Thursday, September 7, 2023

Nutrition and Exercise Based Strategies for Mental Health

 September 1st,  2023

Nutrition and Exercise Based Strategies for Mental Health


September 2023



September, 1st 2023                                                      Alissa Fast 

Almost all the food you eat directly affects the function of your brain and the quality of your mood. The higher quality foods contain the good things we need to nourish our mind. The lower quality foods can cloud your brain and cause inflammation. Lower quality food may



September, 1st 2023                                                      Alissa Fast 

Almost all the food you eat directly affects the function of your brain and the quality of your mood. The higher quality foods contain the good things we need to nourish our mind. The lower quality foods can cloud your brain and cause inflammation. Lower quality food may include: Refined carbohydrates, foods high in trans fats, sugary drinks, and canola oil. These kinds of food can affect the way the brain functions and can contribute to brain disorders like depression.

 There are so many reasons as to why we should be focusing on only putting good foods into our bodies. But let's focus on why it specifically can improve your brain. A balanced diet can help us think more clearly, help maintain a healthier gut ( which affects our cognitive ) , improves our energy levels and can help with sleep. 

What To Eat 

Gamma - Aminobutyric Acid ( Gaba ) is an inhibitory neurotransmitter which is a
chemical messenger in your brain. This is a process that is slowing
down your brain by blocking specific signals to your brain. 
It plays a major role in controlling the nerve cell hyperactivity associated
with anxiety, stress and fear. Some foods that you can eat that can contain
gaba are a variety of fermented foods, soybeans, spinach, broccoli and teas,
such as green, black and oolong tea.

Omega-3-Rich foods are known to support nerve cell membranes and serotonin. They travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain. This helps manage moods and with the anti-inflammation action,  It may also help relieve depression. These foods include: Mackerel, salmon, oysters, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans. 

Foods that are filled with antioxidants are especially important for brain health. As the brain can experience oxidant stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline and brain diseases. Eating foods that have antioxidants can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. 

Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants as it has more cocoa than regular chocolate as well as more minerals. The antioxidants in dark chocolate/cocoa have also been linked to decreased inflammation. Pecans also contain a high amount of antioxidants and are also a great source of healthy fats. 

Other ways we can consume foods that are high antioxidants is through berries. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are all filled with antioxidants and you can easily add these berries to a smoothie or a parfait for an easy healthy breakfast. 

 Drinks To Calm Your Mind  

Changing your diet can be challenging to do. If you would like to start with small steps you can start by sipping on tea or creating your own healthy juices that you can drink every morning. One option is Green tea, it's filled with antioxidants and contains compounds that sharpen your brain. Other great tea options include: chamomile, lemon balm, herbal and black tea. 
Some key Ingredients you can add to smoothies in a blender or make with a juicer would Include: Berries, turmeric, oranges, cinnamon, yogurt, kefir, bananas and spinach.   

Tips For Healthy Eating 

  • Try your best to avoid sugar-filled snacks as this can lead to energy levels going up and down

  • Stock up on ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables like: Baby carrots, mini cucumbers, bananas, clementines, apples etc. 

  • Avoid skipping breakfast. We need to eat breakfast to fuel our body ( and our brain ) 

Good overall nutrition is so important for our overall well-being. Having a healthy, well balanced diet can allow us to consume foods filled with the vitamins and minerals that our brain needs to function properly and can help improve our mental state. 


11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory (

12 best brain foods: Memory, concentration, and brain health (

A List of Foods with the Highest GABA (

15 Foods To Help Improve Mental Health | FOOD MATTERS®

July 2023

 Exercise & how it can help your mental health: 

By Kyle St James

When we talk about mental health, the first thing that pops into our mind is… medication. Taking pills to relieve anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, will help, but leaves the user at the mercy of the side effects. What if I told you there was a way to help your mental health inspite or in tandem with your drugs? I’m talking about exercise, and how it can truly change your life.  

When we exercise, we put our body through stress and struggle, so how does that help our mental state?  Exercising releases natural brain chemicals such as endogenous cannabinoids, Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Serotonin. These are what leave you feeling tired as well as that added sense of wellness and accomplishment after. It’s these feelings afterwards that drive our rehabilitation of mental health. Some days just get us down, and some places just fill us with anxiety, but by finding an outlet like exercise, one may be able to find some semblance of normality. There are plenty of other benefits that accompany this form of mental rehabilitation. For example weight loss, increase in strength, sleeping better, and many more. What about the psychological benefits of exercise? Aside from helping mental health relief, it can also give heightened self-esteem, the interruption of negative thoughts, and healthy social contact. 

There have been quite a few studies done showing how exercise correlates with mental heal relief. A recent study by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running 15 minutes a day, or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Keeping up with a consistent schedule can also prevent relapses as well.  Another study that appeared in the medical journal, The Lancet Psychiatry, found that a person has 3.4 poor mental health days per month. However, among those who exercise, the number of poor mental health days dropped by more than 40 percent. Unfortunately, even with such an obvious correlation, only 10 percent of psychotherapists talk to their patients about exercise.  

I’m not here just  to tell you about the benefits of exercise on mental health, I'm also here to show you what exercises can be done from home. Getting active and trying these exercises can help alleviate anxiety, depression, and other conditions we may be fighting against. Luckily there are two methods that encompass most of the exercises that will help us with mental health. Anaerobic & Aerobic

Anaerobic exercises you can do from home: high-intensity, shorter workout that involves quick bursts of energy.

Squats/Squat jump:

Squat jumps are just a squat that you jump into a standing position at-

home anaerobic exercise program. It can aid in boosting blood flow

and enhancing oxygen delivery to the muscles.


Jump rope:               One of the best aerobic exercises for beginners is skipping or                                                      jumping rope. It is a full-body exercise that mostly uses your arms
and legs.

Running on the spot as fast as you can:
a simple and effective exercise to increase heart rate. This is
also a suitable beginner warm-up activity

No equipment at home? Burpees can  help you
build muscle & burn a lot calories

Push ups: When done quickly or at your highest heart rate, push-ups
are a great anaerobic exercise.

 Try adding weight for a more intense workout!

Aerobic exercises you can do from home: Lower-intensity, slower-paced endurance activities.

Jogging on the spot: Is great for helping your body release those endorphins. The objective
is to run at a pace and build endurance. 

Walking:  Doing something is better than doing nothing in terms of physical activity, start small   
with 5 minute walks and work your way up.

Jumping Jacks:   A beginner cardiovascular exercise that increases the exercise intensity by jumping
higher or faster. Reduce intensity by performing slower or smaller jumping jacks.


Dancing to upbeat music can burn calories and doing it long enough will help your cardio.

Lateral Shuffles: Resembling a football or speed-skating warm-up, Shuffles are 

                                                               great for building the foundation of your cardio.

Minimally, we want to exercise for at least 15 minutes a day, while setting our max to working up a Sweat. Jot down how many sets of each exercise you would like to do. Then figure out how many repetitions for each. I suggest starting small, maybe only 5 repetitions and then work your way up to ten. That is our overall goal, to work our bodies until it releases those neural brain chemicals. Those chemicals that can help reduce disorders related to mental health.  Just by doing a few of these exercises for at least 15 minutes a day, you can help improve your mental health, and your overall being.  


Therapy Aid (2023) Using exercise in mental health treatment (guide).

Coming Soon!.........

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) for Mental Health!

D&D  for Mental Health is a program designed for teens 14 to 17 years to help improve social skills and promote positive behaviors. Social skills are the tools that enable individuals to communicate, learn, ask for help, get needs met in appropriate ways, get along with others, make friends, develop healthy relationships, protect themselves, and in general, be able to interact with the society harmoniously.

What is D&D?

The World's Greatest Fantasy Tabletop Roleplaying Game

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Dungeons & Dragons takes you and your friends on epic journeys. Become characters you create, battle deadly foes, uncover secrets, find treasure, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Contact us for details!



Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Mindfulness: The benefits of mindfulness for physical & mental health



The benefits of mindfulness for physical & mental health 



August 1st / 2023  

By: Alissa Fast 




What is Mindfulness? 

Mindfulness means to be in the present moment, in the here-and-now, with an accepting attitude and open mind. It can be practiced everyday within activities like cooking, meditating or walking. 

It is a practice tool we can all use to help calm the mind! 

Mindfulness is made up of two key ingredients, which are Awareness and Acceptance.  

Awareness is the ability to focus your attention on the experience of the present moment. To practice mindful awareness, simply: Give your full attention to whatever it is that you’re doing. If your attentions drifts away, try to bring it back to the present moment. 

Acceptance is the ability to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them. It is to observe and accept each thought. And simply seeing each situation for what it is.  






Combining mindfulness and acceptance can help people change their relationship and response to anxious thoughts and feelings. 


Mindfulness can be used to help cope with the negative emotions, behaviors, and thoughts that accompany depression  



 Mindful Walking  

The benefits of meditation walks  

Mindful walking is a technique that has endless benefits for your physical and mental health. It can help with being more grounded, balanced and aware of your own body and thoughts. It is an easy way to incorporate being mindful in your daily routine. 

While you’re walking, focus on what your body is doing. Do your arms sway with each step? Is your breathing changing? Become more focused on your surroundings. Try your best to open all your senses.  

There are so many different benefits from walking mindfully, including – blood circulation and improvement of digestion! 

Walking mediation can be used for people who spend a long period of time sitting down. This practice can get all the blood flowing to your legs and helps alleviate negative feelings.  

Walking after eating is a fantastic way to boost your digestion. It can help you feel less heavy and may also prevent constipation! 

If you’re tight on time and want to do something good for yourself today, just go for a 10-minute mindful walk, breathe in all the fresh air and experience the benefits that it will give to your body.