To thrive on a plant based diet, eat well and feel satisfied, especially if we have busy lives, we need to be able to make delicious, vegan meals quickly and easily and that means having ingredients and recipes at the ready.
Today I made fast and easy vegetable fritters with a herby sauce.
This recipe sounds very simple – it IS very simple – and it’s flavours and textures are as complicated as we need them to be so we feel we have eaten well.
It is a great option if you want something super healthy, light weight and quick without feeling deprived in any way.
Think along the lines of latkes but without the eggs and smoky kitchen.
How many Christmas eves we spent gathered around the kitchen fire eating latkes with smoke floating around our heads?! A lot, and they were fun.
The fritter is made of grated vegetables. You can use whatever you have in your fridge, I used 2 courgettes, a carrot, a red chilli and a sliced onion plus some chickpea flour and water. Seasoned with a little salt and some cumin.
I’ve previously made with cabbage, carrots, peppers and onion plus green onion tops and I have used sweet potatoes, sweet corn and I can’t remember what else, its so flexible it doesn’t matter, you really can use anything.
I’ve served them with various sauces for a example a sauce of sriratcha and mayonnaise with tomatoe ketchup (the super-healthy, raw, homemade one and at other times the bought stuff 😉 when leaning towards an Okonomiyaki pancake and we almost always have some crispy leaves by the side.
Today we have fresh, peppery rocket leaves.
So, the whole thing, without cooking time took 15 minutes tops. Then 15 minutes cooking… and then 10 minutes eating. I am actually eating them as I am writing this and trying not to get sauce on the keys.
To keep on track with a healthy recipe make sure you have an arsenal of easy delicious vegan recipes. When we are doing our retreats I keep a list of two to three times the number of starters, main courses and desserts I will need so that I always have inspiration.
As you can see there are so many variations and so many possible combinations of fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts but we all need to be prepared, me too, otherwise we end up with something bland and unbalanced, a bunch of bananas or something we maybe regret (throw that pizza delivery menu away;) Though we aren’t puritanical all the time I promise you!
I grated everything except the onion and chilli which I sliced finely and mixed with 3 TBS chickpea flour, a pinch of salt and a few good grinds of pepper. If you need some water add just enought to pull it all together. My courgettes were very fresh and juicy so I only needed a drop.
The mix then sat and absorbed to bind while I made the sauce and the air fryer heated up. I’ve previously left the mix overnight in the fridge, which does make the fritters a bit firmer.
I’ve also grated, mixed and cooked immediately before now and it was just fine, so no need to wait if you can’t. They are not so firm but still very good.
Todays sauce is based on chimichurri or salsa verde but without the anchovies (I am not sure anyone would know they aren’t in there!).
I used about 8 blood sorrel leaves, hence the less than vibrant colour, and about 8 large stems of flat leaf parsley, a garlic onion (like a spring onion but garlicky or three cornered leek), half an avocado, about 15 salted capers which I had rinsed, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper.
It was blended until smoothish and then I added ½ tsp maple syrup to balance out the bitterness of the sorrel and about 1 TBS olive oil to make it more silky.
I blended again and hey presto, delicious!
You can bake or fry the fritters, I air fried mine at 200° – the air fryer is my newest addition to the kitchen and one I really do wonder why I resisted for so long, I LOVE IT and there’s no smoke or frying oil. I just spritz the tray with avocado oil to prevent sticking.
Serve with the sauce to dip into, or pop some on top.
These would be lovely made smaller as part of l’apéros with some other easy, delicious, vegan recipes!
Options if not vegan:
Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce
Use an egg to bind
Crumble in some feta or parmesanLearn More
There is a so much going on at the moment in the world, in the house, in my head.
I have spent a week working out heating wattages, where pipes can go on repointed walls, how things will work in the kitchen to leave space for a sofa in front of the fire.
How to keep character whilst losing the crumbly problem of limestone walls. How to bring in charm and warmth but not hide all the original house behind plaster board.
I have also been working on the website, well two actually, one is my new French/English one and, oh, lala lala, my French is another story.
It has been frustrating and mind boggling and I have spent way too long at the computer.
First world problems, I know.
I’m not going to talk about all the world stuff, it’s all around us, it can get depressing and I really don’t have much to say right now other than: Be kind! Think! Treat people the way you want to be treated! Help people! Don’t bitch! Don’t press that button!
This is a simple one. It’s all simple really if you want it to be (except the French!).
Like, keep the charm, don’t put a plasterboard wall up….
Lots of people are feeling skint after Christmas or generally and think it is expensive to get fit and look after yourself. Not true. Well, it doesn’t have to be anyway! Here are a few ideas.
Wake up in the morning and don’t worry about the cost of heating the water, have a cold shower, feel how your skin warms up afterwards, how you tingle from your hair to your toes – fantastic boost for your immune system and gorgeously toning for your skin.
Massage yourself with some oil, almond or coconut are good ones, maybe with a few drops of your favourite essential oils or use your favourite natural moisturiser, body balm or oil. Its good to look after yourself, it reminds you (or teaches you eventually 😉 that you are valuable, that you matter, that you can take care of yourself.
Wrap up and get outside, walk, splash in puddles, climb a few hills, skid about in the muddy fields, feel the rain sting your cheeks and the wind mess up your hair. Feel alive!
You could pick a pocket full of leaves whilst you are at it and make a wrap, a salad, a quiche, a stir fry or throw them in your bowl to pour hot soup over (check them out, I don’t mean any old leaves – there are lots of identification books around, oh, and a good soak in water and apple cider vinegar will help remove anything nasty).
Do some DIY. Ha, ha, ha.
Moving swiftly on to lunch.
On Sunday, when lots are thinking of roast this and that with Yorkshire puds and gravy (yes, I love that too!) I made this…
Deeply savoury, slightly sweet with lots of crunch and chewy bits it satisfied on all levels, really it did and there was no afternoon slump, no bloating, no “Oh, I wish i hadn’t had that extra serving” .
It is also made with all things in season and localy grown, apart from the sauce.
1/2 a black radish (Black Mooli)
1/2 red pepper
Blette stem (I used leaves as wraps see below) I think they are Chard in English.
1 spring onion
2 sundried tomatoes
A few chives
This is where a few forage leaves would come in handy too:)
1 small dried pepper
Cut Blette leaves into wraps. I’ve never seen Chard or Blette in England I don’t think! Lettuce, Romaine leaves or Savoy cabbage would all work.
Gently fry the dried pepper, mushrooms, sliced Chard stems and half the sliced red pepper, in ghee (or butter or oil) until slightly browning and caramelised.
Toss all the rest, saving half the herbs, in 1/2 TBS Coconut Teriyaki sauce (you could make your own, which is divine or use normal but the own-made or coconut are way better in all ways). That’s the most expensive and, if being pedantic, least healthy bit but you need so little!
So easy, now just lay the leaf wraps out, pile some raw and cooked mixture in, grind pepper over and sprinkle with the reserved herbs and roll up. I tied mine with chive leaves which kept them together well.
Serve with some Teriyaki in a bowl – or Tamari (or soy sauce) with a little drop of maple syrup or honey – to dip if needed.
Lastly, anytime, just …
put some music you love on, close the door, close the curtains, close your eyes and simply move the way you want to. Push it a bit, use all your body, stretch to the edges of your reach, move each side of your body, front, back, right and left. Bend, stretch, twist and turn. It doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how it feels. Move high and move low, move fast and move slow. Roll up and down and lie on the floor and move like a baby. Roll over, push up, curl and extend. Use your fingers, your head, your hips, your ankles. Most of all, use your instinct.
If you allow yourself to include all your muscles you will begin to strengthen and relax your whole body.
And your mind will follow.
Have some chocolate. You know, raw chocs are actually very good for you 🙂
Christmas can be a stodgy affair…but it doesn’t have to be!
Its like wearing that very expensive little something with bargain basement everything else and the whole ensemble looking super chic – if you aren’t careful it can go the other way; it is a question of thinking, balance and taste.
(Obviously I am not talking here about allergies regimes for illness, be aware and take care of your situation).
We don’t want to feel horribly deprived or be the boring one who says “Oh no, I can’t eat that, I am not eating XYZ” to the person who has slaved over a hot stove for weeks (yourself included) neither should we throw all caution to the wind and end up feeling ill.
There are lots of ways, but here are a few ways, to have a healthier Christmas:
Firstly drink lots of water, take your apple cider vinegar, and enjoy the satsumers and fresh nuts!
If you are having people over for drinks make a platter of delectable nibbles that will suit everyone – mix pumpkin and sunflower seeds with sea salt and a drop of olive oil in place of roast salted nuts, a creamy humus without lots of oil, recipe here Here, and with lots of crudites – radish, carrot and cellery sticks, cauliflower florets, chunks of avocado tossed in tomatoe salas (so easy to make, why do people buy the stuff?!), olives, bake small mushrooms and serve with a dollop of pesto on top, the list is endless really, you just need a bit of imagination and a lot less time than making cheese straws and endless bruschettas!
Simple things like loading your dinner plate with more veggies and less of the heavy stuff, not filling up on bread, snacking on more olives, radishes, cherry tomatoes and fewer vol au vents, nibbling some really good chocolate rather than mindlessly gorging on piles of sweet stuff will make your Christmas get togethers enjoyable rather than destroyable.
Try melting some good chocolate (even better make some raw tempered chocolate if you have the ingredients) and dip cherries, bananas or clementine segments into it. Store them in the fridge, not least to stop you eating them all, yum!
Think about it, that’s all, you know what is best and at this time of year it is lovely to enjoy the indulgencies but not to the point of feeling bloated, guilty, even sick. You can make good choices and avoid anything you simply can not eat because there are usually so many alternatives.
If you are the chef look at the balance of the meal. A traditional Christmas meal is actually very healthy if done well. The danger zones are the nibbles, patés, sauces and stuffing’s.
To start how about keeping it lighter maybe a mushroom paté, green pepper corns, oatcakes and some sliced figs made rich and sticky by heating in the oven with a spoonful of honey and splash of balsamic for about 20 mins. Pop them in as it heats up for your turkey then remove and mix up to serve later. Have small portions for taste not filling up, rather to chat and pull crackers over.
There is the meat. I would choose a higher welfare bird or organic – it has had a better life, is more nutritious and provides more meat. It is a good buy. Use the bones for stock. Serve less of it and more of the accompaniments.
Fill your stuffing with lots of chestnuts, onions, prunes, nuts, mushrooms and herbs for scrumptious flavour and texture. I make a meat based one for meat eaters with a small amount of organic pork (about 300gm for enough for 8 people), lots of chestnuts, mushrooms, prunes, onions, pecan nuts, garlic, sage, thyme, salt and pepper and an egg to bind it all together. Full of gorgeous flavours. Quantities below.
For my vegetarian one I use similar ingredients but in place of the pork I use more mushrooms and chestnuts and some chopped olives. I usually change the fruit and use figs, probably some walnuts and cashews in place of the pecans, extra onions and olives and some capers for depth. Quantities below.
The vegetarian version is as popular as the pork one with the meat eaters, it also makes great veggie burgers for any time of year!
Offer lots of vegetables, I usually roast some potatoes (of course!) and parsnips, steam sprouts and top with some butter and nutmeg and poach carrots sticks in orange juice. I serve mashed sweet potatoes and celeriac rather than more starchy potatoes.
Chop and boil sweet potatoes celeriac. When just tender strain, keeping the liquid for your gravy, add lots of black pepper, some butter and an egg to bind and make it deliciously creamy and mash it all together until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed, the celeriac has a lovely salty flavour so it’s a good place to hold on the salt. Recipe below.
I often add in some chopped kale or savoy cabbage at the end for a tasty and nutritional boost! This can all be prepped in advance and popped in the oven to reheat. Make it easy! Here is another recipe using cauliflower.
For the gravy I am purely indulgent – it is made with the meat juices, a stock made from giblets, carrot, onion and celery, any vegetable cooking water left after I make the vegetarian gravy, red wine and port and thickened in the traditional way with flour. No excuses for that today. There are lots of great gravy recipes to be found online. The vegetarian version involves some butter and flour, onions, garlic, vegetable cooking liquid, marmite, mushroom ketchup, some dulce (we are looking for the umami here) a glug of red wine and port.
For both recipes allow reduction time, as that builds the flavour.
I also make cranberry and bread sauces to compliment the meal and go with the left overs.
I LOVE the left overs, they are my favourite bit with pickled onions, homemade mayo, lots of leavy salad and Boxing day films.
Don’t forget to use the hand test, it helps me everytime, remind yourself here.
Merry Christmas, I hope you will be warm and happy, with or in touch with loved ones and most of all loving yourself. Thanks for reading my posts this year and motivating me to be healthier and happier and boosting my own health.
Pork stuffing serves 6ish
300gm organic minced pork
1 cup chestnuts
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup pitted chopped prunes
2 finely chopped onions
½ cup crumbled pecan nuts or walnuts
2 crushed cloves garlic
Handful sage leaves chopped
Sprig of thyme leaves picked – use the leaves not the stick!
Big pinch salt
10 grinds of pepper
Vegetarian stuffing serves 6ish
11/2 cup chestnuts
11/2 cup chopped mushrooms
¾ cup pitted chopped prunes or figs or half and half
2 finely chopped onions
½ cup crumbled pecan nuts or walnuts or mix of either with cashews
¼ cup chopped green of black olives
2 crushed cloves garlic
2 teaspoons rinsed salted capers chopped
Handful sage leaves chopped
Sprig of thyme leaves picked – use the leaves not the stick!
Big pinch salt
10 grinds of pepper
Mash for 6-8
1KG sweet potatoes
1 dessertspoon butter
Taste and add salt if needed.Learn More
How are you feeling? Have you followed anything here, changed anything?
Simply put, nothing will change unless you change something.
I know I am repeating myself but please don’t hold back until ‘all the bad stuff has been used up’, ‘after the holiday’, ‘after Christmas’ and all the other delaying tactics our heads can use. This is not a punishment!
Just choose better, mostly, now.
Right now stop reading and go and drink a big glass of water…..
Easy, useful, healthful.
Have a piece of fruit. If you don’t like biting into a juicy apple (pear, carrot, celery) cut one up and just have it on a plate next to you. Before you know you will have eaten it.
It’s the weekend in autumn, does that mean a comforting, big Sunday lunch or Saturday night pizza? OK, just change it up a bit.
Here’s a recipe to replace your stodgy mashed potatoes –
Multiply as needed but depending on the size of the vegetables this should serve about 4 or two for one meal and put the rest in a veggie soup tomorrow.
Steam or boil (don’t swamp them with water, just enough to cover) with a lid on.
When tender, drain (drink the liquid or use it in your sauce or gravy) and put into a blender or bowl if you have a stick blender with
A piece of butter, about 2 teaspoons or splash of olive oil
Pinch salt and a few grinds of pepper to taste.
Blend it all up.
Add, roughly chopped:
2-3 leaves of kale, calvo nero, chopped savoy cabbage or any dark green leaves
Pulse into the mash and serve!
Replace your pizza base with slices of aubergine with a splash of love oil smeared over them and roast until tender. When ready top as you would pizza.
There are lots of recipes circulating for cauliflower pizza base, look one up.
Use a stronger tasting cheese and less of it.
Don’t use pizza sauce just put slices of real tomatoes, a smatter of salt and a sprinkle of herbs on as your tomatoe base.
Two things today –
If there is one piece of equipment that I believe would help you have healthier meals it is a blender. A high powered one.
I use Vitamix and Blendtec. I have never used a Nutri Bullet but have only ever heard good things about them and they could be ideal for a lower price point and if you are not going to go the whole hog of grinding nuts, seeds, making flours etc. They also sound great for taking with you (I have been very tempted to get one for travelling, much easier than humping my Vitamix around!).
I am sure if you look on EBay or local second hand sale sites you could find any of the above at a good price because more people than I can count have told me over the years that they have a juicer in the back of a cupboard they never use and I am sure the same can be said for blenders.
Whilst it is important to MOVE it is equally important to rest. If you are healing mentally or physically, recuperating, dealing with and overcoming autoimmune disease or any illness you need to push the toxins out and you need to rest to heal.
On the internet there are loads of guided relaxations, meditations, peaceful relaxing music. You need to look around and try to find what suits you, some really irritate me which is the opposite effect to the one we are looking for! It doesn’t mean they are all the same; Take the time and then use it regularly.
10-30 minutes of deep relaxation, especially regularly, will make you feel so much better.
If you are working and feel that fatigue or stress creeping in pop out for a breath of fresh air or to a quiet place (the loo even) and take a few minutes out to just stop thinking. It might help if you could put a short meditation on your phone and use headphones. Make it happen.
Listen to your body and trust it to tell you.
Have a fun weekend xLearn More
Lets have a word about procrastination, avoidance, distancing.
A client came to me about ‘all the things he has to do, and that he was not succeeding or getting anywhere’. He felt between a rock and a hard place, nothing was working.
We spent a lot of time talking and have spoken many times before about other things. I noticed that one of his frequent sentences was:
“I am going to……”or, I will do …” and often, “I should have done….”.
He was very focused on all the different things he had to do and on the point that he was not good at multi-tasking instead of focusing on a job in hand. Therefore getting nowhere other than more and more depressed and worried and distanced from what needed doing.
I explained that an example of multi tasking could be talking the phone (clutched under the chin) talking to a client whilst feeding the baby in one arm and stirring the soup with another. Or, filling in your accounts on the computer whilst on speakerphone to a supplier and watching (and worrying about) your expensive employee chatting to their best friend on the phone, again.
I suggested that having various jobs or commitments, keeping hydrated and exercising are not multi tasking unless he was planning on lifting weights whilst riding on the sit-on mower and making deals on his mobile.
I also suggested, somewhat forcefully after he kept escaping from our conversation to all the things he will do, he only needs to do one of these various jobs at a time. It creates variety, which we all need. The jobs do not over lap at all and if each job was given an allotted day or time slot and done properly, whole heartedly and thoroughly he wouldn’t have to think about it whilst doing another job. Therefore no multi tasking required.
I advised that he take job A – (which is basically selling) and has a list of everything that is required, the clients list, items he needs to sell, his target written down clearly. Then on that job’s day he starts and does absolutely everything he can with all his resources to get the best possible outcome on that day. So e-mail, phone calls, post if all else fails. Explore every avenue and be creative (if a contact number is not immediately available look at every possible way you could get one or make contact). At the end of the day he may feel a little frustrated if he has not made any contacts BUT ultimately he will feel immensely satisfied that he did everything he could to the best of his ability during Job A’s time slot. No point worrying about it afterwards, it will not change a thing. Let all the hard work percolate until the next time it is Job A’s time slot.
Next day he takes Job B and applies the same intention, intensity and determination and so on.
Maybe as there are a few different jobs have 15 – 30 minutes just to address any e-mails or things to deal with such as if the best client in the world’s PA sends an email to arrange a meeting…
Then, when he is mowing the garden (or driving the kids to dance class or doing exercise) he can put some great music on or an audio book, drink a beer and multi task happily (beer drinking is not applying to the bracketed options obvs 😉 this then becomes recreational rather than part of the job pile.
Lets also talk about ‘job’, ‘task’, ‘commitment’. Make them fun/interesting/exciting and they become enjoyable. Who wants to just do a job compared to playing at chatting to people, finding out how people work, feeling successful and providing something that someone needs? Who wants to do a task or fulfill a commitment when they could be playing at mowing, singing their heads off drowned out by the engine, zoning out to their favourite tunes or being told a facinating and exciting story. Think about how to make what you do into what you want to do. Life is to be enjoyed not endured, how lucky we are to have it.
I worked in a shop at one point and it was so boring until I made a challange to be the fastest on the till (it was the olden days, you keyed the money in as you passed the products along the counter beside you) and to try to get as many people a day to smile. In the end I had lovely if brief chats with people who I got to know in a chitchaty way, and was the fastest cashier in the North – my till was always out by a few pence either way (always!!!) so I didn’t get a pat on the back but I did get a lot of smiles 🙂
The moral of the story is you can spend so much time worrying about that big pile of stuff over there rather than concentrating on jumping right on top of the smaller, more manageable pile of stuff right in front of you. Jump right into the centre of it, splat!, and sort out every tiny little bit of it then go over to the big pile, take what you can carry and put it where the little pile was and jump splat! into the middle of that one and deal with it. How satisfying!
Saying “I will do….”, “I am going to do….” and “I should have done….” is SO much better changed to “I am doing”.
I am drinking water and I am hydrated.
I am exercising and I am fit.
I am dealing with this now.
I am doing my best right now.
I am in control.
I am satisfied.
I am finding a way to enjoy what I do.
I am doing it, now, in the way that works for me.
I am I!
I am moving this blog back to Whatdesrididnext.wordpress.com. If you want to join me there I would be very happy! Thanks for reading.
Hi Mum, move, let me past, I need to go to the loooooo!
The cry of so many kids when they get home from school. “Why didn’t you go at school?” “No way, I can’t!”.
No. I do get it.
You would think the fact that we all need to ‘go’ would mean that ‘going’ was just a normal thing with no hang ups attached.
Imagine a world with no travel constipation, reduced bloating, discomfort, wind, gas, funny tummy, holiday tummy even reduced IBS.
I was with someone once and they seemed distracted and slightly uptight. They weren’t always like that. I asked what was wrong, they said nothing. But there so was.
I knew the atmosphere was uncomfortable and could feel it getting worse. I suddenly had a thought and decided the risk was worth it to save the day – “Do you think you might want to go to the loo?”.
They looked at me, I looked straight back like I’d just asked if they wanted a cup of tea. “Yes, I think I might” they said. We smiled, tension went, atmosphere adjusted, it was OK because it was said and nothing embarrassing happened.
I think that happens quite a lot. I wonder how many anxious or strained atmospheres could start because someone wants to go to the loo and can’t for whatever reason; I don’t want to go into all the possibilities but I am talking about simple embarrassment – work loos, schools loos, hotel loos etc.
Isn’t it about time hotels had bathrooms that were sound proofed rather than ones where the person in the room (and in the room next door) can hear someone cleaning their teeth in the bathroom never mind going to the loo. Where school and any public loos have complete doors rather than being open top and bottom?
Robin and I stayed at a very nice (translate expensive) place on Ile de Ré in France for a special occasion only to discover the lovely room and bathroom were open to each other. “Non” said the receptionist, “There is a wall, no?”. Yes, there was a partition wall but on one side and yes, two other sides had proper walls, but the fourth side is the monster in the room – or not because it wasn’t there, did not exist, at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I like to share, he likes to share, we just don’t, EVER, want to share that!
So we were moved, slightly disdainfully it has to be said (Les Anglaise, eye roll) to a room with a bathroom – with a glass door…
We had some friends over for lunch in the summer, all young, our kids friends actually. One was telling us about her wonderful new man, they sounded so happy. She giggled, we all looked expectantly, “Well,” she hesitated, thought a moment, shrugged her pretty French shoulders, ” The other night we were in bed and I farted (try reading with a French accent, it sounds so much nicer)”, more giggles, “‘e was so polite, ‘e pretended to be asleep”, we all giggled, “What did you do?” I asked, “I pretended to be asleep also”, we all laughed our heads off – no doubt as each of us remembered a time, a similar story – then the subject was changed.
I remember, no longer cringing with embarassment thankfully, being about 11 and sleeping in the same bed as my Mother one night, we were staying in the caravan with my brother and sister, sharing two beds. In the night I ‘made a rude noise’ as it was called in our house. The next day she said we needed a serious talk. She proceeded to tell me what had occured and how, when I went on my school trip the following week, nobody would like me at all if I did such a disgusting thing. Blimey, the sleepless nights started there!
At our first house in France we were shown to a wooden building in the garden that had a bench with two holes cut in it. One large hole, with a little v shape cut out of the front of the curve and a smaller one with no v shaped gap. His and hers! I just can’t imagine, no I’m not going to, moving swiftly on…
If you have a toilet issue just bear in mind everyone needs to go. If you don’t you get ill. If it’s a problem simply say so. No need for long explanations. Learn to laugh about normal stuff. Don’t cause your kids grief by passing on and inflating hang ups.
If you are going to be in a situation where you will be uncomfortable, shall we say, you can take aloe or ground flax for a smoother, easier experience, they are good to include in your diet anyway (read up on them or take advice on use and quantities first).
To generally reduce bloating and constipation and increase ease and comfort eat less white, sticky doughy food and more fruit and vegetable fibre, drink more water, chew properly, eat fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, live yogurt, drink kombucha, water kefir and/or take pre and probiotics. Move more. Ease up on yourself.
Smile and let go, haha, sorry.
So that’s the end of the Mom talk for today.
Had to include the naughty photo my kids took when they did a show for me….
Charlie Brown; “Some day we all will die”
Snoopy; “True, but on other days we will not ”
Let’s make the best of our days, our loves and our lives.
Some day we die, the other days we don’t and those days we need to enjoy the living not worrying about dying.
If you are struggling with that reach out to somebody, don’t suffer alone.
We’ve just been for a blustery walk around a loch and up a very steep and rugged hill, picked some blackberries and one very lonesome bilberry and a twig of pine to make tea from. Blown away the cobwebs, boosted our endorphins and foraged some Vitamin C and antioxidants… Robins now chomping his way through some Scottish fudge.
I’d better go and rescue him. (Yes, him, from it!).
Peaceful and beautiful Loch Fyne, loving it come rain or shine.
My lovely daughter asked for some tips for easy, tasty, fast and cheap packed lunches.
Tired of the, and by the, sandwiches, wraps, even more supposedly healthy options available within easy reach of where she works in Paris she needed to get back on top of this.
Everyone needs to enjoy a meal and function on all cylinders afterwards at lunch time no matter what we do. Lighter, brighter, cleaner food helps lift our mood rather than lower it (foods can do both), give us energy, keep us fresh and physically and mental bright and vibrant.
Even the best of us need motivation sometimes, she is a very healthy eater, amazing cook, experimental and enjoys the best of France too (think of those divine cheese stands at the market, the freshest fish, I won’t go on) so she came a-calling on Momma. Who, by the way, also goes to her and literally hundreds of recipe books both cooked and raw for inspiration.
First, of course I mentioned green smoothies, my go to lunch at least 4 out of 7 days a week but she wanted something ‘to eat!’ so I suggest making some wraps of sliced or even pulsed which is faster (unless you have a mandolin – which I have but dare not use, it looks lethal!) vegetables. Carrots, mushrooms, spring or red onion, radishes, avocado, whatever you have and like, even some cauliflower or broccoli.
Mix it all up with a few herbs if you have them, maybe a good sprinkle of ready to eat sea salad, a drop of olive oil or sesame oil would give a more oriental flavour and some balsamic or a drop of tamari or soy sauce some good combinations to mix in small quantities OR to put in a mini sealed pot to dip into:
- olive oil – balsamic – basil – salt n pepper
- sesame oil – soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy) – splash of maple – pepper
- Teriyaki sauce (I use the coconut version, because it has no soy)
- a blended avocado, drop of cider vinegar, pinch salt, italian herbs or chopped chives
- juice of one orange, splash of soy sauce/tamari/ liquid amos (I use the coconut version with no soy), dash of olive oil, sprinkle of sea salad. I think this is one of my favourite dressings for salad too, I put lots on and happily drink what is left out of my bowl, if we don’t have visitors of course.
- blended plums (3 or 4), a sprinkle cider vinegar, chilli depending on taste and heat, tbsp olive oil, onion – match quantity to size of one plum, a small chunk of fresh ginger, a date or two and, depending on meetings, a clove of garlic.
You could make a raw wrapper, use a wholewheat pitta bread, corn tortilla or a great and light one is a rice wrapper that they sell for spring rolls.
As with all my recipes adjust to suit you. I am not a chef, I throw things together and make them work (and occasionally they don’t) and I have been doing this for many, many years so know what we like and work more on instinct – even when following a cooked recipe, it has to be said, much to Aimee’s dismay. And Robins on occasion, as you can see here .
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I have had lots of conversations about my last post with people who related to various points. I am so glad we have had the many experiences we have had and can use them to help others!
I did wonder for a moment or two if was a good idea to post about dealing with anxiety.
Firstly on a personal basis, because it is ingrained in us almost from birth not to tell other people if we have problems and the post wasn’t only about me, it was about my husband too. ( To allay any fears, I would never betray a confidence to anybody, we follow a strict confidentiality code and that applies to each other too, so of course we were both in perfect harmony and agreement about my post).
Secondly from a professional perspective: “could it affect our business if people know ….” well, I had to get over that one quickly – we believe that having lived through various situations, problems, conflicts etc etc in our lives makes us very much more aware of how they effect people. Also, having overcome different things, we have the experience – the proof if you like, that it is possible.
Lets not perpetuate the belief that emotional problems are something to be ashamed of!
And lets face it, most good diet councillors have run the gauntlet of losing weight and are still working to keep it off. Drug and drink rehabilitation sponsors are themselves in recovery and so they know exactly what one is going through.
You wouldn’t expect your driving instructor not to be able to drive.
A person who has experienced and achieved what they are teaching is often a much better bet than a person who has just learnt through theory.
We believe that we are more credible because of what we have experienced, what we manage and what we have overcome and therefore have a greater understanding of the things our clients experience, need to deal with, manage and/or overcome.
We have seen people open up and well up with relief because, on hearing an experience of ours, they suddenly realise that someone really does understand. How often do people think they are the only ones who feel the way they do, or that nobody will understand them. You can bet your bottom dollar that if you are in a room full of people there will be someone else who feels just like you do. Who would totally get it if they only knew how you felt and who would be grateful to know you understand them too. People think they are in a little bubble all alone and can’t tell or ask for help – they often think there IS no help – but they can and there is!
We are proud of our life experiences, good and bad, they have helped make us who we are and are an added qualification from the great university of life. Whilst we don’t need to talk about them all the time none of us should need or want to hide them.
We are all human after all and that’s something to celebrate.
I say again PLEASE lets not perpetuate the belief that emotional problems, anxiety, depression, low self esteem, eating disorders and all the long list – often seen as the great unmentionables – are something to be ashamed of!
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There it’s out. That is how I feel right now.
Frustrated, angry, guilty, shouty, sad, tired, tired, tired and too mad to even sleep a moment.
When that anxiety raises its very ugly head the day hits a fast downward spiral. Its clear in a look, a posture, a smell, a tone that oh ho, its coming, doesn’t matter how fast we run its going to catch us.
That knot in the stomach, that sinking feeling, that whispered ‘Oh nooooooo’.
That twist when your day turns from what it was to what it is going to be, ruled by anxiety.
Its like walking down a corridor bumping into one side, recorrecting, bumping into the other side, recorrecting, never getting it right.
Reacting, or trying to, to just what comes next, no looking at the big picture, no peripheral vision, the world blinkered…. Need to do this, whoops, did that wrong, need to do that, oh need to do this, didn’t finish that……bobbing about in a tiny boat on a vast ocean of pits and troughs and huge waves just smashing right down over you.
Well, that’s my take on it. I’m not the one suffering from it, though it makes me very anxious when it happens. I am the partner, co-driver, crutch or contributor.
I watch, I get mad, I shout, I talk him down, I talk him up, I care, I cry with frustration that yet another day, event, moment has been lost or ruined. I feel guilty for my bad reactions. I take many deep breaths and push through the good reactions, only to fall into the bad again.
We work through it together, we are a team. When this happens I’m the grown up, the parent, the rock. And no it is not easy. It is doable.
This is the first time in all these years I have spoken out about this. Less than a handful of people know.
When it happens, which is very rare now, I don’t socialise, we don’t socialise; I am not good at smiling and pretending.
Sometimes I want to, and often I do when we are in the midst of ‘it’, cry my eyes out. Sometimes I feel really sorry for myself.
But its not my anxiety, it’s just something I share.
I once said “Why don’t you just let that anxiety sit right there with you? Let it be there, don’t fight it just accept it”. It soon got bored and it really did go away much more quietly and quickly than usual. I thought, “that’s it, a cure!” then the next time, maybe we were both more tired or depleted but we often forgot that trick.
I also remember, and this a big confession. Oh the shame, saying in the midst of a very deep, long, dark and particularly desperate period about 18 years ago – there were seriously mitigating circumstances, another post about dealing with what life, and people throw at you will show up one day – anyway, I actually said “You conned me! I thought you were strong. I thought you would be there for me. I didn’t know I would have to be your Mother!”. I am sure I have said worse too. I didn’t understand how it felt, how there was no control, how he didn’t understand, how he went blank to hide behind it.
But he is incredibly strong, totally there for me, we share our care. Just not on those days.
And now I see him change people lives in a few hours, literally. He’s a rock to so many, he’s a wave of calm when you are in the middle of turbulence. He’s a voice of reason, full of quiet wisdom and even in the midst of dire personal loss he has turned someones life from wretched to full of hope!
There is hope, so much hope!
For us, now (after so much work and perseverance and tears and talking) this happens once every few months, if that, and probably only lasts a day. As it used to be there would have been one good day every few months! I showed my frustration today, however much i know and help others deal with things I still react in a human way. I do have the tools to help now though and the practice to remember to use them, usually.
If you are the co-rider of anxiety try to remember:
1 They are not doing this on purpose.
2 Anxiety is strong and tricky – try to find some tricks to use against it (tricky post coming up).
3 Breath, remove yourself and regroup when you start feeling yourself slip into despair.
4 Remind the anxious person to breath, take time out, regroup. Often.
5 Find them something soothing and/or distracting,- walk, bath, hot and cold showers, running or other exercise, watch something really funny to belly laugh. Its hard at a time like that I know, it’s worth it.
6 Suggest they choose tasks that don’t need thought or real responsibility whilst they ride it out. Understand you need to direct. I am sorry, this is tough if you are working for other people. There is no easy way.
7 Acknowledge what is happening. Verbalise that it is happening now but is not permanent (even if you have one good day every few months).
8 Work on a plan together of things you can do to take control.
9 Discuss how it feels for you both. Especially the anxious person, they probably never thing about how it feels they are just stuck in this dreadful engulfing feeling!
10 If you have kids explain, maybe get some advice about how best to do it. Don’t leave them being anxious because they are picking up on anxiety and have no idea why or what because you can’t see or touch it and it isn’t spoken about.
11 Really remember that anxiety does not define a person.
12 When improvement happens try not to blip back to how it was at its worst as I did today!
Sometimes the trigger can be obvious and sometimes not so. Try to trace it back because there is often some clue.
For us today there was a migraine, a type that causes dream flashes, a bit like déjà vu, that is very frightening.
Usually I smell a chemical smell up to about 12 hours before these migraines but this time there was nothing I noticed so I could give no warning and it is very frightening. There were disturbing dreams last night.
Fragments so small as to go unnoticed can piece together a bit of information. By discovering a few reasons you can rationalise a little bit and that gives a feeling of understanding and so control, or something akin to it.
As you talk it through, investigate (the time needs to be right for both parties!) the boil will reduce to a simmer, the sea will calm, that band of pressure around the head will slacken a bit. It really is anxio’us’ it effects all people close.
The amazing thing for us is that we have experience, stories, history, and we have learnt over many years and much study in a determination not to be beaten, how to deal with some of the rubbish life can deal out. That rubbish can taint everything else or you can start clearing it out.
I feel so much better now that I have talked.
Time to go back as support… I am sure tomorrow will be better, maybe even this evening.
Do not suffer anxiety alone. Here to support you whether you are the anxiety pilot or co-pilot.
Follow up, 4 hours later, I read this post to my person, he calmed, understanding helps, we went out shopping, we laughed at a few normal things, it dissipated. That sounds as though it was like a mild headache, it wasn’t for a short time. It never is. But these days it is just a reminder of what it was so, please, have hope!
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