Foods To Help Treat Seasonal Depression

It happens every year. So many of us suffer from those winter blues. The days grow shorter and colder and all we want to do is bundle up under the covers and sleep. But for some people those winter blues are escalated into a more serious form of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) begins in late fall and ends in February before spring. 

So what causes SAD? Some experts believe that the increased hours of darkness affect a person's serotonin and melatonin levels (chemicals that affect mood). Others believe that vitamin D levels are disrupted due to reduced sunlight during the winter. Studies have shown that light therapy has proven successful in helping with SAD. In addition, just as with many illnesses, food can be a helpful aid in alleviating the symptoms of SAD.


3 foods that help ward off the winter blues:

1. Vitamin D is essential to maintaining our health and immune systems. Some studies suggest that as many as 7 out of 10 Americans don't get enough of this "sunshine vitamin" particularly during the winter. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiencies can contribute to osteoporosis, depression, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension.

Foods that contain Vitamin D are certain fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines, fish oils, fortified milk and egg yolks. 

2. Studies have shown that omega - 3 fatty acids may be helpful in maintaining a healthy emotional balance. 

Unfortunately, our bodies cannot make these essential omega-3 fatty acids so we have to eat them. Oily, fatty fish are the best sources of omega- 3s (such as mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, anchovies). Flaxseed, hemp, canola and walnut oils are all sources of alpha- linolenic (ALA)  omega-3 acid. 

3. In the winter and cold months many people crave carbohydrates. This may be due to the decrease in serotonin and carbs promote the production of serotonin, or the "feel good" chemical. This is why many people eat candy or chips when they are feeling sad. Instead of not eating carbs, substitute the bad carbs for good carbs.

Healthier carb options are lentils, beans, quinoa, edamame, millet, buckwheat, barley, couscous, sprouted whole-grain bread, brown rice and sweet potatoes.



Try to look past the coldness and darkness that the winter months bring. Instead, focus on the  joy, laughter and happiness that these months provide as well. These months are filled with special holidays that bring family and friends together. All of the happiness and love that is shared brings so much warmth into my heart and I hope that it does yours as well. When I think of winter, the cold and dark aren't the first things that come to mind. I think of my family sitting around the table during thanksgiving telling stories and laughing, the smell of grandma's delicious homemade pumpkin pie being made, family cookie exchanges, little kids running around the house on Christmas Eve, going to cut down our christmas tree with my family, going sledding down my aunt's huge backyard and drinking hot cocoa by the fire. These happy traditions are what I think of when I think of the winter. Everyone has their thoughts about winter but instead of focusing on the negative, let's make a point to remember all the happiness that the winter brings as well!





The Healthy Bride

I am SO excited to announce the launch of my new Bridal Wellness Coaching services!! This idea was inspired by MY wedding photographer and good friend, Lauren Mudrock. We had just attended a local networking event in King of Prussia together and were discussing ideas for both of our businesses. I love bouncing ideas around with her. She is such a creative women and her ideas truly mean so much to me. As we were walking back to our cars, Lauren looked at me and said "Lisa, why don't you market your business to brides." I looked at her like she had just told me I won a million dollars. I immediately got so excited! It was such a huge "ah ha" moment for me. At that moment I knew that this is exactly what I am meant to do!

As some of you may know, I will be getting married in May 2017. I love everything about planning a wedding! But I, also, know about the stressors that come along with it as well. I want every bride to enjoy every moment of planning their wedding without feeling overwhelmed and stressed. My goal is to help brides achieve their ideal weight for their big day and to feel their best not only physically but emotionally. I will push you! We will work together and achieve all of your health goals!

My Bridal Wellness Coaching services include:

  • A FREE health consultation where we will discuss what your health goals are for your engagement and long-term.
  • Twelve, 60 minute holistic health coaching sessions where we will implement a healthy diet, exercise and calming meditation practices to help relieve any stress especially closer to the wedding.  
  • A full pantry makeover.
  • A guided supermarket tour to help you know what foods are healthy and what foods to stay away from while grocery shopping.
  • Unlimited email, text or phone call support. I will check in with you 2-3 times per week to make sure you are on track!
  • Free resources such as articles, handouts, healthy recipes etc.

Lauren recently wrote this online and I wanted to share this with you. Every bride should feel beautiful and genuinely happy in their own skin and mind on their wedding day and during their engagement.

As a wedding photographer, I really want all of my brides to focus on making their wedding day as flawless and memorable as possible, especially when faced with the stress, fears, and insecurities that come with it. And the key to doing that is not what you think.

It’s NOT about everything going according to plan. It’s about feeling beautiful and genuinely happy in your own skin and mind, even when faced with the not-so-pretty side of wedding planning.
THAT is the key to a flawless wedding day.

I’m really proud that one of my own brides, Lisa, has decided to focus her energies into helping other brides-to-be get into the best physical and mental shape for their wedding day.

If you’re feeling a lot of negative stress surrounding your wedding day and need a productive and healthy outlet, follow this link to get back on the track that’s right for you :)
— Lauren Mudrock Photography

If you are interested or know of a bride-to-be that may be interested, contact me at Mention that you saw this blog and receive 10% off Bridal Wellness Coaching services!

Every bride deserves a lifetime of happiness! Let happiness and health start during your engagement:)




Accomplish Your Goals!

Setting goals is an extremely important and necessary part of life. Each one of us sets goals each and every day (sometimes we may not even realize it). Whether we decide to achieve and follow through with them is another story. Sadly, 92% of people fail to achieve their long term health goals. We all have done it. We have set a goal and then made up excuse after excuse not to take the steps to achieve it. Slowly that goal becomes a nice idea or a faint memory. Have you ever set a goal with another person? Was it easier to achieve? Of course. That other person holds you accountable for your goals and helps you along the way. You aren’t alone in the journey. As a certified holistic health coach I am here to be that accountability partner to aid in successfully achieving your health goals. I am a coach, a mentor, an educator, a friend, a leader and a supporter. I am here to help you become one of the 8% of people that stick to and achieve their goals.


What is a certified holistic health coach? Well, it is just that, a coach. So many people set health goals for themselves and don’t know how to get from point A to point B. Some people have had goals for years! But that is the problem, it is just a goal right now, they haven’t taken any steps to achieve that goal. What is the point of setting a goal if there are no steps taken to achieve it? That’s where I come in. I am here to help individuals set and/or accomplish health goals. Whether it be losing a few pounds, reducing food cravings, lowering cholesterol, solving digestive issues, increasing sleep, training for a marathon, maximizing energy etc. You name it, we will solve the problem and tackle that goal (or goals) together. I am a coach, mentor, educator, friend, leader and supporter. I provide unlimited support 24/7. Seriously though, I tell my clients to call, text, or email any time! If they need motivation to get moving and take a walk, I will walk with them (if they live close enoughJ). If they need a little motivation throughout the day, I will text, email or call them. If they need to meet up outside the office to talk about something that has been bothering them, I will. I share in the happiness that others get from achieving their health goals and I am there every step of the way.

So, what makes me a “holistic” health coach? Being holistic means that I take a look at all aspects of a person’s life and see how they are connected. Food, relationships, physical activity, career, and spirituality are just a few areas that I focus on. I help connect the dots between all the pieces of your life and your health. What in life is making you unhealthy? It could be a simple answer or, many times, it is something that someone may have never thought was a problem.

There is no greater feeling as a coach and client than when we have established a goal and accomplish it together! My job and my passion is to make the world a healthy and happy place. That will only happen if each one of us makes a conscience decision to ACHIEVE OUR GOALS!




Food For Thought: Tips on How to Pack a Healthy Lunch for Your Kid

It is that time again. The kids are getting ready to go off to school. I am sure you have been busy with back to school shopping but have you thought at all about what to pack your kids for lunch? Probably not.  It may seem like such a minuscule detail but lunch is a HUGE component to your child’s school day. So many children’s lunches are unbalanced and packed with sugar laden foods. Studies have shown that an unbalanced diet leads to behavior problems and that sugar plays a crucial role in acting out and lack of concentration in school.

Now you are probably asking, “what is considered a balanced lunch?”. Your child’s lunch should consist of a food item from each food group. I have come up with a list of healthy lunch foods that your children will love in each food category.



When choosing meat proteins, I recommend always buying organic. I know that organic is expensive; however, there are a list of foods that I always buy organic. Those consist of meat, eggs and the dirty dozen. Under USDA regulations, all organic livestock must be fed a diet free from synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals that could potentially cause a great deal of damage to our health. 

  • Meat protein- Be careful of lunch meat. Check the ingredients on all lunch meat before purchasing. If you don’t know what an ingredient is, don’t buy it. Also, watch out for any added sugar!
    • Tip: use grilled chicken (leftovers are great!) instead of lunch meat
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Nuts (if the school allows)
  •  Tuna fish
  •  Beans


Whole Grains

Always choose whole grain or whole wheat breads. Whole grain breads are not as refined and processed as white bread, providing more essential nutrients for the body.

  • Ezekiel sprouted bread, English muffins, wraps.
  • 100% whole wheat wraps or pita pockets.
  • Wheat alternatives such as rice wraps.


Fruits and Vegetables

  • Try to buy fresh and local fruits and vegetables if you can. I go to my local farmer’s market once a week.
  • Typically, children like fruits more than vegetables because they are sweeter. If this is how it is in your house, try giving them sweet vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, or corn.
  • If your kids like salads, throw a salad in their lunch once in a while.


Dairy (optional)

  • Cottage cheese
  • String cheese
  • Low sugar yogurt- BE CAREFUL with yogurt. Many yogurts have a ton of added sugar! Look for “unsweetened” on the labels. Tip: If a yogurt is a certain flavor 99% of the time it has added sugar.


Sweets (not recommended)

If your child just loves cookies and wants a sweet treat, make your own healthier cookies and freeze them for a tasty surprise once in a while ( Nutty Choc-Chip cookie recipe).



Additional advice and recipes:

  • Pack a piece of fruit or sweet vegetable instead of sugar rich snacks. Almonds are also a great snack and packed with protein and healthy fats to keep them full and not craving sugar.


  • Pack a water bottle instead of juice or soda.



  • Use avocado or hummus instead of mayonnaise or cheese for sandwiches.


  • Popcorn tossed with cinnamon is a great alternative to a sweet snack.


  • If you kids loved what you had for dinner the night before, pack the leftovers for lunch the next day. There is nothing wrong with that! As long as it is healthy.


  • Rice cakes with Almond or Peanut butter (no added sugar).


  • My Favorite Snack Growing up: Ants on a log. Almond or Peanut butter smeared on a celery stick with raisins or dark chocolate chips (ants) on the nut butter.


  • Cut up carrots, celery, sweet peppers, broccoli or cauliflower and pack a dip such as guacamole, salsa, hummus, or black bean dip.



One last food for thought: Remember that you are not the person eating this lunch. You can pack a super healthy lunch but if they don’t like the food, they won’t eat it. Have your children help pack their lunch with you. It is a great way to bond with them and they will be more likely to eat their lunch if they helped make it. Have fun with it! Get creative! Ask them what they would like and offer them healthy choices.


Have a safe, fun and healthy school year!


Until next time!