FOOD – it’s only 1 part of the full picture – how much you move, how you think, how stressful your life is, the environment you live in, toxins you are exposed to, any pre-existing health issues, nutritional deficiencies, food intolerances, gut health – all of these things create a true reflection of your health and all of them must be addressed simultaneously rather than in isolation.
I do not subscribe to any 1 ‘diet’ or ‘label’ of eating. Now I am in my 40’s, I have gained enough experience through experimenting with foods to understand which ones suit my body and digestion, foods which make me feel well, energised, free of bloating or digestive discomfort whilst maintaining a healthy body weight. I absolutely believe that one ‘diet’ does not suit all. It’s important to listen to your body and eat a vast range of foods which are as close to their natural state as possible (unprocessed, free of additives or chemical preservatives).
I was UNfortunate (!) to live my teenage years through the 90’s when shell-suits (google it 😉 ), permed hair, microwave meals, and a ‘Fat-free’ diet was the popular choice. If it said ‘fat-free’ on the label, that was all that mattered. These products were loaded with sugar and devoid of any fats – healthful or otherwise. And a few decades later, the world wakes up to the devastating effects of all of these choices (including permed hair!) can have on your health. Along with smoking, they’ve been banished to the land of ‘what were they thinking’ and serve as a reminder of how not to do things….Fast forward just 3 decades to plantbased eating, veganism and green smoothies….! I often think of the health benefits to being a child being born in the 90’s or 00’s (as my youngest sister was). My sisters’ teenage years were a world apart from those I grew up in, yoga, green tea and juices, meditation retreats!
I grew up with my parents and 3 younger sisters. It was a busy household, both parents worked full time. Our mum cooked as healthful foods as she was able at the time within the constraints of time, finances, knowledge and ability. I remember a fair amount of white boiled cabbage – bleugh! I remember everything was bought fresh but today, the market for processed foods has increased together with the pace of life, but sadly, this seems to be in parallel with the reports of lifestyle health problems – both physical and mental. Sifting through the masses of information available to us now from the internet, health professionals who can’t seem to agree on what really is the best way to eat, diet books, supermarkets with overwhelming choices and busy lifestyle which leave little time to cook, it’s not surprising that we are more confused than ever when deciding what to eat. Superfast lifestyles, demanding schedules, stretched finances are all affecting our food choice, health, and mental well-being.
I am affected by these things just the same as you. I am a mother, in my 40’s juggling looking after a home, raising 3 children and supporting my husband whilst working. It takes a lot of thought, preparation, planning, focus and patience. When it all goes right – I feel on top of the world and life is so good, but if I let something slip and take my eye off the ball for too long, it can quickly come crashing down around me and I feel stressed, I don’t eat right, my energy levels dip, my mood dips and the rest of history – ha!
That brings me to the whole reason I am running this blog, I am sharing with you the meals I cook whilst basing the ingredients on unprocessed, nutrient-rich, plantbased, whole foods. I am not saying the foods I eat are the way you should eat, I just hope that you will find the recipes so fulfilling and satisfying that they might help you reduce the amount of animal products in your diet because this will be beneficial for the environment, your health, and your food bill!
Although almost all recipes on this website are vegan (do not contain animal-derived products), I am not 100% vegan myself. Due to my digestive issues with IBS, I prefer to judge each individual food on its reaction with my body and digestive system. I would never eat meat so I am 100% vegetarian and would prefer to not use animal food products but do eat eggs or (rarely) in baking but I find egg replacements (flax, chia, aquafaba) work well too. I would describe my diet choice as being Plant-based. A plant-based diet is a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products. My food choices evolve as I try new foods and heal my digestive system. Food choices are affected by so many things; food availability, personal taste, intolerances or allergies, views and religion. It’s important not to feel pressured in to aligning yourself with one particular way of eating and choose a diet which works for YOU. There can be so much pressure and confusion surrounding food choice which can lead to feelings of guilt and progress on to eating disorders or produce ongoing problems with digestion.
In a normal day, I would eat by following the loose guidelines of 1-2 types grain, 1-2 types seed, 1 type bean or lentil, 1-2 types nut, 2-3 fruits, 2-5 vegetables, 2-5 greens, soy (tofu) and fermented foods (homemade sourdough bread, sauerkraut, kombucha etc) when I have available, plus a mix of spices, herbs and sea salt for flavour. By doing this, it helps me to keep a mental check on energy intake, protein and fats.
Eating a plant-based diet, I believe, is much better for our planet. We are a rapidly growing population and the earth’s resources are already stretched. By reducing or omitting animal-derived food products, buying organic and local, reducing food and packaging waste we can all do our bit to help save the earth for our future generations.
Make conscious decisions on what you eat, how it affects your body and the wider implications for the planet.