The Recipe for a Happy and Healthy Holiday

The recipe for a happy and healthy holiday involves making good choices about what you are eating and drinking to help ensure the best mood and relaxation possible for those involved and invited!

The primary production site of neurotransmitter production is the gut.  If your gut is not balanced, you cannot produce optimal levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, the hormones that affect mood.  A balanced gut requires eating food that comes from the earth, mostly vegetables.  Ideally, this means no processed food, no sugar, and no alcohol.   But, let’s be realistic – it’s the holidays.  So instead of no sugar or alcohol, go for ‘carefully selected’ sugar and alcohol.  I recommend going for quality as opposed to quantity.  It’s a good time of year to savor the really good stuff, like Black Dinah chocolate from Isle Au Haut and Split Rock Bourbon from Newcastle.

Hippocrates said long, long ago, “all disease begins in the gut.”  Inflammation, or rather the absence of inflammation, is the seat of overall wellness.  The root of inflammation is in the gut by way of extensive lymphatic tissue.  To decrease inflammation, you have to heal your gut.

A few recipe specifics:  Eat lots of vegetables, colorful foods, small amounts of complex carbohydrates, and lean protein.  Be mindful of gluten, corn, dairy, and soy consumption.  These foods are known to be inflammatory for many.  Also, exercise decreases inflammation and raises neurotransmitter levels. A vigorous walk after a big meal will stabilize insulin levels.  A stable insulin level is necessary for a stable mood and a key to decreasing inflammation.  Exercise is an essential part of happy and healthy.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season and year to come.

Additional Resources

Depression and the Brain-Gut Connection by Carrie Levine, MSN, CNM

About the Author

Carrie Levine, MSN, CNM

Carrie is the founder of Whole Woman Health in Newcastle, Maine and is a Certified Nurse Midwife. She evaluates and treats most common women’s health concerns, from preventive care and nutrition/lifestyle counseling, to women’s health/gynecology services and annual physicals, to ordering routine and specialized diagnostic tests and prescribing medications as appropriate. Carrie also holds office hours on Wednesdays in Portland.


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