Happy Monday, everybody! Today we’ve got some exciting things going on – there’s a recipe for a super, densely-packed ultimate nutrition smoothie (no protein powders required), and we have the next segment of Mental Health Mondays with the amazing Haley of Brewing Happiness.
When I was developing the recipe for this smoothie, I knew I wanted something that had a little bit of everything – fruits, vegetables, fiber, protein, Omega-3, micronutrients, superfoods, and antioxidants. I also wanted it to taste good. That being said, however, the taste of this smoothie is a lot “heavier” than other smoothies I’ve made here (due to how much is in it). But no worries – I’ve left some optional modifications in the recipe that you can try if you’d like. Either way, I hope you enjoy this smoothie in good health! :)
Welcome to Mental Health Mondays with Well and Full! This series is intended to be an open, honest, inclusive, and respectful dialogue about mental health from people of all walks of life. Thank you so much for sharing your experience in hopes to further the conversation about mental health.
Tell me a little about yourself!
My name is Haley, and I’m the girl behind the food and health blog, Brewing Happiness. I’m a southern girl who currently lives in Brooklyn. I spend my days developing recipes, taking photos of food, and listening to podcasts. (My current fave is My Favorite Murder). Food and quality time are my love languages. When I’m not making food, you can find me at a concert, a spin class, or breaking out my sick dance moves. Lol. I have major crushes on Joe Biden and Ira Glass; so if you ever meet them, give ‘em my number.
So, where did your mental health journey start?
My mental health journey began in college, although it was in high school that I started walking down an “unhealthy” road. Let me clarify, I became a vegetarian in high school, a vegan in college, and many other iterations of outwardly “healthy” thereafter.
I started this journey to “health” not because I wanted to nourish my body, but because I wanted it to shrink away. I wanted to eat perfectly so that I could look perfect. I fell into years of restriction and disordered eating, all under the pretense of “being healthy.” This lead to many dark years of self-loathing, depression, and body shaming.
At the time I was living in LA, trying to be an actor and so lost in my own head that I could barely get out of bed. Something in me broke and I started to reach out for help. I saw multiple therapists, moved away from LA, went to self-love workshops, and spent years finding myself again.
I am thankful that I come from a family where my mother is a therapist, and my sister has dealt with anxiety and depression – so I wasn’t alienated. I was embraced. I was supported. I was loved so deeply at a time when I could not love myself, and that made all the difference.
My mental health journey is continual. I constantly have to fight the dark voices in my brain, and remind myself what it means to truly love myself. I have to learn and re-learn how to be my own friend. It’s part of why I started Brewing Happiness, as a place to explore those thoughts with others and give a safe place to anyone else who is struggling.
What do you think is something that most people don’t realize about mental health?
I think there are two kinds of mental health issues that people deal with – the kind that are emotional and tied to human experience, and the kind that are chemical. I have mostly dealt with the former in my life, but I think it is important to delineate the difference. Some mental health issues can be resolved with therapy, “clean eating” (whatever that means), and external love and support. Other issues will require a deeper dive – medication, more therapy, and more practical skills for managing mental health.
There is a chemical element to our brains that we cannot deny. It is something that I find relieving in some ways. It let’s us off the hook from thinking we would be better if we just powered through or gave up sugar, or whatever modern fix is preached. But, truthfully, our brains play a part in our mental health journey and we have to acknowledge that.
Even if you don’t suffer from clinical depression, the brain still plays a major factor in our mental health. Neuropathways operate the same way as a hiking trail – the more often you travel them, the easier they are to travel. So the same goes with negative thoughts. The more often you train your brain to think them, the more often they will happen. That might sound discouraging, but it works inversely too. It means that when you start to train your brain to think differently – more positively – it becomes easier every time.
What are some of the ways – conventional and holistic – that you work on your mental health?
This changes every day for me. I try very hard to listen to my body and what it needs, and each day is usually different. Personally I know that sleep is incredibly important to my mental health. I know that exercise (but not obsessively) is so helpful. I find that eating the best I can most of the time is helpful. But I also do things like take my thoughts for long walks on days when things get dark. I write about a lot of these things in the Soul Food section of my blog.
For me it was important to learn how to become my own best friend. That takes spending an incredible amount of time alone. It takes caring for yourself. And it takes faking that you love yourself until it begins to feel real. So those are things I continue to do on a daily basis.
Have you ever received or seen any stigma about mental health?
This answer goes back to one of the previous questions – I think often mental health (especially in the “wellness” world) is believed to be fixable by going gluten free and drinking turmeric milk. Often this wildly untrue. Yes, your physical and mental health are linked, but they are not the same. You can do everything “right” – take all the supplements, drink all the medicinal mushrooms – and still be clinically depressed. This distinction needs to be made and screamed from the rooftops. I find that there is a shaming of people who can’t overcome their journey by eating right and going to yoga. Some brains need more, and that’s just the truth.
Any final thoughts?
Mental health, like physical health, is a life long journey. You will probably never reach a destination, so try your best to enjoy the ride. Learn to walk side by side with your heart and mind. Do your best to forgive yourself. Heap as much kindness on to yourself as you can muster. Be gentle. You are growing. You are learning. Xo.
Thank you, Haley!
Ultimate Nutrition Smoothie
This is the ultimate nutrition smoothie - packed with fiber, natural protein, antioxidants, and micronutrients to fuel your body!
- 1/2 Cup Romaine Lettuce
- 1 Cup Kale
- 1/4 Cup Blueberries
- 1 Small Pear cut into chunks
- 1/4 Cup Parsley
- Squeeze Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Inch Knob of Fresh Ginger
- 1/2 Tbs Hemp Seeds
- 1/2 Tbs Flaxseeds
- 1 Cup Almond Milk
- Pinch Cinnamon
- 3-4 Spearmint Leaves
Combine all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend on high, until smooth.
Add a few ice cubes, if desired, or some water to thin if necessary.
This smoothie is densely packed with high-quality, plant-based nutrition. The flavor is likewise rather dense. If that's not your jam, feel free to halve the recipe and add in, say, a cup of pineapple and a few ice cubes for a lighter taste. Other add-ins include coconut water, a little cayenne (to jump-start the metabolism), or fresh turmeric root.
Quote of the Day:
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
– Lao Tzu