Quadrille Publishing

Anxiety and Depression: Eat Your Way to Better Health – A Recipe Book Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Today’s review is quite different but I like branching out and trying new things so here goes. This is a review of a recipe book called Anxiety & Depression: Eat Your Way to Better Health (The Medicinal Chef) which I thought was very relevant for my target audience and something that I’m very interested in myself. This book is written by Dale Pinnock and published Quadrille Publishing who very kindly sent me a copy. Now, I’ll start by stating that I’ve not changed my diet or lived off just meals cooked from this book for the past 3 months so I won’t be making any claims that it’ll change your life, cure you, or in fact make any difference to your condition because I’m simply not in a position to be able to say either way. However, I can tell you more about the book, the recipes, the layout and whether it might appeal to you or not.

As most of you will know, I have medication-resistant depression and my anxiety disorders are proving nigh on impossible to shift with meds too so I’m all for looking into other ways of helping myself. I’m not especially interested in “alternative” remedies because I’ve tried a number of them with even less success than conventional medicine and I’m not a believer of just trying anything in the hope that it’ll work. Trying things involves investing a lot of time, energy and hope into making something work for you and I’ve had my hopes dashed too many times so I really have to be persuaded into believing something might work before I’ll even consider attempting it. With that in mind, this is why I’ve not changed my diet or followed the suggestions in this book to the letter and therefore why I cannot make any miracle claims. However, don’t stop reading.

This book has a lengthy introduction about how anxiety and depression work on the brain, some of the common beliefs about where these conditions come from and the causes of them and then goes on to explain how foods can help and hinder the conditions and their symptoms. I’ve learnt during my own anxiety disorder journey that sugar is my enemy. As is alcohol. And caffeine. It took me ages to admit this to myself and I still battle with it but all three of those things make me very unwell, increase my already racing and irregular heart rate (I’m on beta-blockers to reduce and regulate this) and put my anxiety levels through the roof. I really do have to avoid them as much as possible. The information in the book explains why I’ve found this to be the case and suggests foods that can be great for stabilising your mood and your blood sugar levels so that you’re not cycling through highs and lows of energy all day with your body and mind never knowing if you’re coming or going.

I realised a long time ago that if I eat crap, I feel like crap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not on some health kick where I eat every vegetable I can think of and ban cake from my house (even thinking about that makes me feel sick and somewhat blasphemous) but it has made me focus on what I eat and how it makes me feel. Sadly, like many people with mental illnesses, I also have IBS that in my case, seems to be almost solely induced by stress with the exception of onions which I discovered two months ago are the cause of intensely painful bloating and after months of denial and thinking that they couldn’t possibly be causing my pain because I eat them every day and don’t bloat badly every day, two days of eating accidentally under-roasted onion and having a rock solid stomach that didn’t move even when I tried to suck it in, I had to admit defeat and face the fact that onions are my nemesis that when raw make my insides feel like they’re waging war. This has made me realise that diet is important in helping to regulate and manage all of my conditions.

So, back to the book, Dale makes no claims about effectiveness and merely states that diet changes, alongside traditional forms of treatment, can optimise the functioning of the brain and nervous system. He explains how the central nervous system works and defines key neurotransmitters and the effect they can have on mental health. He then goes on to discuss in detail key nutrients for mental health, what they do and in what foods they can be found. Following this, he explains what anxiety and depression are, what happens to the body and what can be done nutritionally to help. It is worth noting that the introduction is very detailed and thorough but does take up a whopping 62 pages including quote pages and pictures. Image number 3 below shows where the recipes start in the book.

So, onto the recipes – the main reason why you’re considering buying this book. The recipes are split into sections: 6 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 24 Dinners and 6 Snacks and Desserts. About a third of the recipes have full page photos opposite and they’re all written in nice, clear text with a description at the top explaining which useful nutrients they contain. It doesn’t detail cooking times or calorie counts but does tell you how many servings it produces. I’ve made a number of dishes from this book including the Spiced Lentil Soup and Gorgeous Green Soup (both pictured below) and they were really easy to follow and very tasty – even the green soup of which I detest 50% of the ingredients!

This book isn’t ideal for fussy eaters like me because it uses a lot of fish, seafood and dark green veg. But, for those of you who aren’t so fussy it could be a great buy and would be well worth trying because the recipes are low fat and low sugar so not only may it help improve your mood, it may also help you lose weight. I can testify this has had a hugely beneficial effect on my own mood now I’ve lost 37lbs and counting since January (not through using this book I must point out). This book is clear and well-written, it’s very informative and explains things scientifically and uses research to back up any claims made but it’s not difficult to understand as it’s not full of jargon. As for whether it’ll help your mood, I don’t know, but it’s an interesting read that may help you gain understanding of your conditions and if nothing else, you’ll be eating some tasty grub! I’d love to hear from anyone giving this diet change a go to see if it has any effect or not and if you’d like to buy a copy of the book then head to Amazon via this link Anxiety & Depression: Eat Your Way to Better Health (The Medicinal Chef)

Colour Yourself Calm: A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.

Colour Yourself Calm is written by Tiddy Rowan, illustrated by Paul Heussenstamm and published by Quadrille Publishing who very kindly sent me a copy to review. If you like mandalas then this is the ideal book for you with over 30 original designs contained within its pages. The book starts with a beginner’s guide to what mandalas are, their history, and uses and continues on to a brief guide to practising simple mindfulness techniques whilst colouring. The pages of the book consist of double page spreads of a full colour mandala on the left and a black outlined copy of the image on the right for you to add colour to as you wish. You can use the same colours as they have and focus on practising mindfulness techniques without the distraction of having to choose colour palettes and decide on what section should be coloured in your favourite colour, or you can put your own stamp on things and add whatever colours you fancy wherever they seem to fit, or even copy some parts and add your own style to others. The possibilities are endless but for those of you who struggle to choose colour schemes and become daunted by a blank page, this could be a great book for just being able to colour and use someone else’s choices instead of having to spend time contemplating and agonising. By their very nature, and the reason for their creation, mandalas are very calming and soothing to colour, it may be their circular shape, their often repetitive patterns, or the lack of sharp lines and corners, but whatever the reason, they are certainly good for creating a relaxing atmosphere and quieting those anxious or worrying thoughts. Because they often don’t include realistic images they can be coloured using whatever colours you are drawn to and this is actively encouraged at the start of the book to essentially just go with your gut when choosing which image to start and which colour to add where. The lines are a good thickness and do vary throughout so the book can be adapted to good and bad days of vision, concentration and fine motor control but none of the details are really tiny or intricate so most people will find this book a very safe bet for being able to colour at whatever level you’re at on any given day. The paper is bright white and really thick and there are no issues with bleeding, partly because the reverse of each blank mandala is a fully coloured one and also because the paper is great quality. For my image coloured below I used a mixture of fineliners and fibre-tips and had no issues with bleeding or the paper feathering even when I coloured over the same area a bit and the paper didn’t seem to get wet with my felt-tips which is often a problem with thinner paper. The book is almost A4 size and hardback which gives a great surface to colour onto particularly for those who don’t colour at a table and none of the images are lost into the spine. This book is high quality and feels quite luxurious. It gives a great basic guide to mindfulness so those of you who are complete beginners can start focusing on the breath and staying in the moment while you colour. The full colour images are really useful for nervous colourers or those who dislike making decisions and want the colour choices taking out of their hands and the paper quality makes this book a dream to colour in. I would highly recommend this book to mandala fans and those who are starting out on their mindfulness journey. This book really will help you to Colour Yourself Calm! If you would like to order yourself a copy then it’s currently retailing at £6.99 on Amazon Colour Yourself Calm: A Mindfulness Colouring Book.