My name is Jordan.
Over this past year I have turned much of my attention to writing and have become quite passionate about it. Lewis has kindly asked me to write this piece from the perspective of someone who struggles with their mental health. He wanted to know how eating healthy, nutritious foods affected my mood compared to when I consumed foods that were let’s say, less nutritious! In this short blog, I’ll cover exactly this, and how eating from a coconut actually makes this so much simpler and easier to do!!
I, like many others do in fact suffer with depression and anxiety. During the last 12-18 months I’ve had to make a number of significant changes to my life in order to recover. I’ve recently created an instagram account to provide a positive platform where people can go to for help/advice on dealing with their own mental health. I use it to share my story, and to hope to provide some guidance and helpful tips for people to adopt and learn from my own experience. I also understand that everyone is different and on their own unique journeys to recovery, but if I can help just one person in any way, it’s worth it. The page for those that are interested - @men_tality_uk.
My first 7-8 months with depression, I took little or no responsibility as to my behaviour and how that was affecting me mentally. Much emphasis was placed on searching for a positive environment to be in, as opposed to creating one.
Diagnosed in April 2017, it wasn’t until October that year when I actually began to make some positive changes.
It started with some research.
What could I do in order to help myself feel better?
I was surprised to find out that some of the changes needed, came at little expense or sacrifice. But it had to be something that I took control of, instead of allowing external factors to dictate how I was feeling. No amount of money, cars or clothes was going to fix this issue long term. (I mean ‘no shit, sherlock’).
My research found that exercise, changing social media use, better sleep, would all be beneficial. What I believe most relevant for me however, was the impact of dietary choices. As expected, a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins; the likes found in fruit and vegetables, would provide significantly positive benefits to my mental health. Who would’ve known! I guess Grandma was onto something when she said I need to eat more greens!
At the time in which I began suffering and up until now. Like me, the UK was; and still is in a volatile position. Brexit has taken centre stage, causing much confusion and uncertainty for many, (perfect for when you have adverse mental health?!). All the while, in the background the environment we live in is also changing and sadly, for the worst.
Unfortunately I have little or no control regarding the decisions of the British electorate. What I do have, is the capacity to make a small difference to my health and to the environment. A mindset and a perception that we are too small to do anything presents much futility. Now I realise this blog was meant to be about the way nutritious food effect my mood, I believe this also has a contributing factor to it! This is why I’ve decided to do my bit and implement a vegetarian diet, with the intention over time, to maintain a fully plant based diet. Whether we like it or not, meat and dairy produce has an enormous effect on the environment, this is fact based. This, accompanied with many other reasons is why I decided to make the switch.
A plant based diet, I felt was going to be a struggle. Growing up I would’ve considered myself a dedicated salad dodger! I never enjoyed eating much fruit or vegetables, with much of my diet being meat based. So when the jump into the unknown world of vegetarianism arrived, I was a bit stuck with what on earth to eat. A useless chef, my culinary expertise had only really gone as far as seasoned chicken, rice and vegetables, which over time, became very boring. Nevertheless, I was committed and ready to make the change!
On a recent trip to Bali, (previously unmentioned I’m sure)..... my cousin Lewis had an idea for a new project. Born out of a coconut obsession…. Cocabana was born! So he tells me!
Turning unused coconuts and bamboo; both natural products of the Earth, into bowls, cutlery and straws that he said, ‘takes me back to that feeling of paradise we experienced in Bali every time we use them!’
To compliment the aforementioned utensils, he had also devised some simple, yet delicious recipes, to serve in the bowls! All of which are packed full of fresh fruit and fresh vegetables.
Previously, a lack of simplicity had always put me off cooking. Without much interest, I had never developed any great skill in the matter. Laziness and in some ways ignorance had been the driver of this fruitless vehicle (pardon the pun). The simplicity of the recipes Lewis provided for me are what stood out as a significant beneficiary, to my new found requirements!
Simple, healthy, plant based recipes, served in sustainable and natural products. I mean, it couldn’t really get any simpler… throw a load of frozen fruit, veg, plant milk and whatever else you want into a blender and blitz it until smooth! Fool proof, surely!
From the get go, I found the meals enjoyable. The side effects of which being surges in vitality and energy, something which is known to dissipate with adverse mental health. An anxious mind like mine can make concentrating on my writing become difficult. This vitality and energy I am greeted with, following one of these recipes, is also complemented by an increase in focus. Allowing my thoughts to flow through my pen and onto paper.
Shortly after the inception of said recipes into my life. Habit had been developed. I was now craving the vibrant food that for such a time, had been neglected from my diet completely!
The ‘Cocabana Smoothie Bowl’ became my go to breakfast and a firm favourite of mine. This was the bowl that inspired the idea that is Cocabana too so Lew tells me!
To accompany its delicious taste, I was surprised to learn that cacao powder (found in this particular concoction). Contains vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids that actually help with anxiety. Something of which I find is set off in the mornings, as I prepare to go to work.
So yes, another box well and truly ticked.
I am so pleased and lucky, to have been introduced to habitually eat from a Coconut bowl. It sounds ridiculous but it’s such an easy way for me to start the day knowing that what I’m putting in my body is good for me and makes me feel great. This is an exciting project. It is so much more than just Coconut bowls and a few natural utensils.
Cocabana for me, is a lifestyle. It’s an ideology that says, I will do more to create a better world to live in. Not just for myself, but for the world and people alike.
Thank you for reading this far.