Sprouts Galore, Stress is in the Air, & Get Your Hopes Up

Dawn's Big Three This Week:

1) 🥑 Food For Thought:
Brussels Sprouts are overachievers too. Pile them onto your plate this week.

2) ☔ Make It Brain: 
Stress is contagious. Plan accordingly and read our tips below

3) 🥇 Motivation Station:
Science backs the psychological benefits of pining for the future

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Slip into your tackiest holiday jumper. Find a fireplace. Your calorie-free holiday snack has arrived.

🥑 Food For Thought 💭


Contrary to your inner child’s opinion, Brussels sprouts are not the enemy.

Their health benefits outnumber the toys on your nephew’s holiday wish list.

They owe their fame to their ratio of calories to vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients. (You can read about their ANDI score here.)

What’s inside counts

A single 1-cup serving of handsome sprouts will give you more than your daily vitamin K and vitamin C.

You’ll top up on vitamin A and B-6, enjoy some folate, potassium, and manganese AND score 4 grams of protein.

Veg against holiday burnout

This proud member of the cruciferous family also fuels your ability to enjoy/endure non-stop festive celebrations.

We could go on and on but we promised to keep this to three minutes.

Bitter is better

You might despise the sulphuric aroma but the compounds responsible for the bitter smell are also responsible for the nutrients.

If the odour turns you off, focus on the benefits of cleaning your plate.

Word to the wise:

  • Opt for small ones that look uptight like your prude relatives

  • Don’t overcook them. Go green to maximize nutrients and visual appeal

  • Double your portion and set a good example for the next generation

In a rush?

Fall back on this super easy Jamie Oliver recipe and “pimp them right up.” (His words.)

FOR THE NERDY: All things sprouts 

Make It Brain



Presents? Wrapped.

Suitcase? Packed.

Sprouts? Pimped.

Congratulations. You’re ahead of the curve. Stress won’t pin you down this year.

Or will it?

We have news from the University of Calgary. Regardless of how prepared you are, you’re not off the hookStress is contagious.

Stress: The Other Flu Season

Researchers wanted to see if stress had the power to transmit from one bothered brain to another, even if the second brain had no direct contact with the cause of distress.

Frantic Fur Balls

Researchers studied mice in pairs.

In due time, they removed one mouse from its buddy, exposed it to stress, and then set it back with its roommate.

Eventually, the unexposed mouse’s brain began to show a similar stress response.

This is stressing me out.

Relax. We’re telling you so can understand your brain’s response to those around you this holiday.

If you’re feeling frazzled and you’re unsure why, know that other people’s stress could be wreaking havoc on your brain.  

We suggest being picky when it comes to the company you keep.

But I can’t avoid everyone.

Neither can we. Here are some practical ways to dodge stress threats.

  1. Don’t go shopping. Too many anxious bodies in public.

  2. Distance yourself. Even five minutes alone will clear your head.

  3. Give yourself a curfew. Politely excuse yourself and pounce.

No one is immune to stress but with a bit of strategy, you’ll make it through in good shape for next week’s festivities. (Psst. Don’t forget to stock up on ingredients for Bloody Marys.)

FOR THE NERDY: Read the full report.

🥇Motivation Station 🏃‍♀️



Do you count sleeps leading to the holidays? You might have a leg up over your those who don’t.

Actively anticipating positive events is scientifically proven to improve mental health and overall well-being.

Think about it.

The team behind this study set out to see if merely anticipating a positive situation—not experiencing it—could influence well-being.

They wondered if prospective happiness would produce similar neural circuits to those that appear when people experience joy and happiness in real time.

Forty right-handed participants sat down to focus on an upcoming positive event.

MRI scans exposed the brain region associated with well-being lighting up like Harrod’s in December.

I’m left-handed.

We’re pretty sure your brain would light up too. For whatever reason, the researchers prioritized Righties. Don’t take it personally.

Think ahead.

You can kick-start 2019 by harnessing the power of anticipation to boost your mental state.

Maybe you’ll binge on cocoa and Die Hard this holiday.

Maybe you have hot plans for midnight on the 31st.

Or maybe you’re giddy to see the season bugger off.

Whatever you choose, dwell on what’s to come. It will literally change your mind.

FOR THE NERDY:  The complete study.

What We Love This Week

🎧 Dr. Hazel Wallace (a.k.a. The Food Medic) teams up with physiotherapist Brendan Stubbs to discuss how exercise is medicine for the mind.

📖 Lost Connections by Johan Harri. This book is possibly one of the best books on depression I've ever read, let alone this year. Buy it now, seriously.

📽This machine uses AI to empower people living with communication disabilities to interact with their world. Science, 1. Disease, 0.

You’re talking. We’re listening. 

It's just the type of thing I'm into - intelligent, succinct and witty. It delivers fresh ideas first thing to set me up for my week of mischief ahead.”

- Sam Conniff, Entrepreneur and best-selling author of Be More Pirate

The short-form content is insightful, interesting and always useful - optimisingmy focus and productivity for the week ahead."

-Sophie Scott, Founder of Balance

So there you have it. Brain Food on a Sunday, just before Christmas.

What did you think? Let me know cos all I want for Christmas is you(r opinions and feedback)✌️

Dan Murray-Serter, a.k.a. Dan Merry-Santa 🎅

PS. Wanna give the gift of Brain Food? Forward this to a friend