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Put Plenty on your Plate – Get at least 5 a day!!

Welcome back to healthy eating week, where today I’d like to discuss how getting our 5 a day can really help our mental health. There are days that even as a vegetable fiend I just don’t get my 5 a day. I do try but sometimes it’s an impossibility. As I said yesterday if there are medical conditions that make this impossible for you, consult your doctor about safer ways to include more fruit and veg.

What is a portion? An adult sized portion should be about 80 grams of fresh, frozen or canned or 30g of dried fruits. 150ml of fruit or vegetable juice or a smoothie is also a portion, but do tryto limit these to 150ml per day. There are some simple ways to add more fruit and veg to your diet. You can add extra fruit and veg to the things you already know and love. Add extra vegetables to pasta sauces, pizzas, soups, sandwiches etc.

Clear out the junk food.

Even those of us with the best intentions could be sidetracked to a chocolate biscuit instead of a fresh apple. If it’s not in the house, it ain’t there to tempt you. Even just replacing one snack a day for an extra portion of fruit or veg is a great first step. Vegetable sticks with a dip is a great option if you are not too keen on fruit. A hummus or a salsa is a great way to be adding more fibre as we went into yesterday.

Why Beneficial to Mental Health?

So now to the point, why is this so beneficial to our mental health? Let’s see what I found. There are so many vitamins and minerals that would take me forever to explain them all and why they affect us, so I will only explain a few of the main ones that affect our mental health. I’ll also give a few examples of what vegetables have these specific vitamins and minerals.
Low levels of folate have been linked to depression. We can find folate of folic acid in leafy green veg, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, broccoli.

Depression, tiredness, lethargy, insomnia – sound familiar?

When we don’t have enough vitamin B1 we have problems like memory loss, anxiety, depression, irritability and insomnia. Vitamin B1 is found in cauliflower, oranges, potatoes, asparagus and kale.
Vitamin B deficiency can show extreme tiredness, lack of energy, breathlessness, feeling faint, headaches, pale skin, palpitations. This is of course if it is an extreme deficiency. Foods that contain vitamin B are spinach, beetroot, potatoes, mushrooms, and alfalfa.
Not having enough vitamin D is linked to depression. Our bodies can produce it naturally by being in the sun, but we can also help our bodies out with things like oranges, mushrooms, spinach, kale and okra.
I have covered 4 but there are so many more to consider. This just gives a great example of how important what we eat really is. We need these vitamins and minerals and the fibre to keep us not only physically fitter but also mentally healthier. They help us by giving us more energy and help us think more clearly.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s short piece and look forward to discussing proteins tomorrow.
Take care

Families in Trauma and Recovery Volunteer – M

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To Kale or not to Kale??

Gluten-Free Sweet Kale Chips with Honey Recipe - BettyCrocker.com
Kale crisps anyone?

All about kale 😊

So I’ve decided to share a few little recipes I’ve tried out, just to break up your day a little. While focusing on recovering from trauma, while emotional and mental healing is essential, we often dismiss physical needs. Healing needs a holistic approach but I’ve decided just to focus on one vegetable or fruit at a time so that maybe if you fancy trying a recipe you don’t need a whole shopping list to try it, you only need to remember one item because being honest with you, I love cooking but if someone gave me a recipe that needed loads of ingredients right now, I’d probably ignore it. So this first one is going to be all about kale. 

So first a little (very little) bit of history. Did you know that kale is thought to be one of the first brassica to be cultivated? I didn’t. And the large and course leafed kales are grown to feed cattle and sheep. There, told u it was only a little bit.

There are some health benefits I’d like to share with you now and I take no. 10 with a pinch of salt and I’ll explain when I get there. 

  1. Kale is among the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. 
The Life Impact of Kale [Ingredient Guide for Health, Animals ...

2. It is loaded with powerful antioxidants. 

3. It is an excellent source of vitamin c. 

4. Kale can help lower cholesterol. 

5. Its one of the world’s best sources of vitamin k. 

6. There are numerous cancer fighting substances in kale. 

7. Kale is very high in beta-carotene. 

8. Kale is a good source of minerals that most people don’t get enough of. 

Gluten-Free Pesto Kale Seed Crackers (Paleo, Vegan)

9. Kale is high in nutrients that protect the eyes. 

And finally the one I say take with a pinch of salt and I say this because it has to be part of a healthy diet.. 

10. Kale should be able to help you lose weight. 

So I won’t bore you with more information since we are probably all having a little information overload just now, or I have a seriously small brain…. What can we do with this wonderful food? Any recipes I write I have tried for my own health as I was diagnosed with chronic ibs 9 years ago, so my recipes usually have to be very low fat and dairy free. 

The prep is the same whatever way you want to cook kale, remove the stalk as it is very tough to eat. 

1. Very quick this one, remove stalk, slice thinly and steam until tender. If you don’t have a steamer, I don’t, just boil it but for a little less time than you would steam. 

View Kale.jpg Clipart - Free Nutrition and Healthy Food Clipart

2. Same prep but pan fry gently in some butter (I use dairy free spread, works the same) season with salt and pepper. 

3. I like this one for comfort food personally. Prep and cook the kale like either no. 1 or no. 2, whatever u prefer, then mix through some mashed potatoes. If you wanted it to all be done in one pan just throw the kale in with the potatoes for a few minutes then mash it all together. Saves washing up doesn’t it. 

The Best Recipe for Kale Mashed Potatoes | Foodal

4. This is a guilty pleasure one for me and my family. Great snack and still really good for you. Remove stalk, rip the leaves into bits around the shape of a crisp. I personally use low fat cooking spray and season before I place in the oven, but if you want to deep fry them it takes about a minute and you season them after. So with the oven method I lay them on a tray evenly and put them in a low heated oven for about 10-15 minutes until the edges start to go slightly brown but not burnt. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. I like salt and pepper on mine but you can try any seasoning you fancy. Try different spices out, nice bit of chilli for a change. Great to experiment with flavours with the kids as well. If you don’t eat them all at once (they are addictive) they store perfectly fine in an airtight container. Good luck finding self control with this one. 

Crispy Air Fryer Kale Chips - Vegan and Gluten-Free - Simple And ...

So, I hope you find these ideas useful guys, the little kale snacks are a great way to get more veg into kids, even hiding it in the mash. You have to be cunning sometimes, I know this all too well. I hope you enjoy them, and stay safe. M