Eating for Happiness ..Makes For A Mindful Daily Practice …
when I make any meal.. I say to my family… .there’s a little something in this meal for everyone..what do you see’?
What we eat is evidenced as important to health and wellbeing
When I cook at home, I used to say there is something in this meal for everyone and I really believe this philosophy helped my family develop tolerance and a mindfulness of people’s food preferences and dislikes, and increased their understanding of what others enjoyed or wished to eat.
The Question I ask Clients
When I see clients, one of my first questions I ask them is what types of food makes them happy?.
You might ask why I ask this question. Well it’s simple. Food has a connection to mood which makes this a vital question to ask people who are seeking help for improving their health wellbeing outcomes.
The Limbic System
The Limbic system of the brain separates food reward into liking vs. wanting. Research has been undertaken to understand the brain connection, however there is still a long way to go.
For example, increases in ‘wanting’ to eat can occur in the absence of increases in ‘liking’ for the same food being eaten. ‘Liking and wanting’ are known to increase together by natural hunger. We will all have examples of when this happens. ‘Wanting and liking’ circuits work together to increase eating behaviours.
This tells us that how people feel about the food they ‘like to eat’ can have a big impact on their ’emotional wellbeing’ which has been focussed on in lots of new research. So Eating for Happiness is becoming a viable concept with scientific basis.
When clients come to see me for advice on better ways to eat for improved health goals. The question I ask i.e. ‘what types of food make you feel happy’ is a key question to ask them understand their eating habits which may link to their perceived happiness and many people will choose certain types of food which is either good or bad for them. Using this approach helps support them to feel understood and also helpful to understand their food preferences and the choices they make.
Food appeal is fundamentally important and creating a bespoke menu plan that works on food appeal so people feel comforted and certain of being provided with food they can enjoy.
Food Appeal is really important and we all need to like what we are about to eat. If not we certainly need to know it is going to be good for us as our limbic system processes the visual sight of food.
What’s really important is giving a bespoke nutrition programme bespoke that helps educate clients to understand the link between how they want to feel about the food they are being offered. And making food that will help them Eat for Happiness.
An easier way to begin eating for happiness might be by eating food that indulges the brain using the ‘brainfood’ connection. If your mind feels good and you’re eating food that appeals to you the limbic system is being indulged.
Food should be shared and enjoyed! Indulge the brain in foods that create a happier outlook to help that body and brain connection.
If the body feels good and you’re eating well, the mood and mind connection is likely be positive.
There are specific food known to boost brain function which are known as Brain Food.
Here are some foods you might know already that have been proven to support and boost brain function:
- Omega 3 Rich Nuts, Avocados, Flax seeds, Eggs, Salmon, Blueberries, Broccoli, whole grains, Tomatoes, Black currants, Pumpkin seeds.. to name just some of them..
Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. ~The Dalai Lama said
Eat to maintain wellbeing
What we eat can really have an impact on mental health and wellbeing and staying well, alert and healthy is the key.
Undernourished and Overfed
It’s now well known that processed foods is stripped of any goodness, and shop bought refined foods are the worse offenders for this. Consider the shelve life of pre packed and processed ‘fresh food’ brought at lunch or dinner and consider ways to make easy meals to take in for lunch from home.
We live in a fast food nation, with so many people eating easy food for lunch and for their evening meals which often lack the quality of essential proteins and offer more complex carbohydrates.
Are we all getting enough Proteins ? these are the building blocks of life…
If you want to improve your mood, try to incorporate the brain food into your diet listed above:
Serotonin and Dopamine are created out of two amino acids called L-Tryptophan (for serotonin) and Tyrosine (for dopamine).
L-Tryptophan is used to create melatonin, which is the substance that assures a good nights sleep.
The Foods that contain L-Tryptophan? is virtually all protein rich foods such as eggs, seafood, diary, spinach, kidney beans, black beans, split peas poultry, seeds, fish, nuts, milk from nuts
Serotonin foods also help when eating for happiness and helpful in releasing endorphins which is what is created when ‘we eat for happiness’
If you want to improve your mood, try to incorporate these things into your daily diet:
- High protein foods – become label smart
- Limit or restrict high glycemic sugars found in many food, drinks and processed ready meals and in those supposed healthy Vegan Crisps !!
- Make water your new best friend …Drink lots of water or green tea which is an ani-oxidant!
- Sleep – Make it to bed to get at least 8 hours sleep a night – without an ipad or iphone or similar EMF disrupting device!
- Limit or Stop Alcohol – set a curfew or drink only socially at weekends
- Listen to calm- restful music or take part in gentle yoga for breath a few times a week – Ester Ekhaart on Utube has some gentle exercises that are great!
Next time you buy food out – take a look at how much protein it actually has.. you may be surprised to see that there is not enough protein in the meal, despite the suggestion of being a healthy meal it will has a surprising amount of carbohydrates to fill you up ..
Let me know if you found this post helpful… please leave a comment
I am a holistic practitioner who works with people to optimise health and wellbeing outcomes.