As the Food Director of delicious magazine for 14 years my job involved a great deal of recipe testing and eating, not to forget socialising, which included more eating and drinking. I always felt that I had eaten a reasonably healthy diet and never really got sick (I had taken 5 sick days in 14 years) You can imagine how I felt when early in 2014 I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Bowel cancer with no prior warning. I was started on a regime of radio and chemo therapy followed by surgery and more chemo therapy.
I continued to work just stepping back when I needed to, as of course for once in my life I had started to listen to my body. I also started to reassess some of the lifestyle choices I was making particularly when it came to food.
I wasn’t committed to a brutal regime (I love food too much) I was after a middle ground that still allowed me creativity in the kitchen but with a more considered approach. Good health is all about balance which is why I have learnt over the years is not a achieved by fad food regimes and quick weight loss diets. There were many times when I would give into my food cravings and skip from one diet to another (yes the grapefruit diet and the cabbage soup diet I think I tried them all). These days the buzz words are Paleo, Sugar Free and Raw and while I understand that some diets are necessary for those with specific health issues,for me, its a different story. I’ve found that by setting myself some ground rules about the way I think about food and the way I live my life I can start to feel good on the inside and more generally. I also know that the choices I make are not only good for me, they may be better for my environment and perhaps even lighten my footprint on the planet.
My new book Feel Good Food was written during my year of cancer. It is a book of recipes that will help you find the middle path between indulgent and healthy. There are 180 recipes for every occasion including energising breakfasts, light lunches, festive dinners and a few treats along the way.
Last year was my wake up call to so many aspects of my life. I keep the following list close to me as they are my top tips for health and well being:
Listen to your body
Read the small print
Eat out less. Cook more at home
Reconnect with nature
Reduce your stress
Appreciate the simple things
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For more information on Feel Good Food and to purchase your copy, click here.