[semester equivalent = 4.00 credits]



Brenda McKinney



As of June 13 Closed to New Registrations

Did you know that current research shows that certain foods like dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and avocados are conducive to alleviating depression, anxiety, and worry?  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. It is estimated that 18% of the population struggle with anxiety and depression. The course text by Dr. Drew Ramsey, Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety, aids us in establishing a path toward enhanced mental health through food. You will discover how nutrient-dense foods, such as essential fatty acids found in wild-type seafood, can help you manage symptoms of both anxiety and depression and nourish your brain. This course is packed with noteworthy science, actionable nutritional recommendations, and delicious brain-healthy recipes, along with a go-to guide to help you optimize your mental health with food. You will also learn how to implement healthy eating tools, get help with grocery shopping, and stock your kitchen. Join me and explore the positive impact of this course on your road to a healthier, happier lifestyle by diminishing anxiety and depression.  

This course is appropriate for teachers K-12, counselors, and school administrators. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  • Determined barriers to self-nourishment while assessing food patterns and choices.
  • Gained cutting-edge research to understand which foods will mitigate depression and anxiety.
  • Uncovered how a healthy diet can improve mental health conditions.
  • Analyzed the American diet and our compromised food sources.
  • Discovered the many mental & physical benefits of healthy eating.
  • Found out how healthy eating can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Discovered how to eat to boost energy & vitality.
  • Learned how to implement a healthy eating plan through specific tools and help.
  • Designed and assessed how to stock your kitchen with the right foods and tools.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Eat to Beat Depression and Anxiety: Nourish Your Way to Better Mental Health in Six Weeks, by Drew Ramsey, MD, 2021. ISBN:  978-0-06-303171-5

The cost of the book is approximately used from $17.

None. All reading is online.


No additional materials are required.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: My Wellness Journey

For those participating in Group Collaboration, you must read and follow the instructions outlined in the Group Collaboration Guidelines. Click on the link for Guidelines.

  • In Assignment #1, each participant must complete this assignment independently.
  • There should be a minimum of (4) four group meetings during which the course content is discussed. 
  • Teleconferences or live meetings are acceptable. A good videoconference option is Zoom (
  • Each participant must attend at least 75% of the group meetings (a minimum of 3 of 4 meetings).

In 400-500 words, write about your professional situation, your reasons for taking this course, and what you hope to take away.  In addition, write a brief history of experiences in which you experienced anxiety, extreme stress, or depression, especially during the Pandemic.  Feel free to respond to any other posting from educators who are also taking this course

Watch the following video as an introduction to your studies:

Assignment #2: The New Science Behind Healthy Eating

Read Chapter One in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 3-17.
Focus on the definitions of anxiety and depression.
Be able to highlight the foods that have the most brain-boosting nutrients.

Respond in a 250+ word discussion on the differences between anxiety and depression and how it has affected you during COVID. Also, discuss your results on the brain quiz and the goals you have set for eating healthier.

Assignment #3: The 12 Nutrients: Building Blocks of the Brain

Read Chapter Two in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 19-53. This reading will help you understand how our food sources have changed how we nourish our bodies. The startling research shows that we are eating a huge amount of chemicals and preservatives. New studies show that key nutrients support our brain development and overall health.

Watch the following videos:

Create a chart showing each of the following:

  1. The changing landscape of our food sources
  2. Mental health issues that are linked to food
  3. Good quality diet using AFS (The Antidepressant Food Scale)
  4. Cravings, habits, situational factors that determine our choices

Assignment #4: Neuroplasticity & New Brain Cells

Read Chapter Three in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 55-76.

View the following videos:

Create a mind map that includes five branches. After you have completed your mind map, share the new goals you want to set for yourself in each of the five areas based on your learning. Be sure to include the most powerful learning for you from this section.

  • Causes of inflammation in the brain.
  • Inflammation fighting nutrients.
  • Role of BDNF in the brain.
  • Implications of bigger brain, better brain science.
  • The most powerful learning for you from the videos.

    Side note: You can create on the computer or grab those colored pens, markers for even more creativity and therapy.  Use pictures, graphics, single words, and your own thinking.

Assignment #5: Optimize Your Gut Health

Read Chapter Four in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 77-94
Read the article:
A New Study on Fermented Foods and the Microbiome - Drew Ramsey MD  

Watch the following videos:

In 400-500+ words, discuss your new knowledge about microbiomes, including how good bugs can lead to a healthier brain.

Assignment #6: Best Foods for Anxiety and Depression

Read Chapter Five in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 95-116.
Read the following article to support your reading:

View the following video: Your Brain on Fruit and Veggies

Create an infographic based on best foods to feed your brain while alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. 

  1. Your infographic should demonstrate the following: Images and text to represent and demonstrate your learning.
  2. The goal of this project is for you to create a digital poster that can be printed for student display or shared virtually on your blog or website or used to share with colleagues/friends.
  3. You can use the following free webtools to create an infographic:

Assignment #7: Challenges Facing the Modern Eater

Read Chapter Six in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 117-138.
Read the following article to support the learning in your text:

In 500+ words, discuss the modern eater's challenges, particularly those that are most relevant for you.  
It is also important for you to include and consider some of the challenges you will face as you incorporate more brain-healthy foods into your diet.

Assignment #8: Healing Yourself

Read Chapter Seven in your text, Eat to Beat Depression, pgs. 139-152.
Read the article:

Use a digital tool such as Google Slides, Prezi, YouTube, or Glogster to create your top 10 list for change. Include your dietary patterns, your difficulties, your new goals, and what brought you to this course in the first place.

Assignment #9: Getting Ready for Healthy Eating

  • Read this article on how to store food in your frig.
    Fridge Storage for Food Safety (
    Watch the video for help in cleaning and organizing the fridge

    Check out the following apps that might be helpful for you in your planning.

    • Real plans mobile app for easy meal creation
    • Apps from Google or Apple

    Dr. Drew addresses the fact that shopping and tackling the kitchen might be too much if you live alone or just hate to cook. You can get healthy food from your favorite take-out. Order more fish or veggies. Try to get spinach added. Add a spicy side. Use what you have learned about the AFS and food categories to guide you.

    Read this article:  Healthy Eating for People Who Hate Cooking (

    View the following video to help you. ​


    Now, take on ONE (1) of the challenges, journal your experience, and then write up your observations. You could choose to focus on:

    Simple swaps

    • Cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator. Checking labels, due dates, and switching to healthier food. 
    • Removing sugar-laden food.
    • Adding healthy staples, rainbow vegetables, spices, grains, and oils.
    • Discuss the temptation of the grocery store aisles and what you have learned about how to shop more sensibly economically, and what to avoid.
    • Finding healthy food among fast food but want to make this commitment
    • Then choose one of the following to respond.  
      • A 500+ word response or Google slides addressing the challenges and the goals you met
      • A video outlining your challenges, your findings, and your new goals.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #10: Journal

Take the time to create a food journal like the one in your reading before you start to come up with a set of SMART goals that are measurable, specific, achievable, realistic, and timely. What goals can you set up for each week that will help you score small wins leading to your success?

  • The journal is to be kept for a minimum of two weeks. You must include each element that is created for you on page 146 of the text. Tracking your emotions, your foods, snacks will be critical. Use the recipes in the back for your motivation.
  • There is no strict protocol; you are working to understand your habits and background. The journal will also show your new learning with food choices when and where you can. Looking through the 6-week plan in the back of your book will provide motivation and assistance with your food choices.

Send to your instructor when complete, along with your feelings about tracking your food choices, whether you will continue, and how journaling could be a positive influence in your struggle with anxiety.

Assignment #11: Lesson

Create a lesson for kids on neuroplasticity and how what we eat changes our brain.
Take one of the classroom application assignments from this course (it can be your own work or something you found interesting on a site) and try the lesson in your classroom.

  • Share at least two samples (photos) of student work from your class.
  • Reflect on student evidence in a 400-500 word commentary on what your student work sample demonstrates in terms of their grit, perseverance, and/or mindset.
  • Include any student feedback.
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the lesson tab below.
  • Share what you've learned with other teachers taking our courses by checking the lesson library box when you submit your lesson.
  • Submit your student samples and reflection to your instructor.

Note: If you are taking this course in the summer or are not currently teaching in the classroom, you can create two samples that would be useful to share with students.

Assignment #12: Swaps or Switches

Share with one other person and mentor them through healthy choices to lessen anxiety and stress through swaps or switches. You may also want to talk to them about the difficulty of navigating what to eat and what is healthy, and this allows you to discuss the key players for a healthy brain.  

  • Have specific questions you want to address.
  • Write up their response.

If they will allow you to mentor them, how will you connect, support.

Assignment #13: (500 Level ONLY) Prep Day

Research the idea of Batch Cooking.  Instituting Batch Cooking will take a couple of hours in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon but will allow you to have meals for lunch and dinner for 2-3 more days. Don’t forget to put away portions for lunch and easy reheating for dinner. This will be a fundamental part of your healthy eating plan once you find those recipes and practice so that it becomes a habit.

Create a beginner plan for using Batch Cooking

  • Set your plans for at least one month
  • Include your Big Batch approach to chopping veggies and prepping food for the week.
  • Write up your experience, your recommendation for the next time, ideas for other teachers, and the joys of the Prep Day. 
  • Feel free to respond to other teachers and their experiences.
  • Pretend you are now the Poster Teacher for Batch Cooking.
  • Write a one liner to encourage others.

Sources to get you started.

Assignment #14: (500 Level ONLY) Presentation

Complete one (1) of the following:

Option A)
Professional Development Presentation, prepare a PowerPoint, Keynote, or video presentation that you can show to staff or parents that demonstrates healthy eating for mental wellness in kids/teens.


Option B)
Research Paper. Choose from one of the following topics. Choose at least three studies to five studies for each subject.
Write a summary of each of the studies and determine the importance in your own life.

  • Groups working to improve access to nutritious foods in the United States
  • Treating Psychiatric Disorder with Supplements
  • What you need to know about supplements
  • What factors influence the framework and balance of one’s microbiome.
  • Impact of COVID on mental health in adults and or in teens/children


Option C)
Create an Assignment Another assignment of your own design with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #15: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Brenda McKinney, CEO of Vancouver, WA based BrainVolution, is a developer and dynamic facilitator of workshops that teach practical thinking and learning tools for raising student achievement with the brain in mind. She has trained educators throughout the Pacific Northwest and is a popular presenter because of her ability to motivate, make things fun, and teach practical techniques for the classroom that can be used immediately. Brenda continues to read hundreds of books and articles on the subject of neuroscience and searches for the answer to success for every student. Her work with at-risk students and those with reading problems have made her a popular speaker at the state, regional and national level.

Brenda is able to synthesize the new research and continues to address the role of how to use the latest findings to create high achievement classroom. She brings 30+ years of experience at the elementary, middle school, high school and university level as a mentor teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, university instructor, and reading specialist. Brenda has her Master’s in Education from Washington State University and is nationally certified in Brain Based Learning through the renowned  Jensen Corporation, led by Eric Jensen, a noted international spokesperson for neuroscience and education.


Brenda will inspire and motivate you with her energy, enthusiasm and knowledge. Her wisdom, techniques, and brain based approach to education will inspire you and challenge you to meet the demands of this ever changing world.




Kaplan, Bonnie J. PhD. and Julia J J. Rucklidge, PhD. 2021. The Better Brain: Overcome Anxiety, Combat Depression, and Reduce AD/HD and Stress with Nutrition. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
ISBN:  978-0-358-44710-8

Mayer, Emeran. 2018. The Mind-Gut Connection: How the Hidden Conversation Within Our Bodies Impacts Our Mood, Our Choices, and Our Overall Health. New York: Harper Collins.
ISBN:  978-0-06-237658-9

Naidoo, Uma. 2020. This Is Your Brain on Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More. New York: Little, Brown, Spark.
ISBN:  978-0-316-53682-0 
Pawloski, Jason, MS, RDN. 2021. Food for Thought: Understanding the Impact of Diet and Lifestyle on Mental Health.
ISBN: 978-1-7363717-0-1

Ramsey, Drew, MD. 2016. Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health. Harper Wave.
ISBN-13 ‏    978-0062413437

Recipe Books
Babb, Michelle. MS, RS, CD. 2016. Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain: 75 Recipes for Alleviating Depression, Anxiety, and Memory Loss. Sasquatch Books.
ISBN:  978-1- 63217-055-2
Hayes, Debby. 2022 Edition. MIND Diet Cookbook: 365 Days of Quick & Easy Recipes to Boost Your Brain Health | Beginners Edition with 28-Day Meal Plan.