Himanshu Taneja, culinary director, Marriott International, discusses the inherent relationship between good food and an elevated mood with Christy Varghese
More than a year after the first pandemic-induced lockdown, most people continue to stay indoors, choosing to work from the safety of their homes. In the backdrop of this major change, there has been a distinctive shift in eating and sleeping schedules, with oscillating moods being a noticeable side-effect.
Earlier, the lockdown was regarded as an opportunity to adopt healthy habits, however, most of us have grown complacent, with our dietary preferences now including a balance of comfort foods, healthy food and stress eating now and then.
Anticipating the trend, Himanshu Trehan, the Culinary Director of Marriott International, introduced a Mood Diet menu, to meet the nutrient requirements of consumers while elevating ones mood. During a quick chat, he guides us through the nuances concerning the menu.
Over the last year, we all have experienced untimely food cravings despite having a full meal when we were stressed. Having studied the pattern, the specially curated Mood Diet was designed around the concept of marrying the daily nutrient requirements with the unconscious food cravings that emerge from a fluctuating temperament. Between quality and what appeals to the taste buds, food goes a long way in enhancing our mood since both have a scientific and sentimental correlation. We have curated recipes which include foods that help enhance and boost moods, Himanshu expressed.
When we quiz him about the conceptualisation of the menu, he told us about the science behind the menu. Your diet plays an imperative role in justifying mood satisfaction as what you eat plays a considerable role in calming your mind and stabilising nutritional imbalances. So, if you are angry or irritated, dopamine-rich resources like nuts, almonds, walnuts and chicken can help you calm your nerves. Similarly, if you want to enhance a romantic mood with your partner, locally sourced figs and a green asparagus salad can help create the mood to match the moment, he shared with a smile.
He further added that the menu was put together to acknowledge the effect of the pandemic on our minds and bodies.
The entire idea behind is to balance the daily nutritional necessities with mood-boosting food offerings. Some of the foods that can be added to our diet include fatty fish, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, berries and fermented food. These can either be consumed directly or added in combination to prepare a recipe with easily available ingredients at home. These are high in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids and have an immediate mood-boosting effect by increasing levels of serotonin, a mood-regulating hormone, in your body, Himanshu told us.
To alleviate various moods one might experience when restricted indoors, or otherwise, the Mood Diet menu has dishes that range from a Nasi Goreng to a Tandoori Chicken to a Hot Mezze box.
(The Mood Diet menu from Marriott Bonvoy on Wheels is available in 13 hotels across India.)
You in the Mood to Diet? - Daily Pioneer