In praise of giving it a go. #NewcastleCan

One of the benefits of taking part in NewcastleCan’s campaign to get healthier and lose weight is that I’m getting braver in the kitchen. 

For years I’ve had a shelf full of beautiful recipe books which sat on the kitchen shelf exuding cooking vibes, hardly ever used. I found them intimidating, often full of ingredients I’d never heard of, and so prescriptive that I was terrified of deviating from any step. There were a couple which were friendlier, but only a handful of recipes I used regularly.

For NewcastleCan I’m trying to avoid processed food by cooking more often, and I’m trying hard to make what I cook healthier. I’m deviating from the recipes, trying new things with less worry about how it will turn out, and getting an understanding of the impact of the food I make on my body. I’m not resorting to takeaways as often, I am eating more fruit and veg, less dairy and carbs. 

Cooking from scratch.

If I don’t have an ingredient I substitute. Sometimes it works. Usually it works. Sometimes it doesn’t, but I learn from that (learning sweet potatoes don’t take as long to cook as regular potatoes is a case in point.) Occaisionally something unexpected happens. I learn from that too. Tonight the egg in the fried rice I was making went green due to the green peppers and spinach creating excess liquid in the pan. It tasted fine, and luckily I have a family who’ll pretty much try anything! 

As well as feeling healthier and losing weight it’s saving me money. There’s less wasted food, bought with good intentions but never used. More homemade lunches taken in to work, and so less cash on lunches. And making sure I make filling meals is helping me snack less too. 

I’m hoping these are habits I’ll stick to. Of course I’ll allow myself occasional treats, but I’ll make sure they are just occasional. So far so good.

Tanking the Takeaway #NewcastleCAN

I’ve had a hard day. And it followed a hard night. Phobic issues led to very disturbed sleep which left me already jittery and anxious to face what turned out to be a very stressful work day. Preparation for tea was delayed by having to drive through awful weather to collect the dog from the vet and my son from his Granny after work. All with a stotting headache. These are the days I inevitably order a takeaway. 

But I remind myself I need to break the habit of stress leading to food. And I already had the one take-away a month I’m allowing myself while being healthier, actually just this week. 

Then I tell myself there’s hardly any food in as I need to go shopping, and what harm would one extra takeaway do? After all it would prevent me feeling stressed. Reducing stress is healthy, right?

Then I take myself to the kitchen where we have one onion, one pepper, the tail end of a bag of rice and some leftover chicken. Add some frozen veg, garlic, ginger and about the amount of time it would take me to walk to and from the nearest Chinese takeaway and…

Enough to feed myself, two hungry teenagers and save a portion for tomorrows lunch. And I get to bask in the virtuous glow of not having given in to temptation. 

I can do this.