My name is Maria, and I am the co-founder of Cocodensado US. The company’s founder is my brother, Matheus Cordeiro, who launched the enterprise in 2018 in Brazil and became a huge success. So together, we decided to share this incredibly delicious and healthy dessert with the American consumer.
There are three critical components in life for a healthy well-being and optimal health: nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Unfortunately, there is also a pandemic of mental illness in the world. If we were to take a closer look at an individual’s level of exercise, sleep, and nutrition, it would come as no surprise depression is at its all-time high. Recent research from the Boston University School of Public Health reveals that the “elevated rate of depression has persisted into 2021, and even worsened, climbing to 32.8 percent and affecting 1 in every 3 American adults.” Despite the expectation of depression following traumatic events in the world, the research showed that “12 months into the pandemic, levels of depression remained high.” It is well understood that factors affecting depression during a pandemic are related to loss of jobs, lack of child support, and difficulty paying bills and rent. The pandemic also created isolation, fear of death, and the inability to go outside to exercise as most gyms were closed. Overall it led to people gaining weight and feeling depressed, and the cycle continued.
So how can one step out of a depressed state? What are some tools available to all of us today that can be applied to alleviate the pain in our minds and find purpose and motivation to live?
This topic is of such high importance to me, personally, because I have lost my child during the pandemic, not to Covid, but to cancer. As I reflect upon my life, I take inventory of all the tools I developed that allowed me to get through it to the other side of darkness; I found the light again, and I believe there are some crucial things I changed in my lifestyle that led me to where I am today.
Suppose you are grieving the loss of a loved one or going through a deep depression that you can’t quite explain. In that case, I am not a neuroscientist, but I do know what worked for me, and my goal is to provide you with a guide that got me to the healthiest mind, the most vital body, and feeling spiritually connected, so that you may try some of these and let me know of your success.
Discipline. How can we tame the mind and also improve happiness? To tame the mind is to create a happier baseline. As Andrew Huberman would say, you can’t heal the mind with the mind; you can only heal the mind with the body. The discipline I am referring to is one you set yourself to do and follow, despite your mood. For example, let’s say that you decided today that you are going to walk 30 min a day three times a week. You set out your schedule, and no matter what happens those days, you made a promise to yourself, so despite your feelings and desire, you are still going to complete your challenge, because you are in the process of developing discipline. You will apply discipline to every area of your life:
What foods do you choose to eat daily, is it processed or more whole foods?
How many hours do you set yourself to sleep at night?
How will you take care of your body through your exercise routine?
Then, the next layer is the discipline of the mind; once you cover all your bases, now you also need to watch the places your mind likes to wander. For example, do you go to anxiety often? What happens when you stop being busy? Do you find your mind in a confused state that triggers sadness? How often do you check in with yourself?
My suggestion is first to begin by removing processed foods and refined sugar from your diet. Next, create a schedule for eating so that you may have breakfast, lunch, and dinner and two snacks in between. In every meal, you should have a minimum of 15g of protein; for lunch and dinner, you should look at 20 g for women and 40 g for men. Ensure your diet has lots of fruits, veggies, and healthy lean meats. A nutritional protein powder is a great and easy option for post-workout or even before exercising. If you have a sweet tooth and enjoy a little dessert, you can add Cocodensado to your snacks and smoothies after the gym or when baking a protein muffin. The key to keeping your blood sugar level and your mind healthy is to eat every 3 hours throughout the day. Always emphasize protein first.
Once you have a healthy and set schedule for eating, the next plan is to develop a workout routine. Whatever workout routine you plan to do, if it begins with three times a week, 1 hour of walking, or if you decide to do weights twice a week and walk one time, make sure it’s a slightly challenging but attainable goal. Once you master the workouts you set yourself to complete, please give it a couple of weeks and when you are ready, push yourself to go to the next level. You have to start getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, which is the growth mindset that will develop the more powerful and flexible mindset you desire. Living your best life begins with your nutrition, which provides the fuel for your fitness and the strength and resilience to take on any challenge in life and overcome it. The next layer is sleep and supplements. The better your rest and supplements you take to support a healthy body and brain, the more energy and vitality you will have.
After listening to a podcast on Modern Wisdom by this incredibly gifted neuroscientist named Louisa Nicola, I learned that people who sleep for less than 8 hours a night are more likely to get sick and gain weight, not to mention the mental health aspect. They ran a one-week study on patients sleeping for 6 hours a night. They found that their Epigenectis had changed dramatically, their estrogen level increased, testosterone decreased, and their immune system weakened. In addition, their brain inflammation was much higher than those that sleep 8 hours a night. Some of the supplements I learned from this scientist were from a company called Thorne. Since I began taking their Omega Plus, I feel significantly better, my attention span is more excellent, my cognitive abilities and memory have increased, and I feel more balanced overall.
Omega Plus: An optimal blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids promotes cardiovascular, skin, joint, and brain health*
Omega Plus combines the heart, brain, and joint health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from cold-water fish in a balanced ratio, with bone, skin, and respiratory health-supporting GLA from borage oil*
Another incredible supplement I highly recommend is Niacell 400, which “supports the vitality of your brain and body with the youthful power of Nicotinamide Riboside.” Their website states, “NiaCel 400 helps keep you feeling younger by benefiting cellular energy production, athletic performance, lean body composition, and supporting how your body handles its chronological age.”
That takes me to the last aspect of overall wellness, which is a spiritual practice. Regardless of religion, or lack thereof, the spiritual practice I refer to is related to breathing, a moment of solitude when you can reconnect with your soul and slow down the mind through breathing techniques. Conscious and controlled breathing techniques are the best ways to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. That immediately takes you out of your busy mind into your body and slows down your heart rate, dissipating feelings of anxiety. I am a big advocate for yoga practice and believe it is crucial to let go of energy stuck in the body and to gracefully move all the pain we carry in our bodies. I love the technique created by Wim Hoff and often tell my patients to apply a couple of minutes of deep breath work into their lives. If you want to learn more about Wim Hoff’s technique, check out his website:
Finally, daily journaling is one of the best ways to check in with yourself, assess where you are in your mind, how you’re feeling, and process trauma and your thoughts so that we can understand ourselves and how we think before we take action. As a philosophy student and a follower of stoicism, I highly recommend reading the book or getting audio style by Marcus Aurelius if you want to create a more balanced, rational mind that is objective and kind. Nowadays, in society, people’s tendency to reactivity is at an all-time high; being able to not feed into every emotion we feel but separate ourselves from it and look at them from a reasonable perspective is vital to attain success internally and externally.