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Fill your stomach. Nourish your brain.

Navigating the increasingly frantic demands of the winter season can get oneself hungry. Not for food coated in sugar and drowning in chocolate–but the kind that’s warm to the soul and filling to the stomach. Better yet, if it’s healthy and nutritional. The kind of food that resets your spirits from a cold, gloomy attitude to a warm, welcoming hello.

Can there be such a food that acts like a special stopwatch–allowing us to stop feeling the stress, tension, and depression that the long winter days can bring? Able to let us relax and simply catch our breath…happy to enjoy the moment while looking forward to tomorrow?

Tracy Hart, the Senior General Manager of Dietary Services and Environmental Services here at Carrier Clinic®, thinks so! Here’s her easy and delicious way to incorporate some comforting “brain food” into your day:

Whole grain black bean and avocado wrap

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla (8 inches)
  • 1 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Optional: 2 eggs, scrambled

Directions

  1. Warm tortilla on skillet over low heat
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the beans, rice, and spinach. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the beans and rice are warmed through and the spinach begins to wilt. Spread the mixture on one half of the tortilla.
  3. Top the tortilla with the cheese, avocado, salsa, and cilantro. Fold up both sides of the tortilla, then roll it up, slice in half, and serve.

What makes this comforting brain food?

Avocados have monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. Avocados also lower blood pressure. Hypertension is a risk factor for a decline in cognitive abilities; a lower blood pressure should promote brain health.

Beans stabilize glucose (blood sugar) levels. The brain is dependent on glucose for fuel. Since the brain can't store the glucose, it relies on a steady stream of energy — which beans can provide.

Whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain breads, and brown rice, can reduce the risk for heart disease

A recipe for real comfort and joy.

As easy to prepare as it is enjoyable to experience, the Carrier Clinic® family recipe for Low-Stress Living in the winter season centers around one very important ingredient: YOU, the giving, caring individual who can sometimes get a little overwhelmed by taking on too much at one time. It’s people like you who give this world its flavor…and when we take a moment to remind ourselves of our strengths, skills, and sense of worth, many external pressures can seem to magically melt away. If a simple food dish can help foster a low-stress living experience – bon appetit!

This winter season is an opportunity to commit to a healthy habit that you’ll carry into the coming new year. Pledge to yourself to get moving and exercise regularly; a promise to eat healthier and correct your counter-productive behaviors…and an entirely personal, realistic goal to live by your values, respect the beliefs of others, and appreciate the good things, however seemingly small, that come your way…like Tracy’s deliciously warm whole grain black bean and avocado wrap.

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