The recipes were written focused on those with a mild Traumatic Brain Injury as a way to support occupational therapy suggestions around cooking to provide key brain skills, and good nutrition.
WHY USE IT?
Pros of cooking when you’ve got a mild TBI:
- Following a recipe requires you to concentrate, follow instructions, remember what you have done, avoid dangers, manage your time and organise yourself.
- You have something healthy to eat at the end of it!
- It gives you a sense of achievement in your day.
- You need to make a shopping list, i.e. organisation.
- Going shopping – find quieter shops or times of day to go. Focus on just what you have to get and don’t look around at ‘deals’ being advertised. Buy only what is on your list!
- Eating these recipes will give you a diet high in nutrients for your brain’s health.
- You can take on more complex recipes as you build confidence challenging your cognitive skills.
- It can help your motivation to cook one meal.
- Make it social and cook for your friends.
- It challenges other cognitive issues such as brain flexibility where another person distracts your attention and you have to return to the task. Decision making on alternative foods and motivation to get the meal made are more benefits.
Cons of cooking with a mild TBI:
- Going shopping – this is a hazard for many with a mild TBI with lights, sounds, information overload, people to avoid and interact with. Don’t get distracted by the information overload, this is all about focus and being mindful during the task at hand.
- Hazards such as ovens and gas stoves for burns. Buy some forearm length oven gloves! Move slowly and mindfully, check & re-check several times that you have turned off the gas.
- The dish goes wrong – I’ve had soup without stock, chocolate cake without chocolate and a squash bake that I forgot to set, so I ate squash sludge. You have to laugh and enjoy the unusual taste!
Here are some tips to help you use the cooking posts.
- I include a rough time estimate for preparation & cooking of the dish, a brief summary of the nutritional benefits of the dish and what symptoms they aid. This is a rough guide only and recommended daily allowances may not be exact.
- Posts are tagged and categorised to help you find recipes.
- Tags – search for nutrient, symptom, meal type or level of cooking challenge.
- Categories – when searching by category the results show all recipes in that category. This helps for dietary restrictions, symptoms & meal types.
- Difficulty: Dishes are categorised into: compile, simple, some work, challenge and complex. I’m lazy so most will be simple or at most some work!
- Dietary requirements: I have included standard dietary requirements, but please ask for recipes with a particular focus & I will create new categories to deal with this.
- Exercises: Try them and then try them a few more times! They take practice.
- These pages are for information only from what I have researched online or been told by my doctors. There may be inaccuracies and further research is required into the claimed benefits of many nutrients. Your comments are welcome and I urge these pages to grow!
- The “Symptom Nutrient” page lists which nutrients help with which symptom(s), e.g. insomnia – vitamin B-6.
- The “Nutrient Food” page for the foods high in that nutrient, e.g. Vitamin B-6 – yellow fin tuna.
- Pick your dish according to your requirements – symptom, dietary, meal type.
- Prepare a shopping list of what you need – look in your cupboards & the ingredients list.
- Prepare the ingredients before you do any cooking. Organise them into measured piles so you can clearly see all the ingredients. Check the ingredients list & your piles several times to make sure that you got them all. It will help you see if you forgot to put something in.
- Make sure that you have enough time and feel awake enough to make sure that you’re safe.
- Take your time & don’t put yourself under any pressure; it’ll be ready when it’s ready.
- Take breaks throughout when you need to. Turn off the stove to prevent burning it or a fire.
- Be safe – check the gas, the oven, wear BIG oven gloves & use oven proof dishes.
- Be mindful whilst you cook – it is your only focus & all else can fade away!