How to Eat More Plants
– Or, how to nourish your body in a way that gives you food freedom, happiness and time to enjoy all the really important things in life!
You thought you were getting there. Then the UK government changed the fruit and veg guidelines from 5-a-day to 10-a-day.
You thought you were getting there. Then you read another article about pesticides in supermarket strawberries and chlorine in bagged salads.
You thought you were getting there. Then you heard about the levels of nitrates in your tap water and the chemicals (like BPA) in plastic bottles of water.
At this point, you might be thinking ‘What’s the point? It’s all about balance, right?’, before sitting down with a coffee and two sugars and a giant, gooey chocolate brownie. And I wouldn’t blame you!
In the last twenty years we’ve gone a bit crazy over food and technology. While we have all these amazing opportunities to connect with people around the world, learn new skills, find out information and be inspired at the touch of a button, this technological age has meant we’re also plugged into sensationalist media stories, outright lies masquerading as the new cure-all and the dirty side of the diet industry: taking your money in return for drinks and pills that fuel fears that your life or your body is in in someway not good enough; a failure.
If you’re fed up with being ‘told’ what to eat, how to bring up your kids, how your body should look, what you should weigh and what constitutes a perfect relationship, I totally hear you!
It’s time that we took back control. It’s time for women around the world to not only find food and lifestyle freedom, but to be able to do it in a way that leaves the rules, diets and deprivation behind and instead focuses on the intuitive, feminine, empowered qualities of our nature that we’ve suppressed for far too long.
I’ve been eating a ‘healthy’ diet for many years, decades even, but it wasn’t until I really tuned in to my own body and realised that I didn’t have to constantly battle with myself and could relax into knowing that I am enough, that things really shifted for me.
You see, I believed that being strong, independent, never asking for help and taking on more and more projects would make me a better person. I believed that being this invincible, intelligent, smiling, single mum would keep me safe, happy and well. But of course, it didn’t work like that. The more barriers I put up around myself and the more rules I followed, the more I fell out of tune with my real self, my inner goddess, my intuitive wisdom and knowing. And in case you didn’t already know, when we’re aligned with what’s inside, that’s when the magic really starts to happen!
I’ve been talking and listening to lots of women recently all with the same story. These are all strong, amazing, vibrant women who have burnt themselves out emotionally and ended up with illness, disease, major life struggles and challenges. They remember a time when life flowed more easily and they want to feel like that again. They’re trapped in a cycle of struggle around food, health, money, relationships or work, and they feel like they’re slowly drowning.
If this feels like you, firstly, give yourself a hug and tell your body that you’re now going to be her friend. You’re not going to fight her any more. You’re going to listen to what she’s telling you. (Her voice is very real, and you’ll recognise it when it comes)
Your body, just like mine and every other woman, teenager and child, needs love. It needs nourishing every day in ways only you know how. With that in mind, take whatever you need from my top tips and adapt them to suit where you are right now. You are beautiful. You are wise. You are enough.
- Start each day actively thinking about how you wish to feel. For example, if you desire to feel special, go and buy yourself flowers, book a hair cut, put fresh, clean sheets on your bed, take yourself off for a walk in your favourite place or take time out to cosy up with a book on the sofa. In terms of food, make yourself feel special by taking a little extra time on laying out your food on the plate, adding a sprinkling of fresh herbs to your dinner or dried rose petals to your smoothie or Prosecco, using your favourite cutlery, or eating in your favourite cafe or restaurant with a beautiful view. Turning eating into an experience for body, mind and soul will totally uplift your mood and inspire better things throughout the day. Taking time for yourself shows your body how much you care about her and how much you’re willing to invest in her.
- Add more plants to your diet. This means more fruit and veg, as well as making switches away from processed meat, dairy and refined sugar, and instead eating meals and snacks rich in natural, whole foods made in the sunshine with soil and water. Here are a few ideas: Snacking on medjool dates, nuts, seeds or fresh fruit instead of chocolate, cakes, cookies and crisps. Swapping minced beef for lentils and vegetables in family favourites like bolognese, shepherd’s pie and lasagne. Adding in a fruit salad before lunch (fruit digests best on an empty stomach 20 minutes before other food). This not only gives you more nutrients but also takes the edge of your hunger pangs and means you’ll eat less of high fat, heavier foods. If you’re going out to dinner and normally can’t resist the bread basket, butter portions, fries and dessert, eating 2-3 portions of fruit before you go out is a great damage limitation control strategy!
- Drink more water, eat more water-rich foods (raw fruit and veg) and get your body moving more each day in a way that makes you feel good. The better hydrated we are, the better our bodies function at a cellular level. Our hormones start to rebalance, our energy levels return to normal, our digestion improves, our physical and mental performance is enhanced. Adding in a couple of handfuls of (fresh, washed, ideally-organic-but-don’t-panic-if-it-isn’t) green salad before or alongside your main lunch and dinner is one solution. Having a plate of crunchy crudités on the table for all the family, maybe with a homemade hummus or guacamole dip, gives everyone the chance to boost their intake of colourful, antioxidant-rich vegetables (and fruit) while still enjoying some traditional family meals.