Top 5 Stress Busting Foods

Top 5 Stress Busting Foods by Erin Dow, Expert Chef, Guiding Stars Licensing Company


stress-busting-foodsA stressed-out person’s relationship with food generally falls into one of two camps. Some eat to soothe themselves, gravitating toward starchy carbs because of their quick-acting effects on endorphin levels in the brain. Others tend to lose interest in eating, their appetites negatively impacted by overwhelming feelings or out of control schedules that don’t support regular meals and snacks.


Whether you’ve lost your appetite or you can’t control it, understanding the physiology of taste–and its effect on how satisfying the foods you eat are–can help. The human brain is wired to seek out a variety of nutrients from the foods we eat. Our tongues can differentiate between hot and cold, salty and sweet, bitter and sour, and even levels of savoriness. Our mouths are also very sensitive to consistencies, explaining dishes and meals that combine various textures seem most satisfying. So, it stands to reason that this natural tendency ensures that the human body will be exposed to a wide variety of nutritional opportunities.


A well-balanced diet provides our brains with the right fuel to operate at peak performance. But when stress puts a wrench in the works–either by eating too much of one thing or not enough of anything–the entire balance can be tipped. It’s a hard cycle to break after it’s started.


So when you’re stressed and your diet is suffering for it, my advice is to prioritize small portions of whole foods with varied visual and textural characteristics and flavor profiles.  You can combine them into a meal or just nibble on combinations of them as a snack. The goal is to keep things from getting boring or hyper-focusing on one type of food.


If you have a small appetite, you won’t have to eat much; but, the small amount you consume will boost your brain and body’s ability to cope with stress. If you’re a stress-eater, a variety of foods tricks your brain into feeling satiated quicker, so you’ll eat less overall. Plus, the foods you’ve eaten will have covered a wider range of nutrients, meaning you’re on your way to breaking the cycle that got you there in the first place.


These are my top five stress-busting foods. As someone who is apt to not eat when stressed, I’ve chosen easy items that can be grabbed on the run. But I’ve also chosen nutrient dense foods using the Guiding Stars Food Finder, a handy tool that rates nutrient density of foods with a three star system at, meaning I’ll get the most nutrition out of each calorie I’ve eaten.


·      Nuts: Omega-3s help the body maintain a lower blood pressure during stressful situations.


·      Kiwi: A high Vitamin C content helps reduce stress hormone levels in the bloodstream.


·      Oatmeal: A small serving of complex carbohydrates can boost serotonin levels, leaving you more relaxed.


·      Dark Chocolate: Studies show that regular consumption of a modest amount of dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety in those prone to it.


·       Strawberries: High in magnesium, strawberries can help reduce anxiety and irritability.


About Erin Dow

Erin Dow is the mother of three children, ages 11, 10, and 6 and is the Expert Chef for Guiding Stars, a nutritional navigation system that evaluates the healthfulness of foods based on nutrient density. She consults with school nutrition programs on healthy kid-approved recipe and menu development with a focus on scratch cooked foods. Her career as a chef spans fifteen years. Find recipes and more at


How to Look Fabulous while Being Frugal

Hey RichMamas – think you need to spend a lot of money to look good? Think again! It’s entirely possible to look fabulous while being frugal. Here are some tips on how you can look great without breaking the bank. Here are some great ideas.

Go Shopping…in Your Closet

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have stuff hidden in your closet and bureau that you forgot you had. Go shopping – pull everything out and take a look. Include shoes (even those dusty ones from the back of the closet). Put together outfits by creating new combinations.

For example, if you have a skirt and top outfit but the top is stained or damaged, look for another one that works with the skirt. Twin sets are another place to look – maybe the cardigan or top is too worn to wear, but you can take one or the other and put together another set. It won’t be monochrome, but it will be uniquely fabulous!

Clean It Up

Remember those dusty shoes we mentioned? Go ahead and pull them out, along with stained clothes. Give shoes and clothing a second chance. Treat clothing stains with a commercial, oxygen-based treatment and run them through the washing machine.

Shoe stains can often be lifted with store-bought cleaners or baking soda and a brush (baking soda helps odor, too). Use shoe polish on leather shoes. Suede shoes can be brushed with a stiff brush. Water stains, ironically, can be washed out with water. Brush on the water in a thin coat, paying special attention to the edges of the water stains, and allow to dry.

Give clothing a new life with ironing and stitching up small rips and tears. If you can’t do that, look into iron-on patches.
The point is to take a little time and clean up your clothes rather than just giving them away and buying new ones.

Don’t Shun Used

Some people get all kinds of compliments on yard-sale outfits and consignment shop finds. Don’t forget your existing wardrobe as you shop for used clothes – you may find the perfect shirt to go with a skirt, or a top that will look great with one of your existing pairs of pants.

Don’t forget about online options, too. The internet offers an enormous selection of used clothing on eBay and other online venues. You can often find name-brand items for a fraction of the price, and sometimes they have not even been worn or worn only once.

Hair and Accessories

Save money by coloring your hair at home (if you color it). Put styling aids like curling irons and hot rollers to use rather than paying for a salon job. When you get your hair trimmed, see if you can get just a trim, nothing else. It costs a lot less. Experiment with styling your hair yourself, or with various up-dos.

Antique stores and yard sales are great places to find used but beautiful jewelry. You can often find unique pieces that will get you lots of positive attention. Think outside the department store!


Three Great Interval Training Walking Programs to Burn More Weight

Did you know that you can burn calories (and lose weight faster) by working out less?  Oh yes, RichMama’s – it’s true…read on…If you’re looking for interval training walking programs, you may be wondering what’s out there. Here are three great interval training walking programs to help you burn more weight.

Lunchtime Walk

If you want to prevent weight gain from your desk or office job, one of the most doable programs for working people is to walk during your lunch hour. Bring a pair of walking shoes to the office and go for it! Here’s how this program works.

First, bring your lunch to work or order take-out. If you bring your lunch, leave your desk at noon and head out. Choose a destination that’s about half a mile away. Walk briskly along the sidewalk and don’t stop for red lights; instead, jog in place or turn down the block. You may add on some distance but one of the keys to interval training is to keep up the intensity.

After about a minute, scale back and walk moderately to your destination. If you ordered take-out, pick it up and head back. If not, simply turn around and head back to the office. Repeat the same alternating program of intensity and moderation.

Treadmill Program

If you have a treadmill, you can do a great interval training program on it. As long as you can adjust the incline and your treadmill has a reliable timer, you can create an effective interval training program using your machine.

First, stretch well, focusing on your calves, buttocks and thighs. Begin with about 5 minutes of moderate walking on a 1% incline (or so). Then up the intensity to a steeper incline and walk hard and fast for 1 minute. Reduce the incline back to 1% and walk moderately for 4 minutes. Experts recommend you repeat this for 30 minutes.

Of course, you can do this at a gym or on a home treadmill.

Speed versus Moderate

If you have access to a track or something similar, you can do the interval program right in your neighborhood. In this case, you can’t control the incline outside, but you can vary the speed.

Once you’ve stretched, walk moderately for 5 minutes. Then speed up to an intense, rapid walk or even a slow jog. Do this intense walking for 1 minute, then go back to the moderate walking for 4 minutes. Again, repeat for 30 minutes.

Remember, during the moderate walking intervals, you still need to keep up a decent pace; don’t amble. Experts say you can tell you’ve hit the right pace when you could keep it up for 30 minutes if you wanted to.

How to Secretly Help Your Family Lose a Little Weight

Hey RichMama – want everyone to get on a health kick? Does your family groan and complain when you mention diet and exercise? Do they snort in disgust when you add a few more vegetables at the dinner table? Could you all benefit from losing a little weight? Most folks can, and truth is that sometimes helping your family get in shape requires a little covert action.

#1 You Start

The first step to beginning to help your family to lose a little weight is to start on a diet and exercise program yourself. If you need their support, then tell them you’re starting a program. Otherwise, just begin it and let them watch you lose weight and enjoy the results. Sometimes the best way to make a change is to be the change. They’ll see you feeling and looking better and it’ll help show them what’s possible.

#2 Don’t Preach

Preaching has the tendency to turn people off. They shut down and stop listening. Instead of preaching about what your family should be doing and why, simply start doing it. No discussion, only action.

#3 Modify Your Habits

Do you all sit down on the weekend to watch movies and laze about the house, or do you get outside and move your body? Start changing your habits one by one. For example, instead of heading to the mall on a Saturday afternoon, head to your local recreation center for some swimming or basketball. And on your way to the gym, don’t tell your family that you’re doing it to be healthy and lose weight. You’re doing it because it’s fun.

#4 Discover Their Interests

What does your family enjoy? What interests do your children have that you can take action on? For example, maybe your youngest is interested in rock climbing and your oldest likes drama. Take the family rock climbing one weekend and to the local arts festival the next.

#5 Make Veggies Part of the Meal

There’s a three-step process to getting your family to eat more fruits and vegetables. The first step is to hide the vegetables in plain sight. Simply start adding more vegetables to each meal. Serve a salad and green beans with your meatloaf. Serve fruit salad with breakfast and apple slices with lunch.

The second step is to really hide them. When the opportunity presents itself, hide vegetables inside the meal. For example, cauliflower or turnips can be added to mashed potatoes. Zucchini can be added to spaghetti and you can add a number of veggie purees to meatloaf, meat balls and other main dishes.

The third and final step is to buy more fruits and vegetables and less junk. If your family is hungry, those healthy foods are what they have to choose from. You may hear a little bit of grumbling in the beginning, but they’ll get used to it and eventually eating healthy will become a habit.

Helping your family lose a little weight isn’t easy. It takes a bit of strategy and planning. It definitely takes persistence. However, helping them live longer and healthier lives is certainly worth the effort.

Tweet – Covert tips and strategies to secretly help your family lose weight and get in shape. LINK

Creating a Work Wardrobe Foundation

Another post in our back to work series.  It’s time you get used to dressing for success – time to ditch the mom jeans and your hubby’s old t-shirt.  The RichMama wants to help you look like a million bucks….so get ready.  If you’re getting ready to work in an office where you need a particular work wardrobe, then one of the best ways to start is to create a work wardrobe foundation. This means you’ll get basic pieces you can mix and match, and then add to them over the coming weeks and months. As you start making more money in that office job, you can break away from your foundation and buy whole new outfits! But for now, you’re just starting out. Here are some tips on creating that wardrobe foundation.

Keep It Simple

Whether you are a man or a woman, keeping it simple as you begin your foundational wardrobe collection is a good mindset.
Here are two simple keys to an effective wardrobe:

* Neutral, solid colors
* -A good fit

Neutral colors are important in the beginning. You won’t have to worry about clashing colors and patterns if you stick with shades of gray, brown, tan, black, and white. Many include navy in the neutral category too.

For men, a white button-down shirt, gray cardigan, black blazer, and tan pants are a great start. Women can also benefit from a basic white button-down shirt, and a classic pants suit in black or navy. Add a gray knee-length skirt, black cardigan, navy blazer, and tan slacks and you’re well on your way to looking great in the office.

You’ll want another top to go under those basics. Men can go for a light blue button-down (you can pair it with a navy blazer and tan pants). Women might prefer something a little beyond the button-down, but make sure it’s still something basic and neutral, like a solid knit top.

A proper fit is essential to both genders. You can’t look good in anything if it doesn’t fit right, and you can get away with some less-than-conventional clothing options if they fit well.


Creating a work wardrobe foundation includes shoes. Again, think simple, solid, and neutral. Also think all seasons – hold off on boots and sandals just yet. Men might go for a pair of black, navy, and brown loafers and/or dress shoes. For women, the basic pump or flat (or a mix of both) is great for the office – solid black, navy, and brown.


To give your basics a new look as you mix and match, jazz them up with unique accessories. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hair clips, and pins are fabulous ways to give an outfit a whole new look. Think of a neutral business suit with colorful earrings and matching necklace, or a jazzy pin and matching belt.