When I first started out on the amazing journey that is Healthy Whole Me – of nourishing myself in a wholesome way, I must admit I was utterly confused. Still in shock from my breast cancer diagnosis, I cut out major food groups and overnight I stopped eating all refined sugars, wheat, gluten, meat, dairy products, alcohol & coffee. Of course, initially I did not think that I had many options so my days were consumed with searching for new ingredients and I often found myself cooking three meals at each family mealtime. One for the children, one for my super sporty husband and one for myself.
And if you now think that’s crazy…then yes, I totally agree. It was. So over the past four years all of my passion has been put into creating wholesome and balanced meals that can be enjoyed by all of us! My aim is to eat a diet that I can sustain for the rest of my life. This is why I do NOT cut out entire food groups 100% but I increase what’s good for me and reduce what’s not.
However, even when I thought that I had a found a healthy way of eating that works for me and my family, was I feeling incredibly anxious. My mental health was low, I constantly felt that I was up against a massive battle. Counselling, therapy, CBT were a great tool to help me get over the worst. But it wasn’t until I had found a regular yoga practice that I realised that I can contribute to an improved mental health on a daily basis. I, me, could make a difference. That was such a powerful realisation for me!
I often get asked if I’m Vegan, or if I follow the Paleo diet, or whether I’m plant based. The answer is no. I also often get asked what type of yoga I practice. The answer is: a bit of this and a bit of that. It’s my feel-good-practice.
In terms of food, we eat a balanced, wholesome food diet, full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that serve my body, from my gut health to my feelings. I’ll break it down for you:
- I make sure that most of my meals contain loads – if not the majority – of veggies. Raw, cooked, steamed, grilled – anything goes. On top of that I eat fresh fruit and I often try and remember eating a ‘rainbow’, which means mixing lots of varieties of fruits and veggies to receive all their amazing benefits.
- I eat lots of carbs – yes you hear correctly. Complex carbohydrates, such as oats, brown rice, rye, spelt, buckwheat, veggies and legumes (beans, peas and lentils) play a vital role in nourishing our bodies and providing us with energy. They are also full of fibre and as 70% of our bodies immune function is found in our gut I can’t stress enough how valuable these complex carbs are for us. All these ingredients are so yummy that I hardly eat anything containing wheat and I stay away from white rice.
- I cook with the right types of fats. I use rapeseed or coconut oil for frying and baking and a virgin olive oil, a flaxseed oil or nut oil for my salads and sauces.
- I stay away from most animal products for about 80% of the time. These are often full of bacteria, antibiotics, hormones and a host of other toxins which is the reason that I personally stay away from them. However, I really enjoy eating a beautiful piece of fish from time to time, supplying me with healthy Omega 3’s and good quality proteins. I also cook an organic roast chicken for the children and my husband once every week and I also eat eggs. I use nut milks instead of cows milk. I’m in the ‘milk is meant for cows’ camp here.
- When I’m invited to someone’s house for dinner or when we eat at restaurants, I do eat puddings! Oh yes, I would not want to miss the wonderful feeling of eating a beautiful piece of cake! And as this is not very often, I enjoy it even more so! And yes, in case you are wondering I try and reduce my sugar intake as much as possible. I don’t buy chocolate bars or any other sugary snacks etc but I love a bit of dark chocolate.
- I have stopped drinking alcohol since I’ve been diagnosed as research shows that alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol also may increase breast cancer risk by damaging DNA in cells. And as I want to do everything possible to decrease my risk of a recurrance this one’s a no brainer. For more info read what the experts have to say: //www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/alcohol And who knows, maybe one day I’ll even have a glass of wine or two, but right now I’m so in love with feeling as good as possible that a hangover really is no option!
With Healthy Whole Me I hope that I can inspire some of you to embrace a more wholesome, nourishing way of life. Recipes that you can knock up in the kitchen and recipes for an improved mental health. I want to take the confusion out of healthy eating by making it simple, straight forward and delicious. The same goes for yoga, mindfulness and mediation. I rarely sit cross legged burning incense, yet I practice mindfulness every single day.
I know I have inspired my own children: they love seeing how quickly our beans and spinach in the garden grow & I can’t tell you how happy I feel when they tuck into a bowl of Quinoa Risotto! But yes, of course, they like a pizza just as much! 🙂
Everything on this Blog is based on my own experience, my own taste buds and my family’s likes and dislikes. I have successfully completed a fabulous course at Leiths School of Food and Wine, accredited by the Nutritional Therapy Education Commission, which has helped give me more insight into the nutritional background of it all.
I completed my yoga teacher training and have since been practicing with incredible yoga teachers. I will forever be a student.
Let’s focus and celebrate on the good stuff! Love Dani xx