Let’s talk about the Bliss Point…
“Bliss point is the amount of an ingredient or combination of ingredients (especially sugar, salt and fat) in a food that makes it most enjoyable to eat and difficult to resist.”
Why am I starting with this quote? Well, this month I wanted to talk about food, cooking, and the positive impact this has always had on my mental health.
I love the bliss point definition. I use it a few times of week when describing how my food tastes to friends and family but I think it works well for those of us that have mental health struggles. Finding that perfect combination of self-care, managing your mental health and still trying to live a ‘normal’ daily life. It’s the bliss point.
Now, lets get into the good stuff. Food.
I have always had a love for food. I won’t call myself a foodie, because honestly all humans are right? (It’s pretty crucial for our existence) but I am someone that has always enjoyed trying new foods and I’ve loved cooking from an early age. I remember going on a caravan holiday with a family friend when I was a child and she would often make jokes about how she would need to do double the food shop because I would always eat everything. I am a girl with a big appetite, what can I say.
I’m not going to pretend to be a food expert. I am not well travelled and honestly, it’s quite shocking the number of restaurants and food places that catch my eye that I never visit. The pandemic has made me realise how much I took going out for food for granted and it’s the one thing I am so excited to explore now that lockdown restrictions are easing.
Despite my lack of knowledge, food (and to be more specific) cooking is a huge part of my life. It always has been, although I would say it has grown in the past year. Cooking has always been a way for me to ‘keep busy’. My anxiety is at its worst when I don’t have much going on. If I don’t keep busy, unfortunately those anxious thoughts start creeping in. Cooking helps me focus. It gives me a reason to concentrate on a task. It helps with my daily routine and it gives me a creative boost. I can (and do) follow recipes, but for the most part I am a “throw everything in the pan and taste as you go” type of cook. I love experimenting with new flavours and ingredients. I love how cooking makes me feel – it’s almost like a sense of accomplishment when your meal turns out amazing right? Most importantly, I LOVE cooking for family and friends and seeing the joy in their faces when they demolish it (up until now, we haven’t had any bad dishes ha) Oh and of course I enjoy the eating also. I am 90% sure that the best memories most people have will involve food in some way; socialising with friends, holidays, celebrations, summer BBQs – the list really is endless.
Cooking is my escape. I enjoy it when I am feeling good, but on bad days cooking can be the one thing that helps. I typically cook alone, listening to a podcast or music (because let’s face it, if you aren’t dancing whilst tossing a wok then you’re doing it wrong) It sounds ridiculous, but for me it’s so much more than just cooking. It is an essential part of me being able to manage my anxiety. Obviously, I am not a doctor (or a chef, to be clear) and if you are having mental health difficulties right now, I would recommend seeking help from professionals. BUT, if, like me you find that keeping busy helps with your anxiety then why not give cooking a go? It’s not for everyone, I get that. It’s like any hobby I guess – or marmite (surely by now I don’t need to caption the famous slogan?) If cooking doesn’t do it for you, find something that does. Something that you can plan into your week but also something that you can do spontaneously if you’re feeling restless. Something that you enjoy doing as well as the end result. You may be surprised on the positive impact it has.
For anyone that would like to delve a little further into homemade delights (comments made by family and friends, not just myself I promise) come and say hello on Instagram (@bemery92) . I don’t have a favourite cuisine and it’s likely you will see endless posts about breakfast and my love for all tortilla-based food, but if that sounds like a bit of you then maybe you’ll enjoy it.
My aim for the next month is to master the art of a perfect paella. I’ll let you know how it goes…