First, let’s start with a confession…well, it’s not really a confession. The thing is, I’m not a great cook- never have been. I used to hate Home Ec classes at school, much to the despair of my Mum and Grandmother who are amazing cooks. I’m a ‘follow the recipe’ kind person and I never really focussed on getting nutrients from my food. However, all this changed for the better when I started changing my diet and realised just how creative you could get in the kitchen, and most of the time, what I make turns out ok!
Let me just say that I know cooking, even eating sometimes, is really difficult with CFS. My diet after I returned to Uni, and probably for a lot of time during it, was embarrassingly awful. Anything that was quick and easy was always in my mind’s eye. My diet during Uni mainly consisted of toast and cereal. Yep, there we have it- quick, easy and absolutely zero nutrients. When I went into my last year a group of friends and I made a big deal of having two nice lunches a week, just to keep ourselves sane and have a chat more than anything. But I realised that nutrition and enjoying your food really does make a huge impact on your energy levels and can really help you without you having to really think about it.
Here are some great recipes you can make, or have someone else make, along with a few easy ways to get nutrients into your diet (and no, they’re not all veggie/vegan!):
1) Juices and smoothies
These are everyday essential for me. I usually have a smoothie for breakfast and a juice as a ‘snack’ in the afternoon- more recipes here! Adding spirulina gives them an extra nutritional kick.
I absolutely love eating soup, I could eat it all day- so I’ve become pretty good at making it (if I do say so myself!)! This is great way to use up leftover veggies you have and to pack as many nutrients into a meal (an easily digestible meal) as possible. Two of my favourites include:
* Broccoli soup from Lee at the amazing Supercharged Food website- it sounds disgusting, but I started making it in batches for friends, I got so many requests!
* Vegetable (and chicken) soup with old-school soup mix (full of lentils, legumes and nutrients- it’s too easy!)
Photo taken from the Supercharged Food website
3) Vegan desserts
Now, before you tell me that you don’t do vegan- try this recipe for Raw Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake, courtesy of The Detoxinista. It will blow your socks off! My other half is in no way vegan and can’t get enough of this. Lots of gorgeous raw nuts, raw cacao (bursting with antioxidants), lemon juice, lots of goodness. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Photo taken from The Detoxinista’s website
4) Herbal Teas
Go for it- camomile, chai, dandelion (a great coffee substitute), rose, green tea (my personal favourite), peppermint, lavender (I know!), liquorice, fennel, nettle, lemongrass- the list goes. I would now much rather have herbal tea than coffee any day. It’s cheaper and you’ll feel more cleansed and lighter in the long run.
5) Add flaxseed oil and chia seeds to recipes
Flaxseed oil is my nutritional secret. I put it on salads and take in in capsule form (1000mg a day). This is the supplement that really helped with brainfog and aching joints. Chia seeds also have amazing omegas (good) fatty acids in them which your body needs to work at its optimum level and are amazing for creating lasting energy. See this post by Jess at The Wellness Warrior for more chia seed inspiration.
So, there we have it. I’ve just given you a few to start off with, but I just wanted to say again how important good nutrition is while you are recovering. As I mentioned in this article here on MindBodyGreen, junk food is a hell of a lot easier, but the nutrient content is zero. Do what’s right for your body and yourself and think about the nutrients your body needs.
Let me know if you have any more recipes you’d like to share!
Love and more of that Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake please,
Katie, your blog is amazing! I stumbled in here via the Y Travel blog which led me to Belinda Davidson’s blog, which led me here – and I am so happy! I have a complex amount of problems going on in my body right now. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic IBS, gluten-intolerance, lactose-intolerance, CFS and Fibromyalgia. Throw that together and include past illnesses such as Helicobacter Pylori and Ross River Virus (mosquito-transmitted), plus raising four children and working full-time until five years ago, the curve balls have been harder to bear than most. Like yourself I believe in the benefits of a well-balanced and sustainable diet, but trying to jiggle all these ‘intolerances’ together at the same time, has been tricky at times. Fortunately with only the two of us left at home these days, we have been able to simplify our diet and adapt it to suit my needs. I would welcome your input and guidance where diet is concerned, especially more recipes that you may have up your sleeve. My diet today is loosely based around FODMAPs, to help with my IBS, but an intolerance to foods such as legumes, lentils, wheat, dairy and so on, means that I have had to adapt many of the FODMAP-specific recipes. Perhaps you can point me to bloggers with pretty much my own symptoms so that I can see how they’re adapting their diets to meet their unique needs? Any help is better than muddling along blindly, as I’ve been doing. Thank you so much! ~ heather x
Hi Heather! Thanks so much for your comment. If you click here, you can find a list of posts I’ve written, as well as a few guest posts, related to diet and nutrition. I have to admit that I’ve always had quite a healthy diet (I’ve been vegetarian for many years), but I’m still researching nutrition for myself. However, this article and this article might give you another perspective on things. Other people which it might be worth looking up are Lee Holmes (‘Supercharged’- love her recipes) and Donna Gates in relation to diet.
Hope this helps, Heather- best of luck!