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Foods that Counter Stress

By Rebecca Wood on Apr 16, 2012

Foods Which Counter Stress

You can counter stress with foods specifically medicinal to your nervous system. They include bone stock, meat (especially kidneys) seaweed, beans (including bean sprouts, green beans and peas), berries, onions, parsley, root vegetables, seeds, nuts and eggs.

If you tend to be cold or have cold extremities, include warming foods and spices in your diet. Some such foods are chicken, black pepper, dried ginger, cinnamon, fennel and cloves.

According to Oriental medicine, walking and moderate exercise strengthens your nervous system. However, excessive standing or sitting taxes it. Prolonged stress weakens the whole body and contributes to degenerative disease.

If you're under stress avoid refined, processed foods. Such foods are not fully metabolized and therefore compromise your digestive system and so negatively impact your overall health.

Substances that specifically challenge your adrenals include coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, tobacco, drugs (be they recreational or prescription) and chemicals in your environment, water or food supply. Additionally, too little or too much water stresses the kidneys, as does too little or too much salt, so enjoy both judiciously.

Avoid refined, processed foods. Such foods are not fully metabolized and therefore stress the whole system. Substances that specifically challenge the kidney system include coffee, refined sugar, alcohol, tobacco, drugs (be they recreational or prescription) and chemicals in your environment, water or food supply. Additionally, too little or too much water stresses the kidneys, as does too little or too much salt, so enjoy both judiciously.

Also consider mindfulness or meditation training and a centering practice such as yoga or tai chi. These arts help us to deepenour breathing and allow us to remain calm even in the midst of intensity.

How do you implement this type of diet in the context of a busy lifestyle? My one pot, two-meal technique (see accompanying recipe) enables you to enjoy two freshly cooked meals eachday with minimal preparation time.

For a snack or dessert, enjoy a seasonal fruit. Fruit is an honest sweet; unlike refined food it doesn't rob your energy.

May you be well nourished,

Rebecca Wood

(Reprinted with the kind permission of Rebecca Wood, from her wonderful website)

Rebecca Wood, who learned gardening and foraging techniques from her grandparents and studied with leading experts in macrobiotics and traditional Oriental medicine, has taught and written about a sustainable diet since 1970.

Her book, The Splendid Grain, won both a James Beard Award and a Julia Child/IACP Award. Her most recent book, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, was a One Spirit Book Club (Quality Paperback Book division) main selection. Rebecca has been an educational consultant to numerous organizations in the natural foods industry and currently offers cooking classes for Eden Foods throughout the Western region. She co-founded and directed the East-West Center in Boulder, Colorado, and has established several cooking schools. She currently teaches cooking classes from her home kitchen in Ashland, Oregon.

Rebecca offers a variety of services. To schedule an appointment, check out Rebecca's wonderful website for more information, articles, recipes and books. Each month new recipes and articles are posted.