Gratitude, great soup, grounding and a good mood!

There are many small things we can do in our day that can boost our mood, improve our mental and physical health and energy levels. Without making a big effort these small changes can also help us to maintain a healthy weight, waist size, blood pressure and cholesterol level.

You may remember me mentioning the chakras, spinning wheels of energy in the body. Seeing red in your daily diet may help improve physical energy. Tomatoes are a great red food especially when in soups! Cooked tomatoes are a great source of lycopene an antioxidant important for heart health and has been found to lower the risk of some cancers. Home made soups offer the opportunity to add lots of immune boosting and energy enhancing spices such as paprika, turmeric and chilli. A warm bowl of soup on a cold January day can feel like a hug in a bowl! A great way to increase vegetable and water intake as well as fibre when using pulses and beans. Fibre in pulses and beans is great for our blood pressure and digestive health. Beans and pulses added to soup are also a good source of protein to help us feel full.

My homemade go to recipe is:

  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • 1/2 a tin of cannelini or butter beans
  • 1 vegetable stock cup
  • 100ml water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon of tuneric
  • 3 dashes of worcestershire sauce

Boil for 5 minutes and blitz in a food processor or with a hand blender. It makes 4 hearty bowls of soup that can last in the fridge for 2-3 days. Having soup either for a working lunch or an evening meal with a bright salad helps keep saturated fat and refined carbohydrates and sugar intake low, balancing blood sugar levels, mood and energy!

Taking a few minutes either every day or a set day each week to write down what you feel grateful for really can help improve mood, energy, positive emotions and motivation to follow healthy eating and exercise behaviours. Either on a post it note or in a note pad, writing 3-5 things you feel thankful for and that are different each time has been evidenced to make a positive difference to peoples mood. The act of writing down what you are grateful for helps to rewire the brain stimulating the part of the brain (pre frontal cortex) that deals with positive rational thinking.

Feeling grounded isn’t as hard as it sounds. Taking just a minute or two each day to notice your feet connect to the earth as you walk, noticing the birds sing, the colour of the flowers, leaves and trees, feeling the breeze, noticing the sky and clouds all help you connect to the present and the wonders that earth gives us everyday. Just taking the time to taste your soup all help to draw you into the present moment and away from busy doing thoughts. In doing so we give our brains the space to feel calm and peace, we feel less emotional and reactive to food, people, events that are happening and are less drained in energy.

All of these small techniques help build energy from within, strengthening the root chakra so that we are more resilient, better able to adapt to challenges we face each day and more aware of our physical and mental wellbeing.

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