Deprifun

Archive for the ‘Food (or the lack thereof)’ Category

A serious post for a change – because some kind souls have bestowed me with a Versatile Blogger Award and I felt my blog wasn’t really versatile enough to justify that – so I versatilised it! I used to like cooking when I was still alive, so I chose to do recipes.
I hope I don’t win any weird blogger award next, like the Irish Blogger Award which would compel me to become Irish – although admittedly that would be gas.

I am not a nutritionist, but I have done some research, plus it’s not like I was advising people to eat some weird diet consisting entirely of ugli fruit: just common sense, really. And no, of course you can’t snap out of depression just by eating the right food: but a post needs a catchy title and Ideas for Meals That Are Supposed To Help With Depression, But Don’t Expect Miracles just didn’t have the right ring to it.

So, I have been doing some reading and I have found out that a decrease or increase of appetite is a common symptom of depression. For me, it meant I completely lost my appetite. I used to feel vaguely hungry at first, and yet I didn’t really feel like eating anything, so I didn’t bother. Now I  never feel hungry anymore, and I think I could go on indefinitely without eating; indeed, this might confirm my theory that I have died sometime around the end of  January.

Then I did some more reading and discovered that depression is linked to a lack of some nutrients, notably B vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, selenium, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants.

So I came up with a few ideas for meals rich in these magical ingredients. Very simple ones, since who could be bothered with real cooking anyway? Dear Nutritionists, with your suggestions of organic meals made from ingredients bought directly from your local farmer and harvested from virgins under the full moon, and then minced, diced, sliced, sauteed, broiled, baked, boiled and artistically arranged on an ancient china plate bought at a fleamarket in Paris: when you have depression, some days it is already a big success to be able to get out of bed and drag yourself to your local supermarket. You can happily unhappily starve in your flat and the only one who will realise is your landlady when the money in the bank has run out. And the last thing you want is a bathtub full of dirty dishes and pots. So keep it simple, thank you very much.

 

As an example, here are a few happy meals:

Spinach frittata (antioxidants, folate and vitamin B, omega 3 fatty acids)

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Cook a handful of leafy spinach in until rather dry, and then chop them; while they cool whisk two eggs with salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese. Add the spinach to the eggs and cook it all in a pan.

Legumes soup (folate, selenium)

You can use practically any kind of legumes: the more, the merrier. If you use dried legumes, soak them in cold water through the night; if you use fresh or canned you can cook them straight away.
Sauté chopped onions in a bit of oil; then add two cups of legumes and eight cups of water and let it simmer for about one hour. You can also add tomato paste and herbs or spices like rosemary or chili pepper, and of course a bit of salt.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese and olive oil.

Salmon and brown rice with almonds (Omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbs, magnesium)

Boil the brown rice and sauté it lightly with sliced almonds and a little butter.
Meanwhile, cook the salmon in a pan with a little butter.
Serve the salmon with the rice as a side dish, or mince the salmon and serve it all together.

Mashed cauliflower (antioxidants, folate)

Steam or microwave the cauliflower, then mash it with a bit of butter, salt and pepper.

Stir-frys (antioxidants, folate)

You can use lots of different veggies; for example, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, beans, but anything that can be cut in suitable pieces and won’t get mushy will do. Ideally, you should try and choose vegetables that have a similar cooking time.

You can serve it mixed with diced lean meat (B vitamins, selenium) – you will need to sear it beforehand, and only add it to the veggies at the very end, nuts (magnesium), and brown rice or barley (complex carbs) – also boiled beforehand, of course.

Dark chocolate (antioxidants)

Ok, this is not a recipe. Hm. Low fat yogurt with bits of dark chocolate? Do we really need to JUSTIFY eating chocolate?

Drinks:

Green tea (in spite of the caffeine, the L-theanine it contains has a soothing effect)

Freshly squeezed orange juice (antioxidants)

Smoothies: throw any kind of fruit in a mixer; you can also add a little yogurt if you want it creamy. I suggest peaches, apricots, berries, citrus, kiwi and bananas, which are especially rich in antioxidants and folate, but anything goes here, really.

Enjoy!

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Studies show that coffee helps alleviate depression, and that coffee brings about depression. Well, thank you very much, Scientists, this is helpful.

I have done some experiments myself, and I have found that drinking coffee too late in the afternoon will keep you awake at night and you will lay on your bed thinking of how you have nothing to look forward to for tomorrow, next week, or the rest of your life, which is admittedly a wee bit depressing.

On the other hand, drinking coffee in a nice café with a good friend is definitely a powerful lift-me-up. And yet I suspect that in the combination going out/good friend/coffee it is not the element “coffee” that really makes the difference.

I wanted to test this theory of mine, and resolved that next time I go to a nice coffee place with a good friend I will order an ugli fruit squash and see if it works as well as a steaming espresso; but although I think I can dig out a place that serves ugli fruit squash, apparently there’s no finding a good friend who would sit and drink with me, not even in the interest of science. Bummer.

One thing is certain though: coffee might act as an anti-depressant by providing you with a purpose in life, and that’s something.

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