Foods That Can Improve Your Mental Health

By Dr. Robert Kiltz

The link between diet and mental health is a relatively new discovery, but not all that surprising considering the way our bodily systems are all interconnected.

Interestingly, the majority (over 95%) of the body’s serotonin (a.k.a. the feel-good hormone) is produced in the gut. There’s a whole network of neural tissue lining our guts that make up the enteric nervous system. This is why the gut is often referred to as “the second brain” and is so intimately linked to mental health. There’s a lot more going on in the G.I. tract than just digestion. We’ve all seen this first hand. Anxiety and nervousness can produce “butterflies” in the stomach or a slightly nauseous feeling. This is the brain-gut connection at work signaling a physiological stress response. The gut responds to the brain, but it goes the other way too; our brain also responds to signals from our gut. Scientists have discovered that about 90 percent of the fibers in the vagus nerve, the primary visceral nerve, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. Our “second brain” also plays a huge role in immune response.

Inflammation is our body’s natural immune response to help protect and heal, but when it doesn’t turn off and simmers at a chronic level, inflammation begins to damage healthy cells, contributing to a long list of diseases, including infertility, which I’ve spent my career as a reproductive endocrinologist trying to defeat. Inflammation is often a direct result of the foods we eat—too much sugar, too many carbs and processed foods, not enough fat—and how frequently we eat them (which is why I recommend giving intermittent fasting a try).

Foods to Improve Mental Health

A high-fat, low-carb diet helps to reduce inflammation and balance hormones both of which can improve mental health. When the body is deficient in certain vitamins and proteins, it can disrupt moods and contribute to mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Eating foods rich in vitamins and proteins is a smart choice because they are believed to play a role in the brain’s production of serotonin, dopamine, and other brain chemicals that contribute to and control moods. Foods rich in Vitamin B (like liver and red meat) help combat depression and irritability. Iron-rich foods help with the production of brain chemicals that regulate mood.

Here’s a list of diet mainstays that can improve your mental health and a lot of other medical conditions too, including infertility.

Liver & Steak
Liver and steak are great sources of protein and fat, and just so happen to be the best source of vitamins, packing an even bigger nutritional punch than traditional “superfoods” like blueberries or kale.

Liver is a premium source of vitamins B12, C, E, D, Co-Q10, Zinc, Folate, and fat. Steak is a close runner-up in nutrients.

Eggs
Eggs are another superfood packed with nutrients in a perfect little package: protein, Vitamin A, D, E, K, B12, folate, and even the beneficial antioxidant lutein. Eggs are also a rich source of choline. The body needs to obtain a majority of its required choline from diet, as it can only naturally produce a limited amount.

Salmon, Sardines, and Other High Omega-3 Fish
Salmon is an oily fish that is packed with protein, omega 3s, and essential fatty acids. Interestingly, depression appears to be less common in countries where people eat large amounts of fish. Two omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found primarily in fish oil — are thought to have the biggest potential to benefit people with mood disorders through two primary mechanisms: (1) omega-3s easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain; and (2) they have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help relieve depression. Children and adolescents with depression may also benefit from omega-3 supplementation.

Butter & Other Full-Fat Dairy
Natural fats from butter, cream, whole milk, and full-fat yogurt are needed to keep the lymphatic system running. Eating fat lubricates the lymphatics and filters out harmful pathogens to protect the body from illness-causing invaders. The lymphatic system is critical to maintaining optimal health. It is part of the circulatory system and the immune system. Besides being a rich source of cholesterol, full-fat dairy also contains many nutrients.

Berries
Berries are a healthy, sweet, and sometimes sour, tasty snack. They are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that are known to combat inflammation. Berries are also high in folate and vitamin C.

Beans & Lentils
Beans and lentils have vitamin B, which can help improve depression and irritability. They also contribute to the production of serotonin.

Our Brains Need Fat & Cholesterol

Despite the popular misconception, our bodies need fat. It’s the building block for our brains, and our best source of cellular energy. Eating fat is one of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation and improve immunologic function. The human brain is nearly 60% fat and requires both saturated and unsaturated fats to provide a balance of structural integrity and fluidity to its cells. More specifically, our brains need EPA and DHA–neither of which exist in plant foods. EPA has an anti-inflammatory effect and helps with healing. DHA serves many functions. It helps with the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits. It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences. But most importantly, DHA is critical to the development of the human cortex—the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking. Without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—essentially what makes us humans—would be impossible.

Cholesterol is essential too. It gives our cells the required stiffness and stability and is vital for the production and function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Low cholesterol levels have been linked to depression and aggression. Antidepressants often don’t work for patients who are eating a vegetarian diet. Cholesterol acts as a precursor to important hormones that help us deal with stress and protect the body against cancer and heart disease.

This is why fatty meats, fish, and full-fat dairy all top the list of foods that contribute to good mental health. These combined with other low carb and low-sugar foods are building blocks for good physical and mental health.

Foods to Avoid

And if you’re wondering which foods to avoid, I recommend limiting or removing the five biggest inflammation producers in our diets: plant toxins, vegetable & seed oils, carbohydrates & added sugars, trans fats, and too much alcohol. These foods expose people to high levels of known inflammatory compounds.

Don’t Forget Your Supplements!

It can be challenging to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Even the healthiest eaters are likely low in some vitamins and minerals, particularly those who consume fruits and vegetables as the bulk of their diet. Supplements are a great way to support total body and mental health.

My Nutritional Solutions line of supplements was designed with just this purpose in mind: to provide a convenient, high-quality source for essential vitamins, minerals, collagens, proteins, growth factors, unique enzymes, and co-factors that only exist in tissue specific organs. We use superior, grass-fed cattle as our primary source. State-of-the-art freeze drying and hydrolysis processing techniques ensure optimal nutrient preservation and bioavailability. Dr. Kiltz’s Nutritional Solutions products are hormone, pesticide, and GMO- free and contain no fillers, flow agents, or other additives. I recommend my Grass-Fed Beef Liver, Grass-Fed Organ Meats, and Grass-Fed Connective Tissue supplements. These all come in capsule form to make getting the very best nutrients easy and convenient.

About Dr. Robert Kiltz:
Dr. Robert Kiltz is a board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist, and Founder and Director of CNY Fertility, one of the largest and most dynamic fertility centers in the country, featured in the Wall Street Journal, Today Show, and CNBC for helping shape the future of fertility medicine. Dr. Kiltz has earned recognition outside of the fertility world for pioneering the holistic health movement and the keto lifestyle. He is the author of several books including The Fertile Feast and Daily Inspirations, and his latest, Living Your Best Life: How to Think, Eat, and Connect your Way to a Better Flow which released April 2021. In addition to his own media outlets, Dr. Kiltz appears regularly on numerous popular blogs and has shared his views as a TEDx speaker.

For more information, check out www.doctorkiltz.com or follow Dr. Kiltz on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Cooking with Disney Villains

When I posted this book on social media, you guys were EXTREMELY interested. I think this proves that one of the best ideas Disney has had is creating a “villains” franchise. It certainly took them long enough to realize that princesses are nice, but villains are where the fun is to be found. Obviously, Insight Editions and author Julie Tremaine agree because they published and wrote, respectively, “Disney Villains Devilishly Delicious Cookbook: 50+ Dishes Inspired by Your Favorite Villains, Including Ursula, Scar, and Cruella De Vil.”

Let us tell you the thing you most want to know first, what villains are represented in this book?
Tamatoa from Moana
Flotsam and Jetsam from The Little Mermaid
Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog
Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
Iago from Aladdin
Gaston from Beauty and the Beast
Lady Tremaine from Cinderella
Scar from The Lion King
Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians
Ursula from The Little Mermaid
Hades from Hercules
Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland
Mother Gothel from Tangled
Jafar from Aladdin
Madam Mim from The Sword in the Stone
Mr. Smee from Peter Pan
Evil Queen from Cinderella
Captain Hook from Peter Pan
Chernabog from Fantasia
Shere Khan from The Jungle Book
Anastasia and Drizella from Cinderella

Yes, villains new and old are well-represented throughout the book. The variety of food and beverage recipes is just as diverse. Tremaine does an excellent job of offering beginner friendly recipes, such as Jolly Roger Brisket, Flotsam & Jetsam Party Mix, and Hypnotizing Snake Staffs, but also supplying more complicated recipes for chefs looking for a challenge, such as Voodoo Top Hat Cake, Huntsman’s Pie, and Poor Unfortunate Rolls.

Obviously, I needed to try a recipe and I chose a beginner friendly recipe that I thought would go well at a barbeque that I was invited to, Horrible Wholesome Sunshine Salad. Its name is based off a quote Madam Mim says in The Sword in the Stone, “I hate sunshine! I hate horrible wholesome sunshine! I hate it!”


As you can see, as promised it was a simple recipe that does not require too much in the way of ingredients. Unfortunately, my local grocery store was lacking in citrus diversity and was out of fresh mint, so I was forced to use dry.


That said, this recipe came out great! Light, refreshing, healthy, and went great with all the assorted grilled meats.

Is “Disney Villains Devilishly Delicious Cookbook” by Julie Tremaine a necessary cookbook? Not really. However, if you love Disney villains and cooking, Tremaine’s book is absolutely worth every penny!

You can learn more here.

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Devil’s Margarita

As you might remember, over the course of last year I read and reviewed several books about magic in cooking and drinking. 3 of my favorite things, food, booze, and magic! A while back I stumbled across a cocktail recipe on Liquor.com that sounded good and had a very cool name, Devil’s Margarita. I thought, why not try it out and apply a little of what I learned from all those books to find deeper meaning.

So, what goes into a Devil’s Margarita?

Ingredients
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce red wine
Garnish: lime wheel

Steps
Add the tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Float the red wine on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon so it pools on the surface of the drink.

Garnish with a lime wheel.

This is delicious, and obviously super bad ass in appearance. That alone is enough reason to try it yourself, but how about we apply what we’ve learned from all those books to justify drinking it even more?

Tequila, which SO MANY people like to bitch about and avoid, is thought to have protection, banishing, and purification properties. Everyone quit being such stinkers when it comes to tequila! Lime is associated with friendship, luck, hex breaking, and act as an anti-depressant. Wine provides inspiration, prosperity, and love.

If you enjoy cocktails, I suggest checking out Liquor.com.

And if you want to have a whole lot of fun, I’d suggest any and all of these titles:

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These are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use this link to purchase the book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews

If you’ve learned one thing by now, it’s that Becky likey excuses to eat and drink. Fortunately for me, 2020 has delivered ample excuses and we’ll be talking about the latest one today, “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews: Herbal Potions, Magical Teas, and Spirited Libations” by Amy Blackthorn.

You may remember that not too long ago I reviewed “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. It would be silly to not acknowledge there are many similarities between that book and “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews”. Both provide ample information to make you a competent home bartender, and both provide enough witchy info to effectively add magic to your drinks.

Where the two books diverge in a big way is what drinks are offered. Where “Witchcraft Cocktails” is strictly cocktails, “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews” focuses on almost anything you can drink. Obviously, there is booze involved with many of the recipes, but Blackthorn goes out of her way to provide non-alcoholic options as well. You’ll find cocktails, mocktails, teas, kombucha (which is low enough in alcoholic content that I consider it non-alcoholic), and more!

Of course, when it comes to me, I opted to make a little booze-based magic! I tried my hand at the Bishop, a recipe that goes back to the 18th century and generates success and prosperity. It calls for red wine, which I happened to have a bottle kicking around in need of using up. Along with the wine is orange juice, lemon juice, and simple syrup.

It is delicious! I’ve made it many times since my first attempt. It is sweet and smooth. I highly recommend it!

Amy Blackthorn’s “Blackthorn’s Botanical Brews” is wonderful addition to the expanding category for food and beverage-based magic. As far as I’m concerned, it is a must own.

You can learn more here.

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A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance

What can I say? I love food. I also happen to love Dawn Aurora Hunt, owner of Cucina Aurora, purveyor of fine olive oils and other treats. When I found out that she had a cookbook coming out, I literally tracked down the publisher and emailed them out of the blue asking for a copy. And they delivered, thanks Tiller Press! I expected a standard cookbook from “A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance,” typical aphrodisiac type stuff, but it is a whole lot more.

“A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance” is an amazing exploration of love, food, and the author’s journey with both. The book is divided into 3 parts: Self-Love, Attracting Love, and Rekindling the Fires. All of this covers such topics as honesty, self-care, building friendship, dating, attracting romance, and more. Of course, along with all of that are recipes ranging from beginner to advanced. And you know what happens now, don’t you? I tell you about the recipe I tried!

I went with something easy and delicious sounding, Lemon Ginger Tonic. “This tonic with purifying lemon, heart-warming cinnamon, and lively ginger will you with warmth and healing energy. With each sip, envision negativity and hurt melting away.”


This recipe was super simple and amazing tasting! Seriously, a winter addiction may be at hand because this tastes like the best mulled cider you ever had in your life…. without the cider! Take ingredients and dump them in a glass, then top with boiling water! I had a killer headache when I made this and hand to god, this with a couple of ibuprofens mellowed me right out and I slept like a baby that night.

Owning a copy of “A Kitchen Witch’s Guide to Recipes for Love & Romance” by Dawn Aurora Hunt is a guarantee of experiencing a life with more love and delicious food.

You can learn more here.

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Witchcraft Cocktails

If you have read the website for any time at all, or follow me on social media, you know that I am a lady that loves to eat and drink. I love it even more when my website enables my vice! Entering from stage right is, “Witchcraft Cocktails: 70 Seasonal Drinks Infused with Magic & Ritual” by Julia Halina Hadas. That is right, witchy shit meets booze. I am here for it.

“Witchcraft Cocktails” is a beautiful blend of bartending and witchcraft. Hadas does an excellent job giving the reader bartending 101. She provides an overview of spirits, bar tools, and techniques. You can become a competent home bartender with everything provided. This is followed with a nice witchcraft overview. It is hard to take such a vast and diverse topic such as witchcraft and boil it down to a manageable introduction. Hadas does an admirable job of covering basics enough to provide the reader with the knowledge they need to get the most of out of the cocktail recipes provided.

Since we are dealing with witches, the cocktail recipes that follow are divided up by season. They range from new versions of classics and some original recipes. I drink a lot of cocktails, but I am not an expert! But let’s answer the question you all have; did I make a drink out of the book? Of course!

Although an enthusiastic consumer of food and drink, I’m also lazy. So, I chose a cocktail that merely required some juice purchases, the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise. And while on the topic of laziness, “Witchcraft Cocktails” has a recipe to make your own grenadine, which I skipped and used my store bought. According to Hadas, “Blending the rejuvenating agave plant spirit of tequila, the brightness of lemon, and fresh, smile-inducing orange, this cocktail will put a pep in your step.” (Just remember with tequila, you may first have a pep in your step, but if you over imbibe it will put you down.) This recipe evokes the energies of youth, creativity, and purification. Each recipe includes a way to amp up its effectiveness. In the case of the Revitalizing Tequila Sunrise she suggests having citrine in hand while enjoying the cocktail. (Believe it or not, this crystal lover does not own any citrine.)

Full disclosure, I did not feel rejuvenated after drinking this. However, I did not use one lick of fresh juice in it, and it was still DELICIOUS. What is nice about “Witchcraft Cocktails” is that a drink can be as simple (me!) or complex as you want to make it.

If you are a practitioner of witchcraft that enjoys the occasional cocktail, or a cocktail drinker looking for a new perspective, “Witchcraft Cocktails” by Julia Halina Hadas is for you!

You can learn more here.

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Grab Your Wallet

Are you frustrated? Angry? Feeling helpless? I know I am. As an individual, I wield extremely limited political power, and as an average American I have more debt than available funds to spend for political influence. That’s why, shortly after Donald Trump was elected, I started following the Grab Your Wallet campaign.

Given that in our country corporations are people, these corporations basically power everything that happens in the United States. Our laws, our regulations, and our elected officials are insanely influenced by what these “people” want. As you might suspect, what corporations want is to make money, as much as possible. What Grab Your Wallet does is keep a real-time, publicly accessible list suggesting companies to boycott until certain specified actions are taken to get removed from the list. That’s right fellow flat broke friends, you can make a difference by joining others in NOT SPENDING MONEY!

To learn more about the Grab Your Wallet Alliance, I encourage you to visit their website. I went to reacquaint myself with where I shouldn’t be spending money and had a few shocks. Let’s just say my makeup and skincare dollars will be getting spent in a different way for the foreseeable future. Here’s a glimpse at some of what I found.

Estee Lauder (and its subsidiaries: Aerin Beauty, Aramis, Aveda, Becca, Bobbi Brown, Bumble and Bumble, Clinique, Darphin, DKNY, Donna Karan, Dr. Jart, Estee Lauder, GlamGlow, Jo Malone, La Mer, Lab Series, La Labo, MAC, Michael Kors, Origins, Rodin olio lusso, Smashbox, Tom Ford Beauty, Too Faced): In 2017 Ron Lauder who sits on Estee Lauder’s board gave $100,000 to Trump Victory in 2017. Grab Your Wallet until they fire Ron Lauder and state that remaining EL execs do not have plans to contribute to any of Trump’s reelection-related efforts, including inauguration celebrations, should he win a 2nd term. Statement can also say “any presidential candidate.” Should it fail to make such a stmt., company will earn a permanent spot on the #GrabYourWallet list.

Louis Vitton (and other LVMH brands: Guerlain, Acqua Di Parma, Parfums Christian Dior, Givenchy Parfums, Benefit Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Fresh, KVD Vegan Beauty, Fenty Beauty, Cha Ling, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Ole Henriksen, Bite Beauty, and Kendo Brands…..also, Sephora!!!!!): French businessman and chairman of LVMH—Bernard Arnault—did a photo op with the Trump administration at a Louis Vuitton workshop in Texas. Grab Your Wallet until LVMH issue a statement indicating LVMH regrets the decision to participate in a photo opp w/ the Trump administration & will refrain from participating in photo opps with political candidates / politicians for the remainder of the 2020 election cycle.

Muy! Companies (which owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut): Muy! Companies CEO James Bodenstedt has donated more than $400,000 to Trump reelection efforts. Muy! is the franchiser of hundreds of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Wendy’s locations across the United States. Grab Your Wallet until they fire Muy! CEO James Bodenstedt.

Wendy’s: The billionaire chairman of Wendy’s, Nelson Peltz, held a $10 million dollar fundraiser for Trump in February. Grab Your Wallet until, given that Wendy’s Chairman of the Board has already participated significantly in Trump’s reelection efforts, the only way for Wendy’s to get off the boycott list is for any top executive who has assisted and/or donated to Trump to no longer be involved w/ the company.

Wegman’s: They carry Trump wine. Grab Your Wallet until they stop carrying Trump brand goods.

You can find the full, up to date list here. They also provide guidance as to how to reach out to this companies to respectfully express displeasure, and a point of contact for any suggestions of other companies that should go on the list.

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Matcha Lattes and Giveaways!

You always read about the benefits of green tea and/or matcha green tea. I enjoy both, but for a long time when I wanted to “treat” myself I would get a Matcha Green Tea Latte from Starbucks. I do prefer matcha because you’re consuming the green tea, as opposed to just steeping leaves in hot water.

The thing is, as a chronic pain sufferer, I’m not that physically active. I’m also in my 40’s. What I am getting at is, I need to watch my calories. Even with making all kinds of substitutions, the Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte was clocking in at 200 calories. AND, I had to go out and get it.

Now I could make one at home and take it into work with me. I did that for a while, however, it meant I had to drink it as soon as I got to work, and it would be lukewarm. Then I learned about Four Sigmatic, and more specifically I heard that they had an instant Matcha Latte Mix that doesn’t suck. I decided to give it a try.

Life. Changing.

Okay, that’s a little extreme, but what I now have are convenient, individual serving packets of Four Sigmatic instant Matcha Latte Mix. It has matcha, obviously, but also Lion’s Mane (which some believe provides mental health benefits) and Moringa (which Four Sigmatic calls “nutrient dense”). Thanks to the use of dried coconut milk powder and stevia, each serving is Vegan and only 30 calories.


I have never noticed any perceivable health benefits from drinking it, but it tastes good, is convenient, and low calorie. I keep a box in my cubicle at work, and whenever I want a Matcha Latte, I just pour a packet in a coffee mug and then fill it with hot water from our office’s Keurig machine. Stir it up and drink. It would absolutely be better if made with a frother or electric mixer to really work that mix into the water, but I don’t mind doing a stir and sip.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I have a subscription with Four Sigmatic and it is great. It gets you a discount and you can skip a shipment whenever you want. With all the chaos lately, I forgot to tell them to skip my latest shipment. Since it’s warm out, I’ve been drinking it less, so I thought I would giveaway one of the boxes from my order!

It is giveaway time! As usual, I’ll be using Rafflecopter to run it. Contest ends Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 11:59PM eastern. THIS GIVEAWAY IS ONLY OPEN TO RESIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES. (To make it clear, Four Sigmatic is in no way involved with this article or giveaway. I purchased this product myself and have chosen to giveaway some of the surplus to a lucky winner.)

You can learn more about Four Sigmatic here.
(If you make a purchase through this link, I believe you get $15 off your first order, and I’ll get $15 of credit with them for my own purchases.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Soup from My Skincare Supplier

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about anything food related, and I recently did a weird batch of food shopping, so I figured I’d share it with you! If you follow me on social media, you probably know that I’m into skincare and makeup, and have a particular affection for Asian brands. I do most of my Korean and Japanese brand shopping on a website called YesStyle. I know you can get better prices on eBay or Amazon, but I trust YesStyle and I’m willing to pay extra for the professionalism they provide.

I recently needed to restock my Japanese cleansing oil and favorite Korean sunscreens (are any of you interested in hearing about that kind of thing?) and while on the YesStyle website I noticed they had food. I couldn’t resist and clicked the tab. I found what I was expecting to see, which is shelf stable items. Lots of powdered instant beverages, some snacks, and lots of instant ramen packs. I know people that order ramen soups online because they can get super spicy flavors, but sadly, my stomach doesn’t handle the spice life like it used to. I did see some flavors that I don’t find in my local grocery store, and since these days finding soup on the grocery shelves is pretty hard, I splurged and ordered a few.

Here are the results.

This is Demae Iccho Classic Series Sesame Oil Flavour from the brand Nissin.


Preparation was slightly different from what I was used to. Like any instant ramen, you boil a couple of cups of water on the stove and let the noodles cook in it for 3 minutes. You take your seasoning pack and put it in the bottom of the bowl you’re serving it in.


When the noodles are done, you pour the hot water into the bowl first to dissolve the base seasoning. Then you add the noodles.

Finally, you pour the sesame seed oil onto it.


I ate two spoonful/forkfuls, and immediately emailed my husband at work to proclaim this was the best tasting instant ramen I had ever had. For reals. The ingredients are not too unexpected for an item like this:

Noodles :Wheat Flour, Palm Oil, Salt, Acidity Regulator (452, 501, 451, 500, 339, 450), Thickener (1400, 401, 412), Antioxidant (307b, 304), Green Tea Powder. Soup Base: Salt, Flavour Enhancer (621, 627, 631), Soya Sauce Powder (Soya Beans, Wheat, Salt), White Sugar, Colour (150a), Yeast Extracts, Hydrolysed Soya Protein, Garlic Powder, Spices, Dehydrated Green Onion, Flavour and Flavouring (Chicken, Pork), Acidity Regulator (330), Rice Oil. Seasoning Oil: Sesame Oil (0.8%), Rice Oil, Flavour and Flavouring, Colour (160b, 160c).

Highly processed. Very salty. Certainly not the healthiest food choice out there. However, for a delicious quick lunch? I’m sold! I’m glad that I bought a couple other flavors from the brand to try! So, if you’re looking for a change of pace, why not?


Want to shop YesStyle? If you use this link, you’ll get a discount and I’ll get a 10% commission in the form of credit that I can use on more skincare and noodles! https://ystyle.co/Vv6L

The Chocolate Scorecard

A few days ago, I received a press release about 3 advocacy groups that put together a consumer purchasing guide for chocolate. Since I know that A LOT of you are chocolate lovers, I thought you’d want to see it.

Mighty Earth, Green America, and Be Slavery Free published a joint Easter scorecard, analyzing what the world’s biggest chocolate companies are doing to address social and environmental concerns. Godiva receives the “Rotten Egg Award” for its poor performance, and Tony’s Chocolonely receives the “Golden Egg Award” for its efforts to reshape the industry. The Easter scorecard has been published annually by Mighty Earth since 2018.

“Equipped with this scorecard, consumers can buy their Easter chocolates knowing whether their treats are likely tainted by deforestation and human rights abuses,” said Mighty Earth Senior Campaign Director, Etelle Higonnet. “Consumers’ purchases highlight that we, at a time of global crisis, are all truly interconnected and that we are in this together.”

The groups surveyed 13 chocolate companies and eight cocoa suppliers, examining their policies in six of the most pressing sustainability issues facing the chocolate industry: mandatory due diligence; transparency and traceability; deforestation and climate change; agroforestry; living income policies; and child labor, focusing primarily on child labor monitoring and remediation systems.

Godiva was given The Rotten Egg Award for failing to take responsibility for the conditions with which its chocolates are made, despite making huge profits off its chocolate. Godiva rated poorly across the board. In comparison to other chocolate brands, Godiva has made very little progress on social and environmental issues in the last few years.

Tony’s Chocolonely, which sources from the same supplier as Godiva, earned the Golden Egg Award. When comparing the two companies’ efforts, the differences are stark. Tony’s is working to demonstrate that an ethical business model is possible in the chocolate industry and works to support its supplier to improve its operations. Tony’s performed well in every category across the scorecard.

“2020 is a big year in the chocolate sector, two decades since the world’s chocolate manufacturers signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, an agreement to clean up the industry. Sadly, very little has changed,” said Charlotte Tate, Labor Justice Campaigns Manager at Green America. “Nonetheless, the industry is recognizing voluntary initiatives are not working and more companies are calling for government regulation. Businesses are recognizing that they cannot solve these issues alone and need greater government regulation.”

Roughly 2.1 million children work in cocoa, 96 percent of whom are found to be in hazardous labor according to researchers at Tulane University. In recent years, research from the World Resources Institute found that there has been an increase in deforestation in top cocoa producing countries, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Cocoa farmers often live in extreme poverty, despite chocolate companies raking in billions every year.

While progress is being made in the direct cocoa supply chains, there are still big concerns about the harmful impacts of companies’ indirect supply chains on the environment, particularly deforestation, and people. There is little transparency about what is occurring in the indirect cocoa supply chains. These issues demonstrate an urgent need for increased efforts to transform the cocoa industry into a sustainable industry.


You can learn more about Mighty Earth here.
You can learn more about Be Slavery Free here.
You can learn more about Green America here.

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