boosting, probiotic fermented food products these days and one of the best sources is yogurt! This Raw Fermented Coconut Yogurt by Nikki and Zuzanna calls for a healthy four to five capsule dose of vegan probiotic capsules aiming to improve gut bacteria, which may be a contributing factor to your stress levels.
If coconut or yogurt isn’t your jam, try getting that same stress-reducing, gut-enriching benefit from this Sauerkraut Salad with Apples and Walnuts by Bianca the Green Creator. Bianca brings together an intermingling of flavors — bitter sauerkraut and sweet apples, earthy cumin, and tangy mustard — with a contrast of textures. Eat it raw, mix it with your favorite green leafy veggies, fill out a sandwich, or use it as a side to a larger meal!
Speaking of green leafy veggies, these are the destressing champions! This Black-Eyed Pea and Collard Green Soup by Rachel Hanawalt is infused with folate-rich collard greens. Folate has been shown to produce dopamine “a pleasure-inducing brain chemical,” which reduces stress by promoting tranquility and calm.
Source: Peach and Chamomile Ice Pops
Thought you could only use chamomile in tea? Think again! This incredibly creative and inspiringly easy Peach and Chamomile Ice Pops by Azucena Noriega incorporates one of the most widely-used destressing agents, chamomile, into one of the most classic dessert treats, popsicles. A splash of chamomile syrup used to simmer a small batch of sweet peaches will help infuse this treat with calm, making it a wonderful mid-day, relaxing snack!
Source: Blackberry Lavender Ice Cream
Next to chamomile, lavender is one of the most trusted agents for aid in relaxation, reduce anxiety, and alleviate stress. To make this peaceful reprieve one step most blissful, Melissa Haithcock has created a Blackberry Lavender Ice Cream that calms your insides while packing a flavorful punch to your taste buds with rich coconut milk, zesty lemon and blueberries, mellow lavender, and a dash of enriching vanilla!
Source: Turmeric Leek Risotto
Turmeric is one of the leading natural anti-inflammatory plant-based foods. It’s those powerful antioxidants, such as curcumin, that we should thank, which “scavenge free radicals that create inflammation.” Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce bodily stress and make you feel more centered, calm, and ready to take on each day! Is your fridge rather empty, yet you want a hearty, healthy meal? This Turmeric Leek Risotto by Kristina Jug and Mitja Bezensek requires only a few staple items — garlic, carrots, onions, leeks, a few spices, and your favorite vegetable stock — a free hour for cooking and your set.
Trying to incorporate more calming foods into your diet? We highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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