Food and Mood: How The Right Ingredients Improve Your Body + Mind

Food and Mood: How The Right Ingredients Improve Your Body + Mind

Planning a wedding brings its fair share of stress, especially the pressure of budgeting. As soon as you say the word “wedding” to a vendor a zero gets added to every quote! While you might be looking for ways to save for your wedding day and honeymoon, your grocery bill is one thing that you shouldn’t compromise on if a bridal body is your goal.

When you invest in your grocery basket you are investing in your wellness on both a physical and emotional level.

The Physical Benefits of Eating Whole Foods

Modern nutrition tells us that certain foods contain nutrients that benefit specific parts of the body, such as beta-carotene being important for eye health. Our ancestors came to the same conclusion (without the benefit of laboratory studies) by believing that the structure of a plant reveals its nutritive properties.

For example:

  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale and cauliflower are similar in appearance to the lungs, which are made up of hundreds of thousands of branching tubes that end in tiny air sacs called alveoli. As it happens, these vegetables are good for respiratory health because they are rich in chlorophyll that cleans and builds blood, and packed with antioxidants that may also reduce risk for lung cancer.
  • Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats that are essential for brain health and recent studies have shown that adding walnuts to your diet can impede the growth of brain tumor cells. This may not surprise you when you consider that the two halves of a walnut closely resemble the two halves of the brain.
  • Tomatoes get their ruddy hue from an antioxidant called lycopene, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Not only are tomatoes red but they also contain four chambers, just like a heart.

The Emotional Benefits of Eating Whole Foods

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) tells us that food has energetic qualities that affect us in ways that can’t be quantified in a laboratory. TCM believes that the way food is grown and cooked can greatly impact our mood, energy and overall disposition.

For example:

  • Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips grow deep in the ground and need to be cooked slowly and gently to release their sweet flavors. This means that root vegetables are “grounding” and are the perfect food to eat when you need to focus and relax.
  • Leafy greens, quinoa and fruit need lots of sunlight and fresh water to grow. These plants feel the breeze through their stems and need to be adaptable to changing weather conditions. As such these foods provide the body with flexibility, openness and creativity and should be eaten when you are feeling stuck in a rut with your decision making, workout, relationships or spiritual routine.

Keep your grocery list simple and on budget by prioritizing fresh, seasonal and preferably organic produce such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and high quality proteins. These foods are alive – they are rich in macronutrients, micronutrients, fiber and antioxidants. When you eat these foods you are providing your body with love and life and moving closer to your bridal wellness goals.

Leave behind the packaged “frankenfoods” such as white bread, snacks and chips, microwave dinners, and candy. These foods are dead, meaning that any nutritive benefit they once had has been processed out of them in a laboratory. Consider that these foods can sit on your shelf or in your fridge for months without expiration. Now imagine them in your body, just sitting there as empty calories with no life force, no nutritional benefit and ultimately no purpose.

Healthy eating is simple: opt for the living potato rather than the dead potato chip [Tweet This]

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Today’s salad recipe is ideal for the busy bride to be because it contains a balance of grounding and energizing ingredients:

  • Roasted root vegetables will help you stay to focused while addressing invitation envelopes and writing thank-you cards
  • Cruciferous leafy greens will improve your breathing during workouts and encourage you to be flexible in your decision making and wedding expectations
  • Nuts + seeds will boost brain function to get you through those final big decisions
  • Tomatoes will boost your healthy heart that is filled with love

Kale Salad with Roasted Root Vegetables

Serves Two

Think of this recipe as a suggestion. You can swap the ingredients for ones that you prefer or whatever is in season. Eating seasonally means that food is more alive than ever, it has literally just been picked, and is usually cheaper.

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, finely sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato or 1/2 small butternut squash, chopped and roasted
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pepitas, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped and steamed
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley or basil, chopped

To roast root vegetables: Preheat oven to 350F/180C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Wash and chop vegetables into large cubes (if using butternut squash, remove the skin). Toss vegetables with 1 teaspoon high-heat oil (such as coconut), salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, turn vegetables over on tray and roast for another 10 – 20 or until soft, slightly golden and cooked through.

To toast nuts/seeds: Heat a small frying pan over low heat. Add the nuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become fragrant. Be careful as they can go from perfect to burnt in seconds.

To steam cauliflower: Chop cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Wrap in a piece of paper towel and cook in microwave for 2 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Alternatively, bring a small saucepan of water to the boil, add cauliflower and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

To assemble salad: Place oil + lemon juice on the bottom of a large bowl, whisk with a fork and season to taste. Add chopped herbs and sliced kale. Massage the dressing into the greens with your hands until well coated. Allow to sit for 10 – 15 minutes until kale begins to soften. Add remaining ingredients and serve.

Need a protein kick with this salad? Try topping it with my egg salad recipe, which you can find in my free wellness guide.

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Keeping in mind the energetics of food, tell me if your meals this week need to be grounding or energizing. I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Yours with love, life & energy,

Jennifer Dene xx

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