Psychology Melbourne Blog

News and Insights from the Science of the Mind

Food for thought

Edited by Jill Wright,

The New York Times, that celebrated chef, Joël Robuchon, has co-authored a cook book that claims an even more profound link between psychology and eating.

Robuchon and Dr Nadia Volf's Food and Life is dedicated to the proposition that "meals can improve your health, energy and mood, and maybe even help you find love".

Troubled by an obsessive thought? Dr Volf prescribes endive. Grapes, apparently, and roasted pumpkin seeds, are also good for that.

And if your heart has been broken, rather than reaching for the Nutella and ice cream, consider instead some delicious turkey.

"The most beautiful thing to eat when you have heartbreak is turkey," Dr Volf explains, "because turkey has the amino acid tryptophan, which is the basis of the hormone serotonin."

The book adds substantially to the concept of food for thought: Duck stimulates memory. Hazelnut oil boosts serenity. Endive combats fear, as, apparently, does zucchini.

One of the friends of the author of the article, Liesl Schillinger, queries whether Robuchon might have descended into eccentricity, but Schillinger claims that her close friends gained observable benefits from the dinner party she hosted, based on the recipes.

In what I think might establish new standards for dinner hosts, Liesl reports:

"The mint quieted Sabine's feistiness. The chives helped Lucas release his inhibitions. Zainab's jet lag disappeared. Victoire, who had taken a liking to the pea soup and was recovering from strenuous hours at the ballet barre, told me, 'The pain in my legs is going away!' Michael, fortified by the preserved lemon, said, 'I feel I could break rocks with my head.'"

It makes me wonder whether psychologists might think about adding the occasional recipe to the therapeutic regime?


About the editor, Jill Wright

Jill Wright (MAPS, AAFT, AICD) is the Director and Principal Psychologist at Psychology Melbourne. Jill was twice elected General Director of the Australian Psychological Society and established the APS Victorian branch Study Group Network. Find out more about Jill Wright.