Food for the Body & Mind

Positive Mindset for the Heart

Nourishment for the Soul

Your journey towards a happier life starts here!

nutritional therapy

Meet Mindmoodpsychonutrition

Hi! I’m Cátia the person behind Mindmoodpsychonutrition

I support people and organisations to lead more fulfilling and happier lives.

Mindmoodpsychonutrition is the result of an ongoing determination to help others in a more holistic way and be part of their profound journey of change, grow and healing.

Eating it is much more than a simple physiological process.

It is also about the taste, textures and smells, 

the memories 

the thoughts and emotions towards food.

A holistic approach of health and wellbeing is therefore essential.

When we realise that we can no longer separate the body from the mind and the spirit we are awaken to the infinite possibilities of change, growth and healing.

How canI help you?

Nutritional Psychology / Nutrition & Mental Health

Emotional & mental health

Stress/anxiety, depression, complex trauma

stress fatigue burnout

Brain & cognitive health

Memory, learning, ADHD

mindfull eating

Gut health

Candida, IBS, SIBO, food allergies/intolerances

weight management

Weight management & mindful eating

sleep imbalances

Fatigue & sleep issues

recovering from alcohol or drugs

Addiction issues

Health & wellbeing writing

Testing & supplementation

Health & wellbeing writing

1:1 personalised food shopping

Workplace & community wellbeing

Health & wellbeing writing

Content creation & consultancy

Health & wellbeing writing

Lovely words

Clarissa R.

"What I love about Catia’s approach is that she focuses on a holistic view of health in our lives, something that we have to take care of both mentally and physically."

Fleur B.

"Through weekly psychology sessions my mental health has improved enormously, Catia has helped me to grow in confidence, make sense of the past and find ways to move forwards, always with compassion and understanding."

H. Rosário

"By having this holistic approach, I believe that Cátia is making a difference in many people’s lives, such as in my life. Since I started my sessions, the strategies I have been learning so far have been helping me to cope with my anxiety and my eating habits are changing gradually. I strongly believe that I am going in the right direction to my optimal body-mind health."

Emma B.

"Catia was fantastic and I felt supported and cared for during the time she helped me. Catia prescribed high quality vitamins and tonics along with an eating plan. I continue to benefit from this advice after the sessions have completed, and am very grateful! "

Latest Blog Articles
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesBy nature (and neurobiologically speaking) humans are creatures of habit.We live daily following certain routines and adopting habits from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Nonetheless, changing old habits to new habits is not simple as it may seem and according to the popular assumption it doesn’t take 21 days to form a new habit but about 12 weeks (or even more at times I would say). What are habits? Habits are formed in the subconscious mind – think about a giant library inside of your brain holding years and years of automatic body functions, memories, emotions, past experiences, habits and patterns.  Did you know that the subconscious mind makes up 90% of our mind and only 5% is actually conscious? Thus, you can already see the important role the subconscious mind plays in our thoughts, emotions and behaviours and in our ability to form new habits. Not easy right? However, not impossible! How can you change old habits? If you would like to change a habit and make it last, the most important 3 things to consider and put into practice are: Consistency: A new habit won’t stick if you won’t put it into practice daily – persist to stick and change Repetition: Consistency is only possible if we repeat something over and over again – repeat to power consistency and change  Exposure: “Behaving”, trying to a new habit or doing something different is the only way to form new habits – exposure is the key for behavioural activation i.e. replacing behaviours by other alternative behaviours that tend to influence our emotional state more positively.  *behavioural activation is a recognised therapeutic tool in supporting people with low moods and depression Nonetheless, the most important thing to remember in any type of habit or behaviour change is to keep trying and not giving up when faced with challenges or going back to old habits. Step into a new sequence Consistency, repetition and exposure to form new habits but exactly how do you ask? Think about the new habit you want to adopt or the old habit you want to change Set a realistic timeframe: by when do you want to achieve it?Think about the sequences of steps or actions usually involved in the old habit and what you can do differently in that sequenceCreate a new sequence, write it down and start putting into practice Example: Stop eating digestive biscuits every time I drink a cup of tea and replace them for some fruit and nuts Place a piece or a bowl of fruit/nuts next to the kettle the day before Once you put the kettle to boil you will see the fruit/nuts and with time (set a realistic timeframe!) your brain will start associating the “kettle boiling” with fruit and/or nuts and not the digestive biscuits – with consistency, repetition and exposure the new sequence becomes automatic and you will eventually stop reaching the cupboard for digestive biscuits or even thinking about your old habit.Fruit/nuts have become the norm and part of your “drinking tea” routine. Trying creates hope and hope powers motivation to try and try again Share your questions or comments below, get in touch, or email mindmoodpsychonutrition@gmail.com have a chat with me. [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesSpiritual resilience is the ability to sustain a person’s sense of self and purpose through their own beliefs, principles, values and morals.  The concept of spiritual resilience has to do more with a belief in a higher purpose, hope and faith for the future and gratitude for our lives rather than being religious or being part of a religious group. HOW CAN YOU DEVELOP IT? 1. Values & beliefs Principles and assumptions that enable us to make sense of ourselves and the world – what is important to us and the ideas that we hold to be true. Without these we couldn’t live, make decisions and take actions.  HOW?Foster them through education, culture, faith-based practices, new experiences or social connections. Live and breath the society and the social groups you are part of – i.e. family, friends, workplace.  2. Purpose & meaning Fuel to live our lives to the fullest and not merely exist. Having a purpose and meaning in life contributes to increased hope and courage to overcome even the hardest of the challenges. HOW?Set short-term and long-term goals and pursue your dreams and passions. Set your priorities. Engage in activities, work and relationships that bring you joy, happiness and a sense of fulfilment.  3. Altruism & empathy Care for someone else’s wellbeing and happiness and imagining ourselves in their situation. Practicing altruism and empathy contributes to our own happiness, impacting positively our sense of self-worth/self-esteem and emotional health. HOW? Show compassion and interest for other people’s lives, dreams, goals and challenges. Listen, support and encourage others. Be warm, kind, positive and non-judgmental. Be grateful. If you need support building up your mental resilience, get in touch and let’s talk. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesWhilst emotional resilience relates to our ability to overcome life challenges with a positive outlook, mental resilience relates to our cognitive function, where focus and attention, flexibility and interpreting multiple points of view can be included.  In what ways does your cognitive function help develop your mental resilience?  1. Focus & attention Being focused or attentive means being in the here and now. Living or constantly thinking about the past or future can be conducive to increased stress, anxiety and happiness.  HOW?Practicing mindfulness through mindful breathing, relaxation, sensory focusing, grounding and gratitude – breath, stand still, smell, taste, hear or touch.  2. Mental flexibility The ability to respond and approach situations in different ways and to be able to adapt to change. Mental flexibility can help us to become better listeners and observers and more skilled in finding a solution(s) to overcome challenges.  HOW?Reflecting on your behaviours, habits and routines – are they truly conducive to our health and wellbeing? Are you keen to change certain behaviours or routines? Can you become more flexible and less in control? Can you not aim for perfection but instead for “realistic flexibility or goals”? Can you learn from things that haven’t gone as you planned? 3. Integrating multiple points of view The ability to see life and adversities from multiple angles, putting things into perspective and “seeing the bigger picture”. HOW?Engaging in dialogue with others and showing an interest to listen to their opinions; reflecting and challenging our own ideas and perceptions; engaging in creative activities, and practicing compassion and empathy towards ourselves and others.  If you need support building up your mental resilience, get in touch and let’s talk. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesHOW CAN YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE? Life is made of ups and downs and emotional resilience is not going to eliminate stress or life challenges.  Strengthening your emotional resilience will enable you to accept and deal with stress and hardships and live through adversity with strong and powerful inner motivation to conquer any obstacle that you may be faced with.  But, how can you develop your emotional resilience and feel more equipped to deal with life challenges? 1. Emotional regulation The ability to take charge and manage your emotional responses, i.e. to keep your emotions in check by noticing and monitoring how you feel so you are able to adjust and respond to your emotions in healthier ways. HOW? Daily positive self-affirmations, breathing exercises, meditation, rest and relaxation, journaling and gratitude.   2. Positive outlook Keeping a positive and optimistic attitude towards adversities enables you to turn obstacles into opportunities for self-growth and transformation in your life. A  more positive outlook fosters self-agency, motivation and determination to win life challenges no matter what.  HOW? Focus on the positives, daily gratitude, laughter/fun, exercise and positive social interactions. Supportive relationships Even though you may be going through a hard time, having someone who continuously cheers you up and supports and nurtures you directly impacts your courage, hope and optimism to overcome obstacles. HOW?Accept and be honest and open about the challenges you are going through and reach out and seek support from family, friends, mental health professionals or support groups/associations. If you need support building up your emotional resilience, get in touch and let’s talk. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesWHAT IS PHYSICAL RESILIENCE? IS IT POSSIBLE TO FEED RESILIENCE? YES! Physical resilience is one of the 4 dimensions of resilience. Physical resilience is no more than the ability to recover or optimise our physiological/physical function in the face of a disease or an acquired disability. To promote and boost physical resilience we need 4 key ingredients. Ingredients to boost physical resilience ExerciseRest & recoverySleepNutrition for energy How many of you have felt extremely tired when not resting, sleeping and/or eating well? I’m sure all of you at some point! Nutrition that boosts energy not only promotes the health of our cells but also the health of our brains and ultimately the health of our emotions/feelings: our psychological make-up. To feel more energised, happy, and resilient include in your daily diet rich sources of: B VITAMINS Such as spinach, lentils, chickpeas, eggs, red and organs meat, sardines, nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds  ZINC Such as oysters, mussels, crab, lamb, cashews, pumpkin/hemp seeds, lentils MAGNESIUM Such as spinach, almonds, oats, quinoa, black beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds  IRON Such as red and organs meat, tofu, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, apricots, figs Antioxidant Q10 Such as spinach, broccoli, tofu, salmon, chicken VITAMIN C Such as bell peppers, kiwi, citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes KEY is also ensuring that you are eating NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS vs. ENERGY-DENSE FOODS: foods with a high level of vitamins & minerals (fruits/vegetables/protein/fiber/healthy fats/complex carbs) vs. high number of calories per serving (refined/processed/sugary/fast foods). If you need help making the right choices for your mental or physical health, get in touch. I’m here to help you. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesDO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS A RESILIENT PERSON? WOULD LIKE TO BUILD AND SUSTAIN YOUR RESILIENCE? If the answer is YES start by reading this post In a world that since 2020 has rapidly changed every single day building and sustaining resilience is vital to continue to lead an optimal and positive physical and mental life. WHAT IS RESILIENCE? (Dantzer et al. 2018) Resilience can be defined as the individual’s ability to adapt to life challenges and maintain positive and optimal mental and physical health despite exposure to adversity and stress. Resilience is a set of behaviours, thoughts and actions, not solely a personality trait or character but instead a dynamic process that can be learned and developed by anyone.  It can also vary over time according to life demands and personal and environmental circumstances.  RESILIENCE AND ITS DIMENSIONS (McCraty (2015); CAMHS, 2021)  Resilience has 4 dimensions:   PHYSICAL: fitness, nutrition for energy, rest, recovery & sleepEMOTIONAL: emotional regulation, positive outlook & supportive relationships MENTAL: focus and attention, mental flexibility & integrating multiple points of viewSPIRITUAL: values & beliefs, purpose & meaning, altruism & empathy Dimensions of Resilience Read other similar articles on my blog. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient SeriesSustainability is a rich wide concept and the more you dig deeper into it the more interesting it can get. The festive period is well-known for work parties and other social gatherings and typically high consumption of alcohol, sugar, processed foods and food wastage. If a couple of weeks ago I spoke about 5 simple sustainable swaps that you can easily put into practice into your daily life, this week I will focus on sustainable eating or eating practices during Christmas. Sustainable eating is a set of practices that generally have low impact on the environment and food supply but also can help to maintain an individual’s health or is conducive to optimal and health. These practices can help reduce overall freshwater withdrawals, deforestation,  greenhouse gas emissions, overfishing and plastic use and wastage.  Eating sustainability doesn’t mean adopting a certain diet or eliminating completely certain food groups, foods or products, but eating or adopting practices that protect our health and the health of the planet as much as possible, i.e. have a lower impact rather than a higher impact.  Eating sustainably requires not only a complete shift in our habits but also in our mindset – what I call a sustainable mindset. So, how can we eat more sustainably, and particularly over the festive period? 5-tips for sustainable Christmas eating: 1. Plant(more) Eating more fruits and vegetables will help reduce freshwater withdrawals and deforestation. Fruits and vegetables are also rich sources of vitamins and minerals, fiber and antioxidants – what your body needs to keep up with all the social gatherings, maintain work performance and aid detoxification from substances such as alcohol Fill up half of your plate with vegetables daily and consider choosing a plant-based option as your main at Christmas dinner parties or at Christmas with your loved ones. 2. Meat(less) Meat production is the main contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (particularly beef). If you still want to eat meat choose grass-fed and organic meats that are kinder to animals, the planet and yourself. Swap beef or turkey for nut roasts, vegetarian curries or salmon, tuna or cod for any local non-farmed wild fish. 3. Drink (mindfully) Everyone wants to make a toast and be part of the joyful & merry spirit. With mindful drinking the focus is on what you drink and how you drink. Swap the odd glass of wine or spirits for natural or low intervention wines, low or non-alcoholic options cocktails, kombuchas or botanical drinks, savouring every sip of your drink and maintaining your wellness and environmental goals. 4. Local (more) Adventure into your local farmers markets and buy fresh produce grown locally, organic and in season. You are not only helping local producers but also the planet by reducing food packaging and waste, and the need for transporting food for long distances and resources necessary to grow food out of season.Buy beetroot, brussel sprouts, celeriac, butternut squash, artichokes or rhubarb for a delicious Christmas seasonal bundle. 5. Batch cook (more) Batch or one-pot-pan cook once or twice a week to not only reduce energy usage and food waste but also to help you fitting all the social gatherings, new year’s deadlines and Christmas markets. Swap ready-made meals or take-aways for batch or one-pot curries, stews, soups and roasts that you can easily fill up your freezer or fridge with.  Have you adopted these already or are you a beginner? Share and comment in the box below  Happy sustainable Christmas eating! Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesExchanging presents amongst family and friends is still a very important aspect of this festive season and although the act of giving and being given can be quite meaningful, I believe that adopting a more sustainable mindset is not only the way to go to protect our planet but also to actually make each Christmas a more meaningful one. For many years now I have focused on giving less (or not giving at all) but giving with more meaning – giving experiences, moments, services or useful items instead of presents that will never get used or worn, or simply make my own presents: from homemade jams to hand-made cards, to personalised food hampers to wellbeing self-care sets (if you are still keen to give visit my online shop for health & wellness sustainable & meaningful giving offers) I have also started to not give Christmas presents but instead focusing on celebrating birthdays like the most important milestones and saving for that special present. Christmas can be such a special occasion for many of us however it is also a time of the year where sustainability can be easily forgotten as all our hearts and hopes are focused on this particular celebration and on the upcoming weeks to it.  Hence, how to make a more sustainable Christmas without compromising the planet? 5-key Christmas sustainable swaps fit for a beginner or a pro: Reuse & use wrapping paper and gift bags from previous years: get creative and give a unique and personal touch to your gift wrappingSave paper by sending digital Christmas cards to friends & family: use programmes like Canva to create your own cards with personalised Christmas messagesHome & hand-made gifts:  get crafty, artsy, DIY or yourself – create & transform Give with meaning & mindfully: give surprise walks, bicycle rides, museums, exhibitions, sunsets, home-cooked dinners, love, care & support not only at Christmas but all-year roundCook fit for purpose vs. for a feast: reduce food waste by cooking for the exact number of people spending Christmas with you. If you have leftovers, make soups, stews, pies, frittatas or simply freeze the food or share it amongst your family, friends, neighbours or for those who may need Have you tried any of these? What are your favourite Christmas sustainable swaps? Share and comment in the box below  Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesEvery change starts within ourselves and what may start at an individual level can lead to greater systemic changes if we all adopt a more sustainable mindset. Practicing sustainability may seem complicated at first but in reality it is easier than it may sound – you don’t have to be an environmental expert or part of an environmental group or even buy all the eco-friendly products or adhere to all sustainable practices available to you – what really matters is to start somewhere with simple swaps that can protect and respect the dignity of our lives in all forms. Thus, looking after our planet is no more than an extension of that dignity, respect and nurture that we should have for ourselves in the first place. My “commited” sustainability journey has started back in 2016 whilst studying Nutritional Therapy and Naturopathy, where I deepened my awareness and knowledge of what true sustainability means and how it can be applied into daily life – from the food we eat to how we dispose it, from how we cook to how we wash our dishes, or from how we look after our personal hygiene to how we travel.  This journey started with simple but important swaps that I was finally committed to implement for the rest of my life.  So, how did I start my sustainability journey? If you haven’t started yours and need some tips or have already started but haven’t made a solid commitment towards sustainability, read my 5-key sustainable swaps below for a more sustainable world. My 5-Key Sustainable Swaps 1. Use & re(use) a reusable cup As a hot drink lover nation on average each one of us drinks 2-3 hot drinks daily. Swap single-use coffee or tea cups for a reusable cup that will last for years to come.  2. Use & re(use) a water bottle Stainless steel, glass or BPA-free plastic bottles are eco, wallet and health friendly: 3-in-1 star sustainability swap that not only protects the planet, your finances but also promotes health with ongoing hydration, key to physiological function. 3. Use & re(use) a shopping bag Fabric shopping bags to carry not only groceries but everything that you may need or find on the go: books, snacks, toiletries. Easily foldable and washable, ready to be used 1000 times and be shown (I personally love shopping bags from exhibitions or coffee shops!). 4. Use & (re) use glass jars Glass jars/containers are an alternative way to store your pantry staples and food, limiting plastic use and keeping your cupboards tidy but also visually appealing: who doesn’t like to see a rainbow of colours in glass jars? I do! 5. Use & (re) use fabrics From handkerchiefs to napkins, from muslin cloths to nappies. Ditch paper to long-lasting eco-friendly options that you can even make yourself from old bed sheets or towels or personalise with your own initials, mantras or bold prints. Have you tried these? What are your favourite sustainable swaps? Share and comment in the box below. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesHave you heard about immune-boosting mindset & lifestyle tips?Boosting our immunity is not only about the food and nutrients we put into our bodies, but also about our mindset and the lifestyle we lead. These three in combination are a powerful formula to boost your immune system and prevent ill-health. 5 Top Immunity-Boosting Mindset & Lifestyle Tips SLEEP Aim towards 6-7 hours of sleep daily. Lack of sleep or restorative sleep can impact your immune system by affecting your natural sleep-wake cycle, hormonal production and gut function which are pivotal in immunity. EMOTIONAL REGULATION Stress and anxiety can increase the release of the stress fight & flight hormone cortisol, trigger inflammation and impact blood sugar and insulin regulation. Techniques to manage stress and anxiety such as grounding techniques (e.g. breathing, singing) are key to keep a rest & digest mind-body conducive to a robust immune system. REST & RELAXATION A wired brain and constantly activated nervous system set the perfect scenario for a weakened immune system that can become more susceptible to virus and bacteria when rest and relaxation are non-existent. MINDFULNESS & GRATITUDE A robust immune system also thrives on  your ability to be present in the here and now and on the daily heart-warming feelings of gratitude, compassion and kindness. If we think that our gut is connected to our nervous system and 70% of our immunity is in the gut, shouldn’t we foster a more mindful and compassionate mind?  SUN EXPOSURE Sun exposure is the best way for our bodies to get Vitamin D and this is particularly important in countries such as the UK where sun exposure can be limited particularly over the winter months. Unless you can go to a hot country on a regular basis, diet and supplementation can help to keep your Vitamin D levels in check and avoid deficiency or insufficiency. Vitamin D is well-known for its role in immunity so focus on prevention and maintenance. Have you already checked your Vitamin D levels? Talk to your GP to get tested or get in touch with me. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient Series / RecipesSupporting the immune system has been on everyone’s agenda, particularly as a reflection of COVID-19 and an increased awareness of the importance of prevention and the scientific evidence of 70% of our immune system being in your gut Additionally, an increased number of people with Type 2  Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease as well as experiencing stress and anxiety, talking about prevention is more than key in our current society. Besides, the correlations that recent studies have found regarding COVID-19 and underlying Vitamin D deficiency, Diabetes, Obesity and poor nutritional status, makes this article worth a read.  Nutritional Therapy is focused on addressing the root causes of ill-health or symptoms but also on prevention and optimal health. Eating well should be an all-year round priority, alongside a lifestyle that promotes health and wellness.  What foods can become your allies in supporting the immune system? VITAMIN D rich foods Oily fish, shiitake/maitake mushrooms, egg yolks, almonds, fermented tofu  VITAMIN C rich foods Oranges, kiwis, lemons, cantaloupe melon, papaya, strawberries, green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, swiss chard),  broccoli, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, cauliflower ZINC rich foods Shellfish (oysters/crab), red meat (lamb/beef), pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, lentils, tofu Probiotic rich foods Yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi Antioxidant rich foods All fruits & vegetables  Omega-3 rich foods Oily fish (salmon,mackerel, sardines), walnuts, flaxseed/hemp/chia seeds or cold-pressed oil Want to put your newly acquired knowledge into practice? Here’s a quick-easy immunity boosting recipe: Preparation time15-20 minutes Cooking time20-25 minutes Ingredients: 2x 500g of small carrots2x 250g ready-sliced sweet potato & butternut squash1 garlic bulb½ fresh ginger root1.5 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon of pink himalayan salt1 teaspoon of turmeric1 pinch of black pepper1 pinch of orange sicilian salt (optional: you can find at Spicemountain)1 handful of fresh coriander (optional)1 teaspoon of grounded sesame seeds (optional) Method: Wash and peel the carrots and chop them into thin round slices. Peel 1 garlic bulb into small gloves. Peel ½ fresh ginger root and chop it into thin round slices.Place all ingredients into a medium small bowl.Boil a kettle full of water and whilst the water is boiling, put 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of pink himalayan salt, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 pinch of black pepper and 1 pinch of orange Sicilian salt into a big pan. Add the hot water into the big pan until it boils. Once boiled, add the carrots, garlic, ginger and the ready-sliced sweet potato & butternut squash.Let it simmer in medium heat  until all ingredients are cooked (for about 20-25 minutes)Let the soup cool down for 3 minutes and serve it warm in small to medium soup bowls garnished with a few coriander leaves and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds. Would you like more advice on how to boost your immune system through food, mindset and lifestyle? Get in touch so we can have a chat. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesIn an ultra-hyper connected world, where pretty most everything in our daily lives has become digital, how do we then disconnect to reconnect and find the right balance? The extension of our online connection has become almost 24/7 and a fine line between our professional and personal world has become increasingly difficult to draw.  I’m no different from any of you when it comes to being highly dependent on several digital tools and platforms to perform my job on a daily basis as well as keeping my social life alive.  If you can’t escape you have to learn how to live with it – that’s what I say to myself and to all of you. Work with it but don’t let it work against you.  It is vital that we find a balance that is conducive to our own health, lessening the potential impact of constantly being connected. Here, we are talking about the recognised impact on our circadian rhythm aka sleep, energy levels, blood sugar regulation, mood and hormonal balance…the list goes on.  Thus, in October, make a pledge to disconnect to reconnect with yourself, others and  the world around by trying my 5 S.M.A.R.T. ways to disconnect to reconnect. 5 S.M.A.R.T. Ways to Disconnect to Reconnect: 1. Avoid doing any work-related tasks whilst commuting on public transport. Just sit and relax. Listen to music or a podcast, read a book or just sit still and smile. You may notice things you have never noticed like the beautiful eyes of the person sitting in front of you or the intriguing book that someone is reading on the bus. 2. Watching TV or a series can be a great way to unwind before bed, however we are still exposing ourselves to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from our TVs or laptops, which continues to wire up our brains and keep us alert. What about alternating days or times, or set a number of hours to watch TV/series and/or spend more time dedicating yourself to more mindful activities such as meditating, reading or journalling? To know more about EMFs and get yours, send me an email or go visit this page. 3. Do regular social media/digital detox days/breaks or restrict your social media/online time exposure. If an entire day is still difficult to go without, maybe start with what is realistic for you at the moment. Progressively, one hour may turn into 2-3 hours. How many of us complain that we don’t have enough time to do the things we love, to try new hobbies or activities if we are constantly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram?  4. Be in the moment and put your phone down when with your friends/family or engaging in household chores or social activities. Your post or story on Instagram can wait to be uploaded or that WhatsApp message can be replied later in time.  Cherish the moment and each second of your life and loved ones. We live in the present and time doesn’t go back. Smell, see, touch, hear and taste mindfully.   5. Rediscover the peace and beauty of things you can naturally sense or feel. Replace apps or kindles for handwriting, notebooks, paperbacks. postcards, letters or simply just knit, craft, cook or do whatever makes you feel happy, more connected with all of your senses and in the here and now. Share your comments below about how do you disconnect to reconnect and find a balance Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient SeriesHi everyone! How is your September going? Have you embraced new routines and habits? Or still ensure about what to focus on and how to start? Or are you just about to restart your routines after the summer holidays? If continuing  or starting to improve your daily nutrition and what, when and how to eat is one of your goals in September, read this post for my 5 top S.M.A.R.T. Nutrition tips. S.M.A.R.T. Nutrition Tips Drink your water To look after your gut & cell health and ensure nutrient exchange in your body aim for 6-8 glasses of water/1.5-2L of water daily. S.M.A.R.T. tip: add fresh fruit (e.g. blueberries, raspberries), sliced/squeezed lemon or mint leaves to your water and keep/carry a bottle or a jar next to you – always visible to your eyes and palate. Rainbow up How many of us forget to include fruits and vegetables in our daily plates? S.M.A.R.T. tip:  If eating fruits and vegetables can be a real struggle for you, make smoothies, omelettes, frittatas, pancakes, soups or stews to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your meals. Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of any diet; they feed your body with plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, key for long-lasting health and wellbeing. Eat diverse Eating a diversity of foods can be key for optimum health and nutrition. The more diverse our diet is, the richer is your reservoir of vitamins and minerals and gut bacteria and the more equipped your body is to protect you and prevent you from ill-health. S.M.A.R.T. tip: you may be a chicken or a tomato-lettuce salad lover, but what about giving a go to a flaked salmon crispy chicory rocket salad? Pattern your meals Shift worker? Intuitive eater? 3-main meals fan? Or intermittent faster? Despite which one you are, keep a regular eating pattern to sustain energy and blood sugar levels and promote a clear mind and joyful mood throughout your day. S.M.A.R.T. tip: meal plan & prep/batch cooking can be extremely helpful and a good classic shopping list will never fail you. Pantry me Alongside a fridge and a freezer packed with nutritious and wholesome food, a pantry of health is also a reflection and an extension of what, how and when you eat. Build a pantry with essential staples that will help you to put together quick, easy and nutritious meals when you don’t feel like cooking, run out of ideas or don’t have time to go shopping or about to travel or returning from your travels. S.M.A.R.T. tip: e.g. tinned oily fish, whole grains/pulses pouches, wholegrain crackers and/or miso soup sachets.  Comment below and share your key nutrition tips or the new routines and habits you would like to implement or started to implement in September. For recipes/meals ideas go to this page. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient Series / RecipesThe summer slowly starts to fade away as the Autumn leaves and winds settle in. This is the month of September, an in-between month, a month of both returns and starts; return to work, to school and/or starting new hobbies, routines and habits.  If eating a more  nutritious and balanced breakfast or simply just start to eat breakfast is one of your goals and new habits, keep reading this post to find out more about the potential health benefits of eating breakfast and how to put together quick & easy  super-energising-mind boosting breakfasts that I will leave you happy and full for longer.  The word “breakfast” has been associated with breaking from an overnight fast and becoming the first meal you eat after a night of sleep. However, recent evidence may support regular fasting periods to modulate gut function, aid cellular repair and weight loss and improve circadian rhythm and blood sugar control (Paoli et al. 2019), there is still inconsistency between studies about the potential health benefits of eating or skipping breakfast (Gibney, 2018; Gwin & Leidy, 2018). Despite this, I continue to be a breakfast and a 3-main meal minimal snacking fan, believing that regarding breakfast the most important things to consider are the following: Terminology, idiosyncrasy and meal composition/timing & mindset Terminology A shift from the term “breakfast” towards the term “first meal of the day”, focusing on listening to our bodies and our specific physical and emotional needs, health goals and past/current medical history. Thus, eating leftovers for breakfast is completely OK as “breakfast foods” per se don’t exist as our bodies see and use food/nutrients as fuel to survive and perform their main physiological functions. IdiosyncrasyWe are all different hence for some people skipping breakfast may be out of question and it may set the scene for fluctuating blood sugar and energy levels, irritability and food cravings (Watts & Savona, 2018), for others it may help them to manage their weight and hormones. I personally have days that I eat “breakfast” first thing in the morning and others that I eat “breakfast” a little bit later or fast after exercising or until 12/1pm. Meal composition/timing & mindsetWhat do you eat for breakfast? How and when? Is your breakfast nutritionally dense (e.g. with foods that can aid satiety and energy levels such as protein and fibre?) or energy dense (mainly composed of sugary and ultra processed foods, traditionally poor in nutrients?). Do you eat mindfully, chewing your food properly or do you eat on your desk or on the go? Do you have an early dinner or eat just right before you go to bed? Research shows that what you eat, how and when may impact sleep, weight management, gut microbiome diversity/composition and blood sugar regulation ( Lopez-Minguez et al. 2019). Hence, before considering eating or skipping breakfast, ask yourself first about the quality of the food you are going to put on your plate, how you are feeling today and what are you going to do after eating.  Breakfast Health Benefits Regardless of the inconsistency between studies, research has associated breakfast with the following health benefits (Gibney, 2018; Rani et al. 2021): Can help you feel energisedCan help you feel focused and calmCan help regulate  blood sugar levels Can help satietyCan help minimise food cravings/snacking particularly mid-morning and after-lunch  If we focus much more on what we eat, how and when than eating or skipping breakfast, what S.M.A.R.T foods/staples can we eat towards a more nutritious and balanced first meal of the day? Eggs all the way: scrambled, boiled, poached, fried or served as an omelette (for vegans: scrambled tofu or stir-fried/sautéed mushrooms) on a piece of toast/bread or by its own and/or with a side of cooked vegetables/salad greens or fresh fruit. Yoghurt or smoothies feast bowls:  build you own yogurt bowls or smoothies by following this quick & easy formula for a feast of flavours and nutrients: Dairy or Non-dairy milk 1 handful of kale/spinach (fresh/frozen) 1 handful of fresh/frozen fruit (e.g. raspberries, berries, strawberries)1 teaspoon of any sugar-free nut butter/tahini1 teaspoon of any raw seedsNuts of choiceOptional: 1 scoop of protein powder or Natural/unsweetened/full-fat dairyNon-dairy yogurt1 handful of fresh/frozen fruit (e.g. raspberries, berries, strawberries, ½ cup of cooked/steamed apples/pears)1 teaspoon of any sugar-free nut butter/tahini1 teaspoon of any raw seedsNuts of choice The leftovers kings & queens: running out of time, motivation or ideas? Simply eat your leftover lunch or dinner – what to choose from? From nourishing soups to stews, to slow cooked meats or grilled/tinned fish, to veggie curries or delicious leafy green wholegrain salads. Diversity of nutrients shall not be compromised here. Are you a breakfast eater? Or a skipper? What do you usually have for breakfast?  When and how? For more breakfast recipe ideas, visit my Recipes page, and share your comments in the box below Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Gibney, M. et al. (2018). ‘Breakfast in human nutrition: the international breakfast initiative, 10 (556), pp. 1-12.Gwin, J. & Leidy, H. (2018). ‘A review of the evidence surrounding the effects of breakfast consumption on mechanisms of weight management’, Advances in Nutrition, 9, pp. 717–725.Lopez-Minguez, J. Gómez-Abellán, P. Garaulet, M. (2019). “Timing of breakfast, lunch, and dinner: effects on obesity and metabolic risk”, Nutrients, 11 (2624), pp.2-15. Paoli, A. et al. (2019). ‘The influence of meal frequency and timing on health in humans: the role of fasting, Nutrients, 11 (179), pp.1-19.Rani, R. Dharaiva, C. Singh, B. (2021). “Importance of not skipping breakfast: a review’, International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 56, pp.28–38.Watts, C. & Savona, N. (2018). ‘Good Mood Good Food: unlock the power of diet to think and feel well’. London: Nourish Books. [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesIn my last week’s post I shared with you my 3 top tips to always choose Love no matter what, when and where.  Did you love yourself first and foremost? Were you open to love and to be loved? Were you curious and try to see love as diverse? In this week’s post I focus on the theme of Passion and on how Passion can contribute to our wellbeing and happiness and how we can introduce more Passion into our lives. Is Love equal to Passion? Or separated from it? I believe that Passion can be an expression or an extension of Love in the sense that through passion(s) you can express the things you truly love or are in love with.  As I was telling you last week “Love doesn’t only come from people or ourselves but also from things and places, little quirks and routines”. Thus, we can say that Passion and Love go hand in hand, fuelling each other in a very close and intimate relationship. Passion has been defined as “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2021). From this definition it becomes clear that Passion is indeed fuel for living and consequently for wellbeing and happiness. Passion also seems to be connected with a sense of personal fulfilment and meaning in life. Considering that Passion is a key-ingredient for overall well-being… …how can we then make our lives more passionate? In 2011, the Psychologist Martin Seligman wrote a book where he emphasised the idea of pursuing a sense of well-being rather than happiness, contrary to the initial concept from Positive Psychology which was pursuing happiness and increasing life satisfaction. Seligman introduces the new concept of Flow and flourishing to achieve well-being, highlighting that Positive Psychology should be focused on measuring well-being rather than happiness. According to this author and another Psychologist called  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  Flow and being in the Flow is a much more nuanced state, a sweet spot in between the extremes of anxiety and boredom.  I agree that being over-focused on the pursuit of happiness can create unnecessary anxiety at times, on the other hand would you agree that not focusing on pursuing a happy life and feeling defeated in a state of boredom may also create unnecessary anxiety and negative emotions? I would say yes to that too, but let’s leave this discussion open for another blog post. Despite this, life seems to always be about fine tuning and balancing the 2 plates of a scale.  If Passion is defined as a strong liking, desire or devotion to an object, concept or activity Flow and being in the Flow can become one of the ways to generate and keep feeding our passion(s). Passion requires Flow as well as well-being and happiness.  Introduce more passion into your life by flowing through (Seligman, 2011): Positive Emotions: experiencing emotions such as gratitude, hope, and contentment;Engagement: activities that fully absorb our attention, entering  into a state of flow;Relationships: a sense of strong trust, connection, and support with others;Meaning: an altruistic purpose in life that is bigger than the self;Achievement: having ambition and goals and following through on them.  When did you last experience positive emotions? When did you last engage in activities that fully absorb your attention? When did you last feel a strong sense of connection with others? When did you experience a strong sense of personal fulfilment and meaning? Share your passions and ambitions in the comment box below and try PERMA for a more passionate life and to feed your passion(s).  Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2021). ‘Passion’. . Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/passion. (Accessed at: 20th of August 2021).Seligman, M. (2011). ‘Flourish: a visionary new understanding of Happiness and Well-being’. Free Press: New York. [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesThis week’s post I continue my 2021 I choose series, very much inspired by Natasha’s Lunn book “Conversations on Love”, which I finished reading a couple of weeks ago and I highly recommend to all of you. “Conversations on Love” is not a self-help book but a compilation of different stories and perspectives on love and how people experience it in a wide variety of relationships in real life: from sister to sister, friend to friend,  wife to husband, mother to daughter. Natasha Lunn also talks about her own experience of navigating through love and relationships, making “Conversations on Love”, a book with enhanced heart-to-heart and depth reality.   “Conversations on Love” has the power to change perceptions and views on love, opening both our hearts and understanding to what love can be about. Love can be so many things and be expressed in many different ways, but there is still a tendency to get attached to the idea of “romantic love, romance, being a couple or in a relationship with someone else”. “Conversations on Love” challenges this idea, helping you to realise the bigger picture on love, and I’m not talking solely about self-love which as we know is the building block for any form or shape of love, but also and much more about love that is felt between human beings that hasn’t necessarily been spoken about or given much importance in other books, social media channels or in day-to-day conversations between friends or family members.  “Conversations on Love” is raw and vulnerable, sad and hopeful, heartbreaking and kind, painful and joyful. It’s about beginnings and endings, dating and marriage, union and loss, life and death – it’s about everything and that’s why it has occupied a special place in my heart and in my lifetime book-shelf.  Thus, “Conversations on Love” is a breath of fresh air. A book to have next to your bedside table and read over and over again, when you may feel “out of love and alone”. It is a book to recommend to your best friend or an ex-lover or to the people you care most about or also in my case to all of you out there that may benefit from it.  I won’t tell you much more about “Conversations on Love” because I truly want you to read it and hopefully expand your life through it. However, shall I share with you my top 3 ways to always choose love, no matter what, when and where you are? Ways to choose love: 1. Love yourself first and foremost I know there is so much talk about self-love these days but it’s never enough to remember that a strong sense of self and loving yourself for who you are are the foundation to develop any sort of healthy and balanced relationship. Self-love can be quite a skill to master, hence it requires daily awareness, reflection and action. It is the most challenging form of love I would say as we can be at times our worst enemies instead of our best friends. 2. Being open to love and to be loved I’m sure all of you have experienced pain, despair, grief, anger, sadness, anxiety, fear, loss and separation when it comes to relationships at some point in your lives. Despite these, we still have this gigantic ability to love and to be loved if we allow ourselves to; if we allow ourselves to overcome our past experiences and use love as fuel for hope, change and healing.  3. Be curious and see love as diverse When we understand that love goes beyond the love we can get from a romantic partner our perception of love (and life!) changes forever. Equally our understanding of the world and the people around us change. We may not only become more kind and compassionate but also more awake and curious to what each day may bring and what can fulfil our heart and soul with absolute love, joy and happiness. Love doesn’t only come from people or ourselves but also from things and places, little quirks and routines. I have an endless love for the sea, for coffee and ice-cream, for dancing and writing, for cactus and miniature houses, for long and in-depth conversations/walks and raw vulnerability and authenticity.  What do you understand by love and what is your experience? Do any of these resonate with you? Share your wisdom and stories by commenting below To know more about “Conversations on Love” visit https://www.conversationsonlove.co.uk/ or @conversations_on_love *Note this review/article is not paid or in any shape or form intended to directly advertise Natasha’s Lunn work – it genuinely comes from the heart and sharing will always be caring. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient SeriesIn 2021: Have you chosen to laugh? Have you chosen to be active? Have you chosen good mental health? Back in April and May I encouraged you to make choices and take positive steps towards laughing more, being more active and prioritising your mental health.  All of these are part of Mindmoodpsychonutrition’s core values: Food for the MindPositive Mindset for the HeartNourishment for the Soul In this week’s blog post, let’s take a look at how to feed your mind in 5 different ways, encouraging you to reflect on your day to day eating habits and to continue your unique wellbeing journey.  But, before we talk about real and wholesome food, let’s talk about what the research says about the concept of how to feed our minds. The constant communication between our gut and the brain, the what-so-called gut-brain-axis is now widely recognised to the extent that our gut has been called ‘the second brain’ (Griffiths, 2019).  The neurotransmitters Serotonin (think ‘Happy Hormone’, Dopamine (think ‘Reward/Pleasure’), Endorphins (think ‘Exercise/Pain Release’) and GABA (think ‘Relaxation/Calmness) are not only produced in your brain but also by the bacteria in our gut (Cryan et al. 2019).  Thus, can food help feed our minds and nervous system and keep an optimal  gut-to-brain/brain-to-gut connection? (Cryan et al.2019). The answer is YES! Choose to feed your mind by eating the “functional foods”* below: Eat 2 portions of fruit daily and fill up half of your lunch and dinner plate with a different combination of vegetables and salads – eat the colours of the rainbow to ensure you are getting enough B Vitamins, Magnesium and antioxidants essential for the functioning of your cells, energy production and immune & gut function.  Eat 2-3 portions of oily fish weekly (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon or herring -fresh or tinned in olive oil or water) – to get a type of polyunsaturated fat called Omega-3 fatty acids to maintain your brain health and protect you against low moods. If you can’t afford fresh fish all the time, you can eat tinned or canned oily fish in water or olive oil.  Eat protein at every main meal and snacks, either plant or animal based: eggs, fish, nuts/seeds/grains/tofu/poultry – Proteins are the body’s building blocks: they make hormones, neurotransmitters, enzymes and keep you full for longer. Eat fiber rich foods daily to support your digestive system, keep your energy levels up and ensure mindful eating (grains, legumes, pulses, nuts/seeds, fruit/vegetables). Eat prebiotic & probiotic rich foods daily to maintain a balanced and happy gut: asparagus, leeks, oats, garlic, fermented cabbage, miso, kefir.  *Functional Foods are defined as foods that deliver additional enhanced benefits over and above their basic nutritional value – i.e. besides providing nutrients for energy, they beneficially modulate one or more targeted  functions in the body, by enhancing a certain physiological response and/or by reducing the risk of disease (Tur & Bibiloni, 2016).Note that functional foods must be viewed in the context of a healthy diet as they do not cure or prevent illness by themselves. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Cryan, J.F. (2019). ‘The Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis’, Physiology Review, 99, pp. 1877–2013. Griffiths, R.(2019). ‘The Mind-Body Diet & Lifestyle Connection’. London: Clink Street.Tur, J.A & Bibiloni, M.M. (2016). ‘Functional Foods’, Science Direct, pp.157-161. [...] Read more...
A Story of Self SeriesSince the beginning of this year, I have been sharing with you some of my passions, hobbies, quirks, favourite foods and recipes. I hope you have been enjoying reading my posts and finding out a bit more about me both as a person and a holistic practitioner.  I love creating  REAL content, i.e. content that people can incorporate into their daily lives, in the here and now, accessible, practical and achievable. Thus, if you have any suggestions or ideas of topics you would like me to cover in the next blog posts, please write your comments below or get in touch with me. Your feedback would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you for following Mindmoodpsychonutrition and for all your support so far. But, now let me tell you a bit more about me… 1. I’ve been living in London since 2010 Where did the time go? 10 years have flown by so quickly but I don’t regret every single second in this amazing city. I originally moved to London to do a 6-month European Graduate Programme in one of the main UK’s sexual health charities. I never returned to Portugal and I guess I’m here to stay.  2. I worked in catering and retail Before I started working as a Psychologist and in the social and care sector, I had several jobs in catering and retail until I managed to get a job as an Apprentice Therapist. It may have taken me a while and many unsuccessful job applications/ interviews but this to say that perseverance and determination always pays off. 3. I worked in forensic, residential, outreach and clinical settings I have worked in forensic, residential, outreach and clinical settings both as a full-time Psychologist and as a Nutritional Therapist.  I have been self-employed since October 2020 – COVID-19 didn’t stop me from going after my dream of working for myself. Sometimes in life you have to take a leap of faith and believe that everything will work out in the end. I did and I still do. 4. I took my degree in Nutritional Therapy while working on a full-time job Working full-time and studying Nutritional Therapy at the same time was one the most challenging things I have ever done in my life. This may sound a bit surprising to you but moving to London was way easier to me than becoming an adult learner.  Learning has no age limit – it was one of the best experiences of my life with the added value of making great friendships along the way. 5. I’m a Trainer, Reflective Practitioner and Wellness Educator/Content Creator Apart from being a Psychologist and a Nutritional Therapist, I’m also a Trainer, Reflective Practitioner and Wellness Educator/Content Creator. I’m passionate about system change and community and personal empowerment through education and learning. Working for myself has given me the opportunity to focus more on my creative side and true passions.  Read this post and discover another 5 things you didn’t know about me. Much love, Catia Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
LifestyleRunning out of ideas of what activities to do in London during the month of August with your friends, family or just by yourself ? Read the post below for some happy, fun and budget-friendly suggestions inspired by my own 10 years of London living. 1. Enhance your senses: Columbia Flower Road Market is not only the best place in London to buy beautiful and affordable flowers but also to be immersed in an authentic festival of colours, smells and sounds that will truly appeal to all of your senses. Picture from TimeOut 2. Walk for life A stroll along the Regents Canal is always a good choice to keep you physically active but also in a calmer state of mind. There are different routes you can choose from but my favourite continues to be from Little Venice to Camden Market – little tip: try to find London Zoo on your way! Little Venice, Regents Canal 3. Swim for mindfulness Fancy a splash? If you are a big fan of swimming like me try one of the many lidos or open-air pools across London. It can do wonders to your soul, I promise.  Picture from TimeOut 4. Nurturing with animals London has plenty of little animal farms free of charge with the cutest cafes inside – they are little oasis of fun, playfulness and love for children and grown-ups. I particularly like to watch the horses and feed the llamas at Vauxhall City Farm. Vauxhall City Farm 5. Get cultural Flick through books in one of the many the bookshops across London,  from independent to more mainstream, from recipe to fiction books, dream and see where your imagination takes you to. 6. Eat & Repeat No activity is completed without food. One of the things that London does best is its food markets. Start your Saturday with Borough Market and Druid Street Market for the best food stalls, look for some antiques or admire the coloured front door houses in Portobello Road/Notting Hill and finish the day with the magical street night lights in Exmouth Market.  What are your favourite activities in London? Share your comments in the box below. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
RecipesLast week I shared with you my recipe for the most refreshing and delicious Watermelon feta fresh mint summer salad.  This week one of the main ingredients continues to be feta – a good way to avoid waste or spare feta or fresh mint in your fridge, right? Be S.M.A.R.T and continue to impress friends and family and prepare a quick, easy & nutritious salad with my minimal ingredient Pea Feta Fresh Mint Salad. Pea Feta Fresh Mint Salad (Serves 2-3 people)Preparation time: 10-15 minutesNo cooking required Ingredients: 1 can of garden peas in water1 small fennel bulb1/2 block of greek feta cheese (200g)2 handfuls of fresh mint 1/4 medium cucumber1 medium clementine½ fresh lemon juice2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons of organic balsamic vinegar1 tablespoon of pine nuts1 pinch of white pepper Method: Grate 1 small fennel bulb and chop 1/4 cucumber into chucks. Tip them into a bowl and add 1 drained can of peas, 1 peeled clementine and 2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves. Crumble over 100g of feta cheese with 1 tablespoon of pine nuts. Dress the salad with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and 1/2 of fresh lemon juice. Add a pinch of white pepper.Toss gently to combine all ingredientsServe it with your choice of flatbreads (optional) – I suggest Peter’s Yard Sourdough Flatbreads  Enjoy and looking forward to seeing your salad recreations in the comment box below! Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
LifestyleWho doesn’t love a picnic in the park? I have the most beautiful childhood memories of family picnics on the beach and in the forest in Portugal. When I moved to London back in 2011, I was introduced to an all new ‘picnic reality’: picnics in the park with a thoughtful selection of foods and gadgets.  In Portugal, even in a picnic, we don’t ‘picnic’ per se, we continue to eat – meaning that we still cook a big meal and treat a picnic like a sit-down lunch or dinner. Even though we also have our  favourite picnic foods you may see rice, peri-peri chicken and mixed salad on a portuguese picnic blanket.  After almost 11 years of living in London, my favourite picnic foods are no longer inspired by my Portuguese heritage, but by a very British and melting pot blend of other nationalities.  However, picnics are often associated with out of ordinary eating and drinking with a good dose of indulgence, I still like to eat in a balanced and nutritious way, choosing fresh and homemade foods as possible. Food you will find on my picnic blanket On my picnic blanket you will see the following 5 foods that won’t compromise your regular daily eating habits, health and wallet: Crudités – traditional french appetisers consisting of sliced or whole raw vegetables (e.g. celery sticks, baby carrots, radish)Watermelon, berries & raspberries for an antioxidant, fibre and essential vitamins boost Hummus – the perfect dip for your crudités! Frittata – serve it sliced with a side of crudités and a heaped spoon of hummusOlives – from green to black, from Kalamata to Niçoise, olives are packed with good fats, vitamin E and antioxidants You will also see: Artisan scotch eggs and sausage rolls – British tradition on your picnic blanket: make your own or find them in your local artisan bakeries Falafel – divine bites of Middle Eastern flavours dipped in hummus.Ice-cream/gelato – for me no picnic is complete without an ice cream! Crisps – crisps are a traditional picnic staple. I have never been a big fan of crisps: I naturally prefer a good dose of grains, legumes and vegetables in crisps, you can choose from lentils, quinoa, chickpea, kale or beetroot crisps What about you, what is on your picnic blanket? Leave your comment below. Enjoy your picnics, enjoy the summer! Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient SeriesAre you one of those people that cannot stop eating cherries after the first handful? I am! Alongside watermelon and melon, cherries remind me of the long summers spent on the beach in Portugal and my grandma’s trips to the farmer’s market every saturday morning to buy the juiciest, sweetest and biggest cherries of all times.  It never stops amazing me how much food brings up past memories and how much our emotions can be connected to how and what we eat.  As the summer begins cherries start to be part of every fruit basket or summer picnic staples.  Cherries are classified as fruits and divided into 2 main varieties: sweet and tart.  Cherries’ Nutrients: This fruit highly nutrient dense, with relatively low caloric content and a powerhouse of important nutrients and bioactive compounds such as (Kelley et al. 2018):  FiberVitamins C & EMinerals: potassium, phosphorus, calcium & magnesiumAntioxidant compounds: carotenoids & anthocyaninsHormones: serotonin the ‘happy hormone’ & melatonin the ‘sleep hormone’Aminoacids: tryptophan needed to produce serotonin which is then converted into melatonin Cherries’ Health Benefits: The consumption of cherries has also been associated with reduced risk of several diseases as well as health-boosting benefits (Kelley et al. 2018): ArthritisDiabetesCardiovascular disease (CVD)Decreased markers for oxidative stress and inflammation, exercise-induced muscle soreness/loss of strength & blood pressure Also, did you know that cherry consumption may improve sleep, mood and cognitive function (Yurcheshen et al. 2015)? Improvements on sleep quantity – go for the tart variety for a higher melatonin content!Reduced cortisol and anxietyImproved mood  For a refreshing and nourishing taste of summer and childhood memories (this iced drink is traditionally made with red currant syrup and served before going to bed during hot summer nights) try my Summer Cherry Cheerful Iced Drink. Cheers! Would you like to have a healthier and balanced life? I’m here for you. Get in touch and let’s talk about how I can support you creating healthier habits for a happier life. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Kelley, D. S. Adkins, Y. Laugero, K. D. (2018). ‘Review of the health benefits of cherries’, Nutrients, 10, pp.2-22.  Yurcheshen, M. Seehuus, M. Pigeon, W. (2015). ‘Updates on nutraceutical sleep therapeutics and investigational research’, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, pp.2-9.  [...] Read more...
LifestyleS.M.A.R.T is both a goal-setting approach commonly used in project management, employee-performance or personal development as well as the acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Related objectives.  I’m a big fan of the S.M.A.R.T. approach not only with my clients but also with myself. I believe that S.M.A.R.T. can be applied to pretty much everything we can think of but mostly important to our day-to-day lives.   Achieving optimal wellbeing and wellness goes beyond eating and sleeping well, exercising and engaging in mindful activities, and forming positive social interactions. S.M.A.R.T. grocery shopping is also part of a positive lifestyle for the body and the mind, where some practical tips can be helpful to avoid or minimise over-stressing, over-spending or over-wasting. Be S.M.A.R.T. and give a go to my 3 favourite grocery shopping tips: 1. Be a mindful shopper Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a source of stress even when it’s not your favourite task of all. Turn your grocery shopping experience into a more mindful one by allocating enough time to do it and choosing when shopping truly suits your daily/weekly commitments and keeps promoting a balanced MIND. A rushed grocery shopping can lead to increased stress, overspending or making less positive food choices.  Also, if you already anxious or having a bad day, prioritising rest and relaxation may be the wisest thing to do as well as a take-away, even though I believe that nothing is more joyful and irreplaceable than the real SENSORY, EMOTIONAL and NUTRITIONAL EXPERIENCE of seeing, smelling, touching, picking and shopping FOOD as well as COOKING and EATING home-made fresh food.  2. Be a specific & time-related shopper Before going grocery shopping, spend time deciding for how long you need to shop for and try to plan your meals accordingly. For a week or just 3 days? For a veggie curry, a roast chicken or quick & easy nutritious salads? I also find it very useful following what the plate-composition-rule: always include in your meals a main protein source (e.g. chicken, salmon or tofu) and your 3 favourite vegetables/salad leaves (e.g. spinach, tomatoes, broccoli).  Planning ahead is equal to time, wallet and non-waste-friendly habits. 3. Be your fridge & cupboard’s best friend Shopping for, when and what you need may avoid over-spending and wasting food. However, running into an empty fridge or a cupboard may trigger unnecessary stress, less positive food choices and emotional eating when there is nothing to eat at home except from a pack of instant noodles or a forgotten box of chocolates.  Stock up your fridge and cupboard for sustainable eating and living with the following  food allies: eggs, frozen vegetables/fruits, wholegrains/pulses (e.g. rice, buckwheat, lentils) and tinned goods (e.g. sardines, beans).  Be S.M.A.R.T. and also check out these 2 mindful and wallet, non-waste friendly places to shop in-store or online: For bulk healthy and zero waste foodsFor eco-friendly alternatives to single-use household items Find out more about my Personalised Meal Planning and Grocery Store Face-to-Face Tours or Online Shopping Remote Service and get in touch to know more. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Mindset & Spirituality SeriesIn last week’s post, I shared with you my 5 key daily wellbeing boosting habits, where engaging in spiritual experiences was included. I believe like Politics and Sports, talking about Spirituality can create division amongst people. However, my ultimate goal with this post is to instead create union, harmony and a deeper understanding about what Spirituality can mean in our modern society and what it means to me in particular.  I’m originally from Portugal, a country with a strong Catholic background and emphasis on religion. I grew up within a Catholic family, traditionally religious but also at the same time open to Spirituality and different life philosophies. Thus, Spirituality has always been present in my life in one way or another.  Since 2018 I have been practicing Buddhism, a humanistic life philosophy that has not only become an integral part of my life but also the work I do with people as a holistic practitioner that combines Psychology, Nutritional Therapy and Spirituality together to support people to bring forth their unique potential and achieve positive physical and mental wellbeing.  What Spirituality can mean in our modern society Spirituality is not equal to religion, hence being spiritual doesn’t mean being part of an organised and formal religious institution, attending Church or praying everyday or believing in a special enlightened being such as God.  Spirituality tends to be individually based and not formalised – it can mean anything as the emphasis is on the person’s subjective experience of the following (Ikeda, 2015; Sharma & Sharma, 2016): search for meaning in life sense of connection to ‘something bigger’: our inner self, a larger reality or group, nature, cosmos or the divine realmprocess of inner transformationmeaningful activity or blissful experience that is usually linked to the pursuit of happiness  Thus, it seems that Spirituality is a inner subjective experience that can be associated with: joy and happinesspositive self-worth and self-esteemsense of inner peace and tranquilitysense of belonging, connection and meaningself-discovery and self-awarenessdeep understanding and inner transformation  Whether you decide to hug a tree or meditate, celebrate the Summer Solstice or practice Buddhism, Spirituality will always start within YOU and within YOUR INNER SELF – it is not something external to yourself even though you can decide to become part of a group or follow a certain approach or life philosophy.  What Spirituality means to me I believe that Spirituality can encompass all the ‘inner aspects’ mentioned above, nonetheless I also see and understand Spirituality as the following: daily life tool or strategyinner life-force, strength or courageaction, resolve and determinationhope and faithinner wisdom and potentialcompassion and kindness both for ourselves and otherscreating value, societal change and community empowerment  Thus, ‘my Spirituality’ has been the fuel that I need to keep me going, to encourage me to overcome setbacks and challenges in life with courage, hope and positivism, to believe in my true potential to achieve what sometimes I perceive as impossible and to take full action and responsibility for my life, never forgetting to respect myself as well as the people around me.  Spirituality can be a broad term and a subjective process, but when reflecting about it, it can be a very real, accessible, practical and day-to-day life human experience.  Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Ikeda, D.(2015). ‘Human Revolution: the wisdom for creating happiness and peace’. New Delhi: Eternal Ganges. Sharma, K. & Sharma, O. (2016). ‘Spirituality leads to happiness: a correlative study’, The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3 (2), pp. 2349-3429.  [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesThis week I share with you my 5 key wellbeing boosting habits.  As a holistic practitioner my aim is to encourage and enable people to take action and responsibility for their own health and wellness by putting into practice tools, strategies and tips, and forming positive new habits, part of your lifestyle medicine tool box.  Thus, achieving wellbeing and wellness should not be complicated but instead practical, easy, simple and realistic. This is also key for long-lasting habits and the adoption of a lifetime lifestyle that encompasses respect and action towards our own life and health.  5 Daily Wellbeing Boosting Habits Eat the rainbow daily Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet for essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Fill up half of your lunch and dinner plate with 3 vegetables of your choice. Aim for 2 portions of fruit daily Move your body From walking in the nature to regular breaks when WFH, from cleaning your house to yoga, barre, swimming or weight training move for positive physical and mental health  Exercise your creativity & hobbies Connect/express your sense of self and deal with stress, anxiety and challenges in life through creativity and your favourite hobbies. For me it’s all about writing, reading, dancing and hiking. What about you? Engage in spiritual experiences Spirituality is not equal to religion. Spirituality can include being connected to others, nature, the cosmos or the divine realm. It can also mean being more mindful, grounded and present in the here and now. I see spirituality as the inner life-force and strength that enables us to overcome setbacks with courage and hope.  Have a sense of purpose Sense of purpose and fulfilment foster happiness and wellbeing. Goals and determinations give meaning to our human existence and encourage us to unlock our full potential and create value in our lives and the others around us. What brings you purpose in life? If you would like to have someone by your side supporting you on a healthier journey, get in touch! I’d be so happy to help you. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 References: Ikeda, D.(2015). ‘Human Revolution: the wisdom for creating happiness and peace’. New Delhi: Eternal Ganges.Sharma, K. & Sharma, O. (2016). ‘Spirituality leads to happiness: a correlative study’, The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 3 (2), pp. 2349-3429.  [...] Read more...
Food Nutrient Series / RecipesBack in March, I shared with you my absolute 5 favourite foods, including chocolate. In this week’s post it would have been very tempting to talk about chocolate but instead I will be drawing your attention to Cacao, its nutritional and health benefits and how you can easily incorporate it into your daily life with a ceremonial grade or a delicious recipe.  Difference between cacao, cocoa & chocolate Cacao and cocoa originate from the cacao bean of the Theobroma cacao tree.  Cacao comes directly from the cacao tree or cacao seeds and it tends to be minimally processed (roasted at low temperatures or cold-pressed), thus maintaining its nutritionally dense properties in comparison with cocoa. Cocoa tends to be highly processed through roasting and addition of sugar, milk powder or other additives. Chocolate is the resulting food product made by a combination of cocoa liquor with cocoa butter and sugar.  Is it highly nutritious food source with health-promoting benefits? Yes! Cacao is a highly complex food source of with potential health-promoting effects (Katz & Ali, 2001): Minerals: iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and seleniumAntioxidants in particular flavonoids – did you know that flavonoids are responsible for the bitter and astringent flavour in chocolate? FiberEssential fatty acids in particular oleic acidCardioprotective & anti-hypertensive effectsImmunoregulatory propertiesNeuroprotective effectsMood & cognitive effects – did you know that studies suggest that the sensory experience of eating chocolate can result in improved mood?  Incorporate it your daily life Although raw cacao nibs and powder can offer the best health benefits due its minimal processing and additives, they can be more difficult to source or more expensive. Cocoa powder and organic dark chocolate (70-85% cacao) are great alternatives that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.  Try my Cacao Ceremony Smoothie recipe! 1 Serving 150 ml of unsweetened soya or cashew milk3 tablespoons of frozen blueberries⅕ of a frozen banana1 tablespoon of raw cacao powder or Green & Black’s Organic Cocoa Powder/Food Thoughts Fairly Traded Organic Cocoa Powder as alternatives1 teaspoon of beetroot powder 1 teaspoon of Ceylon Cinnamon1 handful of raw almondsAdd 2 dashes of filtered water Blend everything up for a delicious smoothie! Try a Ceremonial grade cacao with Helen Miller Helen Millar is a speaker, ceremonialist, and weaver of community and healing.   She is on a mission to bring people from head to heart-centred living, working with groups and individuals to cast off the reductive version of themselves and tap into the inner magnificence lurking beneath.  She passionately believes this transformation is available to everyone willing to take the leap.  Having turned her own life around from one of self-sabotage to self-celebration, she is able to share tools from around the world, and some of the cosmos, to help you shift from a fear to love fuelled life. Helen’s work includes ceremonies, groups, retreats and one-to-one sessions to support you with tools, techniques and some of the universes’ magic to reconnect to your heart and have the courage to put into action it’s teachings.   Drawing upon her Shamanic and Buddhist path, she entwines creativity, astrology, numerology, tarot, healing, introspection and community to create a portal for living a happier, braver, more expansive life.  Her work is soon to be featured on the Discovery Network and Mind, Body Spirit Festival.  Buy her ceremonial grade cacao here or, to find more info on the science of cacao, visit The Science of Cacao – Heart Healer Helen is happy to offer you 20% off her first month of Midweek Medicine Membership community until July 17th, cancel anytime.  Coupon code: MINDMOOD20 If you have any questions or would like more tips on how to have a balanced life, get in touch! I’m always happy to help. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
Lifestyle & Self-Care SeriesThis year’s UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week runs from the 10th-16th of May. It is a week and a subject that I cherish with all my heart both because of the work I do as a Psychologist for the last 10 years in the social and care sector, but also because I have experienced mental health issues myself.   Raising awareness, creating dialogue and taking action towards positive mental health is key for happiness and positive health and wellbeing. Additionally, through my own lived and professional experience I have also realised that good mental health needs daily work, thus prevention will always be key too. Achieving good mental health and the daily work it requires is part of a holistic and preventive lifestyle that is not more than what I call – a lifestyle medicine tool box. A box that you keep building and developing day by day and resort to when stress, anxiety, fear, hopelessness or low moods emerge.  If last week I encouraged you to laugh more and incorporate laughter in your lifestyle medicine tool box, this week I encourage you to choose good mental health.  Good Mental Health Note that ‘choosing good mental health’ does not devalue each person’s life history, particularly in relation to traumatic experiences both as a child or as an adult and its impact on that person’s perception and experience of their internal and external world. What ‘choosing good mental health’ aims to do is to create a sense of self-empowerment and agency that enables people to overcome life obstacles and past experiences with hope, courage and optimism – to be the protagonists of their own lives, mastering the here and now, the present moment where action can take place.  Hence, in 2021 choose good mental health by: Understanding that your mental health falls on a continuum: your mental health can range from a positive mental health state to a more negative mental health state and some days you will feel more anxious/stressed than others due to a multitude of internal or external factors – this is OK and adaptive as human beings. Key here is also to understand when your mental health starts to impact your daily functioning for an extended period of time and it becomes debilitating – that’s when you need to seek professional support. Prioritising and respecting your mental health: if you are experiencing a more negative mental health state don’t ignore it and take action. Tap into your own positive coping mechanisms, part of your own lifestyle medicine tool box: going for a walk or doing yoga? Meditating or breathing? Journaling or calling a close friend? Eating a nourishing-mood boosting meal, reading my post about How to Achieve Happiness or taking a hot bath? Seeking/speaking to your therapist or ringing a helpline such as Samaritans.Noticing, nurturing and addressing your mental health is a form of self-respect and self-love.   Remaining hopeful: even when a more negative mental health state persists, remain hopeful or create hope, reminding yourself that you will feel better soon and there is always a solution: there are different ways to help you feel better and support available out there for you.  To access resources and support, go to www.mind.org.uk or www.mentalhealth.org.uk/  or ring Samaritans on 116 123, text SHOUT to 85258 or NHS 111 for urgent medical advice.You can also contact me here. Get access to Part I of my eBook FOR FREE! Your journey towards a happier life starts here! Subscribe today! Subscribe Loading… Thank you! Keep an eye on your inbox! Your freebie is on the way 🙂 [...] Read more...
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