Mind food & healthful habits

14 Mar 2019

Workplace stress is a guarantee for most in varying degrees, at some stage or another. One of the most effective ways we can support ourselves in reacting to and managing stress, is through what we eat. Why is this? Our brain performance is primarily influenced by our diet, making food choices one of the most important variables to the health, vitality and functionality of the brain (and the rest of our body for that matter!). If the brain isn’t receiving sufficient nutrients, cognitive function deteriorates, inevitably effecting how we behave, the way we feel and the decisions we make.

So, what should we be eating to support our brain? The human brain is made up of almost 60% fat, so it makes sense that fatty acids are proven to be one of the most essential molecules that effect brain health and performance. Essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained by what you eat. Consuming adequate essential fatty acids, ideally solely through diet but if necessary, along with supplementation, will support optimum brain health and function, as well as maintaining general wellbeing.

Good fat is your ally and will not make you fat. Carb loading will lead to an increase in your insulin levels, resulting in severe highs and lows in your mental clarity and energy. It’s also more likely to have you packing on extra kilos. If you are going to have carbs (fruit, starchy vegetables, bread, etc.), always accompany it with some good fat and/or protein, as this will prevent a severe blood sugar spike. See a couple of meal ideas that will maintain your insulin levels and guarantee boosting your brain power a bit further down.

Good fat is your ally and will not make you fat.

What can we eat to naturally increase brain power? Load up on the below foods, which are full of essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, changing it up for each meal. The below is not an extensive list and there are many more fantastic options, however these are some of the top picks that are easy to adapt into your current diet.

In addition to our food choices, our movement and exposure to sunlight/fresh air (or lack thereof) play a vital role in our cognitive performance and mental state. It’s easy to get caught in bad habits, such as eating meals at your computer, sitting for hours on end and not drinking enough water, all wreaking havoc on your body and mind.

Below are a few easy habits you can adopt today – try them out for 2 weeks minimum and notice the shift in your cognitive function, energy levels and mood:


These meals are easy to prep at home for you to take to the office for breakfast or lunch. Invest in a couple of insulated food containers to keep everything fresh and cold during transit. Where possible use organic, locally sourced ingredients.


Berry/Coconut Smoothie

10-12 activated nuts (almond, macadamia, brazil, walnut all great options)
½ cup frozen strawberries / blueberries
½ frozen banana – optional for extra sweetness
3 tbsp full fat sheep or cow yogurt
3 tbsp coconut oil or coconut cream
Handful of ice
¾ cup of water or coconut water blend, use more if needed 1 scoop natural protein powder – optional

Blend everything together in a nutri-bullet/blender, store in a thermos and enjoy cold. Add 2 tbsp raw cacao powder before blending, if you want to add extra antioxidants and get an added energy boost from the caffeine in the cacao bean.

Pseudo-Cereal (Grain Free)

1 pear or green apple, grated
¼ cup shredded coconut
½ cup full fat sheep or cow yogurt
2 tbsp coconut oil
Tsp cinnamon
Tsp vanilla powder
12-15 activated nuts
2 Tbsp buckwheat or chia seeds
Tbsp cacao nibs

Mix everything together in a bowl and top with extra cinnamon if desired. This can be made the night before and stored in the fridge.

Boiled Eggs, Avocado and Cultured Vegies (this can also work as a lunch option)

2 eggs
1 avocado
3-4 tbsp sauerkraut or kimchi
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Medium-hard boil 2 eggs night before of in the morning. To eat, peel and serve with the diced avocado and cultured vegies. Top with the sunflower and sesame seeds. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add goat cheese or hummus, if desired.


Chopped Salad

Small tin tuna in brine

2 hard boiled eggs
1 large stick celery
1 large carrot
½ red capsicum
1 radish – optional
Handful parsley
2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar – optional
Sea salt & cracked pepper

Finely chop the carrot, celery, capsicum, radish and parsley. Combine in a bowl with the tuna and eggs (roughly chopped). Add the mayonnaise, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in big cos lettuce leaves if desired.

Make this the night before and store in the fridge. Leave out the tuna if you’re not a fan and just have the egg. Or add chopped chicken if you have left over from dinner the night before.

Open Capsicum “Sandwich”

Wash, halve and deseed the capsicum. Evenly spoon in the goat’s cheese and pesto into each capsicum half and top with your choice of protein. Season with sea salt and pepper. Top with fresh rocket and a little extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

Leftovers + Cultured Vegies

Make an extra serving at dinner time and save for lunch the next day. If you need to pad the leftovers out, add a tin of tuna or boiled eggs and a spoonful of cultured vegies. You could also add some fresh salad mix or rocket too.