About three years ago, I went on what has come to be the cliche modern stay-at-home-mom trip … the literal mushroom trip. I started taking microdose capsules every few days to elevate my mood and get beyond my multi-year post-partum funk. I will tell you: I felt fantastic.
But, after about 4 months, I realized the mushrooms – while lovely – were a small part of the equation. The capsules I was using were bursting with B vitamins. When I took a capsule of mushrooms alone, I didn’t have nearly the same mood boosting effects. I still love a good mushroom dose on a regular basis. But, I’ve more importantly been mindful of my B vitamin consumption ever since, either ensuring to get dietary Vitamin B (ideal) or supplement as needed when my intake isn’t as solid.
When we talk about Vitamin B and mood, we are specifically talking about vitamin B1 (thiamine), B6 (pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamin), which are considered neurotropic and have a direct impact on our nervous system. These vitamins have been shown to boost energy, reduce brain fog, and help in the treatment of depression and other mood disorders. They also restore function of the parasympathetic nervous system, particularly when paired with adequate magnesium intake.
This basically means: get your vitamin B and you will feel better! When I cook for a post partum client, I’m trying to replenish essential vitamins and minerals in every dish. At the same time, I want to cook soft, warm, high fiber but easy to digest foods that promote easy digestion and elimination. Two foods in particular meet these list: sweet potatoes and butternut squash.
Ayurvedically speaking, butternut squash goes into the category of both Pitta and Vata balancing. Ayurveda has this way of talking about foods, almost in a code, but when you layer nutritional science on top, you realize it’s not too complicated! Vata balancing foods have high neurotropic and digestive qualities. That simple.
Anyway you cook your butternut squash will benefit your nervous system, but here is my favorite recipe:
Roast Squash with Kale & Walnuts
- 1 Butternut Squash (seeds removed and cut into slices)
- 4 Sage Leaves (chopped)
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
- 5 big leaves kale
- 1 cup Walnut Halves
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 400*
- Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds
- Slice the squash into 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick pieces. I like to leave the skin on! You can eat it, and it’s extra fiber.
- Rub squash all over with ghee, sprinkle with sage, salt and pepper
- Roast 20-30 minutes until fork tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally
- With 5 minutes left in the roasting, add the kale, walnuts, and maple syrup
- Remove from the oven and serve over rice, quinoa, or on their own
One serving gets you over 80% of your daily Vitamin A, 100% of your daily Vitamin C, and over 20% of each B Vitamin and Magnesium, with specific focus on 100% of your daily Biotin.