Feel-Good Foods — Simple Scratch Cooking

Linguine with Avocado and Pesto

It's no secret that cooking is therapy for many people. The kitchen is a place where I've always been able to block out the noise of the outside world. Recipes offer a sense of control and order in a world that doesn't always work the way I wish.

It's important to keep a healthy perspective though, especially at times when you feel most vulnerable. What we cook, and therefore eat, is as important as the act of cooking itself. When I start to feel a little down, I take a look at a cheat sheet my dear friend Cristie, a holistic health coach, gave me. Here’s a peek at some foods I keep on hand for when I need a quick pick-me-up.

Avocados: I love a nice smear of creamy, ripe avocado on baguette for breakfast, which means a boost of vitamin B and potassium. Both nutrients help lower blood pressure, which is affected by stress.

Chickpeas: Hummus, anyone? That's my fast, go-to snack when I'm pressed for time, but don't let that limit you. Chickpeas can also be the star ingredient in soups, salads and pasta, making it easy to get in an extra dose of vitamin B and dopamine (helps regulate mood and behavior).

Asparagus: You know that sleepy, feel-good vibe you get after scarfing down turkey on Thanksgiving. Well, guess what? You can get that good ol' tryptophan effect from asparagus (I know — I was surprised too!).

Swiss chard: Just in time for fall, this leafy green is packed with magnesium — a natural energy booster. Saute it, add it to a smoothie or mix it with other leafy greens when making your salad.

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