I’ve always been a bit indifferent to cooking. I can cook, I sometimes like to, but am also just as happy for the days where we have nothing but beans on toast for dinner, or something just shoved in the oven. I’ll never be a food blogger and take no joy from setting up food photography whatsoever or making dishes look pretty. Mainly, I just want to eat…
Last year I noticed two big shifts to my cooking approach. One, fixing up the kitchen. It’s incredible how much more time I enjoy spending in the kitchen since I gave it a makeover last year. Two, getting sick and then cooking myself back to health. There’s nothing like being diagnosed with a gut related chronic illness to make you really re-assess your health and relationship with eating. Even my consultant was shocked at how fast I’d got myself back from the brink, although when I mentioned it was all down to food of course he didn’t want to hear it but that’s another story for a different day.
Like some people, I’ve found myself with a bit more time over the last few weeks. In the absence of being able to go out, cooking has taken on a new form of excitement and dinner is probably one of the highlights of the day. We’ve also been challenged by changed shopping methods – getting creative with what we have in the cupboards, or making food from what’s available rather than what we want.
I’m quite good at not taking things for granted but even I was someone who would pop to the shops and always expect to find whatever food stuff I wanted to make. And I’ll hold my hands up and say although far from wasteful, I’ve always been the person with too many half-used jars of things stuck in the back of the fridge that invariably need throwing out before being used fully. I used to stick to recipes religiously, unable to think about what swaps could potentially work instead. Now I feel so much more confident in just switching out ingredients based on what’s available rather than jacking it all in if I couldn’t find the exact item.
And then there’s the elephant in the room which no-one really wants to hear about right now I know, and that’s eating better for our health. People respond differently in times of trauma (which this is, make no mistake) and for everyone who wants to bury themselves in cakes and donuts and takeaway pizza (you do you!), you get people who take it as an opportunity to really look at their health and say “am I genuinely doing the best for myself and my family that I could be?”. The answer in almost every case would be no.
I’ve got an advantage it’s true, I KNOW how much worse I feel when I don’t eat well because my Ulcerative Colitis won’t ever stop reminding me. We were both in need of a health MOT to be honest – Pete has started exercising again and we’re both trying to eat more veggies. We all know we wouldn’t put the wrong fuel in our cars or feed our animals food that’s bad for them and yet we do it to ourselves all the time. Because if you’re feeling anxious, or unable to sleep, or suffering from IBS, or feeling low – it may feel like the logical step to reach for comfort foods but it’s never going to make any of us feel better and that’s just a fact.
So I’ve been doing what I can to try and take care of us, Pete isn’t the cook of the household and although my repertoire is very limited I’m learning to do better. I tend to share most things I cook on Instagram stories and if you check my saved “highlights” you’ll find the recipes for all of the images throughout this post there.
Do let me know if you have any go-to veggie/vegan recipes I’m always looking for new ideas now and I hope I’ll continue cooking adventures long after things have returned to some level of “normal”.