eeeps, come back, I don’t mean to lose weight.
Our diet is important, we all know this.
Food keeps us alive. We have to eat.
Do you eat to live…. or live to eat? or do you do neither?
This blog is a bit complex. I may be encompassing too much.
Eating healthy can be hard. We know the foods that are good for us, but often don’t eat them, or eat enough of them.
Some just don’t really eat.
Take out food. It is so easy.
Or just a salad… or a sandwich.
Cooking for some can be difficult, so take out becomes a crutch, take out, dial and eat.
Then a habit.
Then a way of life.
I need to categorize this a bit……
Reasons for a poor diet:
- A busy life style
- live alone
- diet (more on that in a bit)
- lazy (sorry, not an nice way to put that… but that is it)
Lets do it in order, to keep me from rambling.
Too Busy. Obviously some have a very busy life style, work long hours, projects of some type when they get home, studies, sports, functions.. so take out or restaurant food becomes a necessity or a crutch. You don’t have time to cook, meetings are scheduled around meals to save time.. you are probably not eating well.
Budget, this is tougher. When money becomes tight, a balanced diet can be out of reach.
Alone. This is one I ran into a lot this past summer while counselling. People on their own, very often don’t eat well. It is hard to become interested in cooking for yourself day after day, and eating a balanced diet.
Depression. Oh this is hard, to become interested in eating well… or just eating. It is very tough. And when you don’t eat well, your depression worsens. More on that soon. *gives you a hug*
Diet. This is two fold. By diet this can mean a diet to lose weight. Too aggressive or poorly planed, you may not eat well. The other side if this, is choice of diet. Vegan as an example. Though you can choose this diet very successfully, you also have to be very aware of where your nutrients are, and to eat with a balance. More on this soon too.
Lazy. Nods, and I don’t mean to be cruel, but many just fall into a rut, take out is easy. Put your feet up and relax with a pizza.. there are veggies on it.. it is balanced.. *shakes my head* more on this too.
There, nicely organized. Though I have skipped over some, like eating disorders, illness and others.
So why the title, feeding the mind?
The mind needs a balanced diet, just like the rest of your body, to preform tasks and to stay healthy. With deficiencies, your mind begins to suffer. Lets get to specifics, an iron deficiency will make you feel lethargic, can also lead to depression symptoms. Vitamins are in the foods we eat, a balanced diet will give you the vitamins you need without taking supplements. Lower levels of B vitamins can make you feel depressed, anxious, a diet that is without or low in vitamin B can take a while to become apparent as the body stores them. Protein can be a challenge too. The brain needs protein, you can’t omit this from a diet, this can also lead to depression.
Amino acids are the fuel for the chemicals that transmit impulses between the brain cells. They are found in protein foods, half of the amino acids are essential, the body needs them. High protein foods like fish, eggs, chicken and beef have a lot of amino acids, all I believe. Grains and Beans have less than half of the amino acids. They don’t have all of the essential amino acids the body requires. A balance of rice’s and nuts will overcome this.
So how does diet mess you up. The brain needs a mixture of fatty acids, omega 3 and 6, vitamins, water and complex carbohydrates. These include grains, some fruits, some veggies and some legumes. Notice the word some in each case. Not all. Not all fruits, veggies and legumes have what you need. Do some research. There other sources as well, soy, yogurt, milk.
Serotonin regulates feelings of contentment and anxiety, helping to regulate depression. It is made in the body with healthy foods. not take out. Foods that help increase Serotonin levels include eggs, poultry, cottage cheese, chickpeas, nuts bananas, mangos, grains.
But you also need to increase your folic acid levels, foods like legumes oranges, melons, strawberries, leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus do this.
Complex? It sounds that way, but No… just a balanced diet.
Ok, I am starting to bore you. So you need to eat healthy, but we knew that, but possibly you didn’t know why you may feel the way you do.. *points to your diet* Take a good look at it.
So we admit we need to eat well, but the problems above still exist. Time, budget, lazy…
Lets provide a solution. One day a week. An evening or on a weekend you do some cooking. This is to address a protein diet containing meat. A vegan diet is more complex. I will hit on that in a bit.
So, cooking is boring, or eating is dull, but you have to do it, Lets do a lot of it in one day. The oven goes on once, so you save a good deal of money there. Time too, lots of time is saved. Cook a few meals at once. four or five. It doesn’t take much more work.
You can cook a pasta sauce containing some ground turkey, chicken, beef.. what every you choose, no recipes here today, just ideas.
Keep some of the sauce without the meat and put it on some chicken breasts in a dish, or pork chops, into the oven with some tasty herbs, while the pasta sauce simmers.
A tin of cream of mushroom soup, on a pork chop or chicken breast, into the oven.
Stew sized chunks of beef or pork.. or chicken with some onions, a gravy made from one of those packages, garlic and into the oven.
See, just a bit of work and a few meals are ready, the hard part will already be cooked.
Freeze them in portions for one meal, or what ever size you need for your family. It is also nice if your are only a couple, to freeze them in singles. Then you can each eat what you like, perhaps one of you doesn’t like pork so you never get it, well this way you can eat pork and the other chicken.. get the idea?
You now have a bunch of proteins cooked, through the week you only need to thaw out the one you want, warm it up and cook some rice, pasta or potatoes.. and some veggies and you have a great meal.
The chunks of meat cooked with the gravy are great over pasta or rice.
The condensed soup over chicken, pork, or beef is great too. And you can use other soups. tomato, other cream soups.. cheese soups.. you can make great tasting meals so easily.
Pasta and rice cook so fast.
So do veggies.
You can cook them faster than the time it takes to stop and pick up take out food.
You have a few meals in the freezer, so you can pick one, a choice. Choices are nice.
Toast some nuts, toss them in a salad or on your pasta.. or on your fish.. so much flavour. Nuts are very good for you.
Fish. we have talked about that before. It is so great and easy and fast too cook, it really cooks fast. so that excuse.. we don’t have time… sorry I don’t buy it.
Eating healthy can be tasty.
It is harder when on a budget. nods. But inexpensive cuts of meat can be prepared to make great meals.
Freezers are key, you can cook more meals and have them ready, you can also buy in quantities that enable you to save money. Oh no room for a freezer, it is a small apt.. There are chest freezers that take up almost no space, you have room. and they are priced very low. Take a look at them.
Living alone it is hard to eat right. Preparing meals in advance can overcome that.
Now, have a friend, neighbour in the same situation? cook some meals, and get them to do the same, exchange them. Presto, you cook 5 meals in double quantities, they do the same.. You swap and you end up with 10. Nice to have something different than you normally make too.
Or, and this is something to think about, eat them together. Tonight they come to your place, just for dinner, then they leave. Tomorrow you go to their house, same thing, eat. leave. Don’t make it an evening, or it becomes a burden and you both want to stop it. It can be fun. It gives you the incentive to cook well, properly. And the company is nice too.
eeps, 1500 words, It is long again.
But this is important.
Vegan diets. You must be careful, balanced. Salad is quick… but you are not getting what you need. It is the same thing, living alone and vegan.. you may not be eating well. Easy to crunch on a few veggies, cook a bowl of rice. But you need to work a bit more than that. So cook your rice, but maybe cook lentils at the same time, possibly add some dried cranberries, boil them together. toss some toasted walnuts on before serving, or toss in some steamed asparagus bits . Think about what you are eating, be sure it is balanced.
Nutrition and the brain. They are tightly intertwined.