It’s the simplest truth out there. No matter how complex our thoughts, how refined we are as people, or how intriguing our relationships maybe, our understanding with food is basic. It’s a need. But it’s also more than that. The right kind of food will put you in the right sort of mood and this direct link from food to mood is what we should exploit more often. Why? Why not? We’re already doing it sub-consciously, right? Wake up in the morning and you need a cup of coffee to kickstart your system. Bored? Grab a packet of chips and munch through it. There are reactive and proactive ways to tackle your moods. For instance –
If you’re stressed
Don’t over think. Just grab that bar of dark chocolate and give in. Normally, I wouldn’t wait to be stressed to eat chocolate but apparently, it helps reduce stress. So if there are a hundred things that need to be done – laundry, project estimates, waxing your legs before a big date etc etc, and you don’t have the time, don’t let stress make you feel worse. Just bite into some chocolate. You still have to complete all that work, but hey, you’re not stressed any more and you’ll get around to it eventually.
If you’re angry
Hello, old friend. Contrary to what people think of me, I am not as placid as a lake surface, but then again, given the state of Bangalore’s lakes, maybe I am. Ready to froth at the mouth for every little thing that gets out of hand. Anger is the worst kind of outlet and I realise it only after screaming at someone in rage. Green tea is known to calm down people who get angry easily because of the theanine in it. Also, it’s low on caffeine which means it won’t make me jittery. Definitely giving this a try the next time I feel a rage coming on.
If you’re feeling flirtatious
Forget the strawberries and oysters. Let’s focus on the fruit du jour, India’s favourite – mangoes. Luscious, sweet and so tempting, just the act of eating it is enough to put several naughty ideas in your head that you might want to try out with your loved one. Mangoes are rich in vitamin A and C and both these are known anti-oxidants that make you look young, fresh and confident.
If you’re nursing a broken heart
I wish I knew people who kept tubs of ice cream in their freezer for those serious heartbreaks that sadly seem to happen now and then. I’d love to raid their freezer for myself (in the interest of keeping them healthy) and lead them towards some crunchy salads, say, diced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, some nice cubes of feta crumbled on top, drizzled with olive oil, flecked with salt. By the time you’re done eating that, you’re going to forget why you thought you could never enjoy food again.
If you’re not getting enough sleep
Not getting sleep can ruin your day. Whatever the reason you’re unable to sleep and you’re done with counting sheep, then try a glass of warm milk. If you hate milk, then maybe try eating a banana. All that magnesium and potassium does help you have a good shut eye so you can sleep and wake up raring to go in the morning.
See? There’s more to food than just satisfying your basic needs. If that were the case, we’d all be eating dal chawal (although that’s comfort food to many people but in my case, please add a shami kabab or two) all week long. Thankfully, that isn’t the case, although I wouldn’t say no to that shami kabab, whatever mood I’m in.