In the rush of modern life and fast eating, I am seeing more and more people wanting to explore the link between food and mental health within our therapy together. As I am not a qualified nutritionist and this sounds like you, I would like to begin by nudging you to connect with nutritionists online who can support you to understand your bodies unique needs, including your diet and their nutritional needs so that a bespoke plans can be created just for you. This is a wonderful and deeply enriching self-care practice that can offer you incredible benefits in the long run and compliments the therapy process too. Let me explain why!
As part of the MBFI Therapeutic Approach, I will often explore what your relationship to food is like, to help us to begin to navigate your mind-body connection and how food and eating impacts this. This is different for every person and you have a unique relationship with food that has been growing with you for many years! Knowing how you nourish your body is key to understanding your mind-body connection and food is one of the steps within this exploration.
There has been a recent explosion in health and wellness influencers across social media and although its great to see so many people practicing healthy eating and growing nourishing relationships with their bodies, this can also be overwhelming if there is a triggering, shaming or tricky relationship with the body and food, so offering a space to explore the many challenges that this can bring and the impact on your life, feelings and habits is an essential part of learning to love your body and feel safe in your skin.
One of the simplest ways to begin to welcome more health into your life and to shift your relationship with your body and food is to turn to nature and her incredible offerings of colourful and nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. I like to call this ‘eating the rainbow’ and everyday (well most days) I create a Rainbow Food Bowl full of colourful fruits and veg to add extra vitamins into my diet. A little tasty boost full of brain and body food!
This little power packed bowl full of vibrant hues can offer a kaleidoscope of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, forming a nourishing tapestry that not only fuels your body but also has the potential to provide a profound boost to your mental resilience and vitality. So let’s take a moment to explore rainbow food and how to create a bowl bursting with goodness!
Let’s create together
Step 1: Treat yourself to a beautiful bowl
This step is often overlooked, but having a beautiful bowl that you love to look at is so important when it comes to welcoming in this new and nourishing practice. You are choosing to nurture yourself back to health and when you look at a beautiful bowl it can help to encourage you to take extra care with the preparation of your rainbow food! This is a compassion filled energy practice!
Step 2: Shopping for Rainbow Food (this is a great way to encourage young people to eat fruits and veg too)
If possible, you may like to visit a local market, farm shop or veg shop so that you can see and smell the earthy rich flavours and colours. This can really help to engage your intuitive nature to explore what your body is craving in the moment. Pick up each fruit and take in the colours, notice the coolness or the warmth in your hand, what are you most drawn to? Fill your basket and smile knowing that you are about to seriously nourish and love your body back to health!
Step 3: Choose your rainbow for this bowl
The key to a truly nourishing Rainbow Food Bowl is diversity. Each colour represents a unique set of nutrients and antioxidants, contributing to your overall wellbeing. Try to include a variety of colours – reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos, and violets. Think tomatoes, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, berries, and leafy greens.
Red: Tomatoes, strawberries, and red peppers are rich in vitamin C, which can support the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, promoting a positive mood. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been linked to reducing the risk of low mood and anxiety.
Orange: Oranges, carrots, and sweet potatoes are brimming with beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, essential for cognitive function and mental clarity. The antioxidants in oranges can help combat oxidative stress, protecting the brain from age-related decline.
Yellow: Bananas, pineapples, and yellow peppers are excellent sources of vitamin B6, a key player in serotonin synthesis, which can help to regulate mood and reduce symptoms of low mood.
Green: Leafy greens, broccoli, and avocados are rich in folate, promoting the production of neurotransmitters and supporting cognitive function. The chlorophyll in green vegetables has been associated with reducing stress and promoting a sense of calm.
Blue and Purple: Blueberries, grapes, and eggplants are packed with anthocyanins, known for their antioxidant properties that may help protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Indigo: Blackberries and blackcurrants contain anthocyanins, contributing to improved cognitive function and potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Violet: Prunes, plums, and purple cabbage provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K and manganese, which can support brain health and function.
Step 4: Mix it up
Creating a visually appealing and nutritionally balanced bowl is all about balance and variety. Combine sweet and tangy fruits with crunchy and savory vegetables. For example, pair juicy strawberries with crisp cucumber slices, or sweet mango chunks with cherry tomatoes. You may even like to take it to the next level by adding some edible salad flowers. Let your creativity guide you as you mix and match flavours and textures. Yum!
Step 5: Prep with care & love
To truly savor the freshness of your Rainbow Food Bowl, it’s crucial to prepare your ingredients with care. Wash and chop your fruits and vegetables into bite-sized pieces. This not only enhances the presentation but also makes it easier to enjoy all of the flavours in each spoonful.
Step 6: Boost with superfoods (optional)
Take your Rainbow Food Bowl to the next level by incorporating nutrient-rich superfoods. Consider adding a sprinkle of chia seeds, a handful of goji berries, or a drizzle of flaxseed oil. These additions can enhance the nutritional punch but also contribute to your bowl’s visual appeal.
Step 7: Dress it up (optional)
Elevate your Rainbow Food Bowl with a simple yet delicious dressing. A splash of honey infused lemon water, or mango puree with a cheeky chilli kick, or even a spoonful of your favourite yogurt-based dressing can tie all of the flavours together while adding an extra layer of nutrition.
Step 6: Very important! Take your time to slow down and eat mindfully, celebrating every mouthful of goodness
Sit back, relax, and relish your Rainbow Food Bowl mindfully. With every colourful bite, you’re not just nourishing your body with vitamins and antioxidants but also treating your taste buds to a symphony of flavors and even more importantly you deserve to live in a healthy and happy body!
Here’s to your success on the path of being whole, healthy and healed!
The practices I share offer a holistic wellbeing approach to overall wellness but cannot and should not replace sound medical advice and or treatment. Please do talk with your GP if you have any concerns about your health.
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