If you are feeling sad, stressed, exhausted, hangry, or bored, it’s comforting to eat dishes you love and crave. But Lindsey Smith shows how simple it is to make those same meals and snacks with mood-boosting ingredients that will physically nourish instead of processed foods.
In Eat Your Feelings: The Food Mood Girl’s Guide to Transforming Your Emotional Eating With Recipes, Lindsey Smith, the Food Mood Girl, will look at ways to eat healthy food based on what people tend to crave the most during heightened emotional states, introducing recipes with crunchy, cheesy, creamy, sweet, and salty themes and drink alternatives for those who tend to chug soda or coffee when all worked up.
Blending together Lindsey Smith’s passion for health and wellness, food and humor, Eat Your Feelings is a humorous, lighthearted take on your typical diet book.
Busy young professionals wrestle with long hours, an exhausting dating culture, and the stress of the modern world. As days whiz by, it’s normal to gravitate toward food—a quick slice of pizza, a chocolate bar, or a bag of chips—that fulfills a craving of the moment or gives a quick energy boost. And this impulse makes sense. Food gives us a sense of pleasure and joy. It can provide us with satisfaction and comfort. Food can awaken each of our senses to something new each time we eat. It gives us energy, and quite literally sustains life as we know it. It should be emotional.
When eating to boost mood, Smith advises not only eating whole foods (fruit, vegetables, nuts, and so on) for the minerals and vitamins they contain, but also choosing those with certain properties. For example, when you’re stressed, reach for foods high in magnesium and low to the ground to snack on or add to your dinner recipe. “Grounding foods, says Smith, like sweet potatoes or carrots, are low to the ground. They’re literally rooted, and so they can physically help you feel rooted and calmer and less stressed.”
She also outlines other items in her book that she calls “the mood-boosting extras”—such as raw cacao (in her brownie recipe) because “it hasn’t been stripped of the nutrients like regular cocoa,” and spices like turmeric, ginger or mushroom powder.
Of course, at the end of the day, Smith says, sometimes it’s okay to indulge in that double-chocolate brownie. But how do we learn to indulge thoughtfully—knowing when to give into our cravings, and when to reach for the healthier version? Here are four things Smith practices.
- Mindful eating— “Something that I [try] do whenever I want to indulge is say to myself, ‘You know what? I’m going to eat this and I’m going to really enjoy it,’ and I think about the process of it getting to me. Especially if it’s a local bakery or something. Someone here made this, they created this recipe, they cared so much about and they were really inspired … I like to think about the process that it takes to get to my plate, and feel gratitude for the entire process.”
- Train your brain with the healthier stuff–“One of the problems with transitioning to a food-and-mood lifestyle is that we’ve been tricked by our taste buds over the years to like certain things. So, of course, Doritos are not going to taste the same as [healthier] bean chips, because we’re so used to having the chips that have additives that change our brain receptors and make us crave Doritos. [So] indulge. But maybe the next week, try the healthier option, so that you can start getting your palate and your taste buds to change and transform with you over time.”
- Listen to your body— Smith says asking our bodies questions is the number-one way that we can figure out what’s going to work for us and unlock clues to our cravings and who we are as individuals. “The more that you’re aware, then obviously you’ll know if it’s an emotional craving.” She says you’ll be able to acknowledge “this is a day where I’m eating that fudge brownie, and I’m going to enjoy every last bit of it.” Or, she says, “This is a day where I watch “Unsolved Mysteries” all afternoon, and don’t look at my cellphone.”
- Self-love matters—Smith says, “You can eat as much kale as you possibly can—you can eat as healthy as you want. But if you’re just not feeling good about who you are as a person, it’s not going to matter. There’s no amount of healthy food in the world that can help you overcome that feeling. I believe self-love is definitely a key ingredient to all this. [Your body] is a magical machine and it’s literally fighting for your life every single day. I think that you should treat your body the best that you can, and realize how much it does care about you. And that’s why I think food should be enjoyed, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Because that’s all a part, to me, of truly honoring yourself and your body, and of truly loving yourself.”
It’s crucial to listen to your cravings: they are the gatekeepers that unlock the secrets to our unique bodies. But a major element of the Food Mood lifestyle is love, and revolutionizing the way you treat your body and your cravings will not only rid yourself of hanger pains but will also teach you how to listen and respond to your body with healthy ingredients and recipes.
Watch the video of Lindsey Smith’s talk below:
Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.
Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.
Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.
Improves mood, memory, and focus.
Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.