Good Mood Foods: Meat and Eggs

The focus today is on meats and eggs from a brain health viewpoint. If you are concerned about mental fitness and brain health, I encourage you to read on. I get it. Eating meat is controversial. I’ve previously addressed my own journey with meat in To Eat or Not Eat Meat.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Drew Ramsey, MD” source_title=”Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety” full_quote=”As a former vegetarian, I understand that many of us feel conflicted about eating meat…But that said, meat is a remarkable source of iron, protein, and vitamin B12. I’ve come to believe the age-old debate over whether we should or shouldn’t eat meat instead needs to evolve into a discussion about how we can eat meat in a way that is both healthy for our bodies and sustainable for the environment.” ” short_quote=”As a former vegetarian, I understand that many of us feel conflicted about eating meat”]

Your brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It consumes 20% of everything you eat. That food provides the energy and nutrients to support this incredibly complex organ. When your brain is deprived of the nutrients it needs, it will struggle to function. It will also affect your mood, focus and memory.

Sustainably raised meats (beef, pork, lamb and poultry) are rich in brain healthy nutrients:

  • Bioavailable (easily absorbed) protein
  • A balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids important for reducing inflammation and promoting brain health
  • Good levels of B vitamins (B1 – thiamin, B2 – riboflavin, B3 -niacin, B6 – biotin, pantothenic and folic acid), also especially hard-to-get vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E and the phytochemical carotenoid because they freely roam and eat natural vegetation
  • Iron content is good and more usable by the body than iron from any other food
  • Several other essential minerals, such as zinc, copper, selenium, potassium
  • Vitamin A levels are very high in liver. Beef or calf liver is known to be one of the most concentrated sources of nutrition available. Historically in many places around the world liver is often suggested as a medicinal food because of its high iron and blood-building nutrients
  • Vitamin D

It is difficult to obtain adequate protein on a diet that completely excludes animal products. This can also lead to deficiency in many essential minerals. Zinc, iron and calcium from animal sources are more easily absorbed.  Sustainably raised meats are better for our health and better for the environment. Buying organic foods from farmers and farmers helps the organic farming industry know there is a market that supports them.

Meat is not only beef.  And not just muscle meat (for example steak and roasts). A variety of foods provides a variety of nutrients. This prevents deficiencies that today are too common.

  • Bison
  • Lamb, consumed especially in Middle Eastern countries, is similar to beef in its nutrient makeup and high protein content.
  • Pork is a blend of nutrition between beef and chicken.
  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck, geese
  • Chicken contains vitamin A and B vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.
  • Turkey has a little more zinc, iron, potassium and phosphorus
  • Wild game such as deer and boar, game birds like duck and geese
  • Our ancestors and traditional tribes especially valued certain high-vitamin animal products like organ meats, butter, fish, eggs and shellfish

Pastured Eggs

Spend the money on pastured eggs – especially if you choose not to eat meat. These eggs come from chickens allowed to roam free, eating plants and insects like would in the wild.

They are the most complete, nutritious and economical form of animal protein available and are valued by traditional cultures throughout the world. Don’t skip the yolk. It is high in vitamin A, has B vitamins, vitamin D and vitamin E, calcium, iron, and zinc.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Kelly Brogan, MD” source_title=”A Mind of Your Own” full_quote=”Eggs are perfect food, and the yolk is a nutritional gold mine. Whole eggs contain all the essential amino acids we need to survive, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants known to protect our eyes. And they can have far-reaching positive effects on our physiology. Not only do they keep us feeling full and satisfied, but they help us control blood sugar.” ” short_quote=”Eggs are perfect food, and the yolk is a nutritional gold mine.”]

What to do?

  • Eat meat as an occasional and/or celebration food
  • Eat meat as a condiment in the way of cuisines around the world or blend with plant foods to make meatloaf and/or meatballs
  • Eat a wide range of foods from various meat groups on a daily and seasonal basis
  • Use herbs and spices used traditional to not only enhance flavor, but for health/medicinal purposes. They also improve nutrient absorption.

Here are some of my favorites

Along with these, the above chili, enchiladas and stir fry are staple recipes I’ve used for years. I usually make one of these on a Sunday and rotate through them.  As always, I make a double recipe to freeze half for another day.



Pork Tenderloin 

Do you have a traditional meat recipe?

Macronutrients for Health’s Sake!

Macronutrients are the nutrients we need in big (“macro”) quantities: carbs, fats, and protein. Each of these play a number of vital roles in constructing and fueling our bodies.

For optimal health, we need balanced diet of high-quality carbs, fats and protein. Intake will vary based on various factors such as activity level, stress levels, ancestry, genetics, digestive health, age, etc. The basic range needed to fuel function, support metabolic flexibility and ensure satiety is:

  • Carbohydrate 30 – 40%
  • Fat 30 – 40%
  • Protein 20 – 50%

Carbs: Are found predominantly in vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, grains and sweeteners. Aim for getting most of your carbs from brightly colored vegetables. Carbs are a:

  • Quick source of fuel for the brain and muscles
  • In the form of fiber, they provide fuel for our microbiome and ensure regular elimination of waste
  • Combined with fat and protein, carbs help us fight infections, grow new body tissue (bones and skin) and lubricate our joints

Fats: Are vital building block and source of energy in the body. Fats:

  • Absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
  • Regulate the speed we digest food, build cell membranes and certain hormones
  • Maintain optimal cognitive function
  • Protective lining for the organs
  • Important source of high-caloric energy ideal for long, low-intensity activity
  • Improves taste and increase satiety

Proteins: Have many vital roles myriad of roles in the body. Proteins provide building blocks for:

  • Tissues such as organs, nerves, muscles
  • Enzymes: specialized protein molecules that are the managers and catalysts for all biochemical processes
  • Antibodies: protein structures that help fight infection and destroy foreign invaders
  • Hemoglobin: special protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen around the body
  • Insulin and glucagon: hormones released to help regulate blood sugar and energy levels

There are some healthy plant proteins, but high-quality, humanely raised protein from animal sources is much more bioavailable and includes all 9 essential amino acids necessary for health.

What To Do?

  1. Eat real food
  2. Track your macronutrients to determine current rations: Use an app such as MyFitnessPal or Cronometer.
  3. Keep a Food and Mood Journal and jot down what you eat and how you feel 1 – 3 hours are each meal
  4. Use the following criteria to help determine appropriate bio-individual rations.
Right Macronutrient Ratio Wrong Macronutrient Ration
Appetite, Satisfaction, Craving You feel full and satisfied

You don’t crave something sweet

You don’t desire more food

You don’t get hungry soon after eating

You don’t need to snack before next meal


You feel full, but are still hungry

You desire something sweet

Feel like something was missing

Feel hungry soon after eating

Need to snack

Energy Level Energy is restored after eating Feel hungry soon after eating
Have long lasting sense of wellbeing after your last meal Low energy, fatigue, exhaustion


Hyper, jittery, anxious after your meal

Feel hyper but exhausted underneath

Mental/emotional wellbeing Feel re-fueled or restored

Uplift in emotions

Improved clarity of mind

Normalization of thought processes


Mentally slow, sluggish, spacey

Unable to think clearly and quickly

Unable to focus

Depression or sadness

Hyper-anxious, obsessive behavior

Anger or irritability


Food Sourcing:

  • Think variety: eat a diverse range of plants and animals. Aim for 5 different colors on your plate each meal
  • Think locally: this supports local farmers, reduces emissions and reduces the risk of contamination
  • Think seasonally: foods that are in season where you live to get a wider diversity of nutrients and help prevent food sensitivities
  • Think quality: If economically and geographically feasible, aim for the highest quality plant and animal foods possible. Animal foods best sourced from 100% grass-fed, grass-finished animals or pasture raised poultry. Seafood sustainable, wild-caught is best. For guidance on produce, use EWG Dirty Dozen , EWG Clean 15

For More Empowerment

Make a Difference: 4 Reasons to Buy Local Foods

To Eat or Not to Eat Beef

I Choose Real Food

What is real food?  Food that we have eaten for most of human history. One way to cut through all the confusion is to think of foods that come from nature. Foods that people were eating before the twentieth century when laboratories and machines started making food products, stripping out natural nutrients and in their place inserting artificial flavors, chemicals and other additives.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”right” source_author=”Nina Planck” source_title=”Real Food, What to Eat and Why” full_quote=”Real foods are old. These are foods we’ve been eating for a long time – in the case of meat, fish and eggs, for millions of years. We’ve been eating butterfat for at least ten thousand years. By contrast, margarine – hydrogenated vegetable oil made solid and dyed yellow to resemble traditional butter – is a modern invention, about a century old. Real foods are traditional. Fruits and vegetables are best when they’re local and seasonal; grains should be whole, fats and oils unrefined. From the farm to the kitchen, real food is produced and prepared the old-fashioned way. The traditional methods of farming, processing, preparing and cooking enhance nutrition and flavor, while the industrial method diminishes both.” short_quote=”Real foods are old. These are foods we’ve been eating for a long time”]

The marketing of this industrialized food has created tremendous noise and confusion about food consumption. It’s become not just necessary, but vitally important to learn where our food comes from and to make educated choices about what we eat.

Chronic disease – diabetes, cancer, heart illness and neurological disorders – are increasingly linked to fast food, junk food and processed food, and sadly have become norm in the US.  I don’t want a chronic or life-threatening illness, not for me nor for those I love. So I steer away from processed foods and seek out real foods.

[su_expanding_quote_book alignment=”center” source_author=”Kris Carr” source_title=”Crazy, Sexy Cancer” full_quote=”But of course I eat food, you say. Do you? Food isn’t made in a laboratory. Today we’re infusing our food with chemicals, hormones, pesticides and countless other toxic substances. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is tap dancing on the last nerve of our health. When we make the connection between what we consume and how we feel, a great transformational shift can occur. Most people live to eat and don’t eat to live. We wake up sick and tired on a daily basis. Allergies, high cholesterol, low-level depression and chronic diseases are just accepted parts of aging.” short_quote=”But of course I eat food, you say. Do you? Food isn’t made in a laboratory”]

After a huge amount of research, I’m convinced that the simplest way to make food choices is to go back to real foods; foods that are more a product of nature “than a product of industry”

  • Foods that don’t need ingredient labels: fruits, vegetables!
  • Whole foods that typically only have 1-ingredient like “brown rice”
  • Packaged foods generally made with no more than 5 unrefined ingredients
  • Organic dairy products like whole milk, unsweetened yogurt, eggs, and cheese
  • Breads and crackers that are 100% whole-grain
  • Sustainably wild caught seafood
  • Humanely raised meat: chicken, pork, beef, and lamb
  • Dried fruits, nuts, and seeds (nuts and seeds are better raw)
  • Natural sweeteners: honey and maple syrup

A fantastic resource if the idea of real food is new for you, is

I choose to eat the way people did for thousands of years. My goal is that 70-80% of the time I cook/eat a variety of fresh whole foods provided by nature:

  • Vegetables and fruits– preferably seasonal and local. To minimize pesticides in our food, I use the Environmental Working Group: Dirty Dozen as a guide. If I can’t buy organic, I buy the foods on the “Dirty Dozen” list only occasionally and always wash them well, using a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
  • Beans – Dried beans are one of the most cost-effective, nutrient-rich foods we can enjoy. Once a week I cook a big pot of beans and, once cooled, put them in mason jars and freeze whatever won’t be used that week. Canned organic beans (garbanzo and either white or black bean) are pantry staple. I can always make a quick last minute dinner with canned beans, or a hummus/bean dip when friends drop in for happy hour.
  • Whole grains – quinoa and brown rice are pantry staples. Buying in bulk at the grocery store is usually most cost-effective. I add an alternate another grain for variety, usually buckwheat or bulgur.
  • Sustainably wild caught or responsibly farmed fish
  • Responsibly raised meats: Pastured pork and poultry. Grass-fed beef. It’s more expensive, but we eat meat just a couple times a week.
  • Organic dairy (milk and yogurt)
  • Unrefined fats: butter, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil (when I can find it) and expeller-pressed canola oil
  • Nuts and seeds rather than cheese, and I buy them raw. Roasted nuts generally are salted, and apt to go rancid.

I believe eating healthfully is all about moderation and variety. I’ve found that the best way to stay the course (eating healthfully 70% of the time) is to be flexible. Birthday parties and special celebrations are meant to be enjoyed. And yes, I think it’s okay to occasionally indulge (guilt-free!) – some of my favorite indulgences: buffalo wings, Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream (actually ANY Haagen Dazs ice cream!), croissants, and anything chocolate. The key word being occasionally.

Organic and sustainable real food is more expensive, but the more of us who choose this path, the more accessible such food will become, and the greater the impact will be on the health of our planet, but that’s another story for another day.

New to Real Food?

100 Days of Real Food

100daysofrealfood: Answers To Your Real Food Questions


Budget Tips for Real Food

100daysofrealfood: Real Food Tips, 12 Ways to Keep it Cheap

100 Days of Real Food: How to Afford Real Food on a Budget

Dr. Hyman: Eat Healthy on a Budget

Environmental Working Group: Good Food on a Tight Budget