Words from My Heart

Words from My Heart

This blog post will contain some words from my heart, as well as lots of swirling thoughts captured in print. Whilst I have been working on putting together a post about how our experiences with food, eating and our bodies as it relates to our (hi)stories, childhood and so on influences our relationship with same today, I found that for some reason it seemed like a challenge to put it all into words. I am still not sure why, as I have previously shared my own story on this topic here.

Anyway, I decided to pause it and write a blog post about many of the thoughts that have been swirling around my mind for what now seems like ages. Maybe I just need to get some of these words out there, in order to peel back and to keep writing about all the things that I plan to write about this year. So yeah, please see this one as an overarching intention of what may be yet to come.


Life is a journey of unexpected twists and turns. And we are all constantly growing and learning…


Last week I had the privilege to get up and speak about the line of my own work within the field of Nutritional Therapy, even though I was excited the opportunity on one hand, I was pretty nervous about it too. Why? Well apart from the ever present inner critic and a touch of imposter syndrome I was a little apprehensive about my choice of topic too.

It is rare that we speak about the prevalence of Eating Disorders and disordered eating, as well as the harm restriction and dieting can do. Yet I feel strongly that within a profession where food is used as the healing modality, it is more important than for anyone else that we understand the dynamics around eating behaviour.

I apologies in advance if this blog ends up being somewhat scattered and incoherent (as I won’t do a lot of editing before posting) as I am trying to let some of the many threads that have been  swirling around come together and weave an new picture.

My journey into Nutritional Therapy and becoming a nutritional professional has been windy and is ever unfolding. My professional path has become part of my personal path, yet when I was 20 this type of work was  NOT my intention for my professional path. My personal struggle with food and eating eventually lead me to this profession when I was looking for other things to earn a living from, rather than shovelling horse shit for the rest of my working life…

I will be honest and admit that I wholeheartedly believe in the power of food as medicine with nutritional supplements and herbs to heal, repair and restore. It would be my personal preference to use natural medicine as much as possible, yet I feel we are lucky to have the opportunity of drugs as well as lifesaving surgery if this is what is needed.

Over the weekend just passed my other colleagues who also presented on the day showed us some incredible case studies of healing happening with the use of natural medicines, often in cases where the orthodox medicine had written off a restoration of health as impossible.


However in the area of health and healing nothing is ever black or white… It’s never one thing or the other, but usually more like an interconnected web of many layers that interplay.

Over the past two years or so my own work as has changed because I have learned new things and been exposed to new teachings and approaches.  Much because of this I really want to take a stand this year and get cleared in my own message and with my own voice.

This is something I am continuously working on, and I definitely feel like I haven’t gotten it right, yet. Consider it a work in process. Hence these words from my heart are simply a part of this unfolding process.


In the presentation that I shared, one of my first slides where the question “Can we truly promote healthy eating without having a healthy relationship with food and eating?”

Personally I don’t think so. Using nutrition as a healing modality may require some dietary changes, often to improve quality, variety and nutrient density. That is all fine. Especially when it is done together with a qualified practitioner who works with you, and your body. The issues arise when people start to self-restrict without any particular reasons other than following the latest nutrition fads and trends. It becomes an issue when we follow strict external rules, regardless if it may be points or calorie / macro counting without honouring our own body’s specific cues and needs.

Because, we already have what we need. Our own inner wisdom. Yet if you look around the messages you see, literally everywhere, is that somehow our bodies are not trustworthy. (I often wonder how we got to this place of distrust in ourselves, as somehow we’ve evolved and survived as a species up until quiet recently without questioning it much… But that’s maybe a question for another post.)

Another issue is when the intentional pursuit of weight loss is used as a panacea to create health. Controlling the amount of food as well as the type of food, is used as a way to try to control body size, health and even life.


About two years ago I came across the Health At Every Size ™ movement. It has changed everything for me and learning to navigate this new information as well as this new lens to look through is much of what this year is all about for me. How do I integrate this info with what I know about nutritional medicine?


Health At Every Size or HAES for short, is a movement that values ALL BODIES, and that all bodies are worthy of treatment with respect and care.


It is also a paradigm which looks at health beyond nutrition and even beyond health behaviours. Through HAES we get to look at health through the lens of social justice. This is what changes everything.

Though I never prescribed any crazy diets to help people lose weight, nor was I particularly interested in weighing them, (I don’t weigh myself for God’s sake!), I were part of some well-intentioned weight loss programmes early on in my career.  My first round of business cards even had the words “Lose weight without dieting” on them. (I since cut whatever few were left up in pieces. )This was before I knew that any intention of actively pursuing measures to alter our body size IS dieting.

Dieting is one of the most prevalent pre cursors to develop eating disorders. And if you don’t go on to develop a full blown eating disorder, you most certainly end up with disordered eating behaviours.

HAES not only shines a light on the detriments of weight loss pursuits and dieting, it also brings to light the social justice side of things, when it comes to health and how often the individual is blamed on failure to keep their body under control, if it does not conform to society’s norms, rather than looking at the larger picture of other Determinants of Health and inequalities in our society that contribute to our overall health and wellbeing.

health at every size

From this journey of venturing into learning more about HAES, I am also learning more about weight stigma and fatphobia. Both which play such a big part in why intentional weight loss pursuits are a form of oppression. And of course, denying yourself to eat when you are physically hungry just because you have reached your limits on points that day is a personal attack on yourself. A mini trauma, which is sending a message to your body that it is not worthy of one of the most fundamental things for life – food.

When we zoom out and look at the other well-meaning nutritional interventions for disease preventions, very few actually talk about the inequalities. That not all people have access to good quality foods, not the skills or means to buy them in order to create nutritious meals for themselves and their family.

We are not necessarily thinking about the people who are fearful for taking a walk in their neighbourhood, when we ourselves are feeling guilty for missing a gym session… Yet the message portrayed when it comes to health pursuits is often that of personal responsibility, and those who are not doing things necessary of this pursuit are often seen as lazy.


Why is that?

Is it because the idea of thinness = health is so entrenched in our culture?

Yet it is simply not true. Which is one of the messages of HAES.

Our worth as a human being is not based on how we look or what we eat, surely? I think we can do better than that.


The other is the take home message that our inherent worthiness in not tied to our health or body size. I don’t think I have ever looked at someone and thought that it was. It is not how I was raised. Yet when you become aware of this insidious cultural insinuation, you can’t close your eyes to the message that it is so, which is everywhere. Why else would dieting be promoted all over the place? Oh yeah, aside from the fact that it DOES sell and is a multi billion dollar industry of course…

I also can’t see why prescribing weigh loss as a cure all is so prevalent? Aside from the fact that it doesn’t work, so many people are nutrient deficient and prescribing restriction seems counter intuitive to me. It is already hard to get what we need from our diets, so why would be want to restrict them further? What about prescribing diversity (if this is within the individual’s means) together with some curiosity and an explanation of the illusion of finding the “right diet” and the importance of listening to you own body’s response to the food you eat?

So really, what is my intention with this lengthy rant? Well maybe it is to state that no I don’t think we can promote ‘healthy eating’ without at the same time promote a healthy relationship to food, eating and body (I feel another deep dive will come on this topic in the future too) , it is also highlight the inequalities in our society and the injustice that is done when we hand out all the blame on individuals for “not taking care of themselves better”. That is just unkind and unfair.

Long story short; we can’t really get to the root of healing individual’s eating struggles without at the same time working on understanding the root cause of what’s driving this struggle, which is the Diet Culture that we all live in.


So the work, which is what I have now woken up to and to the visionaries and frontline warriors to whom I have the immense privilege to learn from, is to simultaneously dismantle Diet Culture.


And finally… (almost 2000 words later) what my ultimate message from this lengthy blog post is: It is to declare that I am dropping out of this Diet Culture. I don’t want to participate nor do I want to be contributing to this shame fuelled oppressive system.

To quote Maya Angelou, “When you know better, do better”. 

So this is what I am trying to do now. When I do now know better.


Goal setting for the New Year

Goal setting for the New Year

So it’s a New Year! Exciting? Yes! Isn’t every day we wake up a new beginning and with new possibilities to create something different, though? Or an opportunity to simply carry on as we are? It’s just that this time of the year the end of the old and the possibilities of the new is more apparent, with all the ceremonies and celebrations and other shenanigans on the 31st of Dec.

At an estimated guess, I would say some of the most blogged about topics in the month of January is: how to set great New Years resolutions for the year ahead or probably detoxing! Detoxing is a big topic really, WHEN you expolore beyond sensational headlines AND if you want to do it in a safe way. Of course it is also something our bodies do every day. If our liver and kidneys stop working, we are in serious trouble. That said, taking good care of ourselves and limit the amount of burden we place on those vital organs, is always a good idea. Limiting or cutting out cigarettes and alcohol is a pretty good place to start… But here, this post wasn’t suppose to be about Detoxing!

So on to the real subject matter of this post; Goals or dreams or wishes or intentions or what ever you wish to call your New Years resolutions this year, that’s what I intended to write about. A quick check in the Thesaurus shows a couple of suitable synonyms for the world RESOLUTION. Words, with quiet widespread meanings, like; decision, courage, declaration, intent, willpower, perseverance and tenacity are all synonyms for resolution.  Perhaps the main ones which properly describes the true meaning of the word is DETERMINATION and STRONG WILLED. Usually it’s those last two words which determines the type of New Years resolutions we set, why we work so hard to achieve them and why we sometimes fail at it anyway. Somehow though, after a few week, perseverance always seems to have been left out in the cold…

The opposite or resolution is laziness, indecisiveness and fear. All those things which can easily stop us from setting the goals and intentions we really want or achieve the things we are really dreaming of. Indecisiveness often comes from lack of clarity. Sometimes working on finding that clarity is the very first step to take if you wish to change.

Ok, so we may be in the middle of January already, and you may already have set your goals for the year and may be well on your away to achieving them already. Or you may still be in struggling finding some clarity in what you truly want to focus on this year. Just before the end of the year I came across an amazing tool, which can help SO MUCH with the clarity aspect of setting intentions and goals for the year ahead, which are truly aligned with your core desires.  You can download the brilliant printout to get clarity on your dreams and desires over here

Focus on your goalsSo have you thought about your dreams, wishes and intentions for 2015? Sometimes we set lofty goals of “getting fit & healthy”. These are great end results. Or even more so the results of a process. But that’s just it. Taking the first steps on the journey of getting fit and healthy will require some specific action steps. So put these action steps down on your plan. Getting fit(er) will probably require some added form of movement in your daily life. Again make it realistic and make it a process that you can build on gradually. If you are currently spending most evenings on the couch in front of the TV, signing up for some crazy Cross-Fit challenges may be a little too far outside your comfort zone. That said, do sign up to something that require you to stretch a little (I’m not necessarily talking about Yoga here). Do something that is a little challenging to where you are right now. But if you want to be able to stick to it longterm, make sure you choose something which also brings joy into your life. We are meant to have fun!

If you are already fit and active, set a higher goal. Again, think about what would stretch you outside that famous comfort zone. Set a goal that feels ambitious and a little scary. Something that you would like to do or achieve but are not 100% fully sure you’d be able for, yet not so far outside your abilities that you are setting yourself up for a failure. Achieving something you hardly ever thought possible is just an amazing feeling and a huge part of personal growth and development.

It’s the same with eating healthy really. Doing massive overhauls on our lifestyles is tough and to be honest those dramatic changes usually only come about as a result of circumstances well outside our control. I would argue that when we are in control of making changes to our life ourselves, it is a lot smarter to do it in small bits. As a process. Check in with yourself to see where you are at. What part of your food habits need to change? Is it the quality of the food you eat? Is it your relationship with it? Or do you simply need to take the time to learn a couple of new recipes to increase the variation of food you eat? Get some clarity on what it is you want to change and why, then proceed to write down what action steps you need to take to make it happen. And then Just Do It! In the end of the day, JUST thinking about your goals won’t make a blind bit of difference (even though it is a fundamental part of the process). At some point you will HAVE TO TAKE ACTION, if you want to make a change. Or if you desire something different from what you currently have.

One of my favourite quotes are “No Change, No Change”. Ponder that. Don’t let your past hold you back either. Simply chose again.

mindful eating for weight lossAs well as planning and focusing on all the things we want to achieve in the months (and years!) ahead it is equally as important to stop and reflect over what we have actually done and achieved in the past 12 months. I find sometimes, that by doing that, it can take the sting out of any overwhelm, fear or doubts that creep in from time to time. It’s all to easy to keep moving the goalpost so quickly that it feels like we are not getting anywhere or that we are not making any progress and then we allow those doubts and fears to consume us and as a result give up. Don’t do that! Instead make a list of all the positive things that you have achieved in 2014. Even if it turned out to be a tough year, full of adversities, still if you are reading this then chances are you are at least alive. Remind yourself that you are good enough. You are worthy of success (in all areas of your life) and you are beautiful right here and right now.

For me personally, 2014 was a crazy year. In a positive way. Yet pretty exhausting with all the pushing and stretching outside my comfort zone. Until some of it became like a new normal. I certainly faced some fears and proceeded to do it anyway. Eventually though, it all took its toll and taking a complete break between Christmas and New Year was so necessary. It seems to have done wonders 🙂

This year I’ve decided to do less with more focus. Rather than trying to juggling 10 project at the time I’m going to focus on doing one (or perhaps two… Or maybe three…) at the time. I simply feel I will be so much more productive that way. Focus on just the one thing at the time is a pretty big challenge for me, who gets both distracted and bored quiet easily. So I’m hoping now that I’ve put out it out there, I’ll be more likely to hold myself accountable!


As for the blog, I’m hoping it will grow in 2015. As always a big thank you to all of you who do read my ramblings already. It means alot. I’ve decided to throw in a non-recipe blog post about once a month about something health related or about mindset or what ever might surface. I have also decided that this year I will cook more from the beautiful cookbooks I already have, even though I am fairly certain there will be more additions to my collection. I can think of about three titles already, which I’m keen to get! So I will be sharing some new favourites from the treasures of my bookshelves this year. So well, that should keep the blogging going pretty well. I will of course also share some of my own ideas and recipes, too many of them in my head already. And hopefully there will be opportunities to do some guest blog swaps too throughout the year so, please come back again for a visit 🙂

What are your dreams / visions / goals / intentions from 2015? If you feel like sharing helps you stay aligned and accountable, I would love to hear all about your aspirations. Perhaps we can all check back in by Dec 31st to see how it went?

straightforward nutrition