By Bill Jones
I think everyone would agree that a good meal can help lift your spirits. Particularly in winter; when the days are a little darker in both hours of sunshine and our general moods. Eating well is a complex mix of reactions from relieving hunger to obtaining nutrients we crave gratitude. It is a bonus to be able to share foods with family and friends.
At its core, food is fuel for the body. Fresh food gives more components to create the energy needed to get through a productive day. So in the winter months we may need to seek out more food options that can actually increase the happiness factor.
Tryptophan rich foods like poultry, dairy, beans and nuts (and many more) provide building blocks for the brain to produce serotonin a neuro transmitter that is believed to promote feeling of well-being and comfort, elevating up our mood. Of course good company and a fermented beverage or two to wash it down will also help a lot.
In the winter months the sun is a little lower on the skyline and the hours of sunshine dip from our peaks in the summer. We also need to boost our intake of vitamins like C and the B complex group. Foods like citrus and mushrooms have lots of these nutrients and it might pay dividends to your health to boost these during the dark days of West Coast winter.
In colder months our natural tendency is to create warming foods like stews and casseroles. It’s interesting to note that both potatoes and brown rice also fall in the tryptophan rich category “ so maybe my welsh ancestors with their lamb and potato stews really did know what they were doing. We also like to weave a lot of leafy greens into our diet here on the farm. It is wonderful that kale will overwinter in our climate and I love being able to harvest kale year round in our garden and in the wild escapees that pop up around the property. Sometimes we have to fight those wild ones away from the deer but they taste all the sweeter after our little victories.
So maybe next time you feel down perhaps it is your attitude. Go eat some stew and jump on the tryptophan train.
Deerholme Farm will be hosting a dinner of mood altering foods in our annual Happiness Dinner on February 13th (just in time for Valentines Day) see
www.deerholme.com for details.