Autumn foodie goals
I had the luxury of spending a month away on holiday this summer...great fun and a lovely break from normal life. Now I'm back in Falmouth, a little more freckly, and a little softer around the edges – thanks cheese, bread and wine...not complaining!
Autumn is always a time when I feel motivated and energised to challenge myself, and make some changes. Some of my autumn goals this year are around food. Not necessarily what I'm going to eat, although that's part of it. More around how I'm going to eat, how I'm going to approach mealtimes, and how I'm going to make life a bit simpler. I'm not seeking perfection, I'm not after a radical overhaul, and I'm certainly not telling you what I think you should be doing. These are just my personal foodie goals for autumn which I thought I'd share!
Get organised eating well. I've tried various ways of planning healthy meals/food shopping for me and my family and I realise there is no perfect way of doing things. However, I have learnt that a little weekend meal planning can ease the 'what-the-hell-are-we-going-to-eat-tonight?' stresses that gets squeezed out during the week. I’ve reinstated the weekly online supermarket shop for the staples (the child-based supermarket armageddon doesn't seem to be going away, even as the kids get older). In Falmouth we're spoilt, having shops where you can buy small amounts of weighed items, excellent health food stores, and a fab weekly market. So I’m also doing a proper once a week 'shop local' trip, for fresh, organic and locally grown food.
Slow weekday lunches. A calm breakfast time, forget it! And now the kids are growing fast and off to various after school clubs, weekday dinner times tend to be a bit all over the place. At lunchtimes I can take the time to have a calm meal without rushing, so I'm making the most of it! I'm enjoying planning my little meals for one (just like Noddy did), sitting down to properly enjoy my food, listening to the radio, or just enjoying the silence.
Eat right for me and my body. It's so easy to get sucked into the latest food fads but what I've come to realise is that there are a few good basic principles to eating well, and that we're all different in how we eat, what we like/can tolerate, and when we need to eat. Now I’ve hit my mid 40s I'm really trying to tune in more and more in to what works for my body, and am sticking to a few basic principles this autumn. If I don't drink plenty of water I become irritable and get headaches. If I don't have a small snack every two hours, hanger and tiredness kick in. Booze and sugar make me feel bleugh, and mess up my sleep. Foods that fill me up, give me energy and make me feel good are fresh fruit and veg, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, eggs, and SMASH fish.
Relax about family mealtimes. This is my biggest challenge. Because eating well is important to me, I really want my family to eat well too. And sitting down to eat as a family every day is something I've previously refused to budge on. Cue lots of arguments, food refusals, and meals which feature the lowest common denominator of cuisine (usually something involving pasta). This autumn I’m chilling the hell out! For now, my daughter isn’t going to eat salmon, my son isn’t going to touch a lentil, and my husband will continue to mock chia seeds. If this means that the kids eat fairly basic meals separately from us a couple of times a week then that's fine and the world won't end. Us grown ups are now getting to eat more interesting meals as a result, and we even manage to have the odd mealtime conversation that doesn't involve Fortnite and the latest Insta colab(?).
Calming bedtime drinks. Although I rarely have problems getting to sleep, from 8pm each night my kids decide to liven up (this is putting it very politely). There are lots of things you can try to enable you to calm down before bed but what’s really working at the moment is a calming bedtime drink (as well as a little reflexology, of course!) once tucked up in bed. The latest winning drink is simple: pop a couple of crushed cardamom pods, a star anise and a quick grate of nutmeg into a pan of milk (soya, oat, dairy, etc. all work), and warm up for a few minutes. Delicious and extremely sleep-inducing!
As a reflexologist, I've seen first hand how powerful the simple act of touch can be. The importance of this innate human connection can’t be underestimated; it's vital to our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Cold hands, warm heart? That's all well and good but now the temperature has dropped we just want warm mitts and feet! Reflexology is brilliant for the circulation and at the end of a treatment, feet and toes are warm and even in colour.
I'm now officially trained in Mindful Reflexology, thanks to the brilliant Sally Earlam from the Association of Reflexologists. This additional reflexology training consolidates my background in mental well-being and stress management.