From Kamila's Kitchen

From Kamila's Kitchen

Anti-Anxiety Plant-Based Dishes

Thursday, February 27, 2020

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When the invitation for the “untraditional” launch for Krystal Chong's Anxiety Schmanxiety arrived, Thursday Food couldn't help but notice the promise of a vegan meal prepared by health/fitness coach and vegan cookbook author Kamila McDonald which were also anxiety-reducing.

One of McDonald's aims is to cater to people who aren't vegan or vegetarian, to show that plant-based foods can be substantial and excite the taste buds. Let's dispel the myth right now that plant-based dishes are not filling. They are!

Anxiety Schmanxiety is an eight-week science-based mental wellness and group coaching programme. Chong suffered from crippling anxiety for almost 20 years. Using self-developed natural methods, she's been off all medication for over eight years and lives with almost zero-anxiety each day.

Anxiety is a widespread condition affecting millions of people globally. A variety of lifestyle changes can help manage their anxiety, including eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, legumes, and whole grains. Medical research has shown that processed foods can heighten feelings of anxiety. Yes, it is easy to eat one's feelings with processed comfort food. But you can replace them with delicious plant-based foods which help to relieve the dreaded feeling of being anxious.

The meal lovingly prepared by Kamila's Kitchen included a salad with roasted veggies, purple cabbage, quinoa and pumpkin seeds. Leafy greens are high in iron, vitamin B, omega-3 that aid in anxiety relief. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of potassium, which helps regulate electrolyte balance and manage blood pressure. On the buffet was walnut meat that had an alluring texture and flavour. Nuts, rich in magnesium and calcium, relax/contract muscles and acts as a natural sedative.

Guests also had fresh veggie summer rolls with cashew tahini. They were loaded with red and orange bell peppers, which are high in vitamin C that supports adrenal glands which can be depleted when experiencing anxiety. There was also a delicious pumpkin-turmeric soup with delicious ginger notes. Fun fact: the active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Studies have shown that curcumin lowers anxiety by reducing inflammation and stress experienced by people who live with anxiety. Turmeric also aids in weight loss and relieves some arthritis pains. Plus, pumpkin is a high-fibre, low-glycemic starch that helps keep blood sugar levels steady and in turn balances mood. And ginger has brilliant anxiety-reducing qualities which can take effect soon after consumption.

McDonald channelled the flavours of butter chicken into a vegan butter lentil stew that also included garbanzo beans. Lentils and beans contain tryptophan that helps the body to regulate sleep, mood and behaviour. Plus, legumes are great for heart health. The meal ended with a divine milkshake made with dark chocolate, banana, and dates. Dark chocolate is a rich source of polyphenols, especially flavonoids which improve blood flow and reduce neuroinflammation in the brain. Bananas are rich in tryptophan, and dates are a source of antioxidants and contain polyphenols, just like green tea, for anti-anxiety.

According to the World Health Organization anxiety is a side effect of modernisation. So, there are benefits to be obtained from incorporating more plant-based dishes in the diet. Now that's a sigh of relief.


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