Part 4 of the What Does This Have To Do With Wellness? series.
Some might think it’s strange that I have a food blog as a part of my mental health and wellness blog. Especially because what I eat and the recipes I share might not fit what people typically think of as “health-food”.
But, here’s the thing. I don’t believe there is one diet for everyone and I’m certainly not saying I know everything there is to know about nutrition or have all of the answers. So why do I share my cooking adventures as a mental health and wellness writer?
While I truly don’t believe there is only one right way to eat, I do believe how we feed our bodies can really affect our mental health and wellness. If we observe what we have been eating or craving recently it can tell us a lot about how we’re feeling. For example, I know when I am stressed I tend to crave deep fried foods, high fat foods, and other comfort foods. And, by the way, that is 100% normal and okay! You are allowed to have cravings, and you are allowed to indulge in them.
There is an important spiritual element to food like how it allows us to explore our personality, our ancestry and cultural traditions, as well as the opportunity it provides us for connecting with others (family, friends, etc.). There is something extremely special about preparing and sharing food together, it’s not a coincidence that it is something that we do at most celebrations and other important moments in our lives.
Food also literally feeds and nurtures our body, and there is something very natural and sort of spiritual about that too. Food is about exploration, creativity, and personal expression. It can also be about comfort sometimes (guess what? that’s okay too!).
Food and eating are powerful. Eating involves a multi-sensory experience: taste, smell, texture, and color. It releases happy hormones in our brains and satisfies an essential need. It can give us energy or can otherwise change how we feel (more awake, sleepy, relaxed, happy etc.).
Regardless of what you eat, food is important and is contributing in some way to your wellness. “Health-food” should just mean whatever makes you feel healthiest, sometimes that’s a salad, and sometimes that’s a burger and fries! There is no one diet that is good for all people but there are foods and ways of eating that work better for each individual. Finding what best fuels your body (and mind) will help make you feel physically and mentally better, and usually this is a lifelong journey as “what’s best” can change over time.
And, you don’t need to eat like me! I share my recipes not to push anyone to eat a certain way but because I think it is a fun way to connect with you all. I share a recipe because it is something I enjoyed and something you might also enjoy, and to encourage people just to think about what they eat, why they eat what they eat, and how it affects them (positively or negatively).
Cooking (and eating) is a wonderful hobby I’ve enjoyed for many years. It is unfortunate that I think there is a lot of stress around food, either with being overwhelmed by meal planning and preparing day-in-day-out, or feeling pressure even shame about what we should or should not be eating. Diet-culture and body-shaming are very much present in our society, and are incredibly harmful to our mental health & wellness, and I never want to contribute to that. Eating should make us feel good in and about our bodies, not badly.
I want to help take away that stress and negativity, and I want to share a positive relationship with food that is about fun, relaxation, exploration, creativity, connection (with yourself and others!), and nourishment (physical, mental & spiritual). So that cooking and food can become another way that we are living our lives to the fullest.
What are your favorite things to cook or eat? Comment below.