Saturday 20th January
With more than half of January already passed, and the end of the first month of 2018 drawing to a close how are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? Have you hit a stumbling block already? Have you even started?
Don’t kick yourself up too much if you are finding it difficult to make a change and stick with it, it apparently takes over thirty days of doing something to make it a habit (or to break a habit if that’s your focus), so if you have slipped just start again. For motivation try this free printable from the people behind the Happiness Planner that helps you track a new habit a day at a time.
Me on the other hand, I’ve decided to take 2018 and my goals for the year a month at a time; instead of setting out a long list of goals at the start of the year and jumping into everything at once, I‘ve decided to focus on one thing I want to change in my life or one habit I want to make or break each month.
January was all about food…
Finding my way to a better relationship with food…
Why is it that we always feel that we have to be on a diet? Why do so many new year’s resolutions start with a diet? If we all love and enjoy food so much, why are we always thinking and talking about restricting how much of it we eat?
Growing up I watched my mum read numerous dieting books, trying all the new food trends and constantly feelings frustrated at the temporary results or the unrealistic maintenance of these different ‘diets’. I myself in my teens became obsessed with the scales and the number I registered on them, cutting out all the foods I loved the most from my diet just so I could make that number tip lower and lower.
The things is I was always unhappy, either because I still didn’t hit my “target weight” or because I was just ‘hangry’ from not actually eating enough.
Three years ago I made the decision to become a vegetarian and so began my journey to a better relationship with food; all of a sudden I had to eat more of everything since I was cutting out a food group. Now I was allowed to eat carbs, better still eating carbs is celebrated in the vegan and vegetarian world with phrases like #carbup and #fuelledbycarbs.
For a long time I was so focused on supporting myself in this new lifestyle that I ate well without even thinking about it.
But we all fall off the wagon, and sometimes when you face mentally challenging obstacles in life you find it hard to be positive about anything. My relationship with food became one of comfort, because after all you can still eat chocolate as a vegetarian…
Why I want to eat more plantbased & why now…
So, fast froward to 2018 and finding my way back to that connection I found with food and eating when I first decided to become a vegetarian. But why plant based eating you ask? More and more research is revealing the benefits of eating a plant based diet for our health, both physically and mentally. I want to be able to enjoy food without thinking about calories or how much else I’ve already eaten that day and instead focus on whether or not the foods I want to eat or am eating are nourishing and wholesome.
Now, I’m not saying that eating more vegan means that you can simply eat what you want when you want; there is plenty of vegan and vegetarian ‘junk foods’ available and it’s very easy to fall into that pit. That’s why I’ve made my goal about eating more plant-based, whole foods specifically, and therefore less processed foods.
This month I started by challenging myself to cook more and bake more, to use more fresh vegetables and fruit and whole foods. By just focusing on that, on eating more healthy and making more healthy meals and snacks, and not trying at the same time to focus on ten other goals, I’ve enjoyed eating and cooking so much more. Eating plantbased meals is beginning to come more naturally, I have less cravings for ‘junk foods’ and instead want to bake something (such as a vegan chocolate banana muffins, full recipe at the end of this post) whenever my sweet tooth tingles.
January was all about food, about being more focused and mindful about what I eat, how it’s prepared and how it makes me feel after I’ve eaten it. Now that I am beginning to settle into this food journey I can start to look forward towards my next goal: fitness.
It’s seems kind of obvious, and for good reason too, healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand; if we want to look after our bodies and keep them working to the best of their abilities for as long as possible then a balanced lifestyle, fuelled by good food and filled with physical exercise is the equation for success.
Since the summer I have lost touch with my love of exercising, I have even stopped practicing yoga regularly which makes me a little sad when I really think about it. If I’m honest I haven’t had the most positive opinion of my body in the last few months and that has made me apprehensive about sticking to a regular exercise routine.
Next month will be all about falling in love with working out again; I’ll be getting back on my yoga mat and taking up running again to get back out into the outdoors.
What are your goals for the new year, and how are you planning to take them on and achieve them? Let me know in the comments below…
Recipe of the week: Chocolate banana muffins
Adapted from my current favourite recipe from Lucy Watson's gorgeous book, Feed Me Vegan, I bring you vegan chocolate banana muffins. Unbelievably sweet, chocolatey and filling; despite the fact that they contain no eggs, dairy milk or butter they get a seriously impressive rise.
- 3 ripe bananas
- 200 ml soya milk
- 60 g vegan butter
- 100 g coconut sugar
- 300 g plain flour
- 3 tbsp dark cocoa powder (check ingredients to make sure your cocoa powder is suitable for vegans)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 muffin tins
- 12 muffin cases
- 1 extra banana for decorating
In a small pan melt the vegan butter and then set aside to cool.
Peel the bananas and break in to a blender; add in the soya milk and then blend until smooth.
Poor the banana mix into a large mixing bowl; add in the melted butter and coconut sugar and use an electric whisk to combine.
Sieve in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and cinnamon. Add a pinch of salt and then whisk to combine all the ingredients into a smooth cake batter.
Prepare your muffin tins with muffin cases and then use an ice cream scoop to evenly spoon your mixture between twelve cases. Peel a fourth banana and top each muffin with a slice of banana.
Place your muffin tins in a preheated oven at 200°C for 35 minutes; to check the muffins are fully baked through insert a skewer, if it comes out dry they are done, if it comes out with traces of cake batter return the muffins to the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Cool the muffins out of the trays on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.