Welcome to our Food + Mood page, bringing awareness to food and drink as part of self-care and highlighting the impact.
How does food + mood correlate?
The relationship between food and mood is a complex one, but what we do know is when we maintain blood sugar levels, stay hydrated and eat well, we think clearly with improved mood and more energy.
*If you feel tired, run down and have any concerns with your diet or lack of one, concerned about allergies or you or someone you know please consult your GP/help!
How do we respond to food?
While there is limited evidence regarding depression, low mood and an unhealthy diet, there are hints of a link from various studies.
It is helpful to be mindful of how one responds to foods and drinks consumed.
F=Focus on what you’re eating and/or drinking
A=Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings
C=Come into the moment
E=Engage in what you’re doing
Let’s look at the senses!
Sight: Consider how you respond to the sight of food and portion size. Sight certainly influences perception.
Hearing: Does what you’re eating/drinking trigger a memory? Perhaps the music is soothing and enhances the experience.
Touch: Tactile senses are very important in the overall experience. Not just ‘finger food’, but the use of different cutlery, such as chopsticks. Consider how you respond to the touch of food and the eating/drinking experience.
Smell: Did you know smell dictates flavour? Smell also comes from the mouth! Consider how you react to the smell of food and drink.
Taste: With all of your senses engaged, taste should be the simplest one of them all. Pay attention to the taste, is it instant? Does it linger? Is there an after taste? Is it a simple or a complex taste?
Let’s add in…
Feeling: How do you feel about the whole experience of eating/drinking? It’s a multi-sensorial experience to include the environment. Does it promote a positive and happy experience?
FACT: Our brain processes ‘taste’ in a single sensation! It’s a fusion of taste, smell along with touch and takes place during chewing/sipping.
How can we improve things on a daily basis?
We improve things on a daily basis by FACEing (see acronym) things. We can improve our life by seeing healthy eating as a lifestyle change and eating in moderation, rather than following a diet.
It is never too late to feel the advantages of the benefits of a healthy diet. Most of all, show compassion to yourself and be happy!
Stress is caused by all kinds of factors and while there is no miracle cure, we can look to calm and soothe imbalances through food and staying hydrated for better mental and physical health, supporting ourselves through stress and anxiety.
*Protein is key, try to have a little protein at every mealtime
*Maintain blood sugar levels
*A healthy gut makes a happy person
Here are seven vitamins and minerals that help our bodies cope with stress.
- B vitamins for mood stability
- Vitamin C to help feel calmer and lowering blood pressure
- Selenium helps to neutralise and reduce stress to our body and brain
- Magnesium relaxes the body by limiting cortisol, aka the stress hormone
- Vitamin D is an overall ‘feel good’ tonic and helps fight stress by producing dopamine and serotonin. If your levels drop, so do your abilities to respond to stress.
- Chromium has a role in blood sugar regulation and produces tryptophan to become the mood boosting hormone, serotonin.
- Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAMMA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter in the brain. When there’s not enough GABA, anxiety can worsen. According to a 2015 reviewTrusted Source, supplements with GABA may help replace lost GABA, though more research is needed.
Please note: If you’re already eating a balanced diet, this type of supplementation may not be necessary. But if you know your diet is lacking key nutrients, dietary supplements may be the key to symptom relief. Although dietary supplements aren’t a replacement for the food itself, they can help you get the nutrients you need while you get your diet back
We offer chefs and foodies the opportunity to contribute recipes to help guide you on an ideal way to nourish, support yourself and your family, but most importantly, have fun and enjoy food!
Meet celebrity chef, Theo Michaels!
Theo is no stranger to food festivals either, demonstrating (and guest speaker) at National Geographic’s first food festival in London; Carfest North, St Albans, amongst others.
Theo is a weekly food columnist for Best Magazine entering his third year.
Theo has written four cookbooks, his most recent; ‘Orexi! – feasting at the modern Greek table’ was published by Ryland Peters & Small in April 2019, Orexi received rave reviews and gained huge press coverage (Delicious Magazine, The Saturday Times (twice), Food & Travel, National Geographic, etc.). Theo’s next book ‘SHARE’ comes out March 2020 featuring ten different themed sharing boards and over 80 recipes.
Theo combines his love of fresh Greek Cypriot and global cuisine with the reality of modern life in the UK by innovating recipes to help Brits cook and eat well.
Stacey and Theo add, “Family cooking is high up there as an essential to everyday, promoting positive mental and physical health responses, unity/bonding as a family and friends while inspiring fresh food, fresh cooking and even travel!”
Check out these recipe’s!
ROASTED AUBERGINE RECIPE WITH FETA AND PARSLEY DRESSING (vegetarian)
My roasted aubergine recipe is great as a vegetarian main meal or served as a side dish. Aubergines are rich in nutrients and antioxidants and make for an easy ingredient to weave into your diet. Soft roasted eggplant flesh topped with the sharpness of feta cheese and the freshness of lemon and parsley; it screams the flavours of Cyprus!
- 1 large aubergine cut lengthways in 1/2 inch thick slices
- 1 small packet of Greek feta cheese
- Handful of chopped fresh parsley
- 1 small clove of garlic finely chopped (or half a large clove)
- 1/2 lemon juice
- Few glugs of extra virgin olive oil (preferably Greek!)
First; slice aubergine lengthways about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle a tablespoon of salt over the aubergine slices and leave in a colander for 10 mins then rinse well and pat dry with kitchen towel (you do this to remove the bitterness of the aubergine – being honest, most of the time I don’t both with this bit so you can just slice and go straight to frying the aubergine!)
Lightly oil the aubergine slices and place in a frying pan or griddle on high heat for a few minutes each side until lightly golden.
Meanwhile; break up your feta cheese into a bowl, this is rustic so don’t cut with a knife but crumble with your hands. Then add decent hit of olive oil over the feta, season with black pepper (no salt needed), add the chopped garlic, parsley and squeeze of lemon juice. Now mix to combine.
Once the aubergines are done; place them on a lightly oiled baking tray and spoon out the feta cheese mix over each piece of aubergine and pop them into the oven (180C) for literally 2-3 mins just to help the ingredients merge together a bit.
Remove and serve.
Theo says: Swap the feta for chunks of tofu for a vegan version!
Stacey says: I tried this and it is really lovely! My girls have in the past refused to try aubergine, but this was a success!
THAI SEAFOOD SALAD RECIPE – SERVES 4 AS A MAIN:
This delicious Thai inspired salad just makes me feel good when I eat it; fresh vibrant flavours, garlic is good for the blood, ginger helps with digestion and chili helps kick start your metabolism. It is light enough that it doesn’t leave you lethargic afterwards which can lead to feeling low. Substitute the prawns for more vegetables (fine beans work well) for a vegetarian version!
THAI DRESSING – INGREDIENTS:
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp jaggery (substitute for 2 tbsp honey)
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 sticks lemon grass finely chopped
- Pinch salt
DRESSING – METHOD:
Combine all ingredients – taste for balance of flavours (add more sugar/ lime, etc.)
THAI SEAFOOD SALAD INGREDIENTS:
- 350g mixed seafood (shellfish)
- 300g of mixed Oriental vegetables
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 inches ginger roughly chopped
- 50g fresh coriander chopped
- 1 whole red chilli sliced
- 200g rice noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2tbsp chopped nuts (optional)
THAI SEAFOOD SALAD METHOD:
Soak the rice noodles in just boiled water for about 10 minutes, meanwhile.
Warm through the ginger and garlic (don’t brown) in the olive oil and half the sesame oil.
After a minute add the vegetables, stir, then add the seafood and remove from the heat once cooked.
Drain and rinse the noodles before putting into a large mixing bowl, add the remaining sesame oil over the noodles to avoid them sticking.
Add the seafood mixture to the noodles, then all the dressing and combine.
Treat the dish like a salad, so once everything is combined, lift out of the mixing bowl so excess liquid is left behind.
Garnish with fresh coriander, nuts, and slithers of chilli.
Theo says: This recipe works equally as well with finely sliced steak cooked rare or even replace the seafood for baby sweet corn for a vegetarian version (but remember to also leave out the fish sauce!
Stacey says: This was a winner for the girls and I, Emily and I upped our chilli, while Molly was happy to have hers without.
This chipotle Mexican inspired recipe couldn’t be easier and is great for a calming effect; the Capsaicin in the peppers widen and relax blood vessels, which can reduce blood pressure leading to a more relaxed feeling.
MEXICAN SEAFOOD RECIPE – INGREDIENTS:
- Few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
- 2 tablespoons of chipotle paste (if you don’t have the paste; soak 3-4 dried chipotles in a little boiling water for 10 mins; chop up and mix with a tablespoon tomato puree).
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 finely chopped ripe tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of seafood (prawns, squid, mussels, etc. – 1 packet of frozen seafood mix for 2 people works)
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander chopped
- 1 red medium hot chilli chopped
- Juice of 1 lime to serve
- Dollop of Greek yoghurt to serve
MEXICAN SEAFOOD RECIPE – METHOD:
On a low heat, add a couple of good glugs of extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and add the garlic, stir for a minute then add the chopped chilli and chipotle paste – heat through for another minute.
Add the smoked paprika and seafood, stir to coat in the mix, then add the tomatoes and about 1/3 cup of water and cook on high heat for a few minutes to reduce the liquid and heat the seafood.
Remove from heat; drizzle a bit more olive oil into the pan, add the chopped coriander and then serve.
Season heavily, squeeze over the lime juice and put a dollop of Greek yoghurt on the side.
Theo says: This works great with minced beef or swap out the fish and meat altogether and replace with a mixture of different beans, such as black beans, kidney, etc.
Stacey says: Another winner, quick and easy and so delicious!
On a final note, Theo adds, “All recipes are a guide so replace ingredients you don’t like or are unable to eat with ones you do and enjoy!”
We would love to see your pics! Feel free to post and tag us with #itsoktosaycooks #theocooks
Submit your recipe and pics here for a chance to be featured.