A few weeks ago there was a lot of interest around one of my IG posts where I'd talked about going to an acupuncturist. This was something completely new to me but that I had been interested in trying for quite a while. Whilst I absolutely loved the session, unfortunately my bank balance is saying no to the course of treatments I'd love to have.
My reason for giving acupuncture a go in the first place was all about energy. Since leaving a full time job as a naval architect at Christmas to focus on my wellbeing career and running the studio, I have had other projects coming out of my ears and seem to be working harder than ever. This is nothing novel for those of you who work for yourself, but having suffered with Chronic Fatigue in the past it was also something I need to get into check.
As with anything like this, it's easier to preach to others about how to live and look after themselves than it is to follow your own advice - how great are we all at being martyrs when it comes to our own health and wellbeing?
As the months crept on and my diary saw no sign of letting up, I slipped into old patterns of late nights, less workouts and a diet that resembled that of my freshers year a decade ago.
During my acupuncture session, a lot of the initial consultation was focussed around me and my habits - particularly my daily food intake. My diet has never been straightforward - if I'm training hard in the gym I'll count my macros (carb, protein and fat split) to ensure I'm getting as much as I need, but this is crazy hard work and can be quite restrictive. If I'm not counting macros, it's generally because I'm too busy to train properly so food turns into convenience - I eat like a student and demolish PB by the jar, pasta with pesto and beans on toast.
If I'm going to get my life and my business in check, I need to get my food in check. Now I seriously love nutrition; it's always been a passion of mine since I started training and I adore getting creative with new flavours and dishes. It's not just how food tastes though but what it has the power to do, both positively and negatively. I would love to expand into nutrition professionally eventually, but if I suggested yet another 'project' to add to my list at the moment I think my other half would probably just look at me like this...
For me, I've decided that my food consumption will centre around a plant based diet. I'm not talking 'diet' in the traditional media-fuelled sense of the word, it literally just refers to the food I'm putting into my body. I'll probably follow a vegan based diet (in that these kind of recipes provide the amazing range of natural and whole foods I want to fuel myself with) but no, I'm not a vegan. Why? Because I bloody love steak. And cheese. Basically anything cow related apparently....yes some of my meals will still contain meat but this won't be the focus of the plate - the idea is to prepare meals where you could remove it and still have a substantial plate.
It means a colourful array of fruit and veg, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, seeds and every herb and spice you could possible dream up.
I'm not counting calories. This isn't about following a finite 6, 8 or 12 week plan to the letter and to tick that box, only to count down the days when I can return to a 'normal' diet. Instead it's about retraining my brain to WANT to make better choices.
Why am I doing it?
Good food is good fuel. You wouldn't put dirty fuel in your car and expect it to run smoothly. You wouldn't feed crap to your kids and then be surprised when they crash and burn half way through the day. So why do we do it to ourselves? Sugar makes me cranky and want to sleep at 3pm. I LOVE chocolate but my skin is not its friend. I could gorge on pasta and bread till the cows come home but will spend the rest of the day feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
Once again, it's time to be selfish.
Why is 'selfish' such a dirty word? Let's stop implying that taking time and making decisions which help YOU and only you are a negative thing. There's time to look after and care for other people, but if you're not running at full capacity yourself, you're no good to anyone.
So here's the deal. Put food on your plate that is going to spoil your body. Don't change your diet to look better for someone else on the beach, or to follow the latest trends in a glossy magazine. Eat what makes you feel good. I mean literally, what makes your body feel good.
I won't go through the benefits, they're all common sense. More energy, more focus, less stress, better skin/teeth/hair/nails etc etc you know the drill. If all of that doesn't quite do it for you, just think how bloody smug and virtuous you get to feel!
I won't be turning @theselfishstartupco into a foodie account, but I will be sharing some of the yummy things I'm eating along with the odd recipe and reflections on how it is making me feel. I'll try to share some ideas for meals you can cook in a big batch, so when you're stuck on a heavy admin day you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen but can still fuel well. I'm also hoping to support as many small businesses as possible with my food choices.
As with any journey, it's far more fun with friends. I'll be doing it anyway but if you fancy joining in, it makes for amazing motivation! A few of you loved the idea on IG but were worried you would fail. This isn't a weight loss plan and there are no 'right' or 'wrong' foods - food isn't 'good' or 'bad'. Once a day, once a week or even just for part of a meal it's about making the decision to choose food that your insides will love. I'm not going to be barraging you with requests to tell me everything you've eaten all day, but if you do fancy making wholesome feel-good choices, join in with the hashtag
Now, what shall I have to eat next?