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Cooking and Mental Health

with Christina Chaey

Welcome to the Mind, Body, Spirit, FOOD podcast! This ad-free work takes a considerable amount of time and resources to make happen. If you find this work valuable and aren’t already a paid member, I hope you’ll consider upgrading to paid. The podcast and newsletter are funded entirely by listeners and readers, and couldn’t happen without community support (just a few dollars a month goes a long way). As a paid subscriber, you’ll have access to the full recipe archive as well as to bonus posts, commenting and more fun perks. Regardless of what you decide, I’m so grateful you’re here.

Today’s episode is a really powerful one, all about cooking and mental health. I speak with writer and recipe developer Christina Chaey. She’s a former senior food editor at Bon Appétit, where she developed recipes, wrote and edited stories, and starred in their YouTube channel. She currently writes the newsletter

, which is where I found her. In fact, one of her newsletters, On Breaking up with Perfectionist Cooking was the spark for this episode. 

Christina shares her journey with cooking, mental health and depression, and how cooking has become a barometer for her to better understand her emotional state. She describes how she’s had to let go of the performance of perfectionism when it comes to cooking and instead use cooking as a way to “practice the art” of meeting herself where she’s at. This means turning to cooking as a tool for self compassion instead of as a way to prove her worth. 

We also discuss cooking on low days, and how the act of preparing a meal—no matter how simple or non-Instagram worthy it is—can become a small win, helping to make life feel more possible even during hard times. Christina describes how she shifted from a mindset of “Why am I feeling this way?” to “What choices can I make in the kitchen that will support me right now?,” and how she uses her good days to prepare for low periods. 

Finally, Christina shares her recent journey of discovering she’s pre-diabetic and what that’s meant for her relationship to food and cooking. 

This is a really deep and beautiful episode, and I think you’re going to walk away with a better understanding of how you can use cooking as powerful tool for self compassion.

You can listen to (or watch!) today’s episode right here, or, better yet, subscribe to the podcast in Apple PodcastsSpotify, or Pandora. You can also now watch the full episode videos on YouTube (if you haven’t subscribed to the channel yet, please do!).

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xo, Nicki

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Mind, Body, Spirit, FOOD
Mind, Body, Spirit, FOOD Podcast
Interviews, recipes and inspiration to feed your body, mind and spirit, as well as to find more presence, joy and freedom in the kitchen.