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


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

How to Create a Treadmill Walking Program to Lose Weight

A Richmama is also a FitMama – I’m not a big runner – I prefer the bike or walking.  But sometimes you can’t get outdoors to walk so here are some ideas for walking on the inside.  A treadmill walking program may be just the thing. Here are some ideas and suggestions on how to create a treadmill walking program to lose weight.

1. Set a Goal

You may have already done this, but setting a weight-loss goal is important to your success. Begin with small, doable goals, sources say, even if your ultimate goal is significant. It’s also a good idea to set time goals. Decide how much time you will spend walking each day and work it into your schedule. Experts recommend working up to 1 hour of walking each session.

2. Get the Right Treadmill

A treadmill with various settings is a good choice according to sources. You can vary the difficulty level by setting the treadmill to different grades. Uphill obviously provides a more intense workout, and level is a good way to cool down or start out. You will also want to vary your speed, beginning with a moderate walking pace that is comfortable and working up to a hard and fast walk uphill.

3. Set Your Pace

Interestingly (and surprisingly for some), professionals actually don’t recommend daily, vigorous exercise that challenges your endurance. This type of regimen has been shown to increase injury risk. Instead, alternate the intense workouts with moderate ones.

4. Dodging the Plateaus

As many people who have tried to lose weight know, weight-loss plateaus are a frustrating problem. To help avoid them, continue alternating the intense and the moderate workouts, but go ahead and up the intensity for a bit each week. Then make some changes by varying the intensity of your workouts and their length.

5. Stretch

While it’s not directly related to weight loss, if you don’t stretch, you will probably find walking more uncomfortable. You may even sustain injury, setting back your weight-loss progress. Therefore, warming up and stretching before you do your treadmill workout can go a long way toward promoting your weight-loss program.

6. Faster for Longer

The key to losing weight is burning calories, and experts point out that walking faster for longer is more effective at burning calories. As you increase the intensity of your workouts, remember that you’re working toward a sustained, fast pace that may really burn off those pounds.

Can Power Walking Make You Skinny

Ramp Up Your Walking Program with Power Walking

I hate running – everything jiggles too much and it’s very hard to breath. I much prefer walking – and it can still be a great way to lose weight and stay healthy.

Power Walking Form

To get the most out of your power walk, you’ll need to follow the correct form. If you feel self-conscious, either get over it or move to a private area! When you power walk, sources say you need to keep your arms swinging and your chin up, and get your toes pointing up with each forward step (some refer to this as keeping your heels up. Either way, the point is to get your legs and feet moving in a heel-ball-toe formation).

Big Steps

One of the keys to power walking is to take lunging steps. When you power walk, you are moving fast but not necessarily taking long strides (in fact, sources say you should aim for quick, small steps as you power walk), but you can intersperse this with extra-long strides or lunges as you go. The lunges give your legs an extra workout and work the muscles a bit differently than the shorter strides.

Tighten Those Muscles

As you boost your walking program and get into power walking, you can amp it up even more by squeezing key muscle groups as you walk. Your rear and tummy are two places where contracting those muscles while you walk can help squeeze the most out of your workout.


Some fitness experts advocate the use of wrist and ankle weights to add even more challenge to your power walk. You can purchase such weights at most fitness shops or even some major retailers that have a sports section in the store. You strap these weight onto your wrists and ankles, which helps increase muscle exertion and ultimately muscle tone. Some sources also say that the weights increase the number of calories burned per workout.

Think Speed

One way to help you in your power walking efforts is to walk as if you are in a great hurry. Think in terms of hustle, hustle rather than a pleasurable stroll. Listening to upbeat, active music while you walk can help. Sources say you should aim for 4 1/2 miles per hour, but this is not a speed that most people can achieve automatically. So make this a goal and start out walking as fast as you can (with the proper form), and work up to the 4 1/2 mph goal.