It’s Thursday and I Should Be Doing Homework

…But I’ve got enough done to take a break, so instead I’m sticking some thoughts on here.

I just realized that the world needs two categories of “easy” recipes — or, rather, we need two separate categories: easy recipes and ADHD-friendly recipes.

Like most people with ADHD, I am very capable in many areas, and in what we’ll call my “areas of specialization*,” I’m even capable of long bouts of intensely-focused activity.

Cooking, however — although it interests me in a general sort of sense — is not one of my areas of specialization. It’s something I kinda like doing; something I’m happy to do if it’s not too complicated and I don’t have to take too many intermediate steps and I’m not feeling terribly compelled to do something else.

I can even learn complex recipes — if I’m in the right frame of mind and if the directions are designed well**.

On the whole, though, I prefer simple recipes — really simple ones. The fewer ingredients and steps, the better. I can follow really simple recipes even on those days when I’m sleep deprived and all the compensatory skills I’ve learned over the course of a lifetime coping with ADHD just fly right out the window.

As such, I think I’m going to add an ADHD-kitchen category here — one aimed at those of us wrestling (okay, and also sometimes riding) the giant squid that is adult ADHD and trying to do so without eating Hot Pockets for the rest of our natural lives.

It seems like the vast majority of recipe resources related to ADHD are geared towards parents who are trying to implement dietary treatments for their children with ADHD. That’s a fine thing, and I know a couple of people who have benefited from it — but it doesn’t really help those of us living with adult ADHD (and/or bipolar disorder, which can make cooking hard as well). Most of the “ADHD diets” are pretty complex.

I’ll be posting simple recipes and maybe a few pointers that have helped me to eat better and cook more meals at home.

For what it’s worth, the best tool I’ve discovered for living with ADHD is the creation of “paths of least resistance.” For me — because planning is a particular weakness of mine — this process can’t invole a lot of planning. I learn as I go, and I try to remember the things that work for me. If I try to design solutions, I over-complicate things; if I simply stand back (as it were) and observe what works, sometimes I hit on useful tactics that I can replicate.

I plan to write a bit about paths of least resistance as well — in short, how to identify ways to make things easier.

Admittedly, what works for me probably won’t work for every single ADHDer out there — but sharing my strategies helps me remember them, and if it helps anyone else, that’s icing on the cake.

Speaking of which, it’s about lunch time, so I’m going to go take a path of least resistance and throw some tuna salad onto some bread.

*In other words, my obsessions: ballet, bikes, dogs, horses, music, and designing buildings in Sims 2. Sometimes drawing, painting, and writing fall into this category; sometimes they don’t. Reading varies.
**For example: if a “step” in a recipe looks like a paragraph, it’s too long. Switching between tasks is difficult for me, so switching into deep reading-comprehension mode, then back to cooking mode, then back to deep reading-comprehension mode tends not to end well. Likewise, wall-o-text recipes totally send me straight to TL;DRLOLland. I should add the caveat that following written directions is a particular weakness for me; not all ADHDers are as bad as I am at it.

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2014/08/28, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I hear you about the “path of least resistance” when it comes to keeping oneself fed! Now, since I am the world’s pickiest eater, I end up having some least resistance “meals” than I’m sure others would not even consider meals: carrots and celery sticks, apples and nuts, honey and plaintains, or if I have the time, a bowl of steamed veggies. I think if I set out to cook an actual “meal”, as defined by others, it takes me about 3 hours, including the self-interruptions, wandering around forgetting what I last did, and realizing that I was supposed to be doing different aspects of it concurrently instead of waiting until I was done with the main dish to start with the sides. But hey, at least I’m managing to keep myself well fed, which is probably more than my parents expected from me!
    I remember when I first came across ADHD recipes online. It was a bit over three years ago and my little sis, who had been diagnosed ADHD among other things, was prescribed Adderall. I flipped out and told my mom that there had to be other alternatives. In my online searching I came across the recipes and testimonials and, while my mom wasn’t interested in participating, I realized that apparantly there was some some of correlation between food and behavior/ hyperactivity. It really opened my eyes ( I guess before I had been a bit ignorant). The ADHD diets probably are complex because there appears to be a lot of eliminating certain things from the diet completely and it’s a BIG change.

    • Ha, it sounds like you cook like I do! ^-^ I think your preferred foods sound great, but Denis would probably think you’re a little nuts (he thinks I’m a little nuts, too!).

      My best friend, Robert, was on one of the well-known ADHD diets for years (Feinberg, I think?). It did make a big difference for him, but he hasn’t been able to keep it up for exactly the reason you suggested – it’s pretty complex to implement (and time – consuming, which might be a bigger problem for those of us with time management challenges, heh).

      • I’m definitely a little nuts, lol!
        If it hadn’t become my obsession I seriously doubt that I would have been able to keep up any kind of food thing consistent myself. Keeping a significant other from going hungry because of the limited food options is a challenge for sure!

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