Sunday Thoughts (stress & food)

Sundays are my day to cook. 

Yes, I cook most days of the week, it’s true. But while I love a “lazy Sunday,” I also love the freedom a nearly open day on the weekend can bring. 

The luxury of spending as much time as I need to try new recipes, cook things that need hours to come together, or even make a few meals to prepare for the week ahead.

Sundays let me do that. 

Especially when I have a game on the TV in front of me, I can spend hours dicing, chopping, or mixing. It’s something I enjoy, and the process is relaxing. 

Both in the moment, and over the next couple days, when there’s no anxiety about “what’s for dinner?” 

It’s already made!

Stress and food are often linked. We eat when we’re feeling overwhelmed. We “self-medicate” with food when we’re down. 

But we don’t often think about how we can manage our stress with the foods we choose. (And I’m not talking about a cupcake. 

Upping your intake of omega-3s by serving more fish can reduce stress hormones and temper the inflammation that comes when we’re stressed out. 

Or choose shellfish, like mussels, clams, or oysters, which deliver omega-3s and B vitamins – another stress reliever. 

My notoriously picky son, who battled at dinnertime with me as a kid, absolutely loves mussels. I don’t understand it, but I do encourage it, because I know they’re good for him!

Foods rich in vitamin C, like citrus or bell peppers, can also improve your mood. If you have a kid or grandkid in high school, research even shows vitamin C works wonders on anxiety for kids at this age. I wish I knew that years ago! 

And choosing foods rich in friendly bacteria, like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut will help build up your gut health. Which supports your ability to deal with stress too. 

If you don’t have a taste for sour foods like this, a comprehensive probiotic is another way to do the same thing, with a host of other benefits for your digestion.  

For me, the very act of cooking itself – the hands-on nature of it – gets me out of my head. And when I’m serving foods I know beat back stress when I eat them, it’s the perfect combination. 

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and cook up a little stress relief for yourself tonight. 

We could all use it.

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