National Tea Day 2018

Today celebrates a tradition that I dearly love. Afternoon tea has been a regular part of my day since my first trip to Scotland in 2014. I cherish this pause to savor a cup of tea and relax. It allows me to center myself and reflect on the day, before thinking about dinner prep and evening activities.

My afternoon teas used to feature a variety of Scottish or black teas and the typical fare: finger sandwiches, sweet treats and a Scottish shortbread cookie. None of those foods are part of my diet now. Tea time usually includes an herbal tea or a Scottish heather or thistle blend and fresh fruits and veggies.

In honor of this special day, I tried out a new recipe for a healthy treat, with a surprising ingredient.

National Tea Day 2018

I found this recipe, from Joyfully Healthy Eats, on Pinterest. It is egg, dairy and gluten free.

National Tea Day 2018

Who would have guessed chickpeas could be so versatile and the base for a dough? Instead of rubbing the chickpeas with a paper towel, I picked them up and squeezed lightly, popping them into the strainer. This action left the skins behind. It only took a few minutes and my dough was smooth and creamy. I became proficient at using both hands to pop out the chickpeas simultaneously.

National Tea Day 2018

National Tea Day 2018

I used all organic ingredients and a peanut butter without added sugar. The chips were 70% cacao. Before combining the ingredients in the blender I started a cup of tea steeping. I used dried rose hips for today’s celebratory drink.

The vitamin C in rose hips is the most bioavailable form in existence. Rose hips are anti-inflammatory, increases the blood’s white count and boosts the immune system. They also dissolve biofilm, a jelly like substance caused by the Epstein Barr virus. This biofilm can gunk up vital organs, including the heart, causing palpitations, tachycardia, atrial fibrillation and arrhythmia. Plus, rose hips help to alleviate all types of infections. On this chilly, rainy Saturday, rose hips tea sounded perfect.

National Tea Day 2018

As the herbal tea steeped, I completed the vegan cookie dough and sliced up fresh organic strawberries. I was ready for tea time, in honor of National Tea Day.

National Tea Day 2018

The Chickpeas Cookie Dough was amazing. It wasn’t too sweet, which is ideal for me. I don’t care for sweets anymore. The texture was smooth and creamy and I couldn’t taste the chickpeas at all. The tart strawberries created a wonderful contrast to the dough.

I enjoyed this special tea time this afternoon. I will fix the Chickpeas Cookie Dough again, although it will be an infrequent treat. I prefer to stick with whole foods primarily.

Catherine Douzel says, “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary journey.”

I love that. Where shall I journey to today?

National Tea Day 2018

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

Last Thursday, when I attended a documentary at the theater about the health benefits of a plant based lifestyle, I learned about another wonderful opportunity. At the theater I met Chef Robin Jeep for the first time. It’s always fun to meet Facebook friends in person and as we chatted, she mentioned she was presenting a lunch and learn at noon today. Included in this free event was a plant based meal, provided by Suzanne, at Suzanne’s Natural Foods on 32nd Street in Joplin. I enjoyed attending the seminar, accompanied by my friend Georgia.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

Robin is a plant based chef, teacher, and the author of The Super Antioxidant Diet & Nutrition Guide. She trained and collaborated with internationally known physician Joel Fuhrman, MD, and she has taught evidence based culinary nutrition across the US. Robin currently lives in the Joplin area.

Georgia and I joined 30 – 35 people at Suzanne’s for the lunch and learn. As we enjoyed a beautifully prepared and nutritious plant based lunch, Robin shared about nutrition. She covered a variety of diets that are trendy but not optimal, health wise. She then explained the benefits of a nutrient rich whole food plant based lifestyle.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition Look at that gorgeous food, prepared without meat, dairy, eggs, sugar or oils.

Robin is very knowledgeable about nutrition. Plant based is a lifestyle she has embraced for many years. Her teachings are sincere, honest and evidence based. And as a chef she has marvelous experience preparing healthy and satisfying meals. I appreciated all that she shared and offered from her vast wisdom.

I have appreciated too discovering that there is a group of people, here in my area, practicing the plant based lifestyle. It is extremely encouraging and supportive to journey with like minded people who get what you are doing, and why. I look forward to more gatherings where we can discuss nutrition and learn and grow in our knowledge, all while becoming the healthiest versions of ourselves.

Robin is creating those opportunities to get together. For the next six weeks, beginning Saturday April 14, she is leading a whole food plant based class series, covering a broad range of topics. Each session includes a healthy plant based meal and a cooking demonstration. Classes are $28 each or the entire series can be prepaid for $138. A workbook is included.

I am thrilled that more and more people are becoming aware of the vital connection between good health and good food. Health and well being are our most valuable assets. It is exciting to see people taking charge of their health and making powerful decisions that have a far reaching impact on their lives.

Learn more about Chef Robin Jeep by visiting her website HERE. You can also find her on Facebook at Chef Robin’s Vibrant Living Society.

Chef Robin’s Kitchen Nutrition

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

This is a late night post. I just returned from the movie theater, where instead of watching a film, I had the opportunity to watch a documentary that is very relevant to my life. And not only that, I met up with a group of people who are making changes in their diets and reaping the benefits. It was wonderful to watch Eating You Alive with like hearted, like minded, free spirited souls who are making differences in their lives and the lives of others.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

Eating You Alive features a host of plant based physicians, vegan chefs, celebrities who have embraced this lifestyle and people who have healed from a variety of diseases and disorders, after changing their eating habits. Directed by Paul David Kennamer Jr, Eating You Alive has a run time of 2 hours and 2 minutes.

This documentary explores how the standard American diet is creating and contributing to the diseases and disorders that we are suffering from, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancers. Medical professionals across the US chime in to share their own personal experiences with a plant based diet and offer solid reasons for making changes in eating habits.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive Magician Penn Jillette, before and after switching to a plant based lifestyle.

Interspersed among the doctor interviews were celebrities such as Penn Jillette, Samuel L. Jackson and James Cameron who shared about healing from disorders, losing weight and experiencing overall improvement of their health and well-being after going plant based. Also included were people who told their healing stories, often with great emotion. Many had been told they had months to live. They were sent home to die.

And yet, not finding help from traditional medical care, they instead took charge of their health and changed what they ate. They did not die. They reversed their diseases. Because, if the food we eat is contributing to our poor health, then changing what we eat can improve it.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

I appreciated this honest look at the health industry and the benefits of a plant based lifestyle. I already embrace it, however it was very good to hear so many doctors speak about how eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy grains, nuts and seeds can bring such life changing goodness to the body. I know what a plant based lifestyle has done for my health. To see doctors promoting it and so many people experience healing was exciting.

There was sobering information as well. Diseases are on the increase. People are getting sicker and more obese with the current American diet. Animal cruelty is often practiced in raising livestock for food consumption. I firmly believe the stress that those animals live and die under is passed on energetically to those who eat their meat and eggs and dairy products, and drink their milk.

And perhaps most alarming of all was hearing the physicians say that in medical school they were taught very little about nutrition and the healing power of foods. Rather, they learned to treat symptoms, not the underlying causes of the diseases. Similarly, big pharmaceutical companies provide medications that ease symptoms while causing a host of equally debilitating side effects.

On the surface, it seems so simple. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” There are many reasons why it is not simple…food addictions, lack of support, lack of knowledge, and fear of change, to name a few. The choice is our. We decide whether we want greater health and well being, or if we want to continue on with a poor diet and poor health.

I left the theater with a renewed determination to live my life as an example of one who has healed, and continues to experience deeper healing. And with the desire to help as many others as possible so that they too can enjoy long and healthy lives.

Documentary Review: Eating You Alive

Vegan Egg Nog

Two years ago, I became reacquainted with a traditional holiday drink, egg nog. During the Christmas season, I enjoyed a nightly cup of the store purchased variety, with a splash of rum added. However, last year, adhering to a plant based lifestyle, I didn’t want to drink egg nog, at least not the sugar laden dairy version with eggs in it. I searched everywhere for a non dairy, sugar free product in the stores, without success. I looked for a recipe online, so I could make it myself, but my search didn’t turn up a good, plant based one.

Today, without any effort on my part, I found a vegan egg nog recipe, posted on a Medical Medium Support Facebook page. I knew it was completely compatible with my chosen diet, and I couldn’t wait to try it. After a busy day, tonight I created my first dairy, egg, sugar and alcohol free egg nog. My daughters teased me, when I mentioned during a group text that I was excited to try this drink, asking me what it was, exactly, since this egg nog doesn’t contain any of the traditional ingredients. It’s more properly a faux egg nog. Or a non nog!

I already had all of the ingredients on hand. Here is the simple recipe, from Incredible Smoothies.

I used unsweetened coconut almond milk. Any non dairy milk would be fine. I have whole cloves so I broke one in two and tossed half into the blender. I purchase very ripe bananas on sale at the grocery store, chop them up, and keep them in the freezer for smoothies and making banana ice cream. I had frozen bananas ready to use.

My new Ninja Blender quickly turned the assembled ingredients into a thick, cold, creamy drink. The frozen bananas sweetened the nog naturally and gave it some body. I added an additional sprinkle of cinnamon across the top, and took my first sip.

This non nog was so good! I preferred to keep it alcohol free as well, however a splash of rum could be added. The cinnamon, nutmeg and clove piece gave it that classic egg nog taste. I could enjoy it without concern about foods on my “no” list.

I am grateful that the plant based egg nog recipe I was searching for last year, found me. In the past 12 months I have come to appreciate a variety of wonderful, health boosting drinks that I can sip on in the evenings. Perhaps because of that, I had not felt compelled to hunt for a healthy egg nog this year. I’m glad for the recipe however. It is a tasty addition to my night time drink choices.

Cheers! And Merry Christmas!

4 Bean Vegan Chili

On cold winter evenings, a bowl of steaming hot chili makes a satisfying and warming meal. I have used a chili recipe for many years, adapted from one my dad created. Since going plant based, I have tried several chili recipes I found online or in cookbooks. They tasted fine. And yet I still felt compelled to keep trying, keep looking.

Ultimately, I ended up creating a recipe of my own.

This simple to make chili comes together in minutes, and uses easily found ingredients. I used organic, and non GMO, canned goods from the grocery store, with fresh veggies such as onion, green bell pepper and garlic.

Putting together this recipe gave me the opportunity of also try out a recipe maker. The app I selected works well enough, but doesn’t have a format that makes it suitable for using in my blog posts. I will keep searching.

I chose to use pinto, black, great northern and red kidney beans, however, any variety of beans could be used. I want to add lima beans next time. More, or less, seasoning could be used. And red bell pepper could be substituted for the green.

I liked the ease of preparation and the spicy aroma that filled my kitchen as the pot of chili simmered on the stove. I diced an avocado and anticipated a homey, warming bowl of chili.

I was not disappointed. This was a very tasty chili, and exactly what I have been looking for. That old adage that says “if you want something done right, do it yourself”, rings true in this case. I created what I was looking for.

There isn’t any meat in this recipe, but there is wholesomeness, goodness and lots of love. I think my dad would approve.

An Abundance of Goodness

Day 4 of Gratitude Week falls on Thanksgiving Eve. I am doing what I usually do on this night before Thanksgiving…I am preparing food for tomorrow’s meal. We had our big family Thanksgiving Sunday, while my son was off work. Tomorrow is a more casual meal with my two daughters and their husbands, Greg, and grandson Dayan.

We are all contributing to the meal, which will include smoked turkey and brisket, for the carnivores in the family, and an abundance of veggie side dishes, for the plant based eaters.

My gratitude today is for the delightful fact that holiday meals and a plant based lifestyle are not exclusive of each other. I will dine well tomorrow and enjoy spending an afternoon with family. We will share food, talk, laugh, play games and celebrate a birthday.

I am grateful for a wealth of healthy recipes to try out. Tonight I made three dishes for tomorrow, trying out two new recipes and recreating a favorite from last year.

The foundation of the recipes was plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Here is a peek at what I am contributing tomorrow:

I made Raw Cranberry Relish, from Life Changing Foods, last year for the first time. I like cranberry sauce, even the blob of stuff from the can. This relish, made from fresh cranberries, apples and oranges is amazing. And it is so easy to make, using a food processor. The recipe calls for coconut sugar, which is a natural, unrefined sugar. Last year I substituted raw honey. Tonight I had coconut sugar on hand. This is seriously so delicious, that even people who think they don’t like cranberries might be surprised.

Cranberries are full of antioxidants. They not only aid in healing urinary tract infections, they reverse gallbladder disease, cleanse the liver and help with kidney stones. They also help heal cardiovascular disease and draw radiation out of the body.

I wonder why I only make this around Thanksgiving? While cranberries are plentiful, I should be making this relish once a week!

I am super excited about this Sweet Potato Casserole. I found the recipe on Pinterest, posted by Nutritional Foodie. I made a sweet potato casserole for years. That one was full of butter and brown sugar and used canned yams. This one started with fresh sweet potatoes that I cooked myself and then mashed with coconut oil, spices, coconut sugar and unsweetened almond coconut milk. The topping, which I’ll add in the morning before baking, has pecans, coconut sugar, coconut oil and garbanzo bean flour.

After I poured the sweet potato mixture into the casserole dish, I tried a bite, from the bit left in the pan. It is so wonderful! And this version is good for me. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and promote productive bacteria in the stomach while starving out unproductive bacteria and fungi. They help regulate hormones and promote sleep.

Look at this colorful dish! The Mixed Veggies with Brown Rice features fresh carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and zucchini, along with organic peas and red kidney beans. Combined with the brown rice, this will be a wholesome, protein rich dish that will be the main part of my meal tomorrow. This recipe comes from a little cookbook called Slow Cooker 100% Vegan.

I have the raw brown rice in the slow cooker and the veggies prepped and seasoned with mixed Italian herbs, sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper and fresh garlic. I’ll stumble into the kitchen at 3:00 am to add the veggies to the slow cooker, along with two cups of water, and turn it on low. It will finish cooking just in time to cart it to Adriel’s house. I’ll bet it will smell wonderful as it simmers.

I am so full of gratitude as I sip on my turmeric milk, all my food preparations completed. During my healing journey I have realized this truth, and accept it wholeheartedly…

What I eat becomes the fuel that my body uses to live and thrive…or exist and struggle.

EVERYTHING I eat and drink matters. Poor nutrition results in poor health, illness and pain. Good nutrition results in good health and an immune system that can fight off invaders and heal itself, maintaining well being.

I choose carefully what I nourish myself with. During celebrations or the holidays, I am not missing a thing by holding to my plant based lifestyle. What I gain is continued health, not extra pounds or an upset digestive system.

Here’s to a healthy and abundant Thanksgiving!

My First Chia Pudding

Until recently, the only thing I knew about chia seeds was that you could grow them on clay figurines, creating the look of “hair”. As a kid, I never had a chia pet, so during my Year of Firsts in 2014 I bought one and had fun sprouting the chia seeds.

Because of that connection, I was a bit dubious about consuming chia seeds. However, during my healing journey, I’ve learned these little seeds are considered a super food, full of health boosting benefits. I routinely add a spoonful to my morning smoothies. I’ve seen recipes for chia pudding, made from the same little seeds, but I have not tried a recipe…until today. Anthony William shared a simple basic chia pudding recipe and I thought, I must try this.

The basic recipe couldn’t be more easy.

Chia Pudding

• 1 cup dairy free milk ( almond or coconut)

• 1/4 cup chia seeds

Combine ingredients and let chill overnight in refrigerator. Top with favorite fruits and nuts.

I purchase bags of chia seeds at the Walmart Market. They are found in the baking aisle. And I love the unsweetened almond coconut milk blend, available in the refrigerator section wherever milk is sold. Two brands I’ve tried and like are Almond Breeze and Silk.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than any other food and they are particularly beneficial for chronic inflammation, heart disease, brain function, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Chia seeds also combat diabetes by helping to stabilize and control blood sugar levels.

I started chia pudding this afternoon, so I could sample it this evening. As it set up in the fridge, I searched on Pinterest for more recipes. There are many ways to create a variety of chia puddings, starting with the basic recipe and then adding fruits, nuts, unsweetened chocolate, maple syrup and other healthy foods.

Inspired, I headed back into the kitchen to create a blueberry chia pudding to have as a midmorning or afternoon treat tomorrow. For this pudding, I used a small wide mouth mason jar.

Blueberry Chia Pudding

• 1 cup unsweetened non dairy milk, such as almond or coconut

• 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries

• 1/4 cup chia seeds

Combine milk and blueberries in a blender. Process until berries and milk are well mixed. Pour into a small mason jar. Add chia seeds. Screw on jar lid and shake to mix blueberry milk with seeds. Chill in refrigerator overnight to set. Top with additional blueberries and nuts before eating.

These puddings are so easy to make! I have ideas for a variety of chia puddings. Tomorrow I will be at the grocery store, stocking up on small mason jars, chia seeds and plenty of fruits, unsweetened coconut and nuts such as walnuts and pecans. I saved recipes for such delights as pumpkin pie chia pudding and chocolate raspberry chia pudding. I will be playing with these recipes and coming up with some of my own. (The blueberry chia pudding is one I created using the basic recipe as the foundation.)

Tonight I intended to dress up the basic recipe by topping it with sliced bananas, wild blueberries and walnuts. However, the pudding isn’t completely set up yet. I don’t want to rush it. I will let it chill overnight and add an update to this post in the morning. And I’m excited to sample the blueberry chia pudding tomorrow and create more fun variations.

No more chia pets. I have a much better, and more beneficial, use for these amazing little seeds.

Chaga Mushroom Tea

I had never heard of chaga mushrooms, before reading Life Changing Foods by Anthony William. In the book there is a chapter on the benefits of this immunity building wild food, which is technically a pre-mushroom fungus growth.

As I have been nurturing myself and allowing my left knee to heal, I used the Life Changing Foods book to look up all the foods that fight inflammation in the body, and especially in joints, as it feels like I have inflamed tendons and/or muscles around my left knee . Included on my list of beneficial foods was the chaga mushroom.

It was time to try this food, sold in the form of a very fine powder that can be added to smoothies or made into a tea. My order from Amazon arrived today, in time to prepare my first chaga mushroom tea.

According to Anthony, the chaga mushroom is all about building immunity in the body. The phytochemicals in chaga fight cancer, regulate blood sugar, boost the adrenals while regulating the rest of the endocrine system, break down and dissolve biofilm (a jelly like substance that’s a by product of certain viruses and fungi) and destroys unproductive fungus in the digestive tract.

Chaga is beneficial to those with cancer, autoimmune diseases, and a host of major disorders such as MS, ALS, tendonitis, sciatica, HIV, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It fights inflammation causing viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles.

These symptoms warrant bringing chaga into your life: inflammation, shoulder, neck, head or back pain, headaches, pre fatty liver, joint pain, rashes, hives, body fungus, neurological symptoms, joint inflammation and poor circulation.

With so many health benefits, I was very willing to add chaga to my diet! Tonight I tried this easy to make tea. The recipe is included in Life Changing Foods.

Chaga Tea Latte Makes 1 cup

• 1 teaspoon chaga powder (fine powder)

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1/2 – 1 teaspoon raw honey

• 1/8 cup coconut milk

Boil one cup of water. Place chaga powder in mug and add boiling water, stirring until powder is dissolved. Stir in honey, using more if desired. Stir in coconut milk or use frother to create coconut foam on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

The addition of the raw honey helps to deliver the chaga to hard to reach places within the body, enhancing body system functions.

I like that Anthony includes an Emotional Support section for each food in the book. He writes that chaga is invaluable for those who feel like they’re missing out on something, or who feel trapped in their life’s direction, emotionally stagnant and numb. Add chaga to your diet when help is needed envisioning the future.

What a powerful food. I cupped my mug of hot chaga tea and closed my eyes for a moment, feeling gratitude for all this wild food brings into my life. Then the first sip.

How does a fungus made into a tea taste? Wonderful! There isn’t a musky or moldy smell or taste AT ALL. Chaga tastes like tea…with honey, cinnamon and a splash of coconut milk added.

I’m excited to include this hot drink in my daily health routine. Chaga tea will serve as an afternoon pick me up and the turmeric milk will remain as my night time drink. Both will flood my body with powerful anti inflammatory nutrients. And that means increased health, wellness and vitality for me.

You can order Life Changing Foods and Chaga Mushroom Powder below.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on purchases made through my links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for purchasing these items, or any other items, through my Amazon links.

Sweet Potatoes with Braised Cabbage

This time of year, with its cooler, shorter days, I appreciate food that comforts and nurtures, without compromising my health. This colorful and nutritious meal is so satisfying, and it is not only full of flavor but full of health benefits as well.

This recipe comes from Life-Changing Foods, by Anthony William. In his second book, Anthony writes about 50 of the best foods to eat to heal and maintain health and wellness. Each chapter lists the benefits of the food and what conditions and symptoms it eases, and there are even sections on how that particular food provides emotional and spiritual support. For every food listed, there is a wonderful recipe to try. This book has been invaluable to me.

Sweet potatoes promote productive bacteria in the stomach, small intestine and colon, while starving out unproductive bacteria and fungi. These more colorful cousins of regular potatoes enhance the body’s production of vitamin B12. They are also packed with carotenoids, which are extremely powerful and protect against a host of cancers.

Sweet potatoes also rid the body of unusable, cancer causing estrogen that interferes with hormone function. And if insomnia is an issue, this potato will aid in a sound night’s sleep.

I’ve always enjoyed sweet potatoes, which made me an oddity as a child! As an adult I quit adding additional sweetness, in the form of brown sugar or marshmallows, nor do I douse my orange spuds in butter. I most often eat a baked sweet potato plain, with sprinkles of sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper. However, this easy to prepare recipe is a wonderful way to dress up my sweet potato in a healthy way.

These are so delicious. I love the tangy sauce that tops the stuffed sweet potato. Anthony writes that if you need some coddling, there is nothing more comforting than a baked sweet potato. I agree!

And this comfort food will not have an adverse effect on my body. What I have known in my life as comfort food rarely provided anything more a sugar rush or an excuse to overeat and twinges of guilt. Not so with the humble and benefit packed sweet potato.

This recipe will be prepared frequently this fall and winter.

I am an Amazon Affiliate and may make a commission on items purchased through my links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for purchasing this item, or any other items, through my Amazon links!

Healthy…and Happy

This is the blog post I wasn’t going to write this evening. I knew this morning that today was one of those unusual holidays, Evaluate Your Life Day. I decided not to engage in that celebration, even though a kernel of an idea arose at the thought. Throughout a busy day, that little idea grew. And when “happy” kept coming into my awareness, through signs and the actual song Happy by Pharrell Williams, I accepted the nudges and invitations.

I consider myself an optimistic, positive, happy person. I have been these last seven years especially, after facing my fears and moving beyond them. However, an intriguing thing has been happening to me. The last two or three months, people have told me repeatedly that I look happy, seem happy, appear to be so happy.

When something happens repetitively, it gets my attention.

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I appear to be happier, even though in my own estimation, I have lived on Happy Street for a while. People who tell me I seem to be happier are linking this high level of energetic being to my increased healthiness. And I find that fascinating!

Could there be a correlation between feeling good, health wise, and feeling GOOD, happiness wise?

For Evaluate Your Life Day, I considered that possibility and did a little research.

When I began a plant based lifestyle, 15 months ago, I wasn’t thinking about happiness. I was focused on healing and finding relief from chronic pain. It was the right focus. Changing my diet to one of fruits, veggies, rice, legumes and nuts literally changed my health…and my life.

It is an ongoing journey that has brought me many unexpected benefits. Not only did my pain subside, other minor health ailments cleared up as well. I began to experience episodes of euphoria that at first puzzled me. Then I realized this was what good health felt like.

People noticed that I lost weight, quit using a cane, stopped limping. And now they notice that I am happy. I wondered today, is it because my face is relaxed, rather than carrying a slight frown? When at rest, the subtle drawing together of my eyebrows was due to the pain I felt but didn’t verbally express. And often my apparent “lost in thought” look was me considering how much it was going to hurt when I stood after sitting through a long meal or a meeting. I no longer battle pain like that. Was this the difference in my countenance?

Or was it deeper than that? Had those bouts of euphoria developed into joy and happiness?

I found many studies online, linking positive thoughts to better health. And only one finding a correlation between improved health and happiness. A new study out of Australia suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables may make you feel happier.

Researchers studied more than 12,000 Australians for two years. They asked people whether they normally ate fruits and veggies and how much. They also asked the participants how satisfied with life they were, on a scale from 1 to 10. Then they tracked diets for two years, and whether people increased their fruit and veggie consumption, while also studying their satisfaction levels.

Results showed that those who added more fruits and veggies per day to their diets, increased their levels of life satisfaction as well. Research has suggested that greater levels of carotenoids, found in some fruits and veggies, are linked to greater optimism. Plus an increased intake in vitamin B12, also present in fruits and veggies, boosts a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin, which helps to regulate mood.

Redzo Mujcic, one of the study’s researchers wrote, “Perhaps our results will be more effective than traditional messages in convincing people to have a healthy diet. There is a psychological payoff now from fruits and vegetables, not just a lower health risk.”

Perhaps, indeed!

Many of the people that I talk to about their health are afraid their happiness will decrease if they give up foods they enjoy. What if the opposite is true? What if, by increasing fruits and veggies, they felt happier while feeling healthier?

And if adding more fruits and veggies increases levels of satisfaction with life, what would switching entirely to a plant based diet do? Perhaps it results in bouts of euphoria…that becomes a high level of sustained happiness!

I think it warrants more thought on my part, and more research. But what an intriguing correlation. I am willing to be the guinea pig and live it out, as I continue in my journey of pursuing greater and greater health, and see what happens. The best way for me to impact others in a positive healthy way, is to live my life openly.

I am an ambassador for health…and happiness.