This is me, Kelly, and I love food. I love other things too like a good belly laugh, receiving unexpected fun post, and the joy of finding trousers that fit, but I do love food. I love everything about it from the multi-sensory assault of it; the practical cooking of it; the feeding of others with it (yes, I’m a feeder), and the consumption of it in all its incredible glories. I digest recipe books greedily and obsessionally, and if this is supposed to be a confessional then I’ll admit to a few horrors from my past just to get them out of the way. Yes, I’ve eaten cold spaghetti hoops out of the tin. Yes, I’ve lapped up salad cream and crisp sandwiches. Yes, I’ve eaten Blackforest Gateaux for breakfast. And yes, I once thought that the additive-ridden spectacular that was ‘Ice Magic’ was the height of sophistication. Show me a child of the 80s who didn’t think the same? That’s right, you can’t.
Some of my earliest memories are food-based, like my fifth Christmas when my brilliant Dad, Peter, cooked roast duck. I can still remember just how happy that meal made me, since, at that time, duck was the best and most exotic thing I’d ever eaten. Everything about it was special; the sounds of Dad preparing it in the kitchen (whilst I played with my state-of-the-art Sindy doll’s house), its deep wintery colours, the rich smells, the succulent textures…even as a whipper-snapper I knew food to be an all-consuming experience. These memories go on and on – from traditional meals at my Nan’s, who each Sunday would feed what seemed like an army, to my Uncle Nigel’s famous trifle, to the new and exciting flavours introduced to me by my amazing step-mum, Jude. These foodie influences were strong and made a lasting impression.
So, I love food. That’s a given. Unfortunately it turns out that not all food loves me which is more than unfortunate as I’d quite happily eat pretty much anything, and lots of it come to that. To put eatwellibrium into context I have to confess to a few serious truths but I’ll get them out of the way fast and then we can try to forget all about it.
Just a few years ago I became so ill that life was, in every way, unbearable. I’d been a pretty sickly child; anaemic, asthmatic, lowered immune system – I got everything and more than once. I had German measles twice, measles 3 times, scarlet fever, pheumonia – you name it, I had it. For the love of all that is good and holy, I’m glad I didn’t have to look after me. In my late teens I suffered dreadfully with Glandular Fever (Epstein-Barr Virus) followed by years of skull-splitting migraines, unexplained bruising, night-terrors, extreme temperature changes, mastitis and visual disturbances. In 2006 I was having biopsies on what turned out, thankfully, to be benign fibroadenomas in both breasts – though they continued to grow and be enormously painful. By 2012 I couldn’t think straight, connect thoughts, follow conversations, see properly, walk without searing pain, or sleep. I avoided social situations because I found them so difficult, or if I had to be social I would just interject with a joke or funny line to make it appear to others that all was well. The reality was I had burning joints which made any movement hellish; the nerve endings in certain parts of my body were so painful it was as though needles were being pushed through my skin. Other ‘treats’ included costochondritis; tinnitus; sinusitis; chronic fatigue; poor circulation; ulcers; slurred speech; bruising; hair-loss; nail-loss; horrendous digestive problems; a constant strep throat; oily spotty skin; bloating; water retention; seriously imbalanced hormones (my cycle completely stopped for the best part of a year just at a time when I would have loved another child and was being asked regularly, ‘So, when are you going to have another one?’ – brilliantly timed, highly intrusive personal questioning), and to put the cherry on this wonder cake, paranoia and depression had well and truly set in. It’s no wonder really though, is it? Needless to say it was a dreadful time. Not only for me but for my family too. Thankfully, as a result of medical testing matched with the advice of a brilliant consultant and the vital support of a nutritionist, I found my way back, and not only back, but to a new level of health I’d never experienced before. eatwellibrium (yes, small ‘e’) sums up my transition from illness to wellness and what I have learnt along the way.
I still love food, that’s never going to change. And I’m absolutely not on one of those hideous things called a ‘diet’. Let’s not even use that word. I just eat like my life depends on it, which, as it turns out, it does.
Love and veggies,