I bought The Food Hospital two years ago after a particularly insufferable Christmas period. My body decided to behave in the most irrational way. I felt sick, had headaches and stomach cramps. I just felt awful. It upset me because I knew it was down to my diet, but I didn't have a clue where to start with specific go-to foods for my condition (which is Crohn's disease, in case you were wondering).
My sister recommended this book because she had seen the TV show, and I found it in my local Waterstone's for just under £10. It's a fantastic book filled with information and recipe ideas catered to particular conditions you might not even think diet is related to.
The contents page clearly lays out what's in the book in appropriate categories. Gut Feeling covers topics such as IBS, Crohn's disease and constipation. On The Outside looks at issues like cellulite, acne and nail problems, Mind Matters covers all things brain, from stress and insomnia to anxiety and depression. Just For The Girls offers tips on how to deal with horribly heavy periods, the hellish sting of cystitis and the dreaded thrush. The Food Hospital goes right into the nitty-gritty stuff that everyone needs to know about but is too scared to ask, and was never taught about in school.
After a short but sweet introduction, there is a well being quiz which gives you a rough idea of where you are health-wise and what you should be aiming for with your diet and lifestyle. I find things like this motivating. I have always loved quizzes and surveys. When I was little they were my favourite part of a magazine. I loved answering questions to find out which celebrity I was like the most. There's something about being likened to something, and slotted into a category which is comforting and makes you feel OK. I don't know why people oppose it so much in other contexts.
Each condition has a list of foods to eat and foods to avoid, as well as a case study and a recipe of a dish or snack designed to help ease symptoms of the illness. The recipe linked with Crohn's disease is one of my all time favourite dishes – Pad Thai!
When I was suffering with depression I learnt a lot about how oily fish, dark chocolate and certain types of nuts helped – and they really do help. Having a recipe like the one pictured above is a lifeline if I am ever having a particularly bad day and need a boost. It may sound silly but if you have ever experienced it you will know just how much diet can affect the way you feel. Medication and talking have their parts to play, but diet is another important factor.
Flush out that pesky UTI with a glass of homemade cranberry juice. Tart, but effective, and it's much better for you than the stuff you get from the supermarket.
Kedgeree! Another dish I love, and one that's good for asthma – who knew?
There is such a vast range of recipes listed in the book, and they all look fantastic. There's something about the layout of everything as well – the font, the colours and the columns – it all looks so neat and nice and trustworthy.
Fortunately, if you're like me and don't know what a lot of words mean (and my job is all to do with words... yeah), there is a handy glossary of terms at the back of the book so you can refer to it whenever you come across something foreign looking, like, phytonutrient (which is, apparently, a nutrient found in a plant, like beta-carotene).
You can buy The Food Hospital here for £10 (and free P&P). I would highly recommend the book if you are looking for something specific or if you just want to improve your diet. It's not a heavy read, and you can easily leave it and come back to it just like any other recipe book. Also, it's a nice book just to have. Like I said, reading and food are two of my favourite things and the two combined make for a perfect half hour snuggled up on the sofa.