Food, mind and emotions


Food, mind and emotions

La comida, la mente y las emociones

What does food have to do with my mind and emotions?

One of the most fascinating things about food is how it modulates our mood in a matter of seconds. It’s amazing how a well-cooked course has the ability to bring a smile to our face, restore us to a state of stillness, or otherwise make us angry if what’s on the plate disgusts us.

Eating in a balanced way is about learning to manage emotions. That’s right, every emotion is a messenger that brings a signal, and camouflaging it with food is common, although not a good resource. Every emotion generates a different energy, just like food, having the capacity to give or, worse, take
energy away from us.

You just have to put yourself in the situation, let’s remember what happened when that special person called… the last thing you thought about was eating. Your stomach shuts down because all your attention is focused on that moment. Conversely, when something upsets us, we look for ways to evade those unpleasant thoughts and emotions, turning our attention to the sensory pleasures of extreme food, seeking the satisfaction of at least a full stomach.

The body responds to care sooner or later, but the head is in a hurry and plays at pulling unexpected files, resisting certain changes in habits. It is used to calling the shots and has its own vices. Perhaps we give her too much power. But it is a fact, and together with emotions, they lead a large part of the decisions when it comes to eating.

We have already seen it a thousand times, the brain resists starting anything, looks for excuses, delays the moment… Plans, projects, calls, habits, training, diets… the hardest thing is to start, as simple as that, to start.

However, it is proven that once we start an activity, the mind experiences a kind of anxiety until we finish what we are doing, the brain does not like to leave things half done. This is as true for reading a book as it is for finishing a bag of crisps.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the close connection between gut and brain, and how the bacterial microbiota directly influences the levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for our happiness (*The incredible gut-brain connection” by Camila Rowlands. Ed.Irio). This leads us to think that
this relationship benefits or harms in both directions: a diet that respects the microbiota gives us balance and peace of mind, as well as an orderly mind facilitates a kind behavior with food; while an altered intestinal flora will lead us to unbalanced behavior and situations of imbalance for our health. Being aware of this relationship is an important first step in attending to some changes.

It is natural that when we finish eating, we feel much better than before we started, not only because we have relieved the physical sensation of an empty stomach, and have hydrated and nourished the body, but also because of the feeling of pleasure for all the senses.

Let’s face it, eating what you like stimulates the senses, and not only that, but it also makes time stand still for a few seconds, and the attention is focused on that pleasurable aroma or taste.

But for some reason we don’t get homesick for the fast-food dishes we once had on the street, or that microwaveable ready-made dish with promising packaging, which was sitting in our stomachs for two days afterwards. The most comforting and joyful memory comes from those meals cooked with care and
attention, which are not only tasty, but also digestible and evoke a moment of satisfaction. And that usually has to do with the most natural ingredients that are easy for our bodies to recognise, as well as the most traditional cooking methods.

Let us remember that the most important factor favoring low moods is the consumption of refined sugars, i.e. white sugar and its derivatives (chocolate, pastries, baked goods, soft drinks, ice cream, tropical fruit in excess…). Generally, sugar consumption tends to have significant ups and downs from both an emotional and energetic point of view.

Learning to develop a good relationship with the body’s main fuel is an unfinished business in our society, and our physical and mental performance, as well as our emotional balance, largely depends on it. A necessary approach to health that we address from our area of physical and mental health so that our clients can put healthy habits into practice, and so that their emotions can enjoy a well-chosen menu to the maximum.

María Kindelán

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