When I was in school, eating meat and three veg was the norm and while we certainly ate this way also, Mum often cooked quiches, stir-fries and other ‘exotic’ types of meals, nothing ever came from a packet.
My Pa was a passionate gardener and both he and my Nan bottled, preserved and experimented loads with foods. I grew up on home made jams, sauces, chutneys, preserved fruit and vegetables, made with the freshest ingredients straight from the garden. Back then I had no idea how fortunate I was to have had such a ‘clean’ foundation. There was never soft drink in our house, drink options were milk, juice or water. Junk food was only for a party and the only sweet treats were those I cooked as I got older…although I do remember Mum sprinkling raw sugar in a lettuce leaf and rolling it up…I loved them!
I was always encouraged to cook and while it was pretty basic back then, my move from Hairdressing into Hospitality increased my exposure and confidence in greater experimentation with food. Extensive travel with a desire to learn from the locals demonstrated how much flavour comes from an ingredient close to the source and treated with respect during preparation.
My philosophy was to consume as much of the good stuff as I could so when I had the bad stuff, it wasn’t as detrimental. I definitely subscribed to the old saying “you have to die of something right?” That was until significant digestive challenges stopped me in my tracks and forced me to reassess, in all areas of my life.
I honestly thought I ate a pretty good diet; what I thought was clean with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, but the more I researched how to rectify my digestive issues, the more I discovered how many hidden ‘baddies’ were in our food.
Over the ten years it took me to heal my digestion, I’ve tried most diets and thought I was to be a juicing Vegan for a while….a far cry from ‘go hard or go home!’ What ended up happening, is I became so stressed about what ate, my digestive issues were almost as bad as when I started.
Now I believe in conscious choices. There’s no question that we need to reduce our chemical exposure and there are certainly things to avoid to assist with this, but my recommendation is to take one step at a time. Arm yourself with knowledge, then implement a few small changes to start, when they feel solid, make a few more…and if there is a day where it all goes out the window, instead of branding yourself as a failure, enjoy the moment, make note of how it makes you feel, then start again tomorrow. Every bit helps.
My hope is that I can share what I’ve learned, to arm you with choices and provide you with alternatives. If something I share strongly challenges your core beliefs, move on to the next share. Maybe it plants a seed you revisit in the future or maybe it doesn’t, that’s ok.
Regardless of your current diet or beliefs, I think we can all agree (even if we’re not quite ready to) that Mother Nature provides everything we require to live a long and healthy life. My greatest desire is to support your ability to live…not just exist, but to truly live.