This Little Bowl is dedicated to supporting your efforts to live life to the fullest and enjoy Nature’s bounty.
We won’t talk about being “on a diet” – we’ve all been there and done that enough times. Instead, we’ll focus on making choices that support long-term goals and contribute to a happy, healthy lifestyle.
This Little Bowl is here to help you reconcile your love of food with your need to feel good in your clothes.
Who is Heather?
Where do we begin to tell someone about ourselves? There’s so much to know. I’m guessing that if you’re here it’s because you’re interested in food. Me too! So, let’s start there.
I’ve always had ambivalent feelings about food. I love shopping for it, cooking it, sharing it and eating it, but I haven’t always loved how it makes me feel.
Sometimes, I struggle with ethical issues associated with food. It’s so complicated these days! Or, I simply eat too much and then I feel crummy, because my clothes don’t fit and– Need I say more?
As a result of my fascination with food, and the fact that I’m now 53, I’ve lived through a lot of foodie phases, via the media and in my personal life.
As a young mum, (I have four adult kids), I was very keen that we should all eat healthily, and that’s when I really delved into learning about nutrition – nothing formal, just a deep desire to read and learn and practice.
In 1991, after the birth of my second daughter, I became a vegetarian, and then a vegan. It was fascinating but lonely.
Back then, vegans were few and far between, and there was no internet to connect us.
I’m not a vegan anymore nor a vegetarian. In a nutshell, here’s why:
In the 90’s, I worked as a magazine writer. One day, I was asked to write an article about alternative therapies that might help people with Herpes.
While researching the article I came across a study suggesting that amino acids (the building blocks of protein) could either help or hinder people with Herpes.
Foods containing the amino acid Lysine kept Herpes in check while those high in Arginine activated the virus.
To me, this was fascinating stuff.
I carry Herpes Simplex 1, the virus that causes cold sores. Since childhood, I’ve had to deal with an occasional cold sore, but as a young mum I experienced terrible outbreaks regularly.
No doubt, burning the candle at both ends had something to do with it, but what about my diet? Was it also partly to blame?
As a vegan, I ate a lot of Arginine-rich foods and few Lysine-rich foods. Would I stop getting so many cold sores if I ate yogurt and an occasional steak?
Initially, I resisted, trying instead to eat more vegan-friendly, Lysine-rich foods. But the cold sores continued.
Until I reintroduced dairy and meat into my diet.
Now, before you contact me to explain what I did wrong, I’ve got to tell you that I was combining foods to get complete proteins, and what I ate reputedly kept all sorts of other folks healthy.
It just didn’t work for me.
When I began eating dairy and meat again the cold sores vanished. Not only that but my skin glowed, my hair regained a luster I didn’t realize was missing, I had tons more energy and I slept better. In short, everything improved.
Yes, it was difficult to reconcile my feelings about the animals involved. Still is!
All I can say is that I aim to eat humanely raised animal fare, and in our house we thank the animals before every meal.
All that said, I know that your experience of food is probably very different. You might be thriving on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Someone else might be thriving on a Paleo diet.
Our perfect diet is probably as unique as we are, and changes as we age.
No doubt, blood tests could tell us exactly what we need to thrive. But in absence of that I think it’s safe to assume a variety of unrefined natural foods is a good starting point for most of us.
Regarding weight loss or weight maintenance, I think you’ve got to admit to yourself where your weakness lies, and then address it.
For me, it’s sugar. I know that if I start eating foods that contain refined sugar I will eventually begin to eat more and more of them, because I’ll crave them.
I’m convinced refined sugar is addictive and that it alters our metabolism, because I feel so different since I gave it up.
Most importantly, I no longer crave anything. And my energy level stays pretty constant.
Hard as it was for me to stop baking, (brownies and cookies and cakes used to be among my favourite things), I did it.
I gave it up because I was carrying about 20 extra pounds, and I didn’t like how it made me feel.
The arthritis in my left knee (which no longer bothers me) was the real instigator but I’ve got to admit the muffin top made me kind of miserable too.
I didn’t realize just how that muffin top made me feel, actually, until it was gone.
I feel younger. It’s easier to buy clothes, for starters, so I can choose what I want to wear instead of what might camouflage my lumps and bumps.
I can move more easily. Walking, bending, stretching is all so much more comfortable.
That’s it! I’m more comfortable in my own skin.
And I still enjoy a wide variety of foods, including cheese, cream and butter and all sorts of other “fattening” things.
I think it’s because savoury foods were never triggers for me. I could always eat them without over-indulging. It’s my sweet tooth that was my downfall.
So, when you’re trying to take yourself in hand and lose some weight or maintain the weight loss you’ve worked hard to achieve, begin by being honest with yourself.
Can you really have just a little of what you love? Or will it eventually be your undoing?
I think you’ve got to give up your triggers if you want to lose weight for good. It’s hard in the beginning but if you steer clear of what makes you fat you can develop new, healthy food habits that will last.
No one needs sugar. For sure, it can be a lot of fun. But so is being free of cravings and able to enjoy a meal without worrying about tracking points or counting calories.
Eat reasonable portions of quality food and give up sugar and I promise you you will feel better. Getting and staying slim is that simple.
So, that’s my food philosophy about food.
Now, just for fun, here are 10 other things you might like to know about me:
- I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and I grew up in Ontario, Canada with my mum and my dad, an older brother, a younger sister and a menagerie of rescued animals. It was a fun/crazy upbringing that involved a lot of singing and bicycle riding in summer, and a lot of singing and tobogganing in winter.
- I met my husband, Neil, in 1982, when I was 19 and he was 20. We got married in ‘87, had our first daughter in ‘88, another daughter in ’91 and twins, a boy and a girl, in ‘97.
- Being a mum was my original ambition, and it’s proven to be every bit as satisfying as I knew it would be when I was playing with dolls. Our family motto: If you can’t behave be funny. Like all happy families, we made a lot of great memories over the years, and now we’re reaping the rewards of those long days and short years. We still have great times.
- In 1990, Neil and I took our then two year-old daughter and headed across the Atlantic to England. We meant to stay for a couple of years, so Neil could get his Ph.D. in coastal engineering. He landed a lectureship and we stayed eight years. That’s where I worked as a magazine freelance. Without family support it was tough but we did a lot of growing and had a lot fun. We came back to Ontario in 1998 with four kids in tow and we’re very happy here.
- I love gardens! And I especially love natural gardens. When I moved into my house 14 years ago, I began replacing the suburban grassland with all sorts of things, including lots of native plants collected from building sites. They thrive whatever the weather, and provide habitat for native insects and animals. It’s very peaceful.
- I’m an esthetician, and I run a lovely holistic studio called The Woodway. It’s also very peaceful, and keeps me hugely entertained, because I have so many wonderful friends who visit me there. Beauty isn’t a veneer we can apply; it comes from within. Self-care is an expression of self- respect.
- I love picnics and all the accouterments that go with them. There’s something lovely about setting out on a picnic with a wicker basket filled with simple, delicious morsels, a checkered cloth and all the elegant trimmings that make a meal beautiful. Food tastes better outside.
- I love essential oils and have a huge collection of them. Of course, I use them in my work in The Woodway, and I use them in my home for cleaning and curing folks, and generally making things smell beautiful.
- I love welcoming people into my home. Taking care of people makes me happy, and cooking for them makes me especially happy, so we do a lot of casual entertaining.
- This Little Bowl came about because a noodle bowl spoke to me. Wait a minute! It spoke? Not literally! I saw a beautiful bowl in a shop, and when I picked it up I suddenly wanted to write about my experiences with food. It became my muse, so to speak. I found myself day dreaming about a possible blog. And here we are! I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I am enjoying myself with This Little Bowl, and that you’ll visit here often and share your insights.