One thing that we, as people, love to do, is label things. It is human nature, and is our way of ordering the world around us into neat boxes and also a way of identifying ourselves. But when people don’t fit into labels, that can be difficult. You can just imagine it can’t you? Someone carefully explaining their unique personal choices and traits to have them summed up as “so you’re … then?” Usually, not quite.
In the health and fitness world, there often feels like there are two categories of women: those who lift, focus heavily on protein, and seem to live off whey and chicken. Then, there is the yogi, who is a committed vegan and turns enough fruit to feed a family of four into endless smoothie bowls. Of course, this is completely not true, and doesn’t represent many of us out there. However, not fitting into one of these groups can be confusing. At one point, I genuinely considered whether I should become completely vegan just so that my blog and Instagram fit these parameters. But of course, that would have been ridiculous. It is hard enough trying to balance what I do at the gym with what I do on the mat when labelling states that they contradict, rather than compliment, one another. And because I can’t do everything, and have to focus on yoga or the gym on any given day, I always feel guilty about the one that has had less effort put into it that day. I just have to remind myself that doing a bit of everything is probably the best way to promote my overall health and avoiding over stressing one area.
When it comes to food, the only thing I can describe myself other than “lover of food” is a whole foods eater. I strongly believe in making real, flavoursome food from minimally processed sources. Remember, all cooking and preparing counts as processing to one degree or another. I adore eating plant based foods as they have a low environmental and ethical impact, and nutritionally dense and encourage me to be creative with my cooking. However, when someone is cooking for me, I usually do not stipulate eating vegetarian or vegan and will enjoy any meat served to me as a treat. When staying with my parents, we seem to have an unspoken rule that as a household we will eat less meat (something that my dad is keen to take up anyway) if I do eat whatever happens to be on the menu that day. It’s largely chicken anyway, which I believe has less environmental impact that eating dairy.
I won’t really get into game, other than that I am happy to eat it, but often don’t because I am away from home during most shooting seasons. I feel it to be environmentally, and often ethically, sound. Let me know if a conversation on game food is something that you would like to read on the blog in the future.
As for dairy, I try not to have too much, because of the industry around it and the impact of cattle (methane gas anyone?). However, many a dish is improved with a few shavings of cheese, and, when I have it, I swear butter is one of the greatest flavours on this earth. I don’t have it at university because I don’t use it much, so it is a real treat to me. Plus, sometimes, I can’t afford the dairy alternatives, especially soy-free yoghurt. I also don’t really have a problem with eating eggs as I only buy them from the local, organic produce section in my local health food shop, or from my own village back in Yorkshire where I can see the chickens outside in a huge field having a great quality of life. It is about transparency. I am also a supporter of consumption of honey as local sellers and responsible companies actually do far more good for protecting bee populations than the impact of taking a proportion of their honey away.
So there you have it, my label free approach to living and eating for me and the planet. Largely, but not exclusively plant based, but always responsible and sustainable, for my health, and the planet.