Moody Foodie: Food and Wellbeing
In the days leading up to the launch of my new show ‘Ghathi Moodik’ (feed your mood in Arabic), several people have asked me how I, a life coach, ended up hosting a wellness show focused on food. The answer, in a nutshell, is because it is a fact that food affects our mood and behaviour. I strongly advocate this ideology in my coaching sessions, workshops and to my family and my peers.
Let me be honest – I’m neither a chef nor a licensed nutritionist; I am, however, a busy woman who doesn’t forsake her health with instant meals that are unhealthy and slow me down. I love all food, provided it’s nutritious and adds value to my day.
I’ve always had a passion for cooking. Even the time I almost burned down my parents’ kitchen baking banana nut bread at the age of seven…! As I grew, my taste buds understood that my experimentation wasn’t ceasing any time soon. From picking out ingredients to cooking and finally taking the first bite, I’ve enjoyed every bit of the process. No matter what I cooked, I made sure that it not only tasted good but it was also a well-balanced meal that would help keep up my health goals.
Some of the common myths about healthy food are as follows:
Healthy food is boring
Only chefs and professionals can make healthy food tasty
Kids will turn down healthy meals
Healthier food equals more prep time
Cooking is a chore
Healthy means expensive
The truth is, cooking healthy food is not only easy, it’s quick, can be delicious and it doesn’t need to be cooked by a professional. We all want our dinner plates to look interesting – even kids, so experiment with a healthy dish in your kitchen to ensure that you’re physically, mentally and emotionally fit!
Engaging the Five Senses: I’ve been working on spreading awareness about how good food and its preparation can lift one’s mood. From ingredient shopping to the point of serving, each activity has a way of awakening all our senses. The more engaged we are, the more alive we feel. Thus, we’re less likely to feel emotional and mental strains such as fatigue, anxiety, melancholy, etc.
We are what we eat: As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. The fuel we put into our bodies is the output we expect. This doesn’t mean that our meals need to be boring – it’s in fact the opposite, in that the more colourful and interesting our food looks, the better. For instance, did you know that chocolate is a great antidote to fight depression? Because it increases the ‘feel good hormones’ in your system, you’re more likely to release endorphins which result in a sense of increased happiness. Are you aware that one glass of watermelon juice increases serotonin and dopamine levels in our bodies that help reduce anxiety? Do you know several cultures use turmeric as a natural remedy for many illnesses and bruises? Its herbal properties help reduce inflammation and combat depression… would you still say that healthy food is boring?
Healthy habits, healthy family: It is said that a family who eats together, stays together - and this rings very true for most of us. Preparing a meal with family or friends is an engaging event that brings joy and color to our lives. Most importantly, cooking with youth helps them learn healthy habits from a young age, while also giving them the quality interaction they need from parents or guardians. Social health is a main component to overall health and cooking with loved ones is essential to that.
In order to realise your passion and maintain harmony in your lives, it’s important that you are mentally, physically and socially healthy. It starts with the very basics – the food you eat and whom you eat it with. Small changes help achieve your goals in the long run – after all, a healthy body and healthy spirit is the key to a happy life!
If you’re looking for guidance on how to set wellness goals that are SMART, get in touch with us today!