By Karena Dawn
Last Sunday (Oct 10th) was World Mental Health Day, and I’m on a mission with Team ALTWELL to keep the conversations going year-round surrounding mental health. Two aspects of mental health that I don’t think get enough attention are nutrition and physical fitness. I know from my standpoint it’s crucial that I eat well and stay active in order to feel my best mentally and physically. When I slack off, I feel it in every aspect of my life.
They say you are what you eat, right? I tend to agree! When I put bad food in my body, I feel it. When I eat (mostly) whole foods, stay away from overindulging on sugar, processed foods, and saturated fat, I feel so much better. Not only is my energy up and digestion more on track, I also have less mood swings and feel less irritable. It’s no secret that the mind and body work in tandem, so of course what you put into your body is going to have an impact on how your brain thinks and functions. Being healthy isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating the right foods that nourish your body and mind. I try to eat 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day and focus on the simple principle of lean, clean, and green foods. Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast is the best way to set yourself up for success as you go about your day. One of my faves are these protein pancakes. I've include the recipe below. Treat your body like a temple and feed it well!
Pumpkin Tone It Up Pancake Recipe
Makes 1 serving
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- ½ banana, mashed
- ½ Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
- 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup egg whites
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Coconut oil spray
- Real maple syrup or honey (optional)
- Completely mash banana with almond milk. Gradually stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Spray pan with coconut oil spray and heat over medium-low before pouring in batter. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Remove from heat and drizzle with real maple syrup or honey and serve!
Endorphins are your best friend! Staying fit and active has been a huge part of how I take care of my mental health. After a day or two of skipping walks or workouts, I feel on edge, grumpy and flat out not myself. It’s my own time to clear my head and put myself and my health (mental and physical) first. It also boosts my mood and confidence when I keep commitments to myself, so when I make a choice to fit in a sweat session, I do everything I can to keep that promise. It’s a win-win across the board! Find an activity you enjoy and look forward to, and you’ll reap the benefits in more ways than one. Sometimes it’s as simple as starting with a 20-minute walk, a few times a week then building from there!
Reminder - Through Saturday October 16th, ALTWELL is donating 20% of sales from altwell.com to my new non-profit, The Big Silence. Our goal is to provide support and tools to those who have been directly or indirectly affected by a mental health condition.