Mixed salad – find it on the recipe page
If you are doubting your ability to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions, read my tips!
1. Going public! Writing a blog and telling people is a way to keep the pressure up. When other people know about your resolutions, it somehow makes you want to succeed more. Maybe it’s because you are setting a good example? I don’t know for sure. When I proudly write about how healthy I am and how happy that makes me, people start looking at me differently. I met up with a friend not long ago who told me they thought I was so healthy they looked up to me. I was shocked! I didn’t realise that writing about my healthy recipes made me appear like a health coach. I think my friend felt like they were not as good as me. I need to make things clear here, yes I post the healthy recipes I make on this blog, and I write about how happy I am to be healthier and to exercise, but it doesn’t mean in any way that it’s how I am every day of the week!! Some days I just have enough of the cold weather and working from home. I feel isolated or tired and that’s when chocolate and other comfort foods come into the picture. My eating habits are not perfect. I don’t spend my days cooking and singing in my kitchen a la Bree Van der Kamp! But knowing that I connect with other bloggers and that I have been read and watched through the Food Revolution website always reminds me of my resolutions. I want to be honest and true to people and to myself. Ultimately, I want to be healthy and feel well. I think, and I might be a little over excited by it, but I think I am inspiring other people who are also aiming to be healthier. Just the way they inspire me. It gives me wings and makes me want to carry on.
2. Be open to changes. Things don’t always go according to plan. Life brings ups and downs, so expect it, and don’t let it discourage you. You need to see the bigger picture! It’s not about being thinner next month, or running further next week. It’s about building a healthy routine with the long term in mind. If you look at the whole year, you can see your achievements better. You won’t become unfit just because you don’t exercise for two weeks. It’s the same for food.
3. Speaking of changes… I started running about a month after the resolutions. It just worked out well with eating well. I have now registered for a 10 km race. It encourages me to train and eat well in order to perform well on the day of the race. It’s almost as if the New Year’s resolutions have evolved throughout the year, and I’m okay with that. They might change again later in the year, I’m looking forward to see where it will take me.
4. The key word for me: ACHIEVABLE. Small achievable resolutions are more likely to be kept than big ones. Again, think in the long term. What matters to me is how healthy I will be for the next 20 years. This year, I eat less refined carbohydrates. By the end of the year, I should be used to this new lifestyle and find it just normal. Next year, I can focus on something else. It may take time but the aim is really to become healthier for good.
I see it like this:
One main goal = eating well and be healthy
Several small achievements will help reaching that goal. One at a time.
I hope my tips will help at least one person, please get in touch if you want to share your own experiences of keeping up your resolutions. Would love to hear them!
Celebrity Chefs and Food Politics
Last night I attended a talk at a renowned university in London about celebrity chefs and food politics. I had apprehensions as I knew it wasn’t going to be all praise and love, but I did not expect so much unfounded criticism. From the moment I got there to the end an hour later, I experienced excitement, anger and finally happiness. My god I was tired after that talk!
I did not understand why one of the speakers went on and on about how people like Jamie Oliver make money out of selling branded goods as well as fighting for a good cause and that somehow it makes them bad people. Since when providing for your family has become a bad thing?
I did not get her point. Yes she had far too many cook books on her lounge shelves (as she showed us on her Power Point presentation) (compulsive shopper?) and yes you can find Jamie Oliver foods in the supermarket and Jamie Oliver saucepans and knives in the shops but does that make his actions less worthy? No one is forcing her to buy all that. Or maybe the point she was trying to make was that people buy things they don’t need when presented them in shops? But what would that have to do with last night’s talk? Surely you can’t blame book writers and food makers for trying to sell their products!
In my opinion, if anything, having his products on shop shelves makes him more famous and that can only have a positive outcome. The more famous the better, as the greater the impact. I mean, remember back in 2006 when he campaigned for better school lunches? Being a celebrity – with great communication skills, lets not abstract that – helped getting results! How hard did he work on that? Then in 2009, he did Ministry of Food, a program in which he went across England to try teaching and empowering people. People who took part were then meant to share the recipe they had learned with 6 other people, and so on, spreading the knowledge throughout the whole country. Would it have worked half as well had it been conducted by a regular person? It takes time to see change but last night I found out that food education will be compulsory in schools for children aged 7-14 from September 2014. And it doesn’t stop there, the aim is to get parents involved too to make sure changes occur at home. That definitely was the highlight of my day! I can’t believe I did not know about it. Where have I been?? Ah that’s right I was in France last week.
I admire Jamie Oliver for his investment for a healthier nation. I wish more people were aware of the health consequences of unhealthy eating. Maybe they would invest more in food now in order to pay a smaller price in the future.
Anyway, some people argue that his food isn’t that healthy. Well here is me response to that:
1) in his last book “15 minute meals”, he got a nutritionist to help and each recipe has a calorie count now. Changes are being made on his side too.
2) his point was always to get people who feed themselves ready meals and takeaways to cook at home. Change occurs step by step. If you ask someone who only eats takeaways to make salads everyday from now on I doubt it will work. 1st you learn that cooking is possible and can be easy, fun and tasty. Then you improve to maybe using less fat or so. Or maybe buying more veg, one step at a time.
At uni we were told that the government recommendations should in fact be 10 fruits and veg a day but that they could not set that as most people struggle to match the 5-a-day recommendations already. They decided that giving an aim that is too hard to achieve leads to discouragement rather than progress. Same goes with running. Ask someone who doesn’t run, to go out run a marathon, it will not work! My point being, with eating habits, it goes back to how our mothers cooked for us, how their mothers cooked, etc. I think what’s happening at the moment is pretty amazing and we should look back on it in twenty years time to evaluate the changes.
Have a look at a couple of articles on the new National Curriculum and food education below. This is all very exciting! We can be proud of the people who got involved. Jamie is not the only one of course, but his media coverage is so gigantic that it definitely got things moving. And that is why, I support 100% celebrity chefs who get active for a good cause. Go Jamie!
School Food Plan:
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution:
Children learning to cook at Hampstead Norreys School, Berkshire, in 2008. Photograph: Frank Baron
Photo found on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2008/sep/18/recipe.foodanddrink
Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…
… and the kitchen is already full of food!
I arrived from the 11am Easyjet flight this morning. The pilot said it was raining in Lyon but when we landed the sun was shining and dad was waiting for me in the arrival area. We drove home to find mum in the middle of feeding lunch to her grandson, my lovely 2 year old nephew. After his afternoon nap, we all went grocery shopping for the weekend. You see, this weekend we are reuniting for the 1st time since a year ago: my parents, brother, sister and her two kids and me, all together at the same place at the same time. It’s a miracle!
There is a reason why we managed to get this organized, we are celebrating our birthdays. All of our birthdays! We were all born in February, March and April (except dad, but he will get a special celebration later this year).
I am loving the atmosphere here today. I can feel there is something special in the air. My brother will land tonight from Vancouver. I haven’t seen him for a year and we are going to meet his girlfriend. My sister will arrive tomorrow with her eldest, who does miss his uncle Charles a lot. I can tell my parents are excited even though they are not making a fuss.
It is going to be a good weekend!
But – there is a but – I have been doing so well on my New Year’s resolutions (see the ‘About’ page) that I am getting a bit nervous about how it’s going to go here. Canapés, cheese, bread, cakes, wine, etc. It all looks so good and smells so deeeeelicious! We got the bread from a local traiteur that make the best country style bread in town. It smelled so good in the car on the way back!
Anyway, all I’m saying is I am a little concerned about this weekend going a bit overboard if not totally, but I just remembered: “When you have healthy habits, indulging every now and again won’t make a difference on your health”.
Therefore, I am now ready to enjoy this long waited for reunion, sharing good food and wine and our stories of the past year.
Last night dad cooked! It’s a “once-a-year” event!! His favourite very own recipe is stuffed tomatoes. He makes them with love and it’s always a success. Check out the recipe on my recipe page.
Stuffed tomato and rice
Oh dear! I just read that and I see all I was worried about was me eating too much. Well, I’m an optimist, what can I do?! Sure I ate and drank too much this weekend but honestly it’s no big deal.
Kids and their mummy have just gone and the house is quiet again. It feels strange. As if something was missing. They are loud but it’s so much fun to have them around. However I must say, four days with brother, sister, nephews who fight and cry (not all the time), and grand parents is a bit overwhelming. But hey, that’s family!
I will go back to London tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face revision period, yes, even immunology, I’m ready!
That’s what family does to me. I am glad we are a strong loving family and looking forward to seeing them again.
Family at work
A new month has just begun and before I start getting excited about the activities that I have planned for March, I would like to do a little recap on February.
Regarding food choices, I must admit I haven’t always been healthy last month. Nothing to worry about though, because as I said before, my New Year’s resolutions were not to become a perfect eater, but to make some changes in my eating habits. Last month, when I ate junk food or drank too much, it impacted on my mood and energy for up to four days! Which made buying healthy food and cooking look a lot less fun! Thankfully it’s all back to normal in my kitchen, fridge and cupboards and I can now start telling you about all the good things that I have done last month!
Green vegetable soup (see recipe page)
- I ran a fair bit: twice a week for about an hour. Feeling good about that!
Morning riverside runs are the best!
Well it’s not always this sunny…
But the ducks are always around,
so are the rowers! (in the yellow boat)
- And the Award for Best Activity in February goes to: the live hangout with nutritionist Dr. Willett and two Food Revolution ambassadors Lindsey and Claire as part of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution foundation. It was my 1st live hangout and as much as I would like to pretend I’m not the kind of person who gets nervous, I am. So I was pretty nervous. But discussing subjects such as “a child’s health improving thanks to healthy eating” and “school children growing veg” turned out to be so interesting that I forgot about the nervousness. Good job girls! Thank you : )
Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley
Now, what’s coming up in March?
I see cooking classes are getting popular, judging by the amount of Groupon offers I receive every day for them. So, it gave me an idea. I am thinking of setting up a cooking club. It is only just a thought yet but I might write about it soon and if I do, you will be invited to join me for some kitchen fun! Yay!
Mother’s day is coming up. I will be with my mum in France when that happens, giving us a good reason for cooking with the family. That’s something to look forward to! Don’t worry I’ll take pictures!
And then, exam stress will start. That’s NOT something I’m looking forward to, at all! Might not take pictures of that.
That is all for today. Got to get ready to go to my 11am lecture. In this beautiful weather, I am definitely walking!!