Thank you for joining this journey of food discovery. Haven’t you wondered how food can impact mental wellness and mental health for a long time? You see it in the news, journal articles, and magazines. So, here we are, staring a food blog exploring this very topic. This one will chronicle experiences and discoveries about mental wellness and food along the way – I know, starting a food blog in 2019 sounds daunting to say the least! The goal is to create a lexicon of recipes, food lists, reviews, and other information that is relatable and accessible – all while being budget conscious (hey, a sale is a sale). That’s the goal. Hope you enjoy.
Every week our inboxes are filling up with articles about food, its impact on mental health. It is both promising and overwhelming, and don’t you want to explore this topic further? What has struck me the most is that there isn’t one quick fix diet to follow, yet. Though there is definitely a trend toward the Mediterranean diet (but anti-inflammatory keeps popping up too, among others). That’s not to say we can’t explore other cuisines here that meet the guidelines, in fact, we are here to do just that. Or give it the old college try in most instances anyway (we certainly may veer off track from time to time).
By taking what is currently popular theory, we’re creating recipes to keep us moving toward a better mental health path. To read more about the topic and where we are building our food lists from, please consult this very small selection of articles: Healthy Gut, Healthy Mind: 5 Foods to Improve Mental Health, Can you eat your way to better mental health? Study says yes, and These Women Treated Their Anxiety and Depression with Food. Here’s What They Ate.
Food as a whole is interesting, it sustains us of course, but provides so much joy as well. It’s going to be a fun adventure to look at some of our signature dishes old and new and try to reinvent them into healthier versions. Some will be failures, we won’t talk about those (wink, wink), but some will be successes, and we will enjoy those wins. Feel free to use the contact form if you have any suggestions for dishes you want remade into a healthier versions – it would be fun to hear from you.
As mentioned above, the goal is to be focused on accessible foods and price points, and respect that you probably are too. Links will be provided to items that we can’t find in my local grocery store to help you out.
As for types of recipes, the majority will focus on easy peasy things that anyone can accomplish. The goal is to not be overly complicated in the recipe creation. No headaches in the kitchen please, just delicious dishes that are crowd pleasers.
Why mental wellness:
When I was thinking of a name for this blog I went through a number of different ones. I arrived at mental wellness because I thought it was the most fitting for where I wanted to arrive at in my own life, probably where you want to arrive at as well if you’re here. Consider the following:
According to the World Health Organization, mental wellness is defined as ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’ – American Mental Wellness Association
This is where our journey can improve mental health with the help of food. Some recipes and collected tips that can aid us toward mental wellness. Whether you have anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any mental illness (or any combination), hopefully eating well can help improve your mental health – maybe?
While we here at Eating for Mental Wellness firmly believe that a well-balanced, healthful diet can contribute to one’s overall well-being, we also do not advocate for stopping medications or self-diagnosing. Please consult your primary doctor or health professional specialist for advice. Of course, don’t forget to mention that you’re taking steps to improve your health with better eating!
I was born in New England, and grew up very much entrenched in traditional New England food and traditions, like clambakes on the Cape in the summer, and everything apples in the fall. I moved to Boston after my undergraduate degree, met my husband, Eric, and worked almost exclusively in Higher Education. We spent 15 great years there until recently relocating to my Connecticut hometown to be closer to my family. I have a Bachelors in History and a Masters in Library Science (where I met Samantha). I also attended The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for a stint when I thought I wanted to dedicate my life to the culinary arts and restaurants at the age of 18 – who could’ve foreseen I’d be starting a blog years later wanting more knowledge about food to help better understand mental health and wellness?
I’ve been cooking since I was very young with my Grandmother. I was enamored with her cooking, but she left us at a very early age. I was able to share my love of food through making her dishes for people on special occasions or when they were in their time of need. I spent my high school years preparing to go to culinary school where I enjoyed learning about techniques. I remember my first jobs in restaurants where I was baking kaiser rolls early in the morning (oh, the smells!) or prepping oodles of carrots while practicing my knife skills. Culinary school and externship (think internship) was an experience like no other and I remember them fondly. They taught and instilled in me lessons I hold dear to my heart to this day. However, I left the program early and went onto other goals, pursuing a bachelors in History to complete my undergraduate experience.
After that I spent years working in restaurants while I completed my degree and got my footing in adulthood. I guess food and being a foodie always followed me around. I continued to challenge myself by taking up restrictive diets like veganism and vegetarianism for several years each, or following different diets to see if I could do it – I always enjoyed the challenge and learning new ways of cooking.
My culinary inspiration came from PBS cooking shows, Food TV (once it came into being), my Grandmother’s memory, and Frenchie my “foods” teacher in high school. They were the people that really encouraged my cooking when I was younger. Plain old curiosity in the kitchen was the real reason I loved cooking though. I just wanted to get in there and experiment. That’s what keeps me going to this day. Every time I start to get bored, something new is around the corner and I just keep going.
My inspiration now is to seek out ways to improve mental health and wellness through food.
I was born in New England and grew up in New Jersey, aka the Garden State, so I was used to fresh fruit and vegetables all summer long, and then homemade jam year-round. Pescatarian for about 12 years. Life-long foodie. Librarian. Doctor of Music History.
I have been cooking ever since I can remember. I never really “learned” to cook; I just absorbed it from being in the kitchen and helping my mother, then progressing to cooking by myself. In middle school, I wanted to take wood shop because I already knew how to cook and thought Home Ec. would be boring. My parents actually had to argue to get me into shop; girls were supposed to take cooking. Now, I am a foodie and have been probably since food on the internet became a thing. I like food tourism. When I was at Woodstock (the Woodstock, but not during THE Woodstock), I simply had to go to the CIA for lunch. In Vermont, I visited the King Arthur Flour store, Ben & Jerry’s, AND Cabot Cheese all in one day. When I’m traveling overseas, there’s usually something local, typically a pastry or something cheesy that I must try and then want to recreate at home.
My culinary inspiration is mostly my mother. A snowy day guaranteed homemade bread and soup. I have a binder that she put together of recipes that we ate a lot growing up, so they’re all in one place. Except for baking, which has to be more precise, I usually wing it. Makes me wonder why I own so many cookbooks if I just read them for inspiration and not the actual recipes. Oh, and for the pictures. My goal with the blog, since I bake a lot as a form of stress relief, is to be more conscious of the choices I’m making and to modify some of my favorite comfort foods to make them more healthful.
So until the next update that’s that, here we go…