It was the start of a new week, and LJ left his house early to beat the heat. Running along the Greyhawk trail was his favorite daily exercise. On returning, he ran past the creek, happily gushing water because of the recent heavy rains. He left the trail and turned the corner, increasing his speed as he ran down his street, admiring the cacti in full bloom and petals from the Palo Verde trees floating around him until he reached his walkway. The birds sang their courtship songs as they flew about, building nests for the upcoming season. He stopped near the front door while trying to catch his breath and bent over to remove his shoes. When he raised his head, he noticed a beautiful breakfast through the dining room window. “Wow!” he thought in surprise.

He opened the door and was greeted by the sultry sounds of Bruno Mars:

I ain’t playing no games
Every word that I say is coming straight from the heart
So, if you tryna lay in these arms.

I’ma leave the door open
(I’ma leave the door open)

Leave the door open.

A smiling Annie approached him with a glistening glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. “How was your run?” she said, handing him the glass.

LJ downed the juice and planted a kiss on her. “It was great, but I wish I knew what was in store for me; it’s like I’m living in heaven without dying first. Did I miss something? What’s the special occasion?”

“Well, I’m glad you skipped the dying part because you’re the special occasion,” she said in her sultry voice. “Do you remember mentioning oxytocin to me?”

LJ smiled broadly. “I do! I said Oxytocin is a hormone produced by the brain’s hypothalamus. It has two primary functions: it travels down the spine or into other parts of the brain, depending on its required purpose. While it’s usually connected to sex, breastfeeding, and childbirth, any contact that fosters social bonding or generates positive physical contact can prompt oxytocin in the body. Research shows sex encourages the secretion of it, which amplifies that activity. Oxytocin is also intricately connected to serotonin and dopamine – these three hormones are called ‘happy hormones’ because they cause us to feel flutters of attraction and affection. So, whenever I’m around you, my brain is flooded with them, making me feel all giddy and happy.”

Annie laughed, “You are my happy place, too, LJ. That’s why I made all this food. I probably went overboard, but you’re worth it. Have a seat, and I’ll fix you a plate. I gave a lot of thought to our discussion. I began looking into foods that could increase oxytocin production. I discovered that eating causes a chemical reaction on the tongue that stimulates oxytocin secretion, igniting a chain reaction involving other hormones released from the gut and releasing oxytocin into the brain. This is why eating brings joy and satisfaction, often leading to socializing and stronger bonds.

The orange juice you just drank has Vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that improves oxytocin levels, enhances your emotional well-being, and intensifies sexual vitality.”

LJ grabbed his empty glass. “I need another glass of OJ. I’ll squeeze it myself.”

“No, wait,” laughed Annie. “I want to finish introducing these dishes to you. How about while you’re enjoying them, I make more orange juice–for both of us?”

“Your wish is my command, but honestly, I’m hoping to speed up this meal–if you know what I mean.”

“Trust me; you’ll be glad you took the time to savor this delicious meal. Try this Vegan Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche with its protein-rich hash brown crust. It will help fill you up and give you lots of energy. Not only that, but mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D; the mighty D supports the production of Oxytocin.

Alongside it is an oxytocin-boosting Spinach and Watermelon salad. Spinach has anti-inflammatory properties because of its magnesium content which helps improve circulation–very important for your vitality,” she winked. “Watermelon is known as a natural Viagra because it contains citrulline, an amino acid that relaxes and dilates blood vessels resulting in increased pleasure during sexual activity.”

“In that case, I’ll take an extra-large salad, and I’m going to increase the size of our watermelon patch.”

Annie smiled and shook her head in agreement. “I’m so glad you’re happy, so I will treat you to this Coconut Dark Chocolate Almond Chia Pudding. Dark chocolate is full of magnesium, which helps your body produce oxytocin. Almonds have a nice nutty flavor and contain omega-3 fatty acids, increasing testosterone levels for men. Chia seeds are packed with beneficial saturated fats, helping tackle signs of oxytocin deficiencies while stimulating one’s libido.”

“Words cannot describe how happy I am. I’ll just have to show you,” grinned LJ. But before we leave this topic. What did you learn about the downside of not having enough oxytocin?”

“When oxytocin levels in the brain drop, it can lead to mental health issues including depression, anxiety, social phobia, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, tinnitus, and anorexia nervosa.”

LJ reached over to hug her, “I don’t want you to worry about that, my love because there are certain essential oils like lavender, neroli, jasmine absolute, Roman chamomile, clary sage, and Indian sandalwood that appear to enhance the production of oxytocin. Research shows that inhaling them can cause an increase in salivary oxytocin levels, possibly preventing a decrease in muscle mass and other functions associated with aging in women.”

“Really,” said Annie smiling. “In that case, hurry and eat. We have lavender in our bedroom….”



Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.

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