Good Mood Food - 5 ways food can make you happy

Do you ever wish you could go back and tell your younger self all the info you know now? One of the biggest nuggets of wisdom I would share with young Tahlee is “food affects your mood!”

Having struggled with poor mental health, hypoglycaemia, digestive troubles, allergies + disordered eating – I feel like I’ve had every food-related issue on the planet!

The good news is, that while I can’t go back in time share with my younger self all the wisdom I have now – I CAN share it with you. Huzzah!

Below I break down my top 5 good mood food sources, how you can consume them, and why they’re a mood saver.

1. Protein

What: Protein is all the rage at the moment. It seems everywhere you look people are gulping down protein shakes (I’ve done it); eating high protein diets (done that too); and grilling vegans about where they get their protein sources from.

Here’s the thing – you DO need protein. It’s one of the basic building blocks of the body, but your body can’t store it well so you need to eat it. However, you only need to consume about 0.7g protein per kilo of bodyweight per day. (Unless you’re running marathons or lifting really freakin’ heavy weights. Then it’s about double.)

Say you weigh 70kg. Your daily minimum protein requirement is 0.7g x 70kg = 49g

How: 49g protein per day is the equivalent of eating an egg for breakfast, snacking on some edamame (baby soy beans) and having a chicken breast for dinner. Obviously if you’re vegetarian or vegan – you need to replace the meat / eggs with some more tofu, beans, nuts + seeds – but you get the idea.

Don’t get hung up on the numbers (but if you’re interested, here is a good list of amounts). Just remember to include a diverse range of foods that bring you joy which are high in protein such as: meat, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

Why: Protein helps keep hypoglycaemia in check. (I call it psycho-glycaemia – if you’ve ever seen me hungry, you’ll know why). Having stable blood sugar means your mood doesn’t go swinging wildly from sugar-fuelled elation to sugar-crashing maudlin. Plus if you eat a small bit of protein with each meal the likelihood of the 3pm chocolate binge is minimised.

2. Carbohydrates

What: Contrary to a lot of current fad diet info – carbs are not the enemy. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose for energy. And guess which organ in the body requires the most glucose to function?

Your brain.

Yup. The grey squishy super computer inside your skull needs carbs for you to think – which is why people often feel fatigued + foggy on low / no carb diets. You don’t need to worry about what time of the day to eat them but the types of carbs you choose are important.

How: Go for low GI versions to stay off the sugar roller coaster, particularly if you have insulin resistance, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or diabetes.

Vegetables, quinoa, and brown / wild rice are excellent sources. Obvs stay away from highly processed carbs like white bread and corn flakes. They are no good to anyone!

And as luck would have it, if you eat protein with your carbs, the overall GI of the meal is lowered. (PS – my brain hears that as a standing ovation to eat chocolate covered almonds!)

Why: Low GI carbohydrates give you sustained energy, fuel your brain and fill you up. Nuff said.

3. No Allergens

The last time I drank a milkshake, I was in a world of pain. Ditto for porridge (that’s oatmeal for any US readers), turkish bread and weet-bix. Can you tell gluten and dairy are not my BFFs? For years, I couldn’t and had symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

A whopping 10-20% of the population suffers from IBS symptoms which include bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, excessive wind and fatigue. And while there are possible triggers of IBS like stress or viruses – it’s believed the major underlying trigger is food intolerance.

And food intolerances aren’t just related to digestive disorders. I’ve recently been on the FAILSAFE diet to heal my hives because I have a sensitivity to salicylate (a natural aspirin) which is found in most foods.

How: Pay attention to how you feel after you eat. It may even help to keep a small food journal for a while. It doesn’t need to complicated. Just jot down (as soon as you can after you eat) what you ate and how you felt afterwards. Once you know the foods that hurt your health, you can easily cut them out or find substitutes.

Also – with any allergy or digestive disorder, I cannot recommend more highly seeing a health practitioner. They are often able to see patterns that you might not, offer herbal or medical support to relieve symptoms, and guide you in a recovery plan.

Why: Food intolerances are no fun. Running to the toilet 3 times a day, IBS symptoms or being covered in hives isn’t normal. You don’t have to suffer.

4. L-Tyrosine

What: L-tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid which means your body can create tyrosine from other amino acids (molecular structures that help build protein) from food for optimal health. Tyrosine can be found in many high protein foods such as chicken, turkey, fish, avocados, dairy products, nuts, beans, and seeds.

Most importantly, l-tyrosine is a pre-cursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine - which is a “feel good” chemical in your brain responsible for influencing mood and sleep.

There is quite a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that using an l-tyrosine supplement increases energy and focus. However, there are few clinical trials to back up this evidence.

How: L-tyrosine can be found in most pharmacies and health food stores as a supplement. I prefer the brand Musashi. A teaspoon in a cup of hot cocoa is my favourite way to drink it (you can’t taste it at all).

Why: Personally, I have found using l-tyrosine to be very helpful during periods of prolonged stress or when I’m feeling particularly “blue”. I find it relaxes me, improves my attitude, and helps me sleep. Once again I highly recommend seeing a health practitioner before undertaking any supplementation.

5. Magnesium

What: Magnesium is a mineral that is critical for cell function, particularly energy production. Imagine your muscles have a key and a lock. In order to move your muscles,  magnesium acts like a key that unlocks muscle cells, allowing potassium and calcium to move in and out in order to contract and relax the cells.

Low levels of magnesium have been linked to an increase in muscles cramping, twitching and irritation.

How: Use a magnesium supplement or increase your consumption of whole-grain products, green leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds and mineral water.

Why: Personally I found using a magnesium supplement helpful to couteract Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - which is just a fancy term for when your body is sore for a couple of days after a workout. Also, my partner tells me I twitch in my sleep at lot less when I have magnesium regularly.

As always, double check with your health practitioner, because magnesium supplements may not be good for you especially if you have kidney problems.


One last thing. You can see that a diet high in nutritious, unprocessed food is a great basis for a good mood. But if you’ve been feeling blue for a while; disconnected, unmotivated or downright depressed - PLEASE see your doctor. There is no shame in getting help for depression.


So what’s your favourite good mood food?

Photo: Handmade Felt Toys


Feeling Damn Fine? Me too.

Greetings comrades! Wow, 30 Days has gone like that *snaps fingers*

One month ago, I posted the 30 Day Feel Damn Fine Challenge. It was a way to incorporate little daily feel good activities based on the Feel Good Framework.

30 Days later, I feel fantastic and I hope you do too. Above is a little video where I share some of my insights (so make sure you click through if you’re reading this via email or a reader app).

The Challenge was based on the 4 Attitude Revolution Categories and here are the results….


Beginning: Daily Green Juices

End: Daily Chinese Herbs

Outcome: The challenge helped me feel better about having a limited diet due to allergies, and helped me commit to taking my medicine.


Beginning: Morning pages

End: Still doing ‘em

Outcome: Doing these daily helped me start the day off in the right mood


 Beginning: Doing Pilates stretches + core strengthening exercises each morning

 End: Still committed to reformed Pilates classes 1x week + a daily routine

Outcome: My back has never been better!


 Beginning: Repeated out loud every day

End: It’s still echoes in my mind any time I feel frantic and calms me down

Outcome: Affirmation really DO work (but you have to practice them)

Overall, this challenge has made me even more positive, resilient + calm. So feeling Damn Fine every day really is possible, it just takes a few simple self-loving rituals + a bit of practice.

Hands up if you’d like to do this challenge with me again in the New Year? Head over to the blog and comment “For shiz” if you’re in.


Kind people are my kinda people

Today is a little different from the usual Inspiration Broadcast. Today I’m supporting Karen Salmansohn‘s mission to “stop the trend of bullying by making kindness trendy”. (She’s an awesome author who ‘merges empowering psychology/philosophy tips with edgy humor and stylish graphics’. Seriously - check her out if you haven’t heard of her!)

I believe one of the most silent yet destructive forms of bullying is the one we do to ourselves. So if self kindness is a bit of an struggle for you, or if you think it’s selfish to take care of numero uno, read on…

I used to think that being hard on myself was the only way to get anything done. I believed that while I was a kind and compassionate person to all around me, there was a different set of rules that applied to me.

I internalised the message (as so many of us do) that any act of self kindness was the ultimate hedonism. I had to take care of others, before I took care of myself – otherwise I was totally selfish.

This limited belief led to a girl who was driven by the need for others’ approval, a girl who let others dictate boundaries, a girl who was constantly dieting and “whipping herself into shape” in order to be thin, beautiful and accepted.

My life was clouded by self-doubt, panic attacks, poor relationships and an eating disorder. The irony of it all was that I couldn’t actually be kind to anyone else because I couldn’t be kind to myself.

I couldn’t show kindness to my friends because I was desperate and needy. I pushed them away because I didn’t believe I was worthy of love.

I couldn’t show kindness to my partner because he was busy taking care of me while I suffered through depression and anxiety.

I couldn’t show kindness to strangers because I was too busy comparing myself with them and judging them.

But all that changed when I realised that self kindness wasn’t selfish. Self kindness is vital to ALL kindness. I began to speak to myself as I would a friend. If I was sick, sad or suffering - I would imagine that I was speaking to a small hurt child or a dear loved one.

Slowly but surely, my inner bully began to morph into my inner bestie.

The more I practised self kindness the more I cultivated a sense of worthiness, resilience and grounded calm. I was able to love more fully, connect more deeply and bounce back from set-backs more quickly.

One of my favourite quotes is by Audre Lorde –

‘I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival’

Releasing the idea that self kindness was akin to selfishness allowed me to gently explore the idea of nurturing myself.

Instead of undertaking punishing workouts and pushing through injuries, I was able to rest when I needed it.

Instead of being stuck on the diet-binge-self-loathing roller-coaster (the most un-fun roller-coaster ever!), I was able to heal my emotional eating issues.

Instead of unhealthy relationships defined by poor boundaries and power plays – I was able to give and accept love in a balanced way.

I’ve learned self kindness in many ways. Through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates, counselling  hypnotherapy, intuitive eating, practising gratitude and absorbing positive wisdom from books and blogs (like Karen’s).

It’s been a long and rewarding journey. But like many great feats in life – self-kindness IS a practice. It’s certainly not something I’ve mastered but I give it a red hot go each day.

How about you? Do you struggle with self kindness? Has your inner bully got the best of you? Or can you nurture yourself easily?


“Karen Salmansohn is on a mission to stop the trend of bullying and make kindness trendy. You can find out more about her mission on Karen’s Happy Kid’s page on her site Plus, you can join Karen’s Kindness mission by becoming a Kindness Rockstar Ambassador – just click here.” 


5 ways to bring calm to each moment

On Sunday night, I had the utmost pleasure of attending A Night of Stillness - a meditation group for women run by the sublime Tara Bliss + divine Susana Frioni.

These women are two incredibly insightful chicas and I highly recommend you check out their sites Such Different Skies + Deliriously Deep.

The night was filled with silent meditation,  creative journaling + vulnerable discussion - a winning combo in my eyes.

And whilst it’s easy to receive a deluge of epiphanies, joy + peace during a group meditation, I realised there are simple ways to bring that very stillness into our lives each day.

So here are my top 5 ways to bring a sense of calm to each moment…

1. Return to the breath

One of the simplest, yet most profound way to invite calm in is to take a deep breath. An exhale, a deep sigh, even a yawn is coupled with a release in tension. All melts away with the exhale. All is renewed with the inhale.

When I was in the throes of panic attacks + overwhelming anxiety - learning to breathe was literally a life saver for me. I found the greatest sense of calm when I used a longer exhale than inhale.

For example, if I inhaled for a count of 2, I would exhale for a count of 4.

Within that control of the breath, I found the sense of control + calm I needed.

2. A still body = a still mind = a still body

At the very beginning of the meditation, Susana guided us gently in for a few minutes. A profound statement (it’s a tweetable!) stayed with me throughout the silence.

“Stillness is a reflection of your presence” - click to tweet

Any time I found myself fidgeting, I realised my thoughts had become distracted from the present moment. I remembered that movement flows from distracting thoughts. A deep breath + a stillness of the body led me back to a stillness of the mind.

Later I thought “How many times a day do I bite my nails, tap my foot, play with my hair, pace around?” I realised each time I’m restless, I try to diffuse the discomfort of my thoughts through nervous energy + movement. But it brings no peace.

You can choose in any moment of anxiety or restlessness to still the body + thereby still the mind.

3. Release judgement

A judging mind is a distracted, compartmentalised, time bound, sequestered mind. It is caught up in labels, past regrets, future tripping + overwhelm. There is no room for peace.  Thoughts may hold you hostage but a return to awareness can set you free.

A still mind is a liberated mind. A still mind has thoughts, but they rise + fall away with the breath. They whistle through the mind like leaves from a tree, sweeping past without a trace. No anxiety, no attachment, no judgement.

Judging a thought or activity (ie this is boring, my back hurts, this is good, that is bad) can lead to distraction, procrastination, or avoidance. Rather than “sit in the tension” with awareness + kindness - we may try to shift our attention into something more pleasurable. For me, this often meant turning to food as a source of solace.

Even just noticing that a judgement has arisen allows awareness + peace back in.

Try proclaiming “Oh, hello judging mind” + return to the breath (see #1).

4. Use kindness

Rather than hoisting + shoving thoughts away. Rather than being critical for having anxious or distracting thoughts. Rather than piling on guilt, shame, resentment, the “I don’t wanna”, “This sucks”, “If only X were Y” ‘s + turning life into a general GAH-fest…

Gently + kindly nudge the thoughts back to the the present moment. Notice the breath once more.

Kindness calms the inner critic + allows more awareness, presence + peace to unfold. This in turn allows you to get your shit done with a minimum of fuss.

5. Pay attention

Meditation is really just focused attention. Paying attention gently to the breath allows the thoughts to pass through. Attention to a positive mantra allows all doubt to fall away.

Attention to the present moment allows peace to arise; dissolves past regrets; + halts future tripping immediately. Attention to a loved one allows true understanding + connection to occur.

Attention to a tedious task allows it to be done without procrastination or resistance. Attention to a creative task allows the subconscious mind room to expand + create while the rational, judging mind has a break.

Simply pay attention wholly to any given task + voila - instant calm.


Disclaimer - Using meditation (or any other mindful practice) doesn’t mean that every moment of every day will be filled with rainbow-pooping unicorns + giggle snorts. However, meditation does have a direct influence on your brain, your mood + your mental health. It will help you cultivate resilience in the face of adversity; strengthens positive neural pathways; plus it helps you be kinder, smarter, more patient + loving.

Nothing else on earth provides THAT much bang for buck.

Do you meditate? What’s your favourite way to go about it? Do you use music, silence, guided visualisation, mindfulness? Share (don’t be shy) in the comments below.

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