A few weeks ago, I had an experience that made me understand the phrase “you are what you eat.” I was feeling sluggish and impatient at work for several days. I dreaded my lunch, ate Cheez-Its for dinner one night and had a measly 20 minute workout because I had zero energy. Once I took a minute to reflect on the reasons my mood was so different, I could put two and two together that it was because of my eating habits. That week I tried not to go to the grocery store so I could use up some of my pantry staples and items in my fridge before they expired. While I felt good being practical, the combinations I created lacked flavor and inspiration. The meals I was pulling together weren’t filling either, so I deferred to snacking. No wonder I was feeling irritated, distracted at work, and tired at the gym. It was the first time in a while that it hit me how much the food I eat impacts my mood.
I knew I had to do something about it, so I decided to use a gift card from Christmas to go purchase my very first Crock-Pot. Even though it was 7 p.m. when I got home from the store, I was determined to make something for lunch the next day. I tossed chicken breast, sweet potatoes, cannellini beans, garlic, onion and thyme into the slow cooker with some chicken broth. They bloomed into this fragrant soup with tender chicken in a matter of hours. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting your Crock-Pot late in the evening since it takes several hours, it was exactly what I needed for a mood booster. When I brought this chicken and sweet potato soup to work for lunch the next day, I felt myself becoming energized with every bite.
The simple slow cooker soup really kicked off a better mood for me. The next night I went grocery shopping to grab a few things other things I was craving: brussels sprouts to sear in a cast-iron skillet, some carnitas pork meat to make burrito bowls and a new bottle of pinot noir to open as a toast to the weekend. Even though I got a funky start to the week, I was excited to get back to creating delicious flavors in the kitchen again.
Looking back at the course of that week, it it incredible how much food impacted the way I was feeling. I started off the week sluggish and irritable just because of not being properly nourished. Things shifted dramatically once I was energized by a slow cooker chicken soup and inspired by a few random ingredients. I learned my lesson that having food or recipes ready for the week will directly correlate to my mood. My Sunday Meal Prep routine brings me genuine happiness every weekend, so I am going to stick to that when I can. And while Cheez-Its are my guilty pleasure, I am going to avoid keeping them in the house so they don’t turn into a regular snack for dinner.
I would love to hear, have you noticed your food choices impacting your mood?
Love food. Love self. Love life.