Top 5 Foods to Beat the Overseas Blues

:

Ok, so you’ve made it! You have gone through all the paperwork and hard work it takes to get yourself overseas and to the start of your new adventure!! You have been busily embracing the culture and it’s cuisine and enjoying every minute of it! The only thing is you are starting to miss home, just a little. You’re feeling slightly sad and depressed and can’t seem to get out of the funk. Well nothing creates or cures homesickness more quickly than food. It’s amazing how your diet, especially a new one, can impact your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and moods.

Ok, so you’ve made it! You have gone through all the paperwork and hard work it takes to get yourself overseas and to the start of your new adventure!! You have been busily embracing the culture and it’s cuisine and enjoying every minute of it! The only thing is you are starting to miss home, just a little. You’re feeling slightly sad and depressed and can’t seem to get out of the funk. Well nothing creates or cures homesickness more quickly than food. It’s amazing how your diet, especially a new one, can impact your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and moods.

Food is linked to so many of your senses that it can easily be associated with memories, special events, seasons or just a feeling. So, trying new food is great and you are creating new associations with those new foods. You’ll have new memories linked to these flavors for years to come, but at some point the novelty wears off and you find yourself longing for something familiar, something that might give you a boost! On that note, I would like to share with you my top 5 foods for beating the overseas blues!

First of all, if you are anywhere in Asia you know that rice is a staple. Rice is a great food, it’s versatile, tasty and easy to make. The only tweak I would suggest is switch out the white rice for brown rice. White rice has all of the fiber and nutrients stripped from it making it almost completely devoid of nutritional value. It basically turns to sugar in your body immediately creating a spike in your blood sugar and a drop in your mood. It also makes you hungry not long after eating it which could lead to weight gain. Brown rice, on the other hand, has all of the good stuff still in tact. It generates energy, promotes good digestion, quenches thirst, alleviates diarrhea caused by spleen-pancreas deficiency, and relieves mental depression! Wow.

Next, dark leafy greens! Wherever you are in the world you will be able to find the local dark green staples. Spinach is one that can be found in most places and because it is a familiar green to most, this is a good one to start with. It is important to incorporate greens into your diet as often and as much as possible because they help with blood purification, cancer prevention, improved circulation strengthened immune system, promotion of healthy intestinal flora, lifted spirit and elimination of depression and they help to clear congestion.

Seasonal fruits and veggies are next! That will be the key to making sure your body stays healthy and happy while you are living abroad! Check out the local markets and pay attention to the seasons! What I mean by this is vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are warming to the body and good to eat during the winter months. During these hot summer months, you’ll notice that your body does not crave these foods as much. Instead it will most likely tell you to eat veggies like tomatoes, and bell peppers along with fruits like watermelons and grapes.

These foods help to cool the body off when it is hot. Tomatoes are great in the summer because the contain a natural sunscreen called Lycopene. They are high in antioxidants which will help the body to restore itself from all the stress it has undergone by experimenting with a new diet.

Watermelons are great because, as it states in the name they are made up of mostly water which will help to cool and hydrate you in the hot summer months. Watermelons also contain Lycopene and tons of Vitamin C. Not to mention they are delicious! Plus, the best thing about fruits and veggies is that you don’t even have to cook them to eat them! So, no prep time at all.

OK, last but not least, make sure to get quality protein in your diet. Protein gives the body energy and helps to build muscle. It also helps to cushion the metabolizing effects of sugar in the body keeping your blood sugar from spiking too quickly. However, it is important to note here that you probably don’t need as much protein as you think. If you are eating a diet already rich in green leafy vegetables and whole grains chances are you are getting enough protein. You really only need to include a major source of protein in your diet 2-3 times a week in order to be covered. If you are a vegetarian and living in Asia there are all kinds of tofu to try out! If you eat meat check out the local and seasonal fish supplies. Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and helps with depression and brain function.

Experiment with the local foods and try to pay attention to how you feel after you eat them this will help you a great deal in eating while overseas. Your body is quite smart so it will usually tell you what it needs!

In the meantime here is a recipe to try!

Watermelon and Tomato Salad

3 cups watermelon diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup red onion (any onion will work though) minced
1 cup cucumber peeled and diced
3 tablespoons lime juice more to taste (if you can’t find lime juice you can try balsamic vinaigrette or go without a dressing!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine watermelon, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, lime juice and oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

If you are having trouble implementing a healthy diet and lifestyle while living abroad and would like to know more about what I do and how my work could support your health goals please get in touch with me at [email protected]



Leave a Comment