• Lotte Wubben-moy

Open Your Mind (and Mouth) To Mental-Physical-Nutrient Rich Meals

I am not a health freak, but I do realize that what we eat has a big impact on our life. 

Acknowledging meals for the positive mental and physical impact they can have is a little thing that can have a big impact. 

I mention how food give us the opportunity to uncover appreciation and control in our lives in a previous post, but in this post, I touch on food as having holistic benefits - for both the body and mind.  

So what does this look like?

The most applicable example is my protein pancakes. So let's break it down.

The physical:

Regardless of whether you are an athlete, author, or artist, you will be somewhat aware of the role protein plays in the sustenance of a balanced diet - it rebuilds muscle and keeps us strong.

The amount of protein we need is different for each individual. 

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition's study on nutrient timing, they recommended that you consume 0.14–0.23 grams of protein per pound of body weight (0.3–0.5 grams/kg) very soon after a workout. The reason for this is because protein helps repair the micro-tears that build up in muscles during intense training - once repaired with the help of protein and the training, they become stronger.

I eat a lot of protein because 1. I am a heavy gal and 2. I train a lot.

Now as I said, I am not a health freak so while I know that my body needs certain nutrients to perform and survive (physical), I also know that food needs to reward me (mental). 

Protein pancakes (pictured above) are my compromise with this. 

I see this as an example of a Mental-Physical-Nutrient rich meal; in these pancakes I get the nutrients I need and they taste good (most of the time). 

So, I've touched on the physical but what about the mental side? If it doesn't taste good, how can it mentally reward me?

The mental:

When we eat foods that taste good our brain wants to reward us and so releases a chemical called dopamine. The levels of dopamine we experience affect our energy, mood and motivation.

Dopamine is most commonly known for being released when we eat fatty, fast, naughty foods while key food groups like protein don't always taste great and so we don't get rewarded for it in the brain.

Or so we think...

If you weren't into the little things, you'd stop reading here and say hey - food can't do much more for me than fuel me so I don't really care about missing out on dopamine or filling myself with crappy food.

If that is the case, great - all power to you. But if you are looking for an edge - read on.

Food can be seen as a stepping stone towards our goal - seeing it for this will create anticipation for reward in our brain and thus will cause a release of dopamine. As a result, while we have not reached our goal yet - this dopamine is creating the energy and motivation we need to continue on towards these goals.

Dopamine is crucial for you to attain the goals that I know you want to reach (you kept reading, I love it).

Getting the edge requires we find more Mental-Physical-Nutrient rich meals to eat. And that doesn't mean that we eat protein pancakes every meal time because even those have their flaws...

(From my instagram story ^ @lottewubbenmoy a few weeks ago)

There's a fine line to having both physical and mental benefits in food without one diminishing the other. It is difficult to make healthy food taste great - which is why it is important for you to acknowledge meals in an open minded way. Not expecting all healthy foods to taste bad and remembering that meals have the power to benefit us mentally.

If an athlete knows that certain meals can give them both a mental (dopamine) and physical (energy) edge then no longer will they wave off food as irrelevant - instead they will shift their perspective to acknowledging that meals have a little thing in them that needs to be uncovered.

In Mental-Physical-Nutrient rich meals you can find appreciation, power, and control all in one bite.

Open your mind to it. And mouth...

Acknowledging meals for the positive mental and physical impact they can have is a little thing that can have a big impact. 

(P.s If you want the recipe for the protein pancakes, with the better tasting protein power, let me know and I'll post about it).

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