We all know that overindulging in unhealthy food can leave us feeling tired and flat, and new research has shown that consuming the right food can have the opposite effect, with certain foods being shown to lift your mood and improve your wellbeing.
Tilda® Rice is the UK's number one Basmati brand and is now available in Australia. In conjunction with nutritionists and food psychologists, Tilda® has developed the first ever manual and seven day meal planner that has been specifically designed to help you Eat Your Way to Happiness.
From nutritious foods to help control your appetite and reduce cravings, to foods scientifically proven to lift your mood and improve your energy levels, Tilda® has identified 22 foods that we should be incorporating into our diets. The Mood Food Manual comprises a series of recipes, spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks that are each made with a number of Mood Food ingredients (mood foods).
Nutritionist, author and wellness warrior Lee Holmes is a huge fan of the Mood Food Manual, having experienced first-hand the effect that certain foods can have on one's physical and mental wellbeing.
'When I heard about the Tilda® Mood Food Manual I was really intrigued, as the direct link between food and health is something I am really passionate about. When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease I rejected doctors' advice to take a cocktail of medications, and instead researched food and nutrition and changed my diet in order to improve my symptoms and eat myself well. It worked, and since then I've been a huge advocate for the power of food to alter and improve how we feel."
The 22 -Mood Foods' identified by Tilda® include pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salmon, wholegrain basmati, quinoa, chickpeas, coconut, asparagus, spinach, beans, chicken & turkey, avocado, blueberries, bananas, pomegranates, brazil nuts, ginger, beetroot, chilli, yoghurt, broccoli and dark chocolate.
Basmati rice is an incredibly healthy grain; gluten free, low in fat and containing all eight essential amino acids, folic acid, and no cholesterol, making it a perfect mood food. The long, slender grains offer a unique taste – distinctive, unique and slightly -nutty'. The Mood Food Manual incorporates many rice-based recipes, and demonstrates the incredible versatility of Basmati rice.
Tilda® Basmati rice is available in ready-to-heat pouches, making it even easier to prepare healthy, quick and nutritious meals at home. There are eight two-minute Tilda® Steamed Basmati Rice products currently available in Australia: Wholegrain Basmati & Quinoa, Coconut Chilli & Lemongrass, Pure Basmati, Wholegrain Brown Basmati, Coconut Basmati, Wholegrain Basmati, Garden Vegetables & Quinoa, Wholegrain Pilau, and White & Brown Basmati. Each product provides a quick and convenient meal and contains the finest Basmati rice and quality, natural ingredients. Tilda® Rice products are available at Woolworths and Coles supermarkets nationally. RRP $3.35.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 – 25 mins
400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
250g apple sauce or puree of 5 apples
200g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
75g castor sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
100g pecan nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and lightly grease a 26 x 18cm baking tray.
Place the beans and a splash of water in a food processor and whizz together until smooth – you are looking for the consistency of mashed potato. Add more water if the mixture looks too dry.
Add the apple sauce or apple
puree and process again for a minute or two, until smooth and well combined.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with an electric whisk, add the sugar in three to four batches, beating well after each addition. Add one third of the bean mixture to the egg mixture together with one third of the flour mixture and fold in carefully. Repeat twice more until all the ingredients are gently incorporated.
Add the vanilla essence and pecan nuts and gently fold through. Pour the mixture into
the baking tray and spread evenly. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes – check to see if the brownie is done by inserting a skewer into the middle – it should come out clean.
Allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Lee Holmes' tips on incorporating Mood Foods into your diet:
'Brazil nuts are the richest source of the mineral selenium, which helps combat depression. Studies have shown that a small handful of Brazil nuts everyday can help improve your mood. I like to enjoy them as an on-the-go snack, or chopped and sprinkled over yogurt with grated dark chocolate."
'Wholegrain Basmati is low in GI, meaning it contains the kind of carbohydrate that releases energy slowly, keeping your blood sugar levels steady and maintaining a more balanced, calm mood. Tilda® Wholegrain Basmati has a wonderfully nutty flavour which I love, and the ready-to-heat pouch makes it a really quick and easy addition to a dish. Basmati rice is also far more versatile than people think. There is a Blueberry Porridge recipe in the Mood Food guide that uses wholegrain Basmati – it's one of my favourites."
'Broccoli is a staple in my diet. It is rich in B vitamin folate, which is essential for a healthy mood. Low intakes of the B vitamin folate has been linked to poor mood, and the great news is that Vitamin B also promotes healthy hair and skin. I like to steam broccoli and enjoy with white fish, or in a risotto."
Yield: 4 Serves
Prep time: 20 min (plus a few hours for marinading)
Cook time: 25 min
500g chicken breast, sliced thinly
4 tbsp gluten free fajita spice mix*
1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for frying
1 tin kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 each green, yellow and red capsicum, seeded and sliced into strips
1 medium brown onion, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 pouches Tilda Garden Vegetable and Quinoa (250g)
2 tomatoes, finely diced
1/2 Spanish Onion, finely diced
1 avocado, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
Chopped fresh coriander, to garnish
Fresh chilli, sliced (optional)
A dollop of sour cream per serve
Place the sliced chicken, 3 tbsp fajita spice mix, and 1 tbsp oil in a bowl and mix. Leave for a few hours or overnight to marinate.
Add 2 tbsp oil to a pan over high heat, and fry onion, capsicum and garlic till it just starts to brown.
Add the sliced chicken and continue to fry, stirring occasionally, till chicken in browned on the outside and cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil and lightly fry the contents of the pouches with the kidney beans to warm through.
Mix tomatoes and onions with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve chicken and cooked vegetables on a bed of rice and beans, with the tomato salsa, avocado, coriander, chilli and sour cream. Squeeze over fresh lime juice to finish.
You can find gluten free fajita spice mixes at grocery stores, or you can make your own. Simply mix:
3 tsp ground paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp garlic flakes
1 tsp onion flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
Tilda® Rice -Mood Foods'
Wholegrain Basmati rice
Created for Tilda® by Dr Sarah Schenker
This lovely light Goat's Cheese and Asparagus Risotto recipe has been developed using mood-boosting foods to help you eat your way to happiness. Incorporating protein and complex carbohydrates, found in wholegrain Basmati rice, into your diet can help to nourish your body and balance your hormones to help keep you in a better mood. The risotto makes a perfect evening meal after a stressful day!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
362 calories per portion
Note: This recipe is gluten free
2 x 250g Tilda® Brown Basmati & Quinoa pouches
200mls gluten free vegetable stock (Fresh stock and gels are gluten free but some cubes may contain gluten. In order for this recipe to be gluten free you must use a gluten free stock).
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 spring onions, finely diced
1 bundle (200g) asparagus spears, tough ends
snapped off and discarded
200g frozen peas, defrosted
125g soft goat's cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the oil into a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook gently until they turn soft and translucent, about five minutes
Increase the heat a little and stir in the Tilda® Brown Basmati & Quinoa straight from the pouch, making sure each grain is coated in the oil
Add the stock and stir through; reduce the heat slightly and cook for about eight minutes until hot and most of the stock has been absorbed
Meanwhile steam the asparagus spears for about seven minutes until tender. Slice into pieces out 2cm in length
Add the asparagus pieces and peas to the risotto. Increase the heat and stir for a few minute to heat everything through
Just before serving, dot the risotto with three-quarters of the goats' cheese, giving it a stir to slightly mix the cheese through
Serve hot with the remaining goats' cheese dotted over the top
To find out more about how the food you eat can affect your mood and to download a handy seven-day meal planner, including recipes, visit tilda.com
Question: How do certain foods lift your mood?
Lee Holmes: Research suggests that certain foods can really put you in a buoyant mood. According to a study in the UK, The Food and Mood Project, 80 percent of people who were surveyed reported a significant improvement in their mood and found that when they were drinking more water and eating more -supporter foods' such as vegetables, fruits, oily fish, nuts and seeds, brown whole grains such as Tilda wholegrain basmati rice, fibre, protein and organic foods they experienced less depression and anxiety. Some great mood foods to include in your diet are pumpkin and chia seeds, Tilda Basmati rice, salmon, asparagus, spinach, bananas, blueberries and dark chocolate.
The science behind foods effect on mood comes down to chemical and physiological changes in our brain structure which can lead to altered behaviour. These certain mood foods have been proven to alter your metabolism and brain chemistry, ultimately affecting your energy level and mood. You can eat your way to happiness!
Question: Are Mood Foods the same for everyone?
Lee Holmes: There are some types of mood foods such as turkey and salmon and wholegrain basmati rice that are good for you and others that are not so great. For example eating a sugary treat or starchy carb can make you feel calm as they help the brain to produce serotonin but this can be counter productive and obviously if you are over indulging you could be piling on the kilos and not feeling great afterwards. Also mood foods can have varying results depending upon the foods you are eating them in combination with. Trying to find healthy choices is always best.
Question: What foods trigger negative responses?
Lee Holmes: If you are eating excess stressor foods such as refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol they may improve your mood in the short term but then will leave you feeling stressed because they're not providing adequate nutrition and because of this your body will be left depleted.
Question: Can you talk us through how you changed your diet to improve your health?
Lee Holmes: Yes. I added more nutritious whole foods into my diet once I had healed my gut and this contributed to me feeling a lot healthier and more energised. Some of the foods I cut down on were gluten, sugar and dairy. I also included many more leafy greens and vegetables and combined them with good fats and omega 3 fatty acids in salmon and sardines the ultimate mood foods!
Question: Did you see an improvement in your health immediately after changing the way you ate?
Lee Holmes: I saw an improvement quite quickly but it took about twelve months to really get the benefits of changing my diet to a more whole foods approach.
Question: What are your basic food principles?
Lee Holmes: My basic food principles are very simple. I believe in eating as fresh as possible and according to Mother Nature. I like to take the Ayurvedic approach to health, eating seasonally and mindfully and balancing my body by listening to its signals.
Question: What's a typical day's food include, for you?
Lee Holmes: Breakfast is a smoothie usually with greens and a banana and coconut milk. Lunch is usually a soup or salad with salmon or sardines. Dinner is generally something slow cooked or a chicken saag curry with Tilda brown basmati rice is my current favourite.
Question: How can we incorporate the mood foods in our diets?
Lee Holmes: Just start slowly and add mood foods into your meals gradually. For example add some blueberries, banana and yoghurt to a smoothie, brazil nuts are great and handy for snacks. Add pomegranate to salads and instead of white rice, include more wholegrain brown rice into your diet
Question: Which of the Mood Foods are your favourite?
Lee Holmes: I can't go past ginger, salmon and broccoli. All in the one meal!
Question: What is your favourite Wholegrain Basmati rice recipe?
Lee Holmes: I made one the other night it was so good! It was baked fish with lemon and tomatoes with Bok choy and Tilda wholegrain basmati.
Question: Can you tell us about your Supercharged recipe books?
Lee Holmes: I have six books now and I see them as a series which documents my journey to wellness. Each book is unique and has it's own personality recipes. The first one is called Supercharged Food Eat your way to health and it was created to cater for anyone looking to overhaul their diet and increase their intake of fresh, wholesome and nutrient-rich foods. Eat Yourself Beautiful features secret recipes for juices, snacks and meals using key nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory ingredients and every day foods for longevity. In Eat Clean, Green and Vegetarian I say you don't need to wear horsetail braids, love kale or do yoga to enjoy vegetarian food, this is where I put vegetables front and centre on the dinner table! Heal Your Gut is a four-week gut healing protocol and the culmination of my personal quest for wellness and I also run it as a four week online program on my website. Eat Right for Your Shape is a book about taking the Ayurvedic path to good health and abundant natural energy to achieve your ideal shape and weight. I've created a practical cookbook and guide to help you incorporate Ayurvedic principles into your everyday life and bring your body back into balance. The book features over 120 delicious and nourishing seasonal recipes with ingredients that correct your doshic imbalance, in order to create harmony, weight management and health. Supercharged Food for Kids features 90 recipes and meal solutions that not only taste delicious, but deliver the nutrients needed to help kids sustain energy levels, keep their mood up, concentrate and perform at their best. You won't find any Frankenfood but you will find kids' favourites such as pizza, nuggets, pasta and desserts all made with healthy ingredients. This book will inspire you to create fresh, wholesome and nutrient rich meals that your children will eat again and again and help develop good eating habits they can maintain for the rest of their lives.
Interview by Brooke Hunter