In my last full post I talked about PC Cooking School classes and today I’d like to introduce you to someone I met there.
Patricia Muzzi is a personal chef and the founder of Mood Food Culinary. What is mood food? In simple terms, it is how the foods we eat affect our brain.
Pretty neat right? Check out our Q&A below and be sure to visit her website http://www.moodfoodculinary.com
What does the term Mood Food mean?
Patricia: Mood foods are foods that have an impact (either positive or negative) on the brain, which in turn affects our emotions, memory, concentration and mood.
Where did you come across the concept of Mood Food?
Patricia: While researching the connection between food and mental health, for the purposes of completing a mid-term project at culinary school, I cam across a charitable organization in the UK called MIND that is dedicated to improving the quality of the lives of individuals suffering from mental illness. They called is the “MIND meal” but I started referring to it as Mood Food. Much of the research originating from the UK points to food as being a major factor that affects mental health.
When you first learned about the concept of Mood Food, were you surprised by anything?
Patricia: I was only surprised to learn how much research has been available since the early 80’s and yet nutritional therapy seemed to take a back seat in treating or preventing mental health related issues.
How has eating Mood Foods affected your life?
Patricia: I am very mindful of what I eat, so you can say I have a very intimate relationship with food. I know what foods have a positive or negative effect on me and what time of day to eat certain foods to get the effects I want. I have increased my energy levels, boosted my memory and metabolism as well as charged up my immune system. I am better equipped to handle stressful situations and rarely catch colds or the flu.
What are some examples of Mood Foods?
Patricia: My top ten mood foods would be…
1. Salmon – preferably wild
2. Turkey – oven roasted
3. Mushrooms – dark earthy ones like cremini, portabella, oyster, or shiitake
5. Leafy Greens – kale, spinach, rapini and arugula
6. Berries – wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries
7. Apples – preferably fresh and local
8. Figs – fresh or dried
9. Nuts – almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts
10. Whole & Ancient Grains – spelt, flax, quinoa, whole wheat
On the flip side, are there any foods that can sabotage your mood?
Patricia: Absolutely! The general rule is that foods that have been altered from their natural state, or do not originate from the earth, contain additives/preservatives and other chemicals that affect the brain in a negative way thus sabotaging mood. So fast food, packaged items like candy, fruit chews, frozen pizzas, chocolate bars… cola/pop is a #1 example of something that is not even a real food ingredient. It doesn’t come from the earth and is loaded with harmful chemicals.
Is it difficult to incorporate Mood Foods into your diet?
Patricia: It’s easier than incorporating junk food because the effects are that much more pleasurable and longer lasting.
Who can benefit from eating Mood Foods?
Patricia: Mood foods are important at every stage of human life, from the time we are a tiny fetus we rely on the food nurting foods our mothers consume. As babies, toddlers and preschoolers our brain development is so sensitive to nutrition. School-aged, tween and teens [have] hormones kicking in and we can benefit from food in order to reduce those hormonal fluctuations and moodiness. In our young adult and pre-child bearing years we can use the added energy and concentration from good nutrition to excel in what are termed the busy years. As we age gracefully into our senior years the proper foods keep up alert, happy, with lasting concentration and focus.
Where can people go to learn more about your work?
Patricia: Please visit my website and follow me on twitter (“mood foodie”) or connect with me on LinkedIn.
Are you eager to try a Mood Food snack? Check out Patricia’s recipe for “Baked Ontario Apple Frittata Cups to Go!” at www.onapples.com. The recipe also contains additional information as to why the other ingredients such as eggs, walnuts, granola, apples and cinnamon are also good mood foods.