Mindful Eating For Your Mental Health | Melissa Hemsley
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Mindful Eating For Your Mental Health

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Mindful Eating For Your Mental Health

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Head Talks, a brilliant site that informs, inspires and engages with the struggles and challenges of mental health in our community.

For me, mindful eating is a way in which I keep my mental health in check. While I was a late starter to cooking, I have always loved sharing food with friends and family. I grew up on an army base in Kingston and every day I’d run home to watch Ready, Steady, Cook. I loved how fun the show was and one of my favourite segments was the ‘five pound bag’; where the cooks were forced to create a meal based on the ingredients in the bag. Coming from an Army Dad and a Filipino Mum, both who placed an importance on resourceful cooking, no-waste and frugal living, this way of eating and cooking has always been important to me and I think my love of Ready, Steady, Cook shows that this began from young age.

I remember one of the first dishes I learnt to cook was Tom Yum Soup (and, let me assure you, it wasn’t a very good one!) but I remember just inviting all my friends and family around to eat this with me.  A simple, home-cooked meal is a really powerful thing – it creates a space for people to chat and connect, talk about their problems, share ideas and (hopefully) offer solutions. So often when you invite someone over and perhaps, while you’re standing at the sink doing the washing up or clearing up, the juicy bits of life or the topics that are a bit more difficult to talk about, suddenly come up. I find this relaxed way of entertaining and cooking creates this environment. I don’t do dinner parties, canapes or white tablecloths; cooking, for me, is about creating something from the heart and then putting the food out on the table and allowing everyone to dig in and help themselves. Cooking is about sharing and an expression of love.

Beyond cooking, other tips that help me include:
  • ■ Meditation – I learnt this in Australia and I’ve been doing this for about 5 years. I try to meditate twice a day and, while that doesn’t happen often… I don’t beat myself up for that! I think meditation teaches you to be gentle and kind to yourself so even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day, it is a powerful tool.
  • ■ Go to sleep early – and this means trying to avoid eating too late at night too.
  • ■ No phones in the bedroom – this helps to eliminate that bubbling stress that comes from technology that builds up over the day. Also, if your phone isn’t next to you, it means you can’t lean over and check your phone first thing in the morning!
  • ■ Batch cooking – make a big pot of soup or a casserole and then portion it up. Then, I put the portions in the freezer and that’s my investment in my health. I know that one day I’m going to come home upset or unwell and know that I will have a nutritious meal waiting for me.
My favourite ingredients for simple nutritious home cooking:
  • ■ Bone broth – simmered beef bones or chicken carcasses is a nourishing and flavoursome soup that instantly gives you energy.
  • ■ Ginger tea- use either ground ginger or fresh and I love adding turmeric as well, with a squeeze of lemon. That’s really good for you.
  • ■ Dark chocolate. There’s definitely a place for dark chocolate!
  • ■ Leafy greens, vibrant veg. All the usual suspects, the more the better!

If you’d like to hear more about my happy food memories, watch the video below.

I hope this gives you an insight into how I help balance my life. I’d love to hear from you and what trips and tricks you may have that help your mental health?

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I’m so excited to share my new cookbook ‘Eat Happy’ with you all! Click here to get your hands on it now.
Melissa x