Food For Thought

After three years of studying Nutrition, Health Coaching, and food, I looked in the mirror and saw a new me.

The backstory

That was 1999. The millennium brought me happily into the world of alternative health practitioners, holistic healers, and believers through the incredible vital impact of real food on the human body and psyche. I’d become a Certified Nutritionist and Life & Health coach. I’m still here today.

Having left Houston, I was encouraged by the ‘tribe’ I’d found in Aspen, Colorado, to begin manufacturing “liquid nourishment,” 12 organic soups with Love as the first ingredient. Key here is nutritionally delicious foods, that nourished and helped heal my clients and me. In addition to the nutrition counseling and coaching, I sold my soups in Aspen and farmer’s markets all through the Roaring Fork Valley under my label of “McHealthy’s Soup’s ON.”

Nourishment influences us

Food nourishes us in different ways for different people. I learned that what schools us, feeds us, and leads to our happiness, is way more than what we put in our mouths. However, food is my main mode for feeling good and helping others realize that what we eat matters.

Nourishment influences us in different ways. It’s souls we encounter along the journey who nourish us emotionally and physically through their wisdom if our ears, eyes, and hearts are open. It’s also the places in which we find ourselves.

Since relocating to my new life and new kitchen, from where my online Zoom PAN-Tuitive classes now emanate; I KNOW that food is the key to happily nourishing me and those wonderful souls who are following me on Patreon and Zoom. These are interactive classes where we speak to “food for thought,” nourishing the mind and body, demonstrate food preparation, cooking, tips for safe shopping and storing of food, and how it all affects us emotionally, mentally, and physically

Food makes people happy, literally! Or it can bring us down. Yes, different foods contain “happy chemicals” that provide our brains and bodies with energy and nourish our happy feelings.

Fuel for thoughts

Some foods have inherent fuel for thoughts. Two (2) of the most well-known neurotransmitters or “happy chemicals” found in certain foods are serotonin and dopamine. They can and do satisfy part of our needs for a mood boost, contribute to happy feelings, and mental health overall.  Or a deficiency of serotonin in some people’s foods can lead to moodiness, loneliness, and depression. Dopamine is another one of the “feel good” chemicals in foods and in our brains. Interacting with the pleasure and reward center of our brain, dopamine, with chemicals like oxytocin, and endorphins plays a vital role in how happy we feel. It also affects movement, memory, and focus.

Here are a few of the foods that contain serotonin and dopamine and nourish our happy feelings:

  • eggs
  • cheese
  • dark chocolate
  • tofu
  • pineapple
  • salmon
  • nuts and seeds (especially almonds)
  • turkey and all animal products
  • apples and bananas
  • avocados
  • beets
  • coffee

I’ve always intuitively known that food is medicine, happily confirmed by Hippocrates and other brilliant minds throughout history, and my years of research and working with hundreds of people. Your health and your moods can be transformed for the better and maintained with both good food and good thinking.


If you need a ‘serotonin boost’ during a stressful day, first take a few moments to reflect on your past achievements and victories. Grab a hard-boiled egg with salt or a piece of dark chocolate (and suck on it slowly), or a hand-full of nuts and seeds along with a glass of water or herbal tea.


And, if you need an oxytocin boost, another chemical that’s stimulated by touch; hug somebody! A bit difficult in some cases today, but there’s always the wrap your arms around your shoulders and smile as you savor a mouthful of dark chocolate and think of how wonderful you are. There are several foods we can eat every week that also stimulate the production of oxytocin, especially the ones containing vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, and dietary fats:

  • fatty fish
  • mushrooms
  • peppers
  • tomatoes
  • spinach
  • avocados

Oxytocin, according to Paul Zak, known as “Dr. Love,” plays an important part in childbirth and breastfeeding, as “the glue that binds together healthy relationships. It’s reported to be behind all human virtue, trust, affection, and love.” Sharing the food and hugs, whether virtual or in-person, helps create our happy feelings!


Endorphins, known as the “natural answers to pain,” are “endogenous” or from the body. They are what we need when we’re feeling pain or need to feel pleasure. They are said to work similarly, and sometimes better than, opioid drugs, and since they are naturally stimulated, especially by laughter or sex, they are my preference.

Laughing can help cure “what ails ya” according to my grandmother and Norman Cousins. It’s also been proven to be part of treatments for cancer and other diseases that may be helped by what’s called “alternative therapy.” They are released by activities such as exercise, sex, getting a massage, meditating, and yes, laughter. Familiar foods that help release them are chocolate, chili peppers, and wine.

I’d sure rather suck on some dark chocolate and share a glass of wine than take an opioid for a headache, or to relieve stress, when appropriate. No wonder there is Chocolate with Chili pepper bars out there!

Foood is nourishment for body and soul

Yes, food and my kitchen are two of my favorite kinds of nourishment for feeling happy. I believe we all have our ways to nourish our bodies and souls that bring us comfort and happiness. Yours may be riding a bike and enjoying the beauty of nature or curling up on your sofa and relaxing and writing in your gratitude journal or reading a good book.  For me, I’ll grab a hot chocolate with cinnamon or heat a hearty warm homemade chicken soup and enjoy my ‘medicinal’ feast.

Contact me at and ask me for a Free Copy of my eBook: “YES, You CAN EAT WELL and EAT RIGHT and regain the Joys of cooking – a guide to buying organic and stretching your food dollar.”

Connect with Ricki McKenna on The Wellness Universe and walk away feeling better!

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