Today everyone is go, go, go.
When I was tell people I wrote a cookbook, their eyes glaze over. "A cookbook? Uh, that's nice, Mike."
Even after I tell them it's called FOOD FOR MOOD and it's all about recipes that fit certain moods and the connection between mood and food and how it can improve relationships, I still get blank stares.
We are an emotionally disconnected culture and it's not good.
Particularly from guys in my life. And not just my straight male friends, but the gay dudes as well. A cookbook? They could care less.
Of course, that is until I make it real personal.
"Yea, okay, you could care less I wrote a cookbook. I see what this is about. You're amazing and your male ego makes you think you know everything."
"It's true, it's true. Thank you for acknowledging my power."
"You got that direct report meeting with your boss today, right?"
"She hates me. I swear she hates me."
"Hell, no. I'm good."
(After I give him a knowing look...)
"Okay, okay. I'm tense. Whatever."
"I've got something for that."
"Really?" (long pause) "Is it legal?"
Yea, it's called Stress Foods.
Have a major meeting coming up? Need to chill out and need more help than a 2- minute audio tape on mindfulness meditation?
Too busy last night to cook? Too uninterested? Too tired?
Need to get food fast at the deli counter or store before the meeting? Your assistant about to order and asks you what you want?
Don't order the chicken cutlet sandwich.
Ignore the same old roasted turkey sandwich on toasted whole wheat with lettuce, mustard and roasted red peppers (and baked Lays). Sound familiar?
Here is what you need to eat for STRESS FOOD FOR MOOD:
I'm not a big fish eater. I know, everyone on the planet is. I'm a meat and potatoes guy. Which confuses the hell out of everyone I meet, being the foodie (hate that word) that I am. But I've changed my tune. I eat loads more fish.
Why?Fish is full of B vitamins. Especially the famous stress fighters of B6 and B12. In fact, B12 creates the "happy" brain chemical serotonin. Get a slab of roasted salmon for lunch. Salmon contains tyrosine, an amino acid that your brain uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine neurochemicals that keep you ALERT for that all-important meeting and kiss-ass session.
Try a tuna salad or sandwich (with light mayo, of course). Grilled mackerel with a side of leafy greens and whole-grain rice. Better yet, add spinach to the meal. You get the B vitamins in the spinach and you spike up the seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
And this is cool - add carrots if you want. Roasted carrots, not the buttery ones. Calories! Loads of preliminary research has shown beta-carotine may help reduce the effects of oxidative stress on the old memory.
But hear me on this - don't down the Starbucks Venti before the meeting. Strong research has shown caffeine is linked to headaches before and after stressful events. The old wives tale it takes away headaches is just that...an old wives tale.
Not a fish guy or gal? I feel your pain.
Try some BEEF for lunch. I know, beef has fallen out of favor BUT you need to consider it for your next meal.
Beef chills you out. Seriously. Why? It's got loads of iron, B vitamins and zinc. Like, LOADS. Of course, you must eat LEAN BEEF to avoid the unhealthy saturated fat, which increases your risk of coronary heart disease and other illnesses.
Key words for beef? Look for packages with the words loin or round on them...also, tenderloin is cool, as is top round.
If you get beef for lunch, ask them what kind of cut they make in the meal. A decent place will know and they will tell yo.
A great snack too is cantaloupe and cottage cheese.
Cantaloupe is an amazing source of vitamin C, which is crucial in combating stress. We all know stress deplete vitamin C in the adrenal glands, so you must replenish when you can.
And cottage cheese is a good source of vitamins B2 and B12. Mix it up with the cantaloupe for breakfast or a midday snack will help with your feelings of anxiety...totally not kidding. It works!
A lot of people tell me they don't have time to cook or they don't have the interest. I get that, I do, I tell them. Then I tell them to get a friggin' grip. Seriously.
I agree with Jillian on The Biggest Loser (though she could be a bit nicer, geeze). You feel like crap because you eat crap.
Eat right, feel right.
You eat the right foods, watch what you put into your body and you can live the kind of life at the kind of pace you want.
And despite what some may think, the food is never only about food. That's boring. Food is always about your relationship with yourself and others in your life.
I have done my work for today. Now...got get that grilled salmon before the big meeting and chill, baby, chill...
Your Groovy Food for Mood Gay Dude...