The sun has been shining in London! It’s supposed to be nice all week and up in the 60’s mid week, can I get a hallelujah for some Vitamin D!
We have different books left in our office kitchen for sale at a cheaper price, and one of them piqued my interest.
It had some pretty interesting information on what can happen to us during winter months when we can have lower levels of Vitamin D, which I think is currently affecting me!
Since Vitamin D and Serotonin (a chemical in our brains that controls intestinal movements, our mood, hunger, and sleep) go hand in hand, when Vitamin D is low, so is Serotonin. When our bodies are low in Serotonin, our mood drops and our bodies often experience cravings to increase these levels. The book goes on to explain “Many carbohydrate foods are rich in Tryptophan, the pre-cursor to serotonin, which could explain reaching for starchy foods, bread, pasta, and pastries which then cause imbalances in blood sugar levels which further increases appetite and cravings.”
Some good Tryptophan food sources that aren’t the sugary filled carbohydrates we crave, are turkey (as Thanksgiving has taught us) chicken, egg, yogurt, and cheese. The author suggests eating these foods with a little carbohydrate such as a banana, oats, potatoes, or fresh fruit juice to help Tryptophan cross the blood-brain and aid in it’s absorption, interesting stuff!
Another part that was really interesting to me since I know I drink way too much caffeine was the Coffee: Friend or Foe? section. This chapter was for people that have issues sleeping, me! and suggested cutting out caffeine. I struggle to shut off when I try to go to sleep and started taking Tylenol PM to help, but they just left me feeling really groggy all the time, and definitely didn’t want to get into the habit of that.
I never thought about how much caffeine I was actually drinking, 3-4 cups of coffee a day and 2-3 diet sodas = way too much! It makes sense as to why I always feel like my brain won’t shut off before bed with all that caffeine to keep it wired. Definitely need to make a conscious effort to cut back there. I bought some decaf coffee, so that’s a start!
So on to the Cranberry Pecan Rye Bread!
I followed this recipe, but cut it in half knowing I’d be the only one eating it.
Cranberry-Pecan Rye Soda Bread
Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F) and dust a baking tray with some flour.
In a large bowl stir together the flours, baking soda, salt, chopped pecans and cranberries. Add the milk and yogurt and stir together to form a cohesive dough (you many need a splash more milk to get it to come together).
Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape with your hands into a rough ball. Place onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with some extra flour and score a cross shape in the top of the loaf.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until darkened and the loaf sounds hollow when the underside is tapped.
Let cool for 10 minutes before tearing apart.
It’s a very heavy bread, so a little dab will do you! I loved the pecan/cranberry combo in a bread. It only has 8 ingredients, so it’s super easy and quick to make.
Do you have any noticeable diet/mood changes during the winter months? Does caffeine affect your sleep?