Here are some meals to throw together simply and easily as you go along your De-Stress Effect journey – remember to note down which meals worked for you in terms of taste, satisfaction, digestion and practicality. These follow the hunter-gatherer diet principles of the book, with grain and bean suggestions for those who want; cooked in traditional ways for best digestion and to reduce likelihood of inflammatory response. There’s also a veggie version, which can be mixed and matched in for omnivores.
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon with tomato and/or spinach and avocado, with optional rye toast or crackers
Lunch: For Monday-style convenience, option to bring in a portion of Sunday’s hearty stew in a thermos or heat at work. If buying out, either opt for salad and soup from the high street or buy smoked salmon, turkey slices or falafel and add to a Greek salad and small bag of leaves from a supermarket.
Dinner: Easy stir-fry with broccoli, asparagus, carrots, leeks, onions and any other veg you fancy – flavour with garlic, ginger, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and Chinese five spice with protein part from chicken, prawns, tofu or cashews.
Breakfast: Bircher muesli – soak oats, almonds and a sprinkling of golden linseed (especially if digestion needs support) overnight in half apple juice/ half water – serve with cinnamon and optional berries and full-fat live Greek yoghurt.
Lunch: Lay watercress, sliced tomatoes, avocado and beetroot grated or cooked and chopped on a plate and add a punnet of full-fat cottage cheese and chives or goat’s cheese, half a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Add optional balsamic vinegar if needed.
Dinner: heat up Sunday’s hearty stew and add optional full-fat, live yoghurt and fresh coriander to serve.
Breakfast: Grilled bacon (free-range) & eggs with tomato and/or spinach and optional rye toast. Get out a portion of Sunday’s stew to defrost during the day.
Lunch: buy a hearty stew from the high street, defrosted from your freezer or from the chilled cabinet. Add extra fresh spinach leaves while heating; option to have with small portion brown rice, rye or granary bread.
Dinner: make a healthy Thai curry with fish (or tofu), plenty of veg like Monday’s stir-fry, good quality green Thai curry paste and a tin of coconut milk (for two) and add optional extra garlic, lemon grass, lime juice or leaves and fresh coriander to serve. Make enough for lunch tomorrow too. You can also order from a good Thai take-away if time is tricky.
Breakfast: Live, natural full-fat yoghurt with berries, mixed raw, unsalted nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, Brazils, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds) and cinnamon to sweeten – can have with a portion of oat soaked overnight in half apple juice/half water.
Lunch: either have last night’s Thai curry or any of the other lunch variations.
Dinner: Boiled/poached egg and/or fish/meat (smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, chicken, turkey) with avocado, tomatoes, asparagus, spinach or any other salad combination – make double for breakfast tomorrow.
Breakfast: see last night’s dinner and sit down to your Friday feast!
Lunch: Sardines or mackerel and plum tomatoes with heaps of Cos salad leaves, balsamic vinegar, half an avocado, sliced and half a handful of sunflower seeds.
Dinner: If take away omit starch eg have dhal instead of rice or have smaller portion at least – with curry or stir-fry with meat, prawns or fish and with vegetable side order – avoid damaging MSG flavour enhancer.
Breakfast: big weekend breakfast buffet: any savoury choices you like of a Mediterranean flavour avocado, goat’s cheese, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, houmous, grilled artichokes, raoste cherry tomatoes with lots of salad veg (watercress, baby spinach, rocket etc) much like a Turkish breakfast – a feast to set your metabolism and appetite satisfaction for the day.
Lunch: Add a handful of watercress, half a chopped avocado, a packet of king prawns and ten baby chopped tomatoes. Dress with one tbsp extra virgin olive or flaxseed oil, some sea salt and a drizzle of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Dinner: any dinner you have enjoyed in the week, with a small dark chocolate mousse for dessert if entertaining friends. If out for dinner, choose a starter with bitter tastes for good digestion (olives, radicchio, grapefruit) and opt for a main with extra veg instead of bread, pasta, rice or potatoes. If drinking, choose quality over quantity – pay more for a better wine and drink less; quaffing rather than guzzling!
Breakfast: Healthy English breakfast – quality grilled sausage or bacon (free-range, organic where possible), poached egg, grilled tomato, mushrooms, small portion baked beans, optional rye toast.
Lunch: vary the Sunday roast – protein part as usual (meat or hearty nut roast) and heaps of big veg like cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, carrots etc. you can treat yourself with one or two small roast potatoes, sweet potato or parsnips if you’d like.
Dinner: big,hearty stew with slow-cooked beans (ensure plenty garlic and onions), greens and meat of your choice if applicable – include plenty of big green like kale and cavolo nero, plenty of calming celery and warming spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon and chilli. Slow cook during the day so it’s ready for when you come home from your afternoon outdoor activities for a cosy, relaxing Sunday evening. Make enough to freeze some portions for mid-week ease.
On The De-Stress Effect, snacking is recommended kept to a minimum, with satisfying meals (particularly breakfast) providing the sustaining energy and metabolism that encourages weight loss, a good relationship with food and freedom from the tyranny of cravings. However, it can be more stressful to not have a snack if the timing of your life or high energy output demands so here are our favourite choices:
1. Celery with some nut butter – the ultimate De-Stress food, celery calms the nervous system and the creamy taste of nut butter (we love the praline like taste of hazelnut) provides satisfaction from fats and more calming magnesium and vitamin B6
2. Mixed raw, unsalted nuts – add a few dried sour cherries or blueberries for a sweet taste that helps regulate rather than upset blood sugar balance and therefore weight, energy and mood
3. Treat option; dark choc covered Brazil nuts, dark chocolate has shown to help us cope with stress and the added protein and healthy fats in nuts keep any blood sugar spiking effects in check
See also: Vegetarian 7 Day Meal Plan