The brain, gut connection – Inspiration and mental fitness for Healthy Eating Week

The brain, gut connection – Inspiration and mental fitness for Healthy Eating Week

I am feeling very inspired this week when it comes to healthy eating which is apt given the fact it’s now officially National Healthy Eating week.  Where has my inspiration come from? Firstly, my podcast.  I have had some fascinating conversations lately around our mindset and nutrition.  Yesterday, I put out a podcast with the super talented, honest, energetic and compassionate Annie Breen.  I think she is wonderful.  She showed up fully, with knowledge and vulnerability, allowing her vast knowledge of the gut, brain connection to be accessible to all of us.  You can tune in here if you haven’t already.   You won’t regret it and I promise you it will make you think.  Learning is great for the mojo and when we stay curious, it enables us to keep a growth mindset and therefore have a happier, more productive life.  I love tuning into a motivational podcast when I am driving to speaking gigs, stuck in traffic, cleaning and clearing clothes away.

Sometimes we say something that we later regret.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I uttered these words to a friend recently:

‘I’m just not a salad person’.

I am not sure why I said that, because I love a nice salad.  It could have been my mind trying to make me feel better because it was PMS week, I was hungry, hormonal, craving carbs and my clothes were feeling tighter.  I think I was trying to make myself feel better.  But it was a limiting belief that I threw out there and I am taking it back.  The truth is, sometimes I find it hard to make the time for the chopping that comes with a delicious salad, or the dressing.  But I know it’s worth making the time, because eating well makes me feel better.  It also helps to ensure I can still fit into my clothes and gives me a boost of self esteem.  There is so much research out there now about the intrinsic way the brain and gut are connected.  A diet lacking key nutrients, that is based on convenience,  can in turn have a huge impact on our anxiety and mood levels.  One example we talk about in the podcast is concerning magnesium, which is a great mood boosting mineral that many of us lack.  A quick fix could be to add these ingredients to your shopping list:

Healthy eating week - magnesium rich foods

 

Now, let’s talk about salads.  I have been making a lot of salads lately.  I love the ready made bags of lentils you can get from brands such as Merchant (and my 6 year old loves them too so it”s a bonus).  This is decent fast food.

Apple cider vinegar, mixed with a little mustard can make a moreish salad dressing.  It can help manage blood sugar, improve symptoms of PCOS and promote weight loss. A typical dose is 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) which can be mixed with water and taken before or after meals.

Healthy eating week 2019

 

I was out for dinner the other night and was so tempted to get the chicken liver pate and sourdough bread. Instead, I opted for the lighter option that caught my eye.  Scallops with peas, it was delicious.  Sometimes it’s the small choices that add up.

 

 

 

Healthy eating week 2019 Healthy eating week 2019 Healthy eating week 2019

There are so many ways to enjoy salads.  From watermelon and feta (I think organic feta is much tastier and it is also lovely baked with roasted tomatoes and peppers).  Boiled potatoes with some stir fried onions and sun-dried tomatoes works well.  You can throw in some chorizo or prawns for extra protein.  We know that vegetables are great for us and plant based is encouraged at least a couple of days a week.  I am more than happy to embrace being a flexitarian because I feel much better when I take the time to get more fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds into my body.  There are ways to make this quicker by using bags of veggies that are pre chopped or frozen veggies.

 

 

 

A vegetable curry is also a great option and you can use fresh or frozen cheat bags – simply add stock and curry paste or a can of chopped tomatoes.  Ideal after a busy day.

 

 

We talk about the power of flax-seeds on the podcast and this is a simple way to inject a little more health into the body by sprinkling some on your porridge, stir fries and salads.

food and wellness blogger, Edinburgh

As for sauces to jazz up salmon or lean meat, I like using some creme fresh with roasted or stir fried tomatoes.  This sauce goes well with some fresh lemon juice, butter beans or lentils and fresh herbs thrown into it.

Healthy eating week 2019 Healthy eating week 2019

 

I would love to see some more recipes this week.  Feel free to tag #mojoinjection and I shall share your images.  Enjoy and a gentle reminder, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring.  I am a salad person.  Just not a boring type of salad.

Scottish wellbeing author and blogger Jojo Fraser

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