When ignoring the effects of food is no longer an option.

img_0505

I think I can speak for the majority of people when I say a new relationship means a new clothing size as well (and no, I don’t mean a size down). It’s been about 6 months now and I can reluctantly reveal I’m now 7 kilograms heavier than when I first met my lovely boyfriend. Now I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed all the breakfast outings (who doesn’t love bacon and hollandaise), and I’m not saying I haven’t loved having someone to order pizza with, but what I haven’t particularly liked is not having any clothes that fit! Thankfully my boyfriend is not the vain type and actually likes me for me, but being a New Year and all I think its time to shape up. Who’s with me?

I’ve recently discovered Deliciously Ella’s recipe blog and am feeling TOTALLY inspired to get back in the kitchen and cook healthy, lip-smacking meals. Like this one for example:

https://deliciouslyella.com/2017/11/13/loaded-mexican-style-sweet-potato-skins/

Who wouldn’t enjoy homemade guacamole and sour cream dumped on a mound of mouth-watering sweet potato? What I’m most looking forward to though (aside from trimming down) is the effect that healthy cooking will have on my mental health. We all know what it’s like to feel lethargic and run down, which in turn leads to a cycle of snacking on rubbish food (My pitfall is Pringles … once you pop you can’t stop!), which in turn leads to you feeling more shitty. When will we learn? Trust me, I get it. Sometimes we work in environments where the naughty snacks are literally everywhere. You go to make a cup of tea, and somebody’s left a packet of biscuits beside the kettle. How dare they! What we need to practise more is SELF CONTROL! (That thing proper adults do). Crazy right?

So here I am making a commitment to myself to start sourcing fresh, healthy recipes I can enjoy with my boyfriend. Nothing beats cooking a meal from scratch and knowing exactly what’s gone into it. Nothing beats feeling healthy, energised and dare I say it, sexy! Feel free to send me links to your favourite healthy recipes, I’m all in and stay tuned 🙂

P.S Check out the buddha_bowls page on Instagram (pic below). Amazing!

img_1644

Keep it simple, stupid.

img_0836

Many of you would have heard this statement here and there throughout life, applied to a whole variety of situations. But have you ever stopped for a second to think about what it actually means? Apparently the original ‘KISS’ acronym was used as a principal in the U.S. Army for reducing complicated systems to more simple designs. Makes sense right? So instead of getting bogged down in the pointless worries we face in our day to day lives – how about we start keeping it simple, stupid.

Yesterday I had what we like to refer to in the Western World as a ‘sickie’ (although I prefer to say ‘mental health day’). To be fair, I was actually hitting a wall with flu symptoms and complete exhaustion, and spent most of the day going between my bed and the couch for naps with my puppy. Sometimes a day off from all obligations and people is a complete saviour, not only for your physical health but just as importantly for your state of mind. Today I’m feeling a thousand times better, but I’ve still kept it simple. A short walk on the beach followed by a coffee while I watered the plants, and now I’m sitting here writing in a cool breeze. In hindsight though, letting myself get to that point of exhaustion where I needed to call in sick was not healthy, and that’s because I wasn’t keeping it simple at all.

Last week in between working a shift based roster, I was also house-sitting for 2 dogs, attended my first yoga class in a few years, had a pretty painful acupuncture session, was trying to cook healthy and keep up to date with the TV show I was hooked on, all while trying to be ‘present’ in my relationship for a boyfriend who is only home 2 weeks a month. To put it simply, I was wrecked. I was mentally drained, physically aching, and could have quite easily slept for a week. So is it any wonder that come Sunday night at work, I went through a box of tissues and no joke sneezed at least 200 times? Why do we continue to drive ourselves into the ground with over-commitments and an unhealthy obsession with technology, when we should be focused on lifestyle choices that keep us nourished and energised?

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Family
  • Relationships
  • Healthy eating
  • Learning new things
  • Travel
  • Creativity

These are the things that matter to me, and I’m making a promise to myself to remember just one thing…

Keep it simple, stupid.

img_1278

Photo credits – theportraitpr0ject & ubudhood

When stress subsides, the other senses soar…

IMG_3983

Last year – my year from hell, I got into the habit of eating frozen bought chicken kiev’s with mashed potato nearly every week night. Bland, carb loaded and devoid of many nutrients, but it was easy. Lazy – yes, but easy. And at that stage in my life I had pretty much stopped caring about a lot of things, one of those being my interest in cooking and eating healthy. You see when stress takes over every inch of your body, you simply become focused on making it through the day. You don’t care about whether your dinner that night is going to be interesting, delicious or challenging to make. In fact I was shovelling my dinner down so quickly that I didn’t even register what I was doing, all so I could shower and get back into bed. As I slowly unwind this year I’ve found myself becoming interested in cooking again, and I’m really excited.

They say that your gut is your second mind and I wouldn’t have believed them until last year, when I experienced just how intrinsically linked the stomach and your mind really are. I was completely burnt out from my job, stressed to the max and experiencing daily stomach cramps, headaches and bloating. I would get home and need to lay down for hours just to let the pain in my stomach subside, and I had no idea what was wrong with me at that point. I got blood tests, scans, urine samples… the lot. I finally decided to try a gluten free diet, which I have been doing for about a year now. I can honestly say this helped a lot at the time, however I would notice that after particularly stressful days I would still be doubled over in pain. After much reading and investigation, I realised that when the body is stressed and in that ‘fight or flight’ mode, your digestive system basically switches off. This is because the body is literally panicking and preparing for action, in situations where it most definitely doesn’t need to be worried. So when I was fuelling my body with wheat products which are already difficult to digest, coupled with my inactive and stressed out digestive system, it was simply a recipe for disaster.

HOWEVER, after quitting this job in November and moving home to a caring, supportive environment I can honestly say that 5 months later my gut is making a comeback! I’ve dabbled with probiotics and expensive vitamins, cut out alcohol and caffeine, reduced my sugar intake and gone for bowen therapy and regular massages. Trust me, I’ve tried everything to get my body back on the mend. Over the last few weeks I’ve slowly been re-introducing regular old bread into the mix, pasta, biscuits, muffins and pancakes. Not because I want to eat these types of foods all the time, but because I believe balance is key – and I certainly don’t want to make myself completely intolerant to these food groups!

A few months ago I wasn’t even interested in going grocery shopping, I was content just eating whatever was in the cupboard. I was focused solely on getting through the day without feeling overwhelmed with anxiety, and this took all of my energy. Now I’m excited to start cooking again, experimenting with flavours and enjoying the kitchen. I’ve just made a lovely pesto filled with basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Delish!

img_2982

Photo credits – chefmattmoran & ihavethisthingwithpink

Letting the leaves float away…

img_2714

Having been meddling in the practice of mindfulness for the past few months in an attempt to reduce anxiety and stressors, I’ve come across some nice little exercises that with (regular) practice actually do help. I’m particularly enjoying one I was shown this week, which uses mental visualisation to help move anxious feelings and thoughts along;

You’re standing by a stream, watching the water flow by.  On the surface of the water are many leaves, floating down the stream.  No one leaf has any particular significance–they all just float by.  The leaves represent the many random thoughts that flow through your mind in a day.  Now visualise that your intrusive thought, or worry, is one of these leaves–watch it float past and disappear.  There’s no need to focus on that one leaf–just let it float on by, out of your sight and out of your awareness….

And so it goes on – as you assign a leaf to any thought or feeling that is worrying you and simply imagine it floating down the stream, you can definitely notice the tension leaving your body. I like to do any of these meditation or mindfulness practices in a quiet, secure place where I can completely relax – laying on the cool floor under a fan is particularly tranquil. It’s about your own journey though, so you need to find the right space and energy that works for you – whether it’s sitting on the beach at sunrise or a balcony at dusk. Find your peaceful place and zone out, even if it’s for a couple of minutes every day – there’s no excuse for not making time for yourself.

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” ~Amit Ray

IMG_3207

Photo credits – zeebachi & templeofleaves

In my own good time…

img_2693

How many times in life have friends, family or colleagues tried to get you to do something – whether it’s a new restaurant, TV show or book, or perhaps something health related or ‘for your own good’? They mean well of course, but there’s just this innate reflex in me to be stubborn and do the opposite, despite knowing deep down that they’re probably right and have my best interests at heart. So what does this say about me? That I’m only human I think, and that we each have to tread our own path, make our own mistakes, and arrive at our own conclusions.

We’ve all been there before. Someone has recommended something, a year or two later we try it… and absolutely love it. Why didn’t we do this before!? We tell our friends and family, and someone says ‘I told you to do that years ago’. Well… yes, you did. But I was stubborn (or maybe just stupid), and wanted to discover my own things. So why can’t we listen to people we actually trust to make good recommendations? I think it comes down to a silly sense of pride. WE want to be the ones to unexpectedly find trendy new cafes, or stumble across fantastic books we can’t put down. WE want to be the original source of information, and spread the word. It’s ridiculous isn’t it?

So many times I have finally started watching a new TV show from a friends suggestion, and become completely engrossed in the story line. Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Killing, Dexter, The Tudors… the list could go on forever. Had I listened to the people who knew me best, who knew what I would love, then perhaps I could have brought this enjoyment into my life a little sooner!

As I get a little older (and hopefully wiser), I intend to genuinely take on board anything my loved ones suggest to me. I do think that it’s important for us to take our own time in making positive changes to our lifestyle however, when it comes to more serious referrals. Anything health related – whether it be physical, mental or emotional, is something that we need to decide for ourselves so we aren’t filled with resentment or regrets. It is absolutely important that we genuinely listen to these suggestions, and make changes if our actions are negatively impacting anyone around us. I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you (Joyce Meyer). 

img_2770

Photo credits – vzcomacro & tuesdayswithpaulo