Eating for Depression
It's usually on day 3 that I realize there's a cloud of darkness surrounding me. I usually figure it out because my stomach is rumbling but my brain is disagreeing. Then I'll start trying to think back on all the food I've eating in those three days. It's usually whatever Kevin has been able to make up from what's in the fridge and cupboards. There's a huge possibility that I won't eat what he makes, so it's never a guarantee that I have eaten anything but marshmallows. Marshmallows tend to be my go-to on the couch, hiding under the covers food.
This is not good on my body nor my mental health. Eating actual food can help lift some of the black. It probably won't cure it and it might not even make you feel better. But it does help your body fight.
These are some of the things I'll attempt, though I'm not always up for making them. I try to keep my house stocked with the basic ingredients, so I can. It's just a matter of overcoming the demons for a few minutes. When it comes to making food, it needs to be as simple as possible. It can't take too long to make because you can't lose the small effort you've been able to find.
So I pull out the easiest things I can think of - pita pizzas, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, or ramen. Their ingredients are relatively easy to store for a long time in mass quantities. They are not complicated to pull together, it's really all about what you want to do with it.
Pita, sauce, cheese, oven, eat. Five minutes to pull together, seven minutes to cook.
Defrosted bread, butter, cheese, fry, eat. Five minutes to pull together, ten minutes to cook.
Mac and Cheese
Noodles, boil, drain, milk, shredded cheese, eat. Five minutes to pull together, twenty minutes to cook. Or you can buy the individual microwavable mac and cheese and spend five minutes totally putting it together.
Noodles, boil, spices, spinach/cabbage, shredded carrot, eat. For protein you could add an egg, I hate eggs so I don't do that. And sometimes it's just noodles, boil, spices, eat. One to five minutes to pull together and thirteen minutes to cook.
(obviously these depend on your oven/stove time/microwave)
These aren't overly balanced meals, all but one contain a lot of cheese. However they do give a boost that's not a sugar high. Cheese seems to be a running theme in all my options. It's comforting, it's hardy, and it works well.
When I am up for a little more than a quick fix. I bake some Cheese Twists. If I am feeling adventurous I will add garlic to the twists. You could add ham or pepperoni to the twists, but I'm a basic girl and just want cheese. It's frustrating because I always crave this and I never safe the recipe I use to make it. So I end up spending hours scrolling pinterest trying to find a decent recipe. Once I find it I usually end up modifying small things, usually adding more cheese.
There are a few things I look for in a recipe. One - it doesn't require me to go out and buy pre-made dough. And two - it doesn't have a huge rising time. It needs to be real and it needs to be quick. Through my searching I found Butter with a side of Bread. This is my modified version.
1 cup warm water
1 TBSP yeast
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2- 3 cups flour
3 TBSP + 2 TBSP melted butter, divided
2-3 cups shredded cheese (whatever you have on hand, though Mozzarella and Parmesan are recommended. I usually use a combo of Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar and Parmesan)
Add the warm water and yeast to a bowl and let sit for three to four minutes. Then add sugar, oil and salt. Start mixing and slowly add the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. I use my kitchen aid with the dough hook. Knead for two to three minutes. Then cover and let stand in a warmer area of the house for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Prep cookie sheet. Flour counter. Once the dough is ready dropped it onto the floured counter and roll out into a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Brush with the half the butter, sprinkle with cheese on the top half of the rectangle. Fold the bottom half over the top and press the sides together. Using a knife or a pizza cutter slice into the size you want. I usually do one inch slices. Twist as you pick up and place onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Bring a plate to wherever you are hiding out and munch away.
Depression is a frustrating, lonely place to be. It's hard to make it better. Remembering to eat actual food helps balance me even if it doesn't feel like its doing anything. Depression might make us feel alone, but we aren't.