January Detox

This is probably not the blog you are expecting.

2018 is a year for detoxifying my body image. For changing my attitude towards the way my body looks; towards the food I eat.

I’m taking some steps – and most of them are pretty fun!

On 19th January I’m hosting a ‘leftover Christmas spirits’ cocktail party – after a local screening of Embrace

The Embrace film had a huge impact on me last year. Imploring women and girls (and to be fair, this applies to guys too) to spend the middle years of our lives loving and even relishing our bodies the way we do as children.  Pensioners in the film spoke with great acceptance and gratitude for their bodies – focusing more on what their body could still do and less on how it looked!

What freedom we could enjoy if we experimented with these ways of looking at ourselves. My body is capable; my body is fun; my body can do all this cool stuff!

This month I’ll be running one morning after school drop-off. Over tea, my running buddy and I will be taking part in an online  course produced by Taryn Brumfitt, the woman behind Embrace. We want to check in with our motives – are we running to be fitter, stronger, mentally refreshed or is it all about being ‘bikini-ready’?

Wild swimming will continue to be a completely freeing body image experience. Frankly if you’re going to walk into the winter sea with a swimming cap, wetsuit boots and a bikini on you really don’t need to give a cr*p what you look like as most passers by will think you are a nutter anyway.

I’m challenging myself this year to post more videos of my swims. Now, the ‘rear view’ as I enter the water isn’t remotely reminiscent of a Roxy surf girl ad – but the thing is I feel as free and connected to the world as these girls look, so why not share the joy?


For Christmas my mum bought me a copy of the River Cottage Even More Veg cookbook. Everything in there looks so delicious and I am looking forward to planning meals that make our Riverford  box vegetables the star of the show.

Being on Olanzapine means that thinking about healthy eating is important as I’m at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. This year I want to do this in a way that doesn’t put sweet foods and white carbs on a ‘banned list’ which I’m secretly hoping will reduce my waistline (and even more secretively enjoying the self-denial and control)

I want to model for Eldest a free and open approach to food, focusing on taste, enjoyment and variety. On the fact that a bikini body is never, ever worth hating yourself for every morsel of enjoyment.

And of course, I want to create more soup recipes!  I published a one-off cookbook for my friend this year and I’ll leave you with one of the quotes;

“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup” Ludwig van Beethoven

I’m hopeful this means my heart is in pretty good shape… More in January Detox #2



Recovery recipes

Gallant Husband is having a few weeks learning how to be an invalid after hernia surgery.  Little One has been surprisingly understanding about his ‘tummy holes’ from the keyhole surgery and is refraining from using him as a human climbing frame! Eldest is teasing him about his shuffle and uniform of pyjamas…

We’ve had a couple of delicious meals focusing on protein for muscle repair (!) so I thought I’d share them with you

Spiced roast chicken with vegetable freekeh

  • 1 free range chicken
  • Salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper
  • 100g freekeh (green wheat)
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 1 red pepper
  • bunch radishes, diced
  • green beans, finely sliced

Roast the chicken coated in the spices for 1-2 hours depending on size

Take the chicken out of the oven to rest

Deglaze the chicken roasting tin with a glass of white wine

Pour in the vegetable stock

Cook the freekeh with the stock for 15 minutes

Meanwhile, steam the green beans and sear the red pepper over a hob flame

When the freekeh is cooked, drain and reserve the cooking stock for gravy

Stir the roasted red pepper, steamed beans and radishes into the freekeh and serve with the roast chicken

Lamb and pearled spelt hotpot

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 500g minced lamb
  • handful pearled spelt or pearled barley
  • 3 sticks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • vegetable stock cube
  • worcestershire sauce
  • soy sauce
  • herbes de provence
  • 2 large potatoes, thinly sliced

Fry the onion, celery and pepper in olive oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes

Brown the lamb along with the vegetables, and add the vegerable stock, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and herbs

Stir in the pearled spelt or pearled barley and bring to the boil

Top with sliced potatoes and bake in a low oven for 1.5 hours

Barefoot in the kitchen

With my trusty ancient copy of Cordon Rouge in hand, I’ve spent a peaceful afternoon cooking today.  A dear friend is going away on holiday and I wanted to make something delicious for her to take to the cottage.  I’ve been practising ‘slowment’ as I cook, a concept shared with me by a wonderful colleague from my Rethink days.  Bare feet touching the floor, I’ve taken the time to dice the vegetables slowly and purposefully, enjoying every sensation.  With accompaniment from Molten Meditation it’s felt a very Zen way to cook, in comparison with my normal flurry of pots and pans.  It’s a rare treat for me to take time out to cook without Little One tangled around my feet asking if she can help out!

The Cordon Rouge cookbook came from a (sadly now departed) cafe called The Red Herring from my Newcastle Uni days. The vegetarian and vegan food there was out of this world, and the whole place ran on ‘love, pure love’ as a worker’s co-operative.  When I cook one of their recipes it instantly transports me back to the feeling of wellbeing and comfort promoted by the delicious food and the staff.  Recently, I’ve found my goodgirlgapyear solution to Red Herring nostalgia; Herbies vegetarian cafe in Exeter.  The most fantastic dhal and delicious salads, an incredibly warm welcome (especially for Little One) and free cakes with a drink before 12pm.  It’s the perfect way to round off my day when I pop into Exeter for yoga.

What did I cook while barefoot in the kitchen?  Well that’s a surprise for my special friend.  If you love veggie food, I’d definitely recommend treating yourself to a copy of this legendary book. x