Feeling Stressed? We’re Here to Help!

Today’s society is fast-paced: We go, go, go! It’s exhausting, and it can seem impossible to juggle work, home life, and everyday stressors. Stress can impact every aspect of our lives and be detrimental to our health, so it’s important to find ways to alleviate it — like exercise, meditation, getting 8 hours of sleep, and eating “smart.” Exercise is the best form of stress relief because it causes the brain to release more endorphins, which cause you to feel happier and more relaxed. If you prefer something more mellow, try meditation or yoga; they allow the body and mind to experience deep relaxation.

Foods that can help relieve stress:

  • Avocado: Packed with potassium, avocados help regulate blood pressure.
  • Swiss Chard: Swiss chard and other green leafy veggies contain magnesium which helps balance cortisol levels and reduce the activity of neurons in the brain.
  • Fatty Fish: Tuna, salmon and other fatty fish high in omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate adrenaline levels, reducing anxiety symptoms.
  • Whole Grains: Whole grains contain fiber that helps you feel full. They also contain complex carbohydrates that help regulate blood sugar and trigger the brain to release serotonin.
  • Nuts: Almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pistachios contain Vitamin B which helps replenish energy levels. Nuts also contain antioxidants, other vitamins, and zinc, which help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Dark Chocolate: 70% cocoa or higher reduces cortisol and other stress hormones. 

Combining these foods with regular physical activity and adequate sleep will be your best bet for keeping stress to a minimum. Finally, don’t skip meals or go too long without eating. This can cause a drop in blood sugar which can worsen stress and anxiety symptoms. Movement + Smart Foods + Sleep = A Mellower You!


Make Sleep a Priority

Amerian culture does not value sleep.

Sleep is an important part of a healthful lifestyle. While you are sleeping, your immune system works to repair damage and clean up cellular messes in the organs. The nervous system mends while memories are being formed during dream time.

Research has shown that inadequate sleep puts you at risk for diabetes (and it’s complications), obesity, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Some studies have found that even one night of poor sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep) increases insulin resistance.

Poor sleep can increase levels of your appetite-stimulating hormone (ghrelin), stimulate the production of your stress hormone (cortisol) and decrease glucose tolerance. It is optimal to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

Tips to Improve Sleep:

  • Quiet time: Spend a half-hour with meditation, prayer, relaxing music or other quiet time prior to bedtime. 
  • Routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even the weekends).
  • Self-talk: Tell yourself, “I’ve done all I can for today. I will do the rest another day. Now it’s time to sleep.”
  • Sunshine: Sunshine promotes sleep by causing the body to produce melatonin (which helps the body with sleep).
  • Activity: Get in some physical movement during the day, so your body will be tired when it’s time to sleep.
  • Environment: Set up an environment conducive for sleep – have a comfortable bed, dark room comfortable temperature and quiet. 

Things to Avoid at Night: 

  • Vigorous exercise: Vigorous exercise revs you up. It can be good for the daytime, so you are bedtime. Stretching or yoga work better at night.
  • Intake: Avoid a large meal before bedtime, which can cause heartburn. Avoid drinking a large amount of liquid before bedtime, which can wake you up during the night to urinate.
  • Alcohol/Caffeine/Nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants. Alcohol keeps your body in a light stage of sleep and prevents deep sleep required for healing.
  • Technology: Technology will stimulate your brain and can make it difficult to fall asleep.


Food Cravings & Stress

Stress in America reveals that 36 percent of participants report overeating or eating unhealthy foods, and 27 percent report skipping meals over the last month in response to stress. Despite the common belief that stress directly leads to weight gain, epidemiologic research shows inconsistent results. Bringing together 14 prospective studies that followed more than 23,000 men and women for up to 38 years, a metaanalysis found only a very small association between stressors, such as a traumatic event or work stress, and weight gain. Published in the June 2011 issue of Obesity, this study also showed effects of stress were stronger in men than in women.

Several studies suggest that while stress may not always lead to consuming more calories, some people eat less and lose weight when stressed, it’s likely to lead to less healthy food choices. Although more research is needed can be donee to draw conclusions about how stress relates to body weight, food intake and food preference, consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, low-fat dairy foods, fish, eggs, lean meats and poultry provides vital nutrients needed for mind and body. Eating every few hours can help keep blood sugar levels steady and prevent excessive hunger.

Think Small: Making small changes in how you cope with stress on a slow, gradual basis can help you make bigger long-term changes. Such as taking a short walk rather than drowning your sorrows in a bowl of ice cream, or keeping healthful snacks on hand as an alternative to skipping meals.

Source: http://www.foodandnutrition.org/May-2013/Does-Stress-Lead-to-Food-Cravings-and-Weight-Gain/

“I Just Want to Eat Normally”

I want to quit worrying about what I eat. I want to quit worrying about my weight. I want to quit worrying about what my stomach looks like. I want to quit worrying about what I look like. I want to quit staying home because I know I don’t look good in my clothes. I want to quit feeling guilty about what I do eat. I want to quit feeling guilty about what I don’t eat. I really just want to quit feeling, especially about my food and my body. I want to start living …… living FREE of all of this food and body stuff!

OK …..We Get You!
The dietitians at Banister and Associates LLC are focused on setting you FREE!
Does the preceding paragraph describe those of you dealing with a restrictive eating disorder such as anorexia, binge eating disorder (BED), bulimia or the usual overweight struggles that can’t seem to be resolved? The answer is “all of the preceding.”

In my 32 years of counseling, the agonizing struggles and pain of underweight/overweight, under eating/overeating all have the same, dismal melody. I have frequently been asked ‘how do you help someone who is 20% overweight (obese) followed by someone who is 20% underweight (anorexic)?’ It’s actually easy — quite often there are very similar, underlying emotional issues which affect food and activity choices resulting in different physical appearances. An additional major common denominator is that everyone has the same goal in mind…. peace with food and self. FREEDOM from the constant mental anguish which steals your time, produces great disharmony in your life and disguises your body as something it is not!

A place of relaxed eating is a place of serenity. Relaxed eating is the ability to be at ease with the social, emotional and physical components of food and eating. It is being able to recognize gut hunger and respond appropriately by providing yourself with nourishment, until you reach a feeling of satiety(appropriate fullness). Relaxed eating encourages pleasurable, whimsical eating with flexibility and freedom from guilt or remorse. It is loving who you are and eating what you love. It is enjoying the fresh baked bread or cookies right as they come out of the oven, even when you are not hungry because we all know that is when it tastes the best! It allows you to eat based on your intuitive hunger in the moment, which can be more or less depending on the instance. Relaxed eating IS NOT following a meal plan or diet rules . It is trusting your mind and your body through self-care and self-love. Relaxed eating stems from a strong connection between mind, body and self-awareness.
How many years or decades have you been unhappy, stressed, frustrated, depressed about your relationship with food and your body? Consider a different approach rather than another diet plan, diet pill, or diet gimmick.

Consider ‘Rules and Rigidity generally = Rebellion, not Relaxation!’ cb

Fight the Flu

EVERYONE is panicking about the flu. Maybe you aren’t, because you had a shot. But guess what folks? Everyone is at risk.


You’ve heard that washing your hands is important. I’ll reiterate- wash, wash, wash your hands. In addition, you need to boost your immune system to build a ‘strong defense’ against infection. What foods fight flu? Here is a short list to keep you healthy during flu season.
1) Antioxidant-rich foods: The type of AO will vary according to the source, so don’t go on a ‘berry kick’. Eat the rainbow! Here is non-inclusive list, including some unexpected sources of antioxidants:


v   Blueberries
v   Raspberries
v   Bell Peppers
v   Carrots
v   Squash
v   Tomatoes
v   Granny Smith Apples
v   Pecans
v   Buckwheat honey (higher levels than clover honey)
v   Kale
v   Green or Black Tea
v   Resveratrol- red wine(keep it to 1 glass/day), grapes, grape juice, peanuts
2) Vitamin D is key to fighting illness. Try fortified dairy products or wild-salmon. Yogurt is also an excellent probiotic source, which keeps your digestive system humming along. Load up on the yogurt, but watch out for sugar. No more than 12-13g/6oz. Skip the fruit on the bottom and add your own.
  3) Selenium-rich foods
             > Brazil nuts
             > Seafood: clams, lobster, oysters, tuna
4) H-2-O is essential. Stay hydrated with water, NOT soda.
There are several other components to fighting the flu including adequate sleep and stress management. If you’re not sleeping, stressed out or both- hormones are out of whack, which impairs our immune system.
If your defenses are weak, you’re more likely to get sick when opportunity arises (which occurs with contagious diseases). If you’ve been building a strong defense with a balanced diet, enough sleep and moderate stress, you’ll be able to fight those stressors and infections, including the flu.  Stay healthy! sls