Hello, my little lightbulbs!
How are you? Are you feeling yourself this week or a little out of sorts? I’m a tad out of sorts myself – but nothing too crazy. I FINALLY have a courtesy car which is some good news! It’s a little Hyundai Aygo and (don’t tell Umeboshi) I really like it! It drives well, looks good, and has a super cool reversing camera- happy days.
As well as cruising to Timecop1983 like there’s no tomorrow and drinking an obscene variety of teas, the last two weeks I’ve been honing in on restoring my morning routine. By actively trying to wake up earlier and spend some time with my thoughts before plunging into the absolute chaos of daily life, I’m hoping to introduce some more stability and calm. The better weather has helped a lot with my mood; making it easier to wake up earlier and letting me spend more time outside. I’ve also reconnected with yoga and recently started a 30-day yoga challenge from Yoga with Adriene – the mother has been joining me and it’s going really well so far, I’m up to Day 8!
Yoga has been a good factor in helping me to level up fitness and mobility. I’ve been struggling with finding time to work out for longer periods of time, so making half an hour at least in the morning has been major. To rebuild consistency, I’ve returned to the Golden Triangle – my trustee method for building fitness in an achievable way.
As you know, fitness is only one part of the health story. Another giant factor for physical and mental health is… food! I’m really not into diet culture and, from my own diss research, I know how detrimental everyday conversation about dieting can be for those struggling with eating disorders and low self-esteem. So, in an effort to switch up the narrative, I want to focus on the positives of food, to look at what we can gain from food outside of calories.
Today’s post is going to look at how certain foods can help you to boost motivation – which is great if you’re hoping to build a new habit, hobby, or work on a project. You could try the yoga challenge I’ve started? Or even the Golden Triangle! If you do- please let me know what you think!
There are three main nutrients that can help to boost your motivation – I’ll chat about all three and give you some ingredients or foods that contain high concentrations of those nutrients. Hopefully, this post will help you to add some freshness, variety, excitement, and (ultimately) motivation into some of your meals going forward!
Our first nutrient is an amino acid, used by plants for photosynthesis, but also in humans to improve focus, energy levels, and even memory! Tyrosine is also said to reduce the recovery time after stressors.
Some foods that contain Tyrosine are:
Veg – tofu, avocado, miso, spinach, marmite
Fruit – bananas, canned figs, plums, tomatoes
Lean meats – turkey, chicken/beef liver, tuna
Dairy – cheese (cheddar, stilton, etc.)
L-Tyrosine also exists as a supplement which seems pretty safe to take for up to three months, unless you have an overactive thyroid (but it’s always best to check with your doc if you decide to supplement).
Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for the healthy functioning of our bodies. As well as improving brain health, zinc has also been found to: reduce inflammation, boost immunity, aid growth, reduce the risk of vision loss and other age-related diseases, speed up healing from injuries, improve skin and acne symptoms, and the synthesis of proteins!
Some foods high in Zinc:
Nuts – cashews, walnuts, almonds
Seeds – pumpkin, sesame
Veg – mushrooms, squash, asparagus, broccoli
Fruit – blackberries, kiwi
Pulses – chickpeas, kidney beans, lima beans
Vitamin B1, or Thiamin, is a vitamin found in a large variety of foods. It plays an important role in metabolising foods, converting carbohydrates into energy, and helping to increase concentration. Dr. Sarah Brewer also cites a trial completed with over 500 young women, showing B1 to reduce period pain (which is a decent bonus!)
To add more Vitamin B1 to your diet, try including these foods:
Wholegrain – spelt bread, fresh pasta, barley
Veg – cabbage, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, green peas, peppers
Nuts/ Seeds – Sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, pistachios
There are many more foods that contain the nutrients that I’ve mentioned today; a good resource for more info is the Mental Health Foundation; it’s well worth having a look. You’ll likely find that foods you already like contain some pretty useful vitamins and minerals as well as (re)discovering some new foods to throw into your weekly meals. The act of eating can be a very innovative tool to help our bodies and minds work in some amazing ways. I’m still quite young in my knowledge of nutrition and I’m so excited to keep on learning and sharing with you!
I’d really like to hear which recipes you end up trying and if, over time, you start to notice a difference. Remember to keep the ingredients as unprocessed as possible and try to eat a wide variety of foods to make sure that you’re getting the most nutrients that you can. Also, if you have any other tips and tricks for boosting motivation, let me know – I’m always looking for ways to feel energised and motivated!
Nutrition and Mental Health