An Anti-Stress First Aid Kit

This tasty and colourful meal can be made in minutes, especially if, as I do, you batch cook your rice and lentils and freeze portions to use later. It’s packed with nutrients that help restore your health and energy after the stresses of a long day.

Brown rice is packed with B vitamins, which contribute to energy production and benefit the nervous system (for example low levels of B3 and B6 have been linked to depression). It’s also a great source of magnesium, known as the ‘relaxing mineral’, because it helps to relax muscles and regulate nerves. Not to mention that it’s also a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin.

As for lentils, they are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, the brain chemical which facilitates sleep and a feeling of contentment.

One of the main nutrients required by your adrenal glands, the walnut sized glands responsible for producing cortisol and other stress hormones, is Vitamin C. This is where the raw salad vegetables, and especially parsley, come in. And there you have it: a truly tasty, frazzled person’s repair kit!

Ingredients: (Per person)

Rice & Lentils

  • ½ cup of brown basmati rice
  • ¼ cup of lentils (Green, brown or Puy work well)
  • 2.5 cups of water
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • Pinch of Swiss bouillon powder

Salad

  • 25g of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 large handful of parsley (or green leaves such as watercress, spinach or Rocket)
  • 5 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small red onion (or spring onions)
  • Small handful of red cabbage
  • Small handful of olives
  • 1/3 of a pepper
  • 1 cm slice fennel
  • 1 fresh chilli
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon

To garnish:

  • 1 tbsp seeds (I use pumpkin and sesame here)

 Method:

  • Rinse the rice and the lentils, and ideally leave to soak a couple of hours (to get rid of the phytic acid, a natural chemical which competes with other nutrients for absorption). Cover with the water and bring to the boil together. Turn down the heat and simmer with the lid on until the rice and lentils are fluffy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down.
  • Meanwhile, chop the vegetables very finely and place them around the plate, alongside the feta and olives. Spoon the rice and lentils into the middle, drizzle with olive oil and lemon, and sprinkle the seeds over the top.
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