I am so chuffed that I got to share my journey with food for an article called ‘My diet changed my life’ in Health & Wellbeing magazine! I do have to pinch myself really. I find it so important to talk about food. We all have different relationships with food. The way we eat is ever evolving and no diets fits all. By talking and listening to each other and our bodies we can develop and make changes as we go along. We can grow and change to hopefully have a healthy and positive relationship with food throughout our lives.
The opportunity for the interview made me feel excited but also really nervous at the same time. Some things are quite personal. I do like to mention the low moments also, which make some parts difficult to talk about. But Charlotte Haigh, who interviewed me is a wonderful and super experienced health and wellbeing journalist. She has done a tremendous job at writing up my journey exactly how it happened. In the article ‘my diet changed my life’ Charlotte speaks with three women. Each of us has a different reason to thank food for important positive changes in our lives.
For those of you that didn’t get the magazine, here is the full article 🙂
“Breast Cancer led me down a new healthy eating path”
Dani Binnington, 39, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, is a mum of three who transformed her eating habits – and her family’s – after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She now teaches yoga and has her own healthy eating supper clubs.
‘When I was younger, I had zero interest in healthy eating. I was born and raised in Austria and although my mum cooked nutritious Mediterranean-style food, I ate lots of sausage sandwiches. When I got older, I would have beans on toast three days in a row. I never struggled with my weight so didn’t have that as a motivator. My husband did all the cooking when the kids were little. My mother-in-law used to say I would use sugar instead of salt because it was white – and she was only half joking.’
‘I was 33 when I found my lump. After the conventional treatment ended, I thought that would mark the end of my journey with cancer, but it was the most difficult time. I felt I wasn’t actively doing anything anymore and was terrified about a recurrence. I couldn’t sleep and was up all night on the internet, looking into alternative treatments for breast cancer – even though my cancer hd been removed. I now realise I was ill with anxiety. But I did find out lots about the link between diet and health; everything from Alzheimer’s to osteoporosis and diabetes, and mental health too. I learned you could reduce the risk of so many things.’
‘I wanted to change, but wasn’t sure how to do it as there was so much advice out there. I decided to go on the clean-eating train. For a year, I had no dairy, sugar, nothing refined – I cut out so many major food groups. It was unhealthy and far too extreme because of my paranoia about a cancer recurrence. Eventually I realised I needed to be a good role-model for my three children. I didn’t want them to grow up with a controlling mum, who refused birthday cake.’
‘Now I know there’s no good or bad foo and we focus on eating lots of nutritious food rather than cutting out things. I think about what I need to add to give myself the best chance of being healthy. I don’t eat meat and have very little dairy, so meals are based around lots of lovely healthy veggies, plus sources of protein such as quinoa and pulses, and complex carbs. The focus is on what we want to do, so rather than say, “Never eat dairy”, I’ll say, “Let’s have some coconut yoghurt.”‘
‘My food’s been healthy for a while, but now it’s delicious too and people always compliment me on it. I’m a scatty cook so I don’t really follow recipes, but I base my ideas on Jamie Oliver recipes and dishes I find on BBC Good Food. Not only do I feel great and know I’m doing the best for my family, my healthy eating journey has also taken my life in a new direction. I teach yoga and host supper clubs, helping others to cook healthy and simple food. I’ve recently launched an online supper club plan to help everyone keep it up. It’s a little business for me now and I’m on a journey I wouldn’t have been on without cancer.’