To mark this year’s National Vegetarian Week (15th – 21st May 2017), many of MHM’s support services are running sessions introducing our clients to modern, healthy vegetarian cooking. To support these sessions and help people carry on trying new meals, we have produced a recipe booklet full of tips, nutrition advice and a week’s meal plan to show you just how easy healthy vegetarian eating can be – and we’d like to share it with you too!
Research has shown that people who east fresh fruit and vegetables every day are much less likely to report daily mental health problems, compared with people who eat a large amount of unhealthy foods (e.g. crisps, ready meals and takeaways). A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet is healthy and provides the nutrition our body needs. For example, sugary foods such as sweets are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. This may cause an initial surge of energy, but this soon wears off as the body increases its insulin production, leaving you feeling tired and low. Wholegrain cereals, pulses, fruit and vegetables are more filling and, because the sugar in these foods is absorbed more slowly, they don’t cause mood swings.*A balanced vegetarian diet is likely to exceed the recommended intake of 5 fruits and vegetables a day – so vegetarian recipes are a fantastic way to increase the amount of healthy vegetables in your diet, improving your health and your mood!
In this booklet you’ll find a meal plan and shopping list covering one week of delicious, easy-to-prepare vegetarian food, as well as lots of helpful tips, to help you explore the benefits this diet can have on your mood.
If you find that following a vegetarian diet improves your wellbeing over week, why not continue to create your own meal plans? Make a shopping list and plan your food budget every week to make it easier. If you feel you cannot do this on your own, you could ask for help from a friend or your key worker/Recovery Coach.
(Please note that while a healthy diet can help recovery, it should sit alongside other treatments recommended by your doctor.)
“As cooks, we’ve always appreciated our veg and they’re a hugely important part of our cooking. And lately, without really thinking about it, we’ve been eating less meat. The more we learn about cooking great food, the more we enjoy making use of all the amazing produce that’s on offer and creating dishes where vegetables, pulses and other plant foods are the stars of the show. That’s why we’re getting stuck into National Vegetarian Week this year… and we think you should too!”
– Si King and Dave Myers, aka The Hairy Bikers
MHM are grateful to The Vegetarian Society for the grant funding provided which has made the production of these materials, and the running of cooking classes in our services, possible.