My relationship with food has not always been a healthy one. As a teenager and in my 20’s I ate as little as possible, as a rower it was often a chore to eat enough and food was fuel. Now I can honestly say that I enjoy food and have a healthy relationship with it. This week has been a big one for nutrition with the Horizon programme blowing the world of Clean Eating apart, for those of you who did not see it it’s worth a watch. Dr Yeo of Cambridge University looks into the claims made by the often beautiful, thin and rich faces of the world of well being.
Don’t get me wrong I make some of their recipes so I eat clean(sometimes) but I also eat ‘dirty’ – if that is the definition of not eating clean. Here’s how I organise our food.
Soul Food – for me this is huge. Cooking for myself, the kids and guests nourishes my soul. It’s rarely perfect and there been plenty of ‘fails’ with plates not touched and ‘I can’t eat this’ moments. But I continue to cook because for me it’s more then ‘just getting food on the table’. Cooking is a way of me slowing down and I enjoy the ritual, it’s not just a process I’ve checked off my list. Pizza made with cauliflower bases, toast without butter or anything ‘free from’ just doesn’t do it for me.
Eat Together and Talk – I always eat my dinner with the kids at 5pm as I’m hungry and want to teach them how to eat around the table and talk. Sometimes I regret this choice but more often than not I love it. I find they eat better if I’m eating and I can also control the inevitable ‘I want pudding 5secs into tea time’ with the response that we need to wait for everyone to finish their main course. Doesn’t always work but there are some golden moments when I sit down with them and go at their pace.
Everything in moderation, including moderation, Oscar Wilde – Before getting impressed by this, I had to Google this reference. I eat the right things most of the time – but we have ‘Fish and chip Friday’ followed by Gruffalo crumble and custard every week and usually a beer. I hate being overly controlled about eating – probably because of my previous relationship with food. So although I generally always make healthy choices, I know that I don’t have to.
Just Eat Real Food –this is a pretty simple one. If you’re looking at the ingredients to see if the food is healthy or not, you’re in the wrong isle. Not much more to say here. Again not always possible I know – see above point!
Sprinkle – this doesn’t fit very well with the deeper points above, but it’s my quick fix to up the flavours, textures and variety of my soups, salads and sandwiches. I have a cupboard full of nuts, seeds, oils, vinegars and beans ready to be sprinkled to bring life back to a ‘look in fridge’ meal. Of course they must be accessible with one hand and within a couple of seconds otherwise it’s too much effort!
Having started out with a fairly substantive list these 5 points are a pretty accurate description of how I and we eat every day. I do know quite a lot about food but I also now trust and listen to my body and understand more about what it wants as opposed to telling it what it’s having. This has been a big change for me and something that I try to help my clients with -if they’re open to it!
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