After being an active person but also a food lover for many years, about four years ago I finally started to take on more of an interest in what is in our food, and what I should really be eating. With the amount of so called ‘diets’ increasing, but yet also the amount of illness on the rise, I became interested in how we eat our food, what we put into our food, how our various bodies process this food and what type of food and activity works for me. After the second time my mum was diagnosed with cancer, I spoke to her doctor and asked him what perhaps he thought in his ‘learned opinion’ of what else my mum could do (in addition to her chemotherapy) to help her get well? I tried to explain my thoughts to with him saying that, ‘obviously there is something she is doing/ eating/ taking that her body doesn’t agree with, what do you think about that?” and I got a very stern answer, “sorry it’s just bad luck, she just needs to take her medicine and hope it doesn’t come back”. Riiiight.
So, after that conversation…I think a seed was certainly planted. I couldn’t fix my mum, but I could observe what did and didn’t work for me and others around me. I like to talk to nutritionist friends, holistic doctor friends, read journals, books and magazines and then I take bits of and pieces and incorporate them into a real life. Try things, see how they go. If it works, I stick with it, if not I take note.
I love cooking, I love eating and there is nothing I love more than spending a morning shopping at my local market, the afternoon preparing a beautiful meal and the evening sharing that meal (and a little wine!) together with some lovely friends and family. This type of activity nourishes my very being. I also love traveling and a big part of travel and new cultures is the food and experiences that go with that.
In an ideal world, it would be wonderful to aim to eat something with every meal that is less than 5 minutes old, but let’s face it, living in the inner city and with our time poor lifestyles this is not always possible. My mother-in-law lives on 5 acres so I delight in spending time on her property ‘plucking’ dinner from the garden. At home though, we do have a healthy herb garden on our balcony, as well as a lemon tree and a double grafted lime tree, and some olives that we are hoping will sprout and we use as much of what we have wherever we can. I’ve also got some lettuces for summer which are amazing and so flavoursome!
I am always experimenting with new recipes, adding in new learnings and healthy information along the way, mixing the old and new, or adapting something I tried in a restaurant to a home version (generally with less butter and no cream!!).
We are so blessed to live in this beautiful country and have the lives we do, that I believe we need to make the most of all the opportunities which are available to us. I don’t know where any of us would be without our food rituals and special times with friends and family. I think that is the meaning of life. But what I get really annoyed about is articles in magazines which scream at you to “get a new body in just 5 weeks” somehow looking very short-term at the way we treat our bodies. Perhaps for many people a short burst – such as a 4 week bootcamp, or a 6 week no carb diet- is more ‘achievable’ because there is an end date? And we reason with ourselves that it will be over soon and then we can go back to our unhealthy ways. I’ve certainly done this before. But as our life expectancy (and amount of illness) continues to increase, it is a reminder to me that I want to live long and live well. So I need to develop ways and understand a bit more about how to be truly well- for me and others around me, so we can make the most of all the happiness and opportunities before us.
In my health journey so far I have come across one very inspiring lady such who describes this balancing act expertly by saying ‘It’s not what you do sometimes, but what you do most of the time that counts’. This mantra is on our fridge. No-one I’ve met can be 100% text book correct all the time! This person is Dr Libby, a holistic Biochemical Nutritionist who likes to explain it as the ‘zig-zag’ theory, and I think you will also like this turn of phrase.
So, do you cook? What do you do to stay ‘well’? Or do you think we should just take our medicine – like my mum’s doctor- and get on with it? Say hello, I’m new to this. I’d love to hear from you.