Clean Eating

Your One-Week Get-Happy Meal Plan

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You may have heard the expression, “Good health starts in the gut,” meaning, the state of your gut has wideranging consequences for your overall heath. This saying holds especially true when it comes to mental health, including anxiety and depression.

The lining of your digestive system is covered in nerve cells that send messages to the brain. Nerve cells, called neurons, communicate with each other via chemical substances called neurotransmitters (NTs) to control your movement, thoughts and feelings. When your NTs are out of balance, it can contribute to depression, anxiety, brain fog, fatigue and insomnia.

What’s more, the digestive system is home to both good and bad bacteria, which not only increase or reduce inflammation but are also responsible for controlling mood and anxiety. Researchers are finding that irritations in the gastrointestinal system send messages to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes.

What you eat deeply affects your gut bacteria, NTs, hormone production, energy level and mood. This meal plan features the ultimate balance of colorful fruits and vegetables, clean protein and healthy fats to help your brain manufacture the right balance of NTs to help regulate your mood.

Zucchini Lasagna with Cashew Cheese Pesto

SERVES 4.

HANDS_ON TIME: 30 MINUTES.

TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR, 10 MINUTES.*

* PLUS SOAKING AND COOLING TIME.

If you’re looking for a low-carb version of this comfort food, swapping zucchini for pasta is a no-brainer. Cashews are the base of the filling, so you can make the recipe dairy-free if you use nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan.

1½ cups raw unsalted cashews

1 lemon, zested and juiced

12 large fresh basil leaves +

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