Angst. Not a modern affliction induced by social media induced FOMO, but one that actually dates back to the mid-19th century when Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard attached a handy label to the specific kind of existential dread that arises in response to nothing in particular… or indeed the sense of nothingness itself.
In German, Dutch and Danish, angst is the word for fear — but angst is much more nuanced than that. Angst is an inevitable byproduct of the human condition: a niggling feeling that disrupts your calm and contentment for no palpable reason. Søren argued that while animals are guided solely by instinct, human beings enjoy a freedom of choice that can be either paralyzing or generative. “Anxiety is a qualification of a dreaming spirit,” he said.
But how to dispel those feelings of worry and tension? “Adaptogens,” says nutritionist Kelly LeVeque, author of the book Body Love: Live in Balance, Weigh What You Want, and Free Yourself From Food Drama Forever, published in June. “A stressed body is not a healthy body and adaptogens are a specific group of herbs that promote homeostasis — or balance — in the body,” she says. “Really all that means is that they help your body adapt to stress by supporting the adrenal glands, enabling the body’s cells to access more energy, helping cells eliminate toxic by-products and utilizing oxygen more efficiently.”
The good news is that adaptogens are pretty much tasteless and can be added to your coffee, tea or smoothie daily. Her favorites? “Rhodiola restores your normal physiological response to stress, protects against stress-induced depression and modulates the immune system,” says Kelly. “Ashwagandha calms the body’s physiological and nervous systems, soothing anxiety and improving sleep — although, heads up, be aware it is a nightshade if you are allergic or avoiding them.”
Here, Kelly shares the recipe for her angst-busting Adaptogenic Kale Smoothie.
1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder (choose one that is organic, non-GMO and tested for heavy metals)
1 tablespoon Almond Butter
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
1 handful Greens
1 tablespoon MCT Oil
1 teaspoon Ashwagandha or Rhodiola (I like Sun Potion, Gaia Herbs and Moon Juice)
2 cups Almond Milk, unsweetened
Hemp Hearts, to sprinkle on top
Place ingredients in a high-speed blender, blending until smooth!