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Mood Food: Get elated

Pinecrest Tribune - 11/14/2017

Conceived in a classroom at MIT, elated is a meal-delivery service that brings brain-boosting, good-mood-making dishes right to your door. Made using all-natural ingredients, the food offered at <> combines the power of nutrition and neuroscience to feed your brain while tantalizing your taste buds.

Prompted by a question posed by her professor, founder Ariel Suazo-Maler, thought of a novel way to approach mental health care in this country. While conducting schizophrenia research at Harvard's SNAP Lab, she saw that people were willing to live with the effects of mental illness in order to avoid the side effects of prescription medication. With one in five Americans suffering from these disorders, if people that needed help were not willing to take it, the kind of help available needed to change.

Inspired by a lifelong passion for cooking and exposure to the healing power of food, after graduating college, Ariel went on to Columbia's Zuker Lab to study the neuroscience behind the gut/brain connection, and completed a master's thesis on diet's effect on depression and anxiety. After years of basic science research, the next step was to share her results.

Having seen first hand that dietary intervention can help alleviate feelings of depression, reduce anxiety, and support general mental health, Ariel wanted a way to make these changes part of a daily routine approachable and accessible. elated does just that. With each meal, mental-health maintenance is incorporated into something you do already: eat. On the elated website it says:

Your brain is one of the most hard-working organs in your body. Because of this, it needs to be replenished with ?clean' sources of energy in order to continue to work at an optimal level. What you put into your body, via food, can affect anything from your mood to the neuroanatomical integrity of your brain. There are a couple of reasons for this: first, there is a direct connection between your gut and your brain. Your gastrointestinal tract is lined with neurons that help balance your emotions...So foods that maintain a ?healthy gut' such as fermented foods like sauerkraut (found in our ?Borscht on the Brain' soup) can help keep your emotions in check. Also, foods that decrease inflammation, such as tomatoes and green leafy vegetables (think our ?Tasty Tomato' soup and ?Remember Me' salad) make sure that the parts of your brain responsible for regulating your feelings, like the hippocampus, are not overactive and causing extreme highs and lows. Second, crazily enough, a lot of what makes up your brain can actually be found in food! So what we choose to put on our plate can also quite literally be the building blocks of our brains. An example is fat. Your brain is about 60 percent fat, so consuming healthy fats such as Omega-3s found in walnuts, salmon, and flax (hello ?Salmon and Confetti Salad' and ?Nuttyberry Truffles') can help maintain your brain's structure and function. We could go on and on, and there is so much more we still need to learn about our brains, but feeding them well is definitely a good place to start!

All dishes use ingredients that have been shown to increase mental acuity, improve memory, and boost your mood; they are also completely gluten and dairy free. So get your orders in, and get ready to get elated .

Ariel Suazo-Maler holds a master's in nutrition from Columbia University, and a bachelor's in cognitive neuroscience from Wellesley College. She has conducted research in the genetic and neuroanatomical underpinnings of schizophrenia, the neurophysiology of taste perception, and the role of nutrition in depression and anxiety. With elated, Ariel has created a consumable way of bringing her years of research to your table.


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