Dining

How Food Can Change Your Mood (And Spice Up Your Life)

February 5, 2021

It goes without question: the pandemic has affected almost all aspects of our lives, including our libido. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we asked registered holistic nutritionist and Organika educator Rhiannon Lytle for tasty tips to help add a little spice to our night, whether you’re in a relationship or not. After all, a little self-love is needed now more than ever! —Vita Daily

Hi Rhiannon! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I’m a registered holistic nutritionist practising at a naturopathic clinic in Vancouver as well as an educator with Organika, a Canadian supplement brand. I mainly focus on hormones, fertility and gut health … because almost everything ties back to gut health!

In your practice, since the start of this pandemic and as it has gone on, have you seen clients’ libido affected at all? Why do you think that is?

Yes! I think it was really common for me to hear from clients in the beginning of the pandemic how they had low libido. It was perfect storm: stress, kids were always around, your partner was always around, many people’s alcohol consumption increased, sleep cycles had changed, I could go on. But all of these can affect our hormones and libido.

How can food/nutrition impact our libido?

There are so many things we can do with our diet that can help support our libido, paired with a few lifestyle adjustments where possible. To put it simply: sugar, alcohol and caffeine can play a huge role in our hormone health, which puts our libido at risk, especially when we overconsume them. And think about it, what did our diet mainly consist of when the pandemic began? Sugar, alcohol and caffeine! Each one of those alone has the capacity to dampen our libido, whether it’s because of a direct hit to our hormone health or if it takes a longer route through changing our gut microbiome (but that’s a long conversation for another day). Another thing that I notice has happened for so many people over the course of the pandemic is that our normal eating patterns have taken a turn. We may no longer be eating the typical breakfast/lunch/dinners, but sporadically grazing through the day. In some cases, we may be under-nourishing ourselves and missing out on key nutrients that help us to feel energized and give us that vitality.

In that vein, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, what are your best nutritional tips for adding a little spice to our lives?

A simple tip: try our some adaptogenic herbs! I find it so much easier to add in foods or magical herbs than to take out certain types of foods from the get go. Maca is my go-to for so many clients, either in capsule or powdered form. I use Organika’s Gelatinized Maca Powder because I can use it hot or cold. It’s so easy to add to a smoothie, energy balls, oatmeal, or a morning elixir. Maca is a root that’s traditionally been used to help with energy and libido. I use it clients for overall hormone regulation, too! My second go-to adaptogen is ashwagandha. One non-nutritional root cause of low libido and hormone imbalance is stress! In today’s world, there’s only so much of our stress that we can control. Ashwagandha is another root that is easy to use in capsules or powders and helps our body to better manage it’s response to stress.

We’re not all in relationships; what can we do, nutritionally, to boost our mood and up our self-love levels this Valentine’s Day?

Focus on fuelling yourself with good, real food! I’m not a fan of diets, but I’m a fan of making at least 80 per cent of your week all about real foods that your body can easily use to energize you, fuel your immune system, help you think more clearly. Think big bowls of nourishing soups or buddha bowls. You can even level that up by having a little love-affair with your meal before you eat it. Make it feel sensual: smell your food, look and admire it. This helps to get our digestive juices flowing and create a calming space to eat it. Better digestion equals more energy and a better mood for you in the long-run!

How, food-wise, will you be treating yourself (or your sweetie) this Valentine’s Day?

We’re not big Valentine’s Day celebrators in this household, but we’ll be (very) newlywed, so we’ll probably do take-away from a local restaurant. We’re mainly cook-at-home people, so ordering from some of our favourite Vancouver spots is always a treat!

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