How Eating Well can Lead to Living Better
Myles Hopper and Giles Humphries are two school friends from Devon who founded the healthy recipe box company Mindful Chef, delivering ingredients and recipes to thousands of households, including those of sporting stars such as Victoria Pendleton and Andy Murray. Now they have produced a book, The Mindful Chef: Eat Well, Live Better, featuring 70 of their favourite recipes, each divided into five sections with information on how nutrition can make a positive impact on one's life in the areas of sleep, stress, energy, exercise and the gut. Below, Myles describes how and why the pair became preoccupied with healthy eating.
As Millennials, living in busy London, Giles and I suddenly came to the realisation that a lot of people including ourselves weren’t living the healthy lifestyles we wanted. Everything moves a little bit faster in a capital city and we started pining for the slower paced life we used to have back in Devon where we grew up. We know how lucky and privileged we are to have access to things like jobs, phones, the internet and tv. However, these do not come without a cost. We work longer hours, we always seem to be dealing with emails and our attention is taken up by our phones or the latest shows on Netflix. We have less time for personal relationships or taking time for ourselves away from our phones and computers.
There does seem to have been a rebellion against this way of life in recent years as people (especially younger people) are trying to find a healthier work / life balance. More and more of us are trying to find information on the positive effects healthy food can have on our mental and physical state. Never before has healthy eating been more present in the news, supermarkets or online. Being more mindful for us is about taking more time for oneself, being in the present and being more mindful of your actions.
One of the simplest ways we could translate this was through food and cooking. Cooking is a wonderful way of being more conscious of yourself and escaping the shackles of technology while you concentrate on a recipe and cook your food. We also came to realise that food can have a major impact on the way you feel. For example, we have a chapter in Eat Well, Live Better dedicated to stress and how nutrition can help you feel better. The stress we have to cope today is very different to thousands of years ago but the way our body copes with stress hasn’t changed. We have to deal with stress on a daily basis. We stress over our jobs, our families, our financial stability - even commuting can be stressful. If you are constantly under stress it can lead to a weakened immune system or shut down non-critical functions in your body, such as your metabolism. This can lead to imbalances resulting in further stress on the body.
There are lots of ways you can deal with stress and nutrition is just one of them. By avoiding foods that are likely to place further stress on your body and replacing them with foods that can actually help manage stress you’ll actually feel a lot better. For example, essential fatty acids found in foods like salmon can actually have a positive effect on psychological and physical stress. Another example is green tea. It contains L-theanine - a proven stress reducer. Green tea can help inhibit cortisol, which the body releases in response to stress.
We believe cooking should be fun and enjoyable and using good-for-you ingredients shouldn’t be seen as boring or bland. Our book is testament to the idea that healthy eating can be really easy and delicious. When you cook with the right ingredients and eat the right foods you really can have a positive impact on your mental and physical state. Living in a modern world where we all seem to be constantly being pulled in different directions
it seems imperative to us that everyone try and take more time for themselves and be more conscious about the food they are putting into their bodies.