Back to index


It had to happen, another craze to catch everyone’s attention !!

Try out the following:

‘Scientists have long recognised the effects of starch and sugar (carbohydrate components) on levels of serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain that causes positive change in attitude and behaviour.

Here’s how it works: When starches and sugars are consumed they trigger a surge of insulin, which in turn increases levels of trytophan, an amino acid, in the brain. Tryptophan is then converted into serotonin, creating a feeling of well-being’

(Lisa Turner)

If that’s your kind of thing – Mmmmm.

I have enormous respect for the authors of such work, but it seems too much like human biology for my liking (and that wasn’t exactly my fav. subject in school).

And what we want is just easy reading -

From what I can make of it, everything seems to break down to understanding the uses of carbohydrates and protein in your diet.

Working out a healthy understanding and balance of these two, and hopefully improving your diet as a result, leading to an overall feeling of contentment.

Carbohydrates, proteins and fat give us energy. I suppose if you look at, carbohydrate – think energy; protein – think growth.

And as we get older, logic pre-supposes that our need for protein will diminish to a certain (if not greater) level.

What we need to get to grips with, is that relying on items such as alcohol, coffee, fizzy drinks, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, and sweets, may give a sudden high – but that’s it; it’s usually short term.

They generally stimulate adrenaline, preparing the body for action. The heart beats faster, you breathe in more air, and glucose is released into the blood.

But oddly this action is preparing the body, physically for ‘fight or flight’.

At that rate the body will soon become exhausted; and a sense of constant fatigue/restlessness may result.

Also chocolate, and other refined sugar snacks raises the blood sugar levels quickly, in turn large amounts of insulin is produced to counter balance this – the sugar levels drop dramatically, and the brain ‘senses’ this harsh drop.

Brain functions decrease, and low blood sugar can lead to feelings of irritability.

The brain should be supplied with the right food at regular levels.

Certain drinks are on the market at present – high-energy drinks, but there is growing scepticism as to their benefits.

And a sense of calm, usually negates the need for ‘binge eating’

What we need to understand is that we need energy foods that are gently released into the body; perhaps at different rates, but naturally so.

And helping the body’s own sugar levels to remain on an even keel.

The following table is a breakdown of carbohydrates/proteins that release energy at varying rates.

Those nearest the top tend to be the most effective – the slow release, whereas those lower down tend to release energy more quickly




Oats,barley, brown rice, Broccoli, Apple, pear,
Wholegrain bread, cauliflower pineapple

rye bread,

sprouts, berries:
corn bread mushrooms strawberries
Red macrobiotic rice turnips blackberries
Wild rice, oatcakes carrots peach
  Asparagus apricot
White pasta, bread, spinach banana
Rice, potatoes   prunes
  Beetroot grapes
  Peppers dried fruit
Wild rice Watercress figs
  Green peas



If we applied the same principle to Protein, we would have the following:

Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, eggs, tofu, walnuts, brazil nuts, sprouted seeds and grains, chick peas, lentils, soya beans.

Kidney beans, dried/split peas, almonds, chicken, turkey, yoghurt, cottage cheese, fish.

Dairy products such as milk, cheese. Red meats.

So looking at the charts above it really is a case of trying different combinations to ensure a gradual and sustainable level of energy release.

For the start of the day for example we could start off by taking fruit juices (fast release) with a complex carbohydrate – wholegrain toast (slow release) or cereal.

By eating a banana mid morning (mid range energy release) we can keep going till lunchtime.

We need to ensure that we include protein in our meal.

By including protein we are boosting mental alertness, this should help to prevent that strong desire to just fall asleep after a good meal.

Really it’s a case of eating what takes your fancy, but sensibly. And if you think of it, the above makes some sense – better than short term fixes!

Anyway, I’m off for a peppermint cream now – well, I didn’t say you’ve got to be perfect !!


Recipes (suitable for 4)

Curry Greens/Vegetables

1 lb fresh spinach, stemmed

2 cups chopped fresh kale leaves

2 cups chopped fresh collard greens

3 medium carrots, grated

2 medium parsnips, grated

1 tsp. curry powder

3 tbs. Sesame seeds

Light sprinkling of salt.

In a vegetable steamer, combine the spinach, kale, and collard leaves. Layer grated carrots and parsnips on top of the greens. Cover and steam the vegetables until the greens are bright in colour and vegetables are tender. Drain the water and transfer the greens and vegetables to another container.

Stir in the curry, sesame seeds and salt. Mix well, and serve hot.

Apparently good for cheering up.


Noodles with Sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1b. Uncooked pasta shells

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup tomato puree

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh oregano

2 tbs. finely chopped fresh parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes or to taste

In a large container boil some water and add your salt and pasta.

In a separate saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion, celery, and mushrooms – stirring until they begin to soften.

Add tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.

Cook over medium heat, until vegetables are tender. Stir in red pepper flakes.

Drain pasta, add to vegetable mixture and stir until well coated and thoroughly heated.

Supposed to be good for preventing depression.


Protein Rich Bean Stew

1 tbs. olive oil

1 small red-diced onion

1 small green-diced pepper

1 large tomato, cored and diced

1 tsp coriander seed, 1 tsp cumin seed

1 tbs peeled minced fresh ginger

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup cooked lentils

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt and ground white pepper to taste

In a large container, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and red pepper, and cook, stirring until soft.

Add tomato and cook, stirring until soft and juicy. Stir in cumin, coriander and ginger, and mix.

Add stock, lentils, black beans, chickpeas and cilantro – and simmer, covered for about 7 mins.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot over rice.


Mashed Potatoes with herbs/spice

1 1b small red-skin potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 medium shallot, finely grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water, reduce the heat and simmer till tender.

Drain the potatoes, mash them until fairly smooth adding the basil, garlic, shallot, salt and pepper and mix well.

Serve hot.