I don’t remember starting to love food – as far back as I can think a day taken up by baking fairy cakes in the kitchen, or mud pies in the garden was a day well spent to my mind. This has remained a constant throughout my life – during the two years I spent in catered halls at uni, with nothing more than a microwave to cook anything I wanted to eat during the weekends when the refectory was closed, my love for cooking didn’t die. Neither did it die in the year in Paris where I had to make do with a hot plate and some imagination. During those times I learned the joys of experimentation which have stayed with me to this day.
I’ve recently come to realise that throughout my life, both what I eat, and what I don’t eat, have become really important parts of who I am and how I see myself.
When I was 4 years old I gave up chocolate for lent. Day one went by without issue, but on day two I ate a chocolate biscuit. In my mind a bourbon wasn’t ‘real chocolate‘ so it didn’t count. My mom wasn’t so lenient in her definitions and suggested I added a day on to the end of lent to make up for it. I didn’t eat a biscuit, or anything with cocoa in it again until I was 17 years old.
A few years later, at university, the brash Yorkshire refectory ladies scared me. To avoid speaking to them I only ate cold things that I could take straight to the till without having to talk. Lots of yoghurts and Mars Bars and no reading the nutritional information on anything. For a full term I only ate pre packaged, cold food, and wondered why I was putting on weight. When I came back for my second term, on a (necessary) weight loss bent I gave up sugar for over a year. I would eat fresh fruit and drink milk (both of which contain natural sugars) but nothing at all with any added sugar.
Around four years ago I became a vegetarian and cut back on lactose. I thought about going fully dairy free, and I also considered giving up gluten, though neither was for any real reason, and so that didn’t last long.
I hadn’t really realised it before, but having rules about what I ate, how I ate, when I ate, all gave me a sense of being in control of things. I found it frustrating – if I’m honest everything was rooted in an underlying desire to be thinner, which was rarely happening. At one point I made myself incredibly strict food plans like ‘No food before 5pm, or after 8pm, and you have to do an hour of exercise every day.’ This did help me to lose weight, but I also lost my memory, and the desire to get out of bed, so it was short lived and when it was over all of the weight came back.
Now, after a shock when I worked out my BMI recently, I’ve started following the NHS’s guidelines for weight loss through counting calories. A woman of my height and activity level should have a maximum of 1400 calories to lose weight, as well as exercising regularly. In the last month I’ve lost 12lb, and have at least 2 more months of the plan to go.
All of the recipes that I post going forward will have calorie information listed, where possible, to help other people wanting to make a change in a healthy way find yummy easy recipes to help them achieve the success they want.