We all use food emotionally in some way, if its celebrating with cake on a birthday, going out for dinner to celebrate, holidays or rewarding ourselves with a yummy dessert. And that is ok and is a normal part of life, but when we use food as a coping mechanism, or to numb certain feelings, it can be tricky if that is our only way of dealing with emotions.
When we eat quickly, watch TV, read, or work during mealtimes it is hard for us to hear when we are full. In order to experience fullness and contentment after our meals and snacks, we need to eat when we aren't too hungry and what we truly want and need without distraction. Feeling fullness can be challenging. We are conditioned from a young age to finish everything on our plate! It takes time and practice.
I used to categorize foods as “good” or “bad” and I had a long list of foods that I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to eat. Food is just food; no moral judgements should be placed on food. Of course, some foods are more nutrient dense than others but labelling foods “good” or “bad” and depriving ourselves of certain foods only leads us to obsessive food thoughts, cravings, overeating and binging.
It’s been a while since I got creative with one of my food as medicine recipes, and as I was craving cookies, I decided it was time to get baking again! As with my other recipes, I have included lots of functional foods- namely chia seeds, maca powder, peanut butter, cacao, ginger and rolled oats. If you would like to read the history of these therapeutic foods, as well as their healing benefits, then check out my food as medicine blog here. These cookies turned out really well and were delicious. If you would like them crunchier, I would recommend adding some chopped nuts. This recipe made 16 small cookies.
One of the things that played a significant role in my recovery from my ED was being out in nature. It is hard to explain how it made me feel, but it was almost that my problems didn’t feel as extensive when I was enclosed in such vast and beautiful surroundings. Even though there were days that I didn’t want to leave the house, I would force myself to get out and take a walk on the beach or head down to a national park on the weekend. Afterwards, I always felt like I was making a small step closer towards recovery.
I spent so many years over exercising and pushing my body through pain as I told myself I had to “work out” so I could “earn” food to eat that day. I would wake up in the morning exhausted and close to tears but would force myself to put on my workout gear and run. During my sickest, I was running half marathons before I started work! I have to laugh about it now but at the time I was living in hell. I only viewed exercise as a way to “earn calories” or as “punishment” when I binged. It was only during my recovery that I learnt about the benefits of joyful and intuitive movement, and that exercise was so much more than torching calories.
One of the principles of intuitive eating is letting go of dieting. I know what you are thinking, it is a bit of a scary concept. I know. I was really scared too. How do we let go of the thing we have been doing most of our lives? We know this deep down, but diets don’t work. If they worked then we would all have found a solution by now.
When you hear the term body love, how does it make you feel?
For me, body love is something that I have tried. No matter how hard I looked in the mirror and told myself that I “loved” what I saw, I didn't wholeheartedly believe it. In the last 8 years, I have been in a smaller body, a medium body and a larger body and I have not once have I loved my body.
Gut health is a huge topic in the health and wellness world, and we can’t scroll through our news feed without tips on how to achieve optimal gut health. Ultimately, gut health is rather complex, and science is still trying to uncover its vastness. In fact, it is so big that if we laid out our digestive system it would cover an entire tennis court! Crazy eh! We would literally be here until next year if we tried to explain all things gut health, so we are going to focus on one of the areas that can cause disarray to our guts: Stress.
The world of nutrition can be overwhelming and confusing - there's so much information out there, it’s hard to know what to believe or where to start. The most important thing to remember is that you are unique and your body works differently to everyone else. Tuning into your body and eating in a way that is intuitive, pleasurable, nourishing and satisfying is key. Making food choices based on health and how they make you feel also plays a part, and as some foods are more nutrient dense than others, consuming these means you're getting more bang for your buck. These foods may also help with bloating, tiredness and energy levels.
In this post I've chosen to share the more nutrient dense options. This doesn’t mean these foods are more superior than other foods - food is just food, after all - they are all emotionally equivalent, however, some foods are just more nutritious than others. I like to refer to less nutritious foods as 'play' foods, and as we all need play in our life, we also need play foods. It's all about balance :)
I had a few requests to make fudge as part of my Food is Medicine range. I have never made Fudge before, so I was excited to give it a crack. After googling some basic fudge recipes, I got creative in the kitchen and came up with this concoction and it literally is one of the best things I have ever made! It may have been pure fluke, but in any case, I am sharing the recipe with you all, so you can try and let me know. The only downside is that it needs to be kept in the freezer as it melts very quickly! I used my favourite healing foods cinnamon, maca powder, turmeric, ginger, peanuts and cacao. Why not give the gift of giving and make a batch for a friend or loved one to brighten up their day!