Reboot your mood with Serotonin Boosting foods
“The sun is shining. The sky is clear. Our water vats are full and the waters around us are starting to look clearer. So why do I feel so sad,” thought LJ. He looked out at the horizon and wondered if all the effort to build and live on the ark was worth it. It was 2022, he and Annie had been living on the Ark of Seeds, for two years responsible for the 930,000 seeds that represented earth’s entire biodiversity. Their lives changed unalterably when the planet was consumed by 500 days of unremitting rain, due to human-induced global warming. Despite decades of environmentalists sounding the alarm and showing direct evidence of the planet’s destruction, too many ignored the warnings and now it was gone. The survivors were dedicated to cleaning up the water hoping someday, when it receded and earth was revealed again, there would be a planet where the seeds, and the offspring, of the saved animals, could repopulate. In the meantime, ark life was grueling and lonely. LJ’s sense of desolation was growing. Despite Annie’s calm and naturally happy personality, his thoughts were drifting more and more into hopelessness. Annie walked up behind him and put her arms around him.
“Sweetheart, I think it’s time to make a trip to Destiny for some self-care. Can you help set the coordinates?”
LJ turned around and hugged her, “Yes.”
Annie released two homing pigeons with matching messages to let Gabriel, civilization’s leader know they were two days away and would be arriving for mental health support.
Forty-eight hours later they saw the ark and the green flag flying, an indication they were expected. A rowboat was dispatched with three people; two who would stay on their ark and the third who brought them back to Destiny.
Gabriel greeted them with his signature warm smile that seemed to draw you in. He said, “I have not experienced what you two have been through, but I can see it has been a heavy burden. I am grateful I am here and can be of service and support to you. The next few days are about resting, and then we will begin the reset, so when you are ready to begin again it will be at your pace and only when you feel better.”
Annie looked at LJ just in time to see his shoulders beginning to relax. Gabriel led them to the harmony section of the ark where they found a table set for two. The beginnings of a meal that included Macaroni and Cheese were served. Neither one had eaten carbs and cheese together for so long they stared at their plates for a few minutes and then slowly began to eat. They looked at each other and said almost simultaneously, “this is what we’ve been missing!”
“LJ I am so sorry I forgot that high protein food like cheese when combined with carbs causes the body to release insulin, which stimulates amino acid absorption and leaves tryptophan in the blood. When high-tryptophan foods are mixed with carbs they produce a serotonin boost.”
LJ smiled, “I forgot too so let’s not beat up on ourselves. In the meantime, tell me again about tryptophan and why we need it.?”
Annie mouthed a kiss, “Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that can only be accessed through the foods we eat. It helps the brain produce serotonin, the feel-good chemical messenger. It is essential for our sense of well-being.”
As they finished the mac and cheese, they were offered cups of Green Velvet Soup. Let’s take this step-by-step. When we eat a tryptophan-rich meal our brain converts the tryptophan into serotonin. When that happens, you feel better. The peas, broccoli, and spinach in this soup are all sources of tryptophan. Eating this will help produce serotonin, which should help elevate your mood.”
LJ brightened up, “What’s next on the menu?”
Annie smiled at him as she accepted a plate of Orange and Sunflower Salad with Hearts of Palm from Gabriel, “the vitamin D in this salad helps regulate the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, so this should also help you feel good.”
Gabriel nodded, “During your time here we will use many self-care practices to help restore you. Whole healthy food is one important method. The right food and in the right combination can be a big factor in helping the mind reset so it triggers its innate ability to heal itself.”
“Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Wise words from Hippocrates” said LJ thoughtfully.
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
Andrea Breaux is the Founder of Healthy Healing Eats. She writes about food-as-medicine and earth-friendly lifestyle practices. Find her weekly blog, recipes, and products at healthyhealingeats.com.