One of the main factors involved in all disease is stress – or rather how your body responds to trauma and stressful conditions.
The physical effects of stress:
In a nutshell, your physical response to any stress or trauma is to coil up, ready to spring into action, whether that’s to fight or to run away. Digestion, reproduction and other non-emergency systems are downgraded in this state of red alert. If the stress or trauma is removed or resolved, you have a good shake/laugh/cry to shake out the tension and get your bodily systems flowing and functioning again.
Alternatively, you get stuck in a slightly frozen state of fear and stay on red alert far longer than your body can easily cope.
Over time, this may put a strain on your nervous system, your hormonal system and your immune system. You may be less able to digest and absorb foods, and so maintain the necessary level of nutrients and energy your body needs to stay healthy and function well. You are also less likely to be able to calm down inflammation in your blood vessels, joints, brain and other tissue. Over time, this all paves the way for a whole range of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, allergies, diabetes, cancer, depression and much more.
The good news:
You can use food – what you eat, how you prepare it and how you eat it – to help soothe inflammation, melt tension, switch off that red alert and improve how well you digest and absorb the nutrients you need. You can work with an exciting and nourishing diet to counter the effects of stress, and help you to be more robust and resilient in the face of future stresses and traumas.
The even better news:
This is exactly our area of expertise, and we are offering you a 5-night stay on a stunning nature reserve near Rome to come and immerse yourself in what we have to share.
Kirsten Chick and Hayley North have combined decades of experience to bring you a holistic Cookery & Nutrition Course that aims to nourish you on every level, deepen your awareness of what you need and take home skills and practices you can use for the rest of your life.
The course is from July 7th-12 and we still have a few spaces left – so book now!
Simple tips for easing stress
1. Keep it simple – the food you eat, the life you lead, the amount you try to cram into each day/week
2. Keep breathing – you don’t have to make a big deal out of it, just let the air in, and let it out again. Smell the springtime flowers; breathe a sigh of pleasure and relief.
3. Keep hydrated – aim for around 2 litres of warm or room temperature water daily (maybe 1/2 a litre 4 times a day). Reduce squash, fizzy drinks, teas, coffees and alcohol. Include soups and fresh salads.
Hayley’s Millet Mash recipe
This recipe may sound boring but we promise you, it tastes divine! This is a nourishing dish of millet slow cooked with vegetables until soft and creamy, that can easily be adapted depending on what produce is available or what kind of flavour you are looking for. Ultimately it is a simple dish – honest, wholesome, hearty yet light and satisfying.
Although this recipe benefits from the time taken to soak the millet, use home made stock and to slow cook the dish with frequent stirring, it is a one-pot stress free recipe, involving only the chopping of the veg.
Embrace the cooking process as a meditation, a time to relax and slow down. This dish has those qualities and when cooked from a place of calm awareness a deeper layer of nourishment is added and the healing properties awakened.
Ingredients (feeds 4)
200g Millet – soaked overnight in water, rinsed
2 medium Leeks – finely chopped
2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped
2 cups Root vegetables such as: carrots, sweet potatoes, swede, turnip, daikon radish, kohl rabi, celeriac, jerusalem artichokes – chopped in approx 1 inch pieces
1 small Cauliflower (this is the main vegetable which softens considerably in the final dish and creates and creamy texture) – break into florets
1 small Butternut Squash – roughly chopped
1 large hand of Greens – such as spinach, kale, chard – roughly chopped
Dulse Seaweed – as much or as little as you like – cut into small pieces with scissors
Homemade vegetable or chicken stock – or just water if you are short of time or without stock
Salt and Pepper
* You could also add bay leaf, thyme or sage – or use cumin, coriander and turmeric for a different variation
1. Heat a saucepan on a medium low flame and add the oil.
Immediately add the leeks and stir. Saute for approx 10 minutes until the leeks soften. Add splashes of water or stock if they start to stick.
Add the herbs or spices if using. Add the garlic. Stir. Saute 2 minutes.
Add the root vegetables and stir. Saute 3 mins.
* Continue to add splashes of water/stock if sticking.
2. Add the millet and stir well.
Add enough water/stock to cover the contents almost double.
Add a large pinch of salt, seaweed, cauliflower and squash.
Bring to the boil and reduce flame to a medium low. Cover and simmer for approx 45 minutes until the millet and veg are cooked. The cauliflower wants to full apart and nearly all of the liquid be absorbed. The dish should have a silky creamy texture with chunks of just cooked root veggies throughout.
3. When the dish is ready add the greens, stir. If using kale cook for a further 5-10 minutes, if using chard or spinach turn the heat off and cover the pan. Let the greens wilt in the heat of the pan for approx 5 minutes.
Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary and add a pinch of black pepper.