It is the beginning of the year and Moody wanted to talk all things moods and foods with Danielle Copperman. Danielle is not only an accomplished health food founder with Qnola - a food range dedicated to the use of our favourite grain Quinoa, but now she is also an author. Her new cookbook ‘Well Being: recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind’, is about how we can use daily rituals and in particular, the rituals of food, to help us reconnect with natural ingredients that are fabulous for our moods.
What Moody tribe are you?
Firstly tell us about your current mood, how are you feeling about yourself and how are you managing your moods this year?
I am feeling super-aligned. 2018, so far has been a really exciting year for me. Things that I have been working on are finally coming together - such as writing my first book, Well Being and launching some new products under my Qnola brand. I have been setting loose intentions and focusing on my self-worth and being more appreciative of myself. Last year I lost so much drive and confidence, I felt like I only had myself to blame; the way I spoke to myself and thought about myself and my life. However, right now I am feeling super-aligned with how I should be feeling and everything that I have been manifesting seems to be coming to me. I am also enjoying life so much more, being easier on myself and thinking more openly and acceptingly about things. Unlike last year, this year (so far) I am really enjoying going with the flow and letting things happen naturally, without over planning or worrying too much.
When did you realise food and food rituals would play such a big role in your mood balancing and life?
When I changed my diet I immediately noticed my moods lift, my energy levels elevate and my life change for the better. I knew from then on that processed foods could 'treat' me but not serve me, and I decided to avoid them most of the time and focus on using natural provisions from the earth to fuel my body and mind. It really is so simple, and I haven't looked back since.
What are your top tips for pulling yourself out of a bad mood day?
Speaking to someone, either friend, family or a stranger, like saying hi to the bus driver, speaking to an uber driver or making conversation whilst paying for something in a shop.
Humans are supposed to have human connections, and in big cities like London, this is totally lost.
Where I grew up, if you are out walking in the fields and you come across someone, they would always say hi. That never happens in London, and I think it can make people really hard.
People have all kinds of barriers and boundaries, but there is nothing like a little human interaction, or even better touch (hello hugs) to make you feel better. Whether it is sharing your worries, or whatever has put you in a bad mood, or it is talking about something else to take your mind off it - it is important. I also always try to pivot the bad mood and negative thoughts into more positive thoughts. I try to turn it around and see the good in it, and if I don't see anything good, I have also learnt to accept sometimes things are frustrating and to think of them as lessons and a stepping stone between all the good things. You need bad days in order to recognise and appreciate things, I believe there is a reason for everything, so I try to let the little things go.
What are your go-to foods to put you in a good mood?
Raw cacao (either in a chocolate bar form or as a hot chocolate with nut milk), avocado on sourdough bread, blueberries or banana with almond butter, a really amazing smoothie, vegan ice cream and more or less anything that my mum has cooked.
Have you ever experienced issues with hormones, which have been elevated by good food, bloating etc?
I have indeed, and I'm sure I constantly do still.
On a more physical level, there was a time when I didn't have a period for an entire year. I was on the pill and my hormones were going mental enough, so when my periods stopped, I came off it, but my periods didn't return. I was exercising intensely and I was super stressed about setting up my business, Qnola, but I never once thought it could be the stress and other chemical reactions of the hormones in my body that could be responsible.
It came back the day after I returned home after 2 months of slow-paced travelling around the world with my best friends.
Good, home cooked, natural food had been so nourishing to my body as well as a major reduction in stress levels.
On a day to day basis, I do still have ups and downs on the approach to my period and briefly after it, and I usually surrender to it and try to go easier on myself and rest.
I do enjoy adaptogens and tonic herbs in warm, nourishing drinks, as well as lots of fresh greens and other iron-rich foods.
I suffer from water retention quite often, so bloating is usually a side effect too, but all I've found to be helpful so far is drinking lots of water, eating mineral-rich foods, having soups and smoothies to give the digestion a break whilst my body is doing its thing and using a hot pad or hot water bottle on my stomach. Massage too is incredibly nourishing and do I this with warm coconut or sesame or almond oil.
What are the key super foods to support Moody days?
As well as those I've already mentioned, I love maca, he shou wu, tocotrienols, ashwagandha, pine pollen, nettle, dandelion leaf, st johns wart, ginkgo biloba and staying away from caffeine.
What are your two top picks recipes from your new book and why? (If you can choose and share?)
It is a tricky one, as all the recipes in the book are my favourites, however I would say the *Herbal Infusions are really great and something I make all the time. For snacks to get through your moody time of the month I would say the Raw chocolate coated *Nolo's, and for a really nourishing meal if you need some comfort food, the *Beetroot Laksa.
Nominate three friends who you would share moody and mood food with?
Eva Ramirez, Leah Garwood Gowers and Bonnie Wright
Check out her new book Well Being: recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind and connect via @dcopperman
*Herbal Infusions: page 58, Raw Nolos: page 198, Beetroot Laksa: page 226