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The Food and Mood Handbook

image of poem coverThe Food and Mood poem is available as a booklet. Click here.

Words by Amanda Geary, cartoons by Julian Howell.
Not to be reproduced without prior permission. Please contact us first.

cartoon mood control indicator smiley faces This poem tells what you can do
To learn how food can change your mood
It's based on science - and common sense -
As well as self-help experience
The goal is having more control
Of what you eat and how you feel 
wilting flower Look at what you're habitually drinking
And the quality of your thinking
As liquid's needed for quick mentation
But caffeine causes dehydration
Avoid excess coffee, tea and cola
And rehydrate with plenty of water
rampant e-numbers Colourings and flavourings can give a buzz
But there's a price to pay and that's because
These substances are toxic to the brain
E-numbers or additives - they're just the same -
So read the labels and decide to choose
Smoothies, fruit and vegetable juice 
peaceful brown rice Skipping breakfast will leave you low
Anxious and irritable - others will know!
As blood sugar dips your nerves will crave
Stimulant fixes, biscuits and cake
But foods that take a while to digest,
Like oats and wholegrains, will serve you best 
threatening lice of bread Some foods can make you intolerant
Yet trigger foods are what you want
Avoiding them can make things worse
And finding culprits takes detective work
The practical approach? To vary your treats
Try new foods - and experiment! 
smug toilet Did you know that poor digestion
Can give you mental constipation?
A good-sized handful of veg or fruits
Contains lots of phytonutrients
And when you eat five healthy portions
Each day, you'll head for happy (e)motions 
brain licking its lips The good-mood serotonin that's in your brain
Depends on the food from which it came
Meat and fish contain tryptophan
(Eggs, beans and cheese if you're vegetarian)
This chemical helps you think and feel
And needs protein food - quality fuel 
sparky neurones Poor concentration and feeling blue
Is linked to the food that you consume
Brain cells need oiling with essential fats
In oily fish and seeds and nuts
You need these oils several times each week
To help your neurones communicate 
woman considering her food So have you wondered if what you're eating
Might affect how you are feeling
If there is a real connection
Worth some serious exploration?
Mind and body are closely related
They need good food, and to be respected! 

Text published in the cybermagazine Madelaine (Issue no. 5) and in Foods Matter (January 2006)

“In my research I came across your brilliant poem. I think it would be a wonderful teaching tool and would like to include it in the curriculum.”
Leisa J. Bageris, Curriculum Development, Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, USA.

“I have just come across your website and love the poem about 'food and mood'. I work for Bradford's Adoption and Fostering Unit and I write 2 quarterly newsletters to foster carers and Adopters. We are currently discussing food and children's perceptions of food as well as the carers own understanding. I think this poem is brilliant and would love to feature it in the newsletter."
Sarah Bebbington, Adoption and Fostering Marketing Officer, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, UK


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