Are you like me? A little bummed out, even a little grouchy, as the Autumn season begins to pass and we can see Winter coming fast, square in the face? If you are like me, your moods might shift as the days become shorter, all-the-while reminiscing of flowers in bloom and sunshine sparkling overhead. When this kind of funk takes over and I sense my bubbly energy diminishing, I just want to run out to grab fast food for dinner. Dare I admit, sometimes even for breakfast? Ok, so I emotionally eat sometimes. It’s true. But, let’s face it, Winter isn’t for everyone. However, after a couple fast food slip-ups, I notice unwanted shifts, both mentally and physically. It’s not pretty. We need not remain stuck in old, self-sabotaging habits. After all, we are resilient, right? We have choices.

We can choose seasonal veggies at the grocery store (may I suggest those that are local, fresh and organic when possible?). Look no further, below I share my top 4 ‘good mood’ veggies – they are fairly easy to find anywhere. Consuming these, whether cooked or raw, will help keep us nourished and in my experience, in good spirits, all Winter long.

Let’s briefly review these. Cruciferous vegetables do wonders for our bodies. That’s why they dominate my 4 ‘Good Mood’ list. Cruciferous veggies, such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels Sprouts have it all – think vitamins, fiber, and phytochemicals. Eating plants from the cruciferous family yield positive benefits for our mood and overall bodily functioning. I don’t have to convince you, right? You, like me, can see the difference in our inner experience, such as mood and energy levels, after consuming fast food or junk food, compared to the experience after consuming clean vegetables. In my experience, the difference is quite noticeable. What’s more, these even make the top of the list when it comes to anti-cancer foods. That’s why I eat something from this list at least once a day, minimum! So here goes…and know that these are shared in no particular order – they are all excellent choices.

Cauliflower:

  • Stress negatively impacts our cells. Cauliflower offers a level of cellular protection. In addition, this vegetable aids in liver detoxification.

Broccoli:

  • This vitamin C loaded veggie does not carry a frightening glycemic load. Instead, it is highly nutritious and easy to find, fresh or frozen, in almost every supermarket out there.

Dark Leafy Greens:

  • There are so many options here. Whether it’s kale, spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard, you can’t go wrong. Why not combine them all in a smoothie with some berries for natural sweetness, or add them to a frittata. Whatever you choose will provide the vitamin A that the body needs.

Brussels Sprouts:

  • Sometimes we just need more fiber in our life, and Brussels Sprouts deliver! Not only that, they are a wonderful, healthy source of vitamin C (similar to broccoli). I love to slow roast these on a cold winter’s day!

So there you have it – my top 4 ‘good mood’ seasonal veggies to get us through the shorter, darker days and cold months. Might adding these to our daily meals, in place of processed, convenience foods, bring brighter days, internally, not only during the coming Winter, but as we prepare to welcome Spring? See for yourself and let me know how it goes. While I’ll be doing the same from my own kitchen, trust that I’ll be with you in spirit, offering words of encouragement and a collective vision for enhanced health and superb functioning. And if there’s a junk food slip, remember, every day is a new day!

Yours truly,

Dr. Kimberly R. Mascaro

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