Put your hand up if you’ve ever tried a diet that claimed it wasn’t a diet but hid under the mask of a “healthy lifestyle change”? You know the ones… They make you restrict calories, cut out entire food groups, or fast for days at a time for no valid/religious reason…?
I know I have. I feel like I’ve tried them all! A lot of it comes from diet culture telling us that for our entire existence isn’t worthwhile or validated unless we weigh a certain amount; unless we can get rid of our cellulite or stretchmarks. So, we try any diet that promises we’ll lose weight fast and feel great immediately. In case you haven’t heard… These “lifestyle changes” don’t work.
In reality, they make us forget how we’re meant to eat.They force us to unlearn what we’ve known since birth: that we know what we want to eat, when we’re hungry and when we’re full. These diets tell us only to have 5 small meals a day, or not to have fruit because it has sugar in it.
These diets insult our intelligence and make us believe that we’re not smart enough to trust our own brains and bodies.
Given, a lot of diets get some things right. We should be including a buttload of vegetables in our diet; we should consume nourishing foods. But that’s where the facts stop and the bullshit starts. Diet companies and brands know they can profit off you hating yourself, so that’s what they do. They create whole diet plans that force you to fail. Then you feel like shit, probably gain more weight than you’ve lost, until you start the next fad diet.
Here’s the good news: once you realise that your worth has nothing to do with your weight, you’ll set yourself free.Once you begin to reject every rule and rigid diet plan you’ve been brainwashed with over the years, you’ll start to nourish yourself and eat food that you actually enjoy. I pinky promise, because I’ve started to learn how to do it!
My goal is to eat things that make me feel good. For me, that’s a lot of veggies, protein, wholegrains, treats with lots of carbs and limited dairy. I don’t limit my dairy because that’s a rule that many diets push onto us, I limit it because it makes me feel like shit if I eat too much of it. I have IBS and PCOS, and because I’ve started to learn how to listen to my body and trust it, I know that eating a lot of dairy doesn’t agree with me, and eating a lot of plant based goodness makes me feel great! Does that mean I’m a vegan? Nope. Does it mean I only eat “clean” foods? Heck no. Don’t even get me started on that one.
It just means that I’m me; and I’ve realised that only I know how to nourish myself. And that’s pretty damn special!
Everyone’s version of healthy is different. If you’re reading this and you’ve realised that your goal is no longer to be skinny, but instead to be healthy, I’m so proud of you! Because, boy, does it take guts to reach that conclusion.
But here’s the thing: a lot of us who have tried (and failed) diets have no idea what healthy even means anymore. Last year, I developed binge eating disorder and I know that a lot of it stemmed from years of dieting. I’ll write a big blog post about it soon, but essentially, I decided to get help because I literally had no idea how I was meant to eat anymore. What and how and when I was meant to eat. I saw a dietitian, Dimi, who quickly became one of my favourite people in the world. I thought she would weigh me and tell me what not to eat and how to lose weight… I couldn’t have been more wrong! She helped me realise that everyone has a way of eating that suits them perfectly. Everyone’s version of healthy is different and valid.
So, how do we get there?
Lots of trial and error, which might not be what you want to hear! Diets have made us want results now. But relearning how to eat in a way that is healthy for you takes time. This means looking at recipes, food blogs and cookbooks objectively. Don’t feel like you have to subscribe to one way of eating. Don’t feel like because your favourite author only eats a certain way, that you have to eat that way as well. Look for recipes and foods that look appealing to you. If you want to eat more veggies, look at vegetarian recipes that tickle your pickle! If you feel like the amount of sugar your consuming isn’t making you feel great, look for recipes that use natural sweeteners, or try to substitute it for some beautiful, ripe fruit.
Another great way to find what works for you is going by how you feel when you eat certain foods. Because I have IBS, I like to keep a food diary where I record what I eat and how it makes me feel. This may not work for you, and if you’re recovering from an eating disorder, please talk to your dietitian and healthcare professionals about it because it may be more damaging than helpful, but it can be a great way to remember what foods make you feel great and what foods make you run for the loo!
Not everyone likes doing their homework, but this is about something really exciting: you! What you like to eat; what’s going to make you feel good; what you enjoy cooking.
It has nothing to do with having chicken breast and steamed broccoli for every meal because you’ve read somewhere that that’ll make you lose weight fast. If I had to eat chicken breast and steamed broccoli for the rest of my life, I’d nap 24/7. It’s just not worth it!
I can’t wait to show you guys that eating nutrient-dense food can be more delicious than you’ve ever dreamed of! And that you can eat your veggies, and have your chocolate too. You can do you, boo boo!
So, here is one of my favourite vegetarian recipes. I’m not a vegetarian, for the record. But since I made the decision to eat more veggies, I’ve learnt different ways to make them taste really really good. I pinky promise!
I eat this for lunch some days and other days I’ll have it as a side with my dinner. Sometimes I’ll even have a smaller serve as a snack, because that’s what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you too! Whatever way you choose to eat it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Also, these vegetables are just one example of a whole variety you can roast. I pick these ingredients and roast them together because right now, they’re in season and I love all of them, but by all means, choose the vegetables you enjoy! Vegetables will always taste better from fruit shops and markets, because they’re always in season and carefully harvested. Head down to your local and have a squiz! The world is your oyster, little buns!
Roast Vegetables with Goats Cheese & Olives
Makes a big bowl of delicious roast veggies…How many serves are in this recipe is up to you!
– 1 spanish onion
– 200g Brussels sprouts
– 1/4 butternut pumpkin
– 1/2 head cauliflower
– 1 red capsicum/pepper
– Extra virgin olive oil
– Smoked paprika
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Goats cheese or feta
– Kalamata olives (or your favourite olives)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius and line 2 trays with baking paper. Set aside.
2. Peel and slice the onion into quarters and the Brussels in half. Dice the pumpkin into bite size chunks, about the same size as the Brussels. Cut the cauliflower into florets and the capsicum into chunks, discarding the seeds. Arrange all of the vegetables on your baking trays, making sure they’re all in a single layer.
3. Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the vegetables, followed by a good sprinkle of each of the spices; how much is up to you! You can even use different herbs and spices; whatever tickles your pickle!
4. Use your hands to coat the veggies in the oil and spices and then generously season with sea salt and pepper. Pop the trays in the oven for 30-40 minutes, turning the veggies over half way through. You may find that the brussels will cook faster than the other veggies, so transfer them to a bowl or tupperware container when they look lovely and roasted, and pop the rest of the veggies back into the oven until they’re wonderfully soft and caramelised.
5. To serve, fill a bowl with some of the roast vegetables and top with however much goats cheese and olives your heart desires. Enjoy!