I generally avoid New Year Resolutions. Particularly in the New Year when I’m often feeling toxic from lack of routine and the chaotic eating that results. But last year was a tricky one for me, a long bout of depression interspersed with occasional out-of-control highs, which left me mentally exhausted and feeling somewhat disconnected with the world at large. Finishing 2013 with an entire month that was blissfully clear of paranoia, crying episodes and inexplicable mood swings but the best part of two weeks spent with all kind of acute physical illnesses has left me with the need to draw a line. A nice clear line with the letters
en o u g h is e n o u g h.
So. what to do? I really, really don’t want to set goals that push me out of my comfort zone or cause me to beat myself up if I don’t succeed. But I do want to provide myself with some cushioning should my current emotional stability wobble and overbalance again. Over the past week I’ve been pondering the issue. Food, for me, is key. If I’m low, eating intelligently stops me going under completely (I know this, because I have experienced eating unintelligently and the results were not pretty.) If I’m in a good place then instinctive eating keeps me there for longer. In order to honour both intelligent and instinctive eating it is tricky to set rules. And yet a resolution invariably involves rules or a game plan at the very least.
While pondering raw eating, paleo eating, going gluten/dairy and sugar free and various other systems just to give myself an easy reference (healthy eating means such different things when you are also an emotional eater) I came across a gem in the Guardian Weekend. A mere few sentences that gave me that a-hah feeling in both the pit of my stomach and the part of my brain that has got me a qualification in Nutritional Therapy. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall pretty much wrote my resolution for me.
While it’s wise to recalibrate one’s cooking after a period of indulgence, I don’t find extended periods of self-denial very productive. They can make me resentful, so I tend to think about eating better rather than eating less.
Eat better. It’s adaptable, it speaks to both the intellectual and the instinctive, and it’s perfectly do-able. Depending on mood, finance and time constraints and current health requirements I can choose to source with more thought, cook with more care, present with more flair and / or eat with more… more, well for want of a better word, with more love. The mass produced festive food is all cleared out of the house now, either consumed or binned. The fridge is full of seasonal, organic veg; the fruit bowl is overflowing, the freezer is packed with organic meat, the cupboards stuffed with nuts, helpful oils and the occasional “superfood.” My 100+ cookbooks are crying out to be re-thumbed and bookmarked. 2014 has promise and I intend to see that it makes good.