You may have stumbled across my website some way or another, been inspired by the recipes, or the message behind it, or feel a connection to me and my reasoning for this blog. A part of you may be screaming, “OH MY GOD YES! THIS IS AWESOME” and the other part might be going “but I have a full time job/am at University/can barely move out of bed/really can’t face the store today/I have 3 children that want me at their beck and call/I just cannot fit cooking into my schedule”
And that’s fine, I understand – I’ve been there (apart from the screaming children bit).
But I’m not going to let that little spark of inspiration get away – if a part of you wants to do this, that’s a part of you needing to do this for you. Do you get what I mean? When you start eating well, the only way is up – in your emotional, mental, spiritual and physical health. Eating well, in my opinion, is the ultimate tool for self care and healing.
Self love and care is a process – it isn’t something that happens overnight. As with any lifestyle change, things take time. You don’t wake up one morning and do a complete overhaul (although some of you do, and massive respect to those who are able to do that shiz).
Before you start the process of self love through what you put into your body, you need to prioritise it.
Prioritisation – aagrgfjjhjgghh – I dunno about you but for me, the word induces guilt and fear, as if whatever I am even thinking about doing I haven’t done a good enough job of already.
Generally, we make excuses and put off prioritising things for fear of not doing them good enough, in enough time, or not getting what we wanted out of prioritising the said thing.
Let me ask you this question: do you spend half an hour + on Facebook every evening?
If so, you have time to cook. Is Facebook your down time? Cooking is a much more meditative, therapeutic way to use your hands – any crap that you’ve carried with you from your horribly long day can be channeled into the labor of chopping, peeling, grinding, mashing, stirring, preparing, brewing… and the end result will nourish you in so many different ways. For one, you have a healthy, wholesome meal in front of you, you’ve just released some negative things weighing on your shoulders, and you’ll feel good about yourself as you’ve actively engaged in an act of self love.
Here are some tips to move towards prioritisation of self love and care through food.
- Take small steps. Remember that it is a lifelong journey towards a plant based diet for good mental health, and that trying to do everything at once will overwhelm and leave you back at square one. So make teeny little tweaks here and there. Replace your snacks with fruit or carrots and hummus, add a couple of vegetables like carrot and courgette to your pasta sauce, swap pasta for beans and legumes every now and then, add spinach to your sandwiches or smoothies… do what works for you, set your little goals and work towards them. When you reach it, treat yourself – you deserve it – and then set a new goal whilst continuing with your old one. Little steps. You’ve got this.
- START BUYING VEG BOXES!! Not only does the good stuff come straight to your door, you’re supporting your local farmer, giving yourself a huge box of delicious vegetables, eating seasonally and possibly organically, depending on the farm.
- Prioritise some time on a Sunday to make lunches and dinners for the week. I do this every Sunday and it takes me about 1-2 hours, depending on what I’m cooking. Make your dinners and packed lunches for the week ahead.
Things you can do:
- Chop up various types of fruit and place in ziploc bags in the freezer for your smoothies every day. Simply add to the blender with water to make your smoothies.
- Make simple meals that you can easily reheat: I like to make chana masala, curried chickpeas/lentils, chili’s, or simply a huge bowl of various roasted vegetables that I can heat up the moment I get home along with some millet, quinoa, rice, sweet potato e.t.c, and then I add the greens.
- For your lunches, chop up about 5-7 carrots/celery sticks/peppers on Sunday into small sticks and place them in the fridge in a container of water. All you need to do is take out the veggies, give them a quick rinse, and shove them in your lunchbox with some hummus. They stay fresh for the whole week in those containers if you change the water every day. Remember to take fruit, nuts and seeds with you, and then your healthy quota for lunch is a cinch.
- Plan your meals. Have 10-20 favorite meals to pick from. Write them up in a list, stick it on your fridge and plan what meals you are going to cook for the days ahead. If you’re taking my earlier tip on board about food prep, even better – that way you’re super prepared.
- Keep it real! Listen to your body when you’re making these changes. How are you? Tune in. Notice what is happening. Appreciate yourself for doing this for you. You will begin to notice changes in your overall energy, mood and stability when you start eating a colourful plant based diet. Your tastebuds will begin to adjust, and you’ll begin to crave fruit and vegetables. You’ll begin to actively prioritize healthy eating, and so begins the cycle of self love.