This week is Mental Health Awareness week, so our Vanquis Mental Health First Aiders are sharing their top wellbeing tips.
Here Danielle (Training and Competence Coordinator) from the People Development team in Bradford, shares her story on healthy eating.
A few years ago, I made the decision to change my lifestyle for the better. The trigger point: trying to play with my little girl, getting tired and breathless after a couple of minutes of running (a physical issue). But it also affected my mental health, something that I had never considered. I was really down, struggling emotionally and didn't have the any drive to be me. I wasn't confident in myself, even with family and friends, and would always hide behind others.
After a good old cry, I pulled myself together, took the bull by the horns and braved the doors of my local Slimming World group (I had tried other diets before and struggled to keep up with them). It was the best decision I have ever made; not only for my physical health, but also for my mental health. I was surrounded by people who were going through the same journey as me, sharing our stories and helping each other through difficult weeks and months. I didn't just make some new friends; I also reignited the love that I had for cooking proper food!
This love has certainly helped me over the last 7 weeks, with the uncertainty of the world right now. As a parent, I have struggled to keep a brave face whilst trying to explain to a 10-year-old why she can't go to school or see her friends, watching her cry because she is worried about our older relatives and pull my hair out at the struggles of home-schooling.
I could quite easily have raided the snack cupboard as a coping mechanism (and I did a few times – I am human after all!).
My saving grace has been cooking, looking in my cupboard at the ingredients I have available and searching for healthy recipes online. Some recipes I do with my daughter, and some are just for me to do; setting myself up in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and some music! It might not be something that works for everyone, but it sure is worth a try (plus, you'll get some yumminess at the end of it!).
Over the last couple of weeks, I have made sweet treats, healthy date night dinners and "fakeaways" of our favourite dishes. For a sweet treat, I turn to my chocolate mousse cake...
8 teaspoons of chocolate powder (I used Galaxy Light Hot Chocolate)
2 teaspoon of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of self-raising flour2 teaspoons of choc-shot
1 tablespoon of cold water
1 teaspoon of baking powder
- Preheat oven to gas mark 6.
- Separate the eggs into 2 separate bowls.
- Whisk the egg whites until thick and fluffy. Gradually add the caster sugar and the baking powder.
- In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks, chocolate powder, flour, choc-shot and water until it is a thick consistency (a little like melted chocolate).
- Take a spoon of the egg white mixture and mix into the egg yolk mixture. Then carefully pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg white mixture and fold gently until combined.
- Pour the mixture into a cake tin (I used a loaf tin) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.