Tag Archives: lentils

Turmeric will lift my mood this winter

G O O D   M O R N I N G !

How I love Sundays! Right now I’m feeling happy.

But unfortunately, at times, I’ve been feeling down, and today’s post is about finding food that makes you feel better.

In the past, when I felt down, I would reach for sweets and carb-rich foods. But now that I have decided to change my diet habits, I have had to search for HEALTHY FEEL GOOD FOODS.

Here is my top 3:

1) TURMERIC

657623_66337873

Turmeric

A spice that I add to most my recipes. It’s not very hot, it brings flavour to a veg soup, it goes well with chilli powder and curry powder. I’ve used it in chilli con carne, Jamie’s butternut squash and chorizo soup, even in the ratatouille.

Here’s the amazing info I found when researching it:

Consumption of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, can be used as a natural and long lasting antidepressant (1). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein found in human serum and plasma, and low levels can be associated with depression (2). Studies have shown that curcumin can raise BDNF levels (1).

2) VEG and LEGUMES high in FOLATE

933499_51673287

Spinach

Why? Because folate (B vitamin family) participates in the production of neurotransmitter serotonin (3), which is famous for lifting the mood (4).

Foods high in folate include (4):

  • Dark green leafy veg: spinach
  • Legumes: chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, pinto beans, navy beans and many more
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds

I find spinach being an easy veg to add to – again – any recipe. On top of an omelette, when it’s nearly done. The spinach will cook in only a couple of minutes. Or in a chicken soup. In a stir fry. In chilli con carne? Why not? Always add it at the end, just before serving. It brings freshness and this beautiful green color to dishes that are a bit boring looking.

3) MACKEREL and SALMON

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

Salmon fillet

Recent studies show that Omega-3 present in oily fish may have a positive impact on mental health (5).

I love salmon cooked in a foil parcel, in the oven with pepper and olive oil. It is not only deeeelicious, but also it doesn’t smell of fish in every room of your house, and no dish to wash up! Easy :)

Next week I will post some recipes containing feel good food. Or, actually, if someone would like to post here some recipes they master and love, please I would love to know about them! Using lentils, or chickpeas or black eyed peas. I have never cooked black eyed peas and am very curious about them.

See you, very soon I hope! :)

References:

1) Hurley, Laura, L, et al., (2013) “Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF”. Elsevier, 2013. Accessible on http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997

2) Bun-Hee Lee and Yong-Ku Kim, (2010) “The Roles of BDNF in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and in Antidepressant Treatment”, Published online 2010 November 23. Accessible on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022308/

3) Miller AL, (2008) “The methylation, neurotransmitter, and antioxidant connections between folate and depression.” Alternative Medicine Review : a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic [2008, 13(3):216-226]. Accessible on http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/18950248

4) Whitney, E and Rady Rolfes, S, (2008) “Understanding Nutrition”, eleventh edition. Thomson Learning Ltd, Belomt, California, USA.

5) Mental Health Foundation, diet and mental health. Accessible on http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/diet/

Advertisements

New Year’s resolutions: a month later

It’s now been a month since I decided to eat better quality food and a little less carbs. Thinking about it today, I realised I cut down on wheat a lot. I have been eating rye bread, rice and oats, chick peas, and lentils as forms of carbohydrates but very little wheat. I wonder if the fact that I’m eating less gluten now is the reason why I have lost weight and am feeling more energetic in the afternoon…

I have to be honest though, I had a bad day where I gave in and had a lot of milk chocolate digestive biscuits. But I found them too sweet and had a sore stomach after eating them (probably cos I ate too many). Yes, them being too sweet didn’t stop me. It was a cold afternoon, I was tired and had been craving them for a while. Well, it’s done now, I don’t think I will be craving them again.

So what have I been eating instead of pasta, bread and biscuits?

Think “nutritious food”

I feel I should stretch the importance of eating a varied diet. Too often we focus on eating less carbs or less fat. It seems all we read in the paper is about evil saturated fats and cheap refined carbs. But instead of constantly worrying about that, why don’t we turn this around and think of all the healthy, colourful, tasty and nutrient-rich foods that are around?

This past month I have been eating delicious soups that contain more than 5 types of veg in them, salads rich in lots of nutrients coming from nuts, avocados, tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, salmon, chicken, green beans, green leaves, berries, seeds etc. I didn’t find any of what I ate boring or tasteless. It’s up to me to season it and make it interesting using spices.

My version of Jamie’s Sweet Potato and Chorizo soup

Tip: If you take a look at the vegetable area in the supermarket, it’s got so many different kinds of veg! But if you’re like me, you tend to always buy the same 3 or 4. So now when I go grocery shopping, I try to buy some veg I haven’t tried before. The other day I bought an “onion squash”. Had never heard of it before. But it looked like it would go well in the Jamie Oliver soup. The one I mentioned before, calling it “Butternut squash, chorizo and curry soup”. It’s actually called “Sweet potato and chorizo soup” if anyone was looking it up. But I make it with butternut squash instead of sweet potato because the carb content of butternut squash is lower. And it’s delicious. The recipe comes from his book: Jamie’s Ministry of Food. I like this book because it has easy-to-follow recipes, nutritious, and tasty. (I will post the recipe in the recipe page)

Butternut Squash vs Sweet Potato per 100g

Butternut squash, cooked

  •  9.05 g carbs
  • 40 calories
  • 36.2 calories from carbs

 

Sweet potato, cooked, without skin

  •  17,72 g carbs
  • 76 calories
  • 60.88 calories from carbs