Tag Archives: food

Food For Your Mood: Foods That Help Fight Depression

Mental illness is largely prevalent in Australia, with 3 million individuals living with anxiety or depression every day and an estimated 45% experiencing a mental health condition at least once in their lifetime. According to The National Health and Medical Research Council, our diets have taken a turn for the worst since the 20th century, negatively impacting the overall health of individuals on a global scale. Mental illness conditions have also increased significantly, particularly anxiety and depression.

While there is no dietary cure for depression, research has revealed that a healthier diet may help improve the physical and psychological health of those suffering from depression/or anxiety and ultimately fight to prevent it.

If you’re feeling down, stressed or anxious, why not try improving your eating habits? As the old adage goes, “you are what you eat”! Here, we’ve rounded up some mood-boosters for your next culinary masterpiece!

Fats are your friends

Before you stock up on an endless supply of chocolate; we mean healthy fats, also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Coined as one of the healthiest of all fats, monounsaturated fat is beneficial for your heart and brain, helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and promoting healthy brain function and blood flow. Delicious food sources of monounsaturated fats are avocadoes, nuts and plant-based liquid oils such us olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and sesame oil.

Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and provide the essential nutrients to help protect your body’s cells. Delicious food sources of monounsaturated fats are fish such as salmon and mackerel, nuts, seeds, tofu and sunflower oil.


Protein is packed with amino acids, which helps manage neurological function so that you can maintain happy thoughts and feelings all day!

Great sources of protein can be found in lean meat such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken and turkey, fish, cheese, eggs, lentils, black beans, nuts and seeds.

Leafy greens

Lush leafy greens such as spinach, kale and bok choy contain calcium, magnesium, and essential vitamins – most notably, folate, which is a water-soluble B vitamin and known to boost serotonin levels.

These nutrient-dense leafy greens are also full of chlorophyll, which helps purify the blood and assist in healthy liver function.

Popeye had it right when he chose his trusty can of spinach to boost his energy!

Fermented foods and Probiotics

Feeling bloated, blue and not quite yourself? You’re not alone. Scientific research has shed an important light on the link between gut health and mental health. The gut is often coined as our “second brain,” because it has its own nervous system that signals our brain through the vagus nerve – which can be why we often feel nauseous in our stomach when we’re really stressed out.

According to the Journal of Probiotics & Health (JPH), the key to better gut health is by replacing the bad bacteria, often found in highly processed and sugary foods, with good bacteria such as fermented foods and probiotics.

So what are probiotic foods?

“Probiotic foods are foods that contain live and active bacterial cultures. Probiotic foods also have benefit to the process of fermentation. Probiotics are widely used to prepare fermented dairy products such as yogurt or freeze-dried cultures. During fermentation, carbohydrates in the food are broken down into acids by various kinds of probiotic bacteria and/or yeast.”  The Journal of Probiotics & Health (JPH)

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, as well as Keffir, which is a popular fermented drink with a similar yogurt-like consistency.

You can also get your probiotic fix by adding tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha and pickles to your diet.

Starving for a new adventure? Check out our upcoming challenges in our calendar!

Discovering the best Vietnamese dishes

Vietnamese cuisine is said to be among the healthiest in the world, using less oil than many of its Asian neighbours. You’ll find plenty of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices tossed with meats such as beef, chicken, pork and seafood. There is a harmonious combination of flavours, from sweet to sour, and spicy to savoury.

Every region in Vietnam offers something different due to the varying climate– from the fertile soil of the Mekong, to the mountainous conditions of Central Vietnam.

Here we look at some popular and unique dishes, from all around Vietnam.

Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich)

If you’re familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, you’ve no-doubt heard of Banh Mi, or the Vietnamese sandwich roll. This roll is traditionally filled with pork, lettuce, carrot, cucumber, shallots, mayonnaise, coriander, soy sauce and black pepper. Of course, there are variations, from steamed chicken and even beef. The perfect Banh Mi roll is golden, crispy and crunchy. It’s an explosion of intense flavour with every bite.

Coffee Beans

Pho noodles

Pho noodle soup is a popular breakfast dish in Hanoi. In the north of Vietnam, the broth is typically clear, while the south favour a thicker, saucier broth with more flavourful garnish.

The word ‘pho’ actually refers to the noodles in the dish themselves, but it has become synonymous with the soup. It is usually served with meat (beef or chicken), lime wedges, bean sprouts, basil, mint and chilli sauce. If you’re a little bored of your everyday packet noodles, this is definitely one to try, check out this recipe and taste it for yourself.

Cha Gio (egg rolls)

These are a fresh and lively take on the meat-filled rolls you will find as appetisers in most Asian cuisine served in the West. Cha Gio are egg rolls filled with pork, shrimp or crab, as well as mushrooms and diced vegetables. You can enjoy them on their own, or dip them in fish sauce with chilli and vinegar. Expect a light crunch, with plenty of flavour!

Che (dessert)

Who doesn’t love dessert? I know I do, and Vietnamese desserts come highly recommended if you like sweet things. Che refers to any sweet dish; from beverages and soups to puddings. Traditionally, che is made with kidney beans, tapioca, jelly, fruit and coconut cream. It can be served chilled or warm.

Vietnamese egg coffee

Most people might have eggs for breakfast, and perhaps a coffee before rushing out the door. But in Hanoi, they have egg coffee.

Egg coffee is made by combining egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk, and whisking it into a thick fluffy cream. The mixture is then poured over strong black coffee. It’s very simple to make and the result is a sweet, delectable treat!

There you have it, some authentic Vietnamese dishes and treats that you can sample on your next trip.

Vietnamese Coffee

Feeling inspired?

Check out our Vietnam adventures.


Food files: Nepalese teahouses

So, you’re going trekking in Nepal! That’s amazing. The mountains, the scenery, the people – it’s all incredible and you will have the time of your life.

Even though you are so excited and can’t wait for the adventure, I bet you are a little worried about the food … Maybe just a tad? Well, it’s your lucky day, because we’ve been there and created this handy guide on how to dissect a Nepalese teahouse menu! You’ll be a pro in no time.

How does it work?

Each night on your trek, you will be staying in local teahouses. Originally, teahouses were a place for hikers and mountain climbers to drink some tea (obviously), eat and sleep for free overnight (usually on the floor). Nowadays, it’s a bit more formalised and you book rooms or beds for a small charge with an expectation that you eat your meals at the teahouse. Most teahouses are family run, which means you get an amazing insight into the local culture.

So how does it all work? When you arrive at your teahouse each day, you’ll be given a key to your room and you can go dump all your things. Depending on your pace and how long you walk that day, you are usually there in the mid-afternoon so you’ll have a tea to relax. There are SO many options for tea – my personal favourite was Honey, Lemon and Ginger (which was sometimes spelt Zinger or Ginzer in the menu).

Usually, you put your order for dinner in by either 5.00pm or 6.00pm so the kitchen can prepare. You’ll let them know what time you want to eat – most people eat around 6.30pm – 7.30pm. There will be little notebooks that you can write down your order in with your room number on the top. You will also order your breakfast on the same page before you go to sleep and specify the time you want to eat in the morning.


I absolutely loved the options for breakfast! There was so much to choose from and I figured that since I’m here trekking and not just lying by the pool drinking cocktails, I was allowed to have some slightly unhealthier (but yummier) options!

My go-to was often porridge. Sometimes I’d have apple on top, sometimes just honey and cinnamon. It was easy to digest as well when I started to lose my appetite at higher altitudes.

My treat option was french toast! One day I even had it twice – once for breakfast and then again for second breakfast (yes, that’s a thing) in the mid-morning. If you trek to the Everest View Hotel (which is a beautiful view point of Everest a couple of hours walk from Namche Bazaar), make sure you have a coffee and french toast – it was literally one of the best things to ever happen to me.

You can also have eggs – fried or omelette are the most common. I also had toast with honey quite a few times.

Nepal teahouse breakfast: Porridge
French Toast Nepal

Lunch and Dinner

Dal Bhat is the go-to meal in Nepal. Locals will often eat two or even three meals of Dal Bhat per day. It will differ from teahouse to teahouse but generally, it’s made up dal soup, rice and usually a small mix of veggies in a curry style sauce. You will usually have pappadums or roti on the side too. It’s delicious and the bonus is that you will likely be served seconds … and thirds. No one’s judging!

Other than Dal Bhat, there are SO many options again. Most of the menus are very carb heavy – lots of potatoes, soups, noodles, rice dishes, pasta and of course, momos!

Sometimes you’ll even come across pizza or amazing dishes like Lasagne on the menus! If you are trekking with a guide, they will usually always tell you what the best food options are at each teahouse as they all have their specialities! One day in Tengboche, we were recommended the Lasagne and it was incredible (see the pic!)

*Handy hint* If you are hiking to Everest Base Camp, it’s best to avoid meat. All meat is flown into Lukla and then carried by porters or yaks, so you can pretty much guarantee it’s been out of a refrigerated environment for some time.

Lasagne Nepal
Nepal Teahouse Blog Dal Bhat

The costs

The prices at the Teahouses are much cheaper than you are used to in Australia. The rule of thumb is it will get more expensive as you climb higher.

For breakfast, you are looking at around 300-450 rupees per meal ($3-$4 AUD). For lunch and dinner, it will cost you anywhere from 400-900 rupees per meal (depending on what it is). That’s about $5-$12 per meal. So if you are taking the most expensive option it would be about $28 a day for your food and then including any snacks you get for morning or afternoon tea. Tea is about 80-120 rupees. I budgeted about $35-40 AUD per day for food/drink and it worked out well.

Nepalese Menu
Nepalese Menu

So there you have it! Trekking through Nepal is an incredible experience, and staying in the local teahouses makes it that much better because you really get to live like the locals, as well as learn more about their customs and culture. So next time you’re in Nepal, make this your new mantra:

Don’t eat the meat, try the french toast, drink all the teas and have fun! 

Feeling Inspired?

Check out our upcoming Nepal treks to Everest Base Camp or Annapurna!