“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” ~ Virginia Woolf
I explained before that when I first started working I went through a period of a major depression. This was self diagnosed, but since the symptoms were near enough exactly the same as the major depression that I had diagnosed by my psychiatrist, I feel pretty confident in making that assertion.
Anyway, during this time I was unable to get registered with a doctor, and wasn’t really ready to look the extent of my problem head on, so I spent a lot of time looking for anything and everything that I could do by myself to try to feel better.
And one thing that did seem to help me to feel a lot more stable was this diet. I don’t know whether it was the diet itself, or the fact that having something to be OCD about sticking to made me feel somehow more in control of things, but it helped, so I thought I’d share it with you. As this was seven years ago I’m afraid I can’t remember or find the information that I originally looked at that suggested it might help.
This isn’t anything ground breaking, it’s essentially the GI diet plus a few extra details. The idea is that you:
- Eat at least seven portions of fruit and/or vegetables a day,
- Eat three serving of fish per week, ideally fish that contains high concentrations of omega three,
- Eat two portions of red meat each week,
- Don’t eat any processed food, at all,
- Also cut out wheat as far as is practicable; meaning that for the carbohydrate portion of meals you’re looking at eating rice, or jacket potatoes, rather than pasta or bread,
- Aim to choose foods that fall as low on the glycemic index as possible,
- And also cut out sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
After following this diet for a few months I felt physically and mentally healthier. It was by no means a total panacea, I still had health problems and I still had depression, but they weren’t as bad as they had previously been.
I also found that being on this diet taught me a lot about food and cooking, which I started to enjoy. And after a while stodgier foods like burgers or fish and chips became completely unappetising to me. I could even take or leave chocolate.
If this sounds like it might be of interest to you I’m going to post some of my favourite recipes that work with this plan over the next few weeks. I’ll start off with a mackerel recipe for a main meal, and a snack replacement for one of my junk food favourites.
If you want to learn more about the GI diet in particular I recommend grabbing a copy of the GI High-Energy Cookbook: Low-GI recipes for weight loss, health and vitality, by Rachael Anne Hill, from your local independent bookshop. Or Amazon. It has a great explanation of the glycemic index and how the diet works, as well as some fantastic recipes.
Or, if you’d prefer an app, I’ve found lots of recipes that I like on Low Fat Recipes – Diet, Lose Fat, Lose Weight, which I downloaded to my iPad through the App Store. It has a section devoted to Lower GI recipes, as well as ideas for people who need a diet that is lactose free, gluten free, diabetes friendly, or low in cholesterol. It’s also has budget, vegetarian, and kid friendly sections, and, my particular favourite, a section devoted to comfort food recipes.
Mackerel with Mustard and Lemon Butter
- 4 fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned
- 200kg/6-8oz spinach leaves
- 115kg/4oz of melted butter
- 30ml/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- grated rind of one lemon
- 30ml/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 45ml/3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1. To make the mustard and lemon butter mix together the melted butter, mustard, lemon rind and juice, parsley, and seasoning.
Step 2. Next scour the skin of each mackerel four or five times.
Step 3. Place the mackerel on a grilling rack and brush the mustard and lemon butter equally over each of the mackerel.
Step 4. Grill the mackerel for five minutes on each side, or until cooked through, basting where appropriate.
Step 5. Serve the mackerel with the spinach as an accompaniment.
Step 6. If you have any mustard and lemon butter remaining heat this in a small pan until sizzling and pour over the mackerel, on the plates.
Chicken and Pepper Noodles
Now, before I started on this diet/fad/meal-plan/whatever, I was an avid fan of Super Noodles. They were quick, comforting, and filling; just what I thought I needed. Here I’ve devised a much healthier alternative that’s just as quick to prepare.
- One portion of rice stick noodles
- One chicken stock cube
- One red pepper
- One yellow pepper
- Freshly ground black pepper
Step 1. Place rice stick noodles to boil, in water, in a pan.
Step 2. Dissolve the chicken stock cube into the pan along with the noodles.
Step 3. While the noodles are cooking take the peppers and slice them in half.
Step 4. Dice one half of the red pepper into very small pieces, then do the same with one half of the yellow pepper.
Step 5. When the rice stick noodles are cooked drain them and place them into a bowl.
Step 6. Sprinkle the diced peppers on top of the noodles along with some ground black pepper.
Step 7. Serve.