The best food is often simple; hearty, nourishing and honest. At the same time its role in our lives is complex; it nurtures, heals and accompanies us in our life journeys, always there to celebrate the joys of life and console us in our trials. Sometimes it tortures us, teases us….
I’m no different in my complex relationship with food. Born into an European family in Australia, I grew up with a clash of food cultures (I shudder when I think about my sneaky after-school sandwiches of white bread and sugar!) but thank God I was blessed with a mama who could really cook and cooked with love.
I went through the ubiquitous adolescent obsession with image which strained my relationship with food; we were really not great friends for a while, frenemies at best. Moving overseas seemed to help. However looking back, although I had redeveloped a new appreciation for it, a vital piece of the puzzle was still missing. I only found it after my health hit rock-bottom after a particularly stressful period in my life ( which included simultaneously working part-time whilst running a household with three children, two dogs as well as renovating our home whilst living in the building site and organizing the family’s move to France..whatever was I thinking?..no wonder I got sick!) I very soberly realized that whatever I was doing in life was not nurturing me. In fact, my body was reacting to most things (and circumstances) I was feeding it.
I was sitting at an Italian restaurant with family and about to take a huge bite of pizza when my GP called with the bad news:; under no circumstance was I to eat wheat or dairy. I almost cried. Somehow I had become allergic to them. My body would go into overdrive reacting to these ‘foreign bodies’. I would get itchy just thinking about a glass of red or eating nuts. I obviously had a whole lot more to learn about myself. My body was now a stranger and I had to reacquaint myself with it.
Fast-forward a few years, I will never again underestimate the power of food as healer and the human body as facilitator to this process. Each and every bite either fights disease or feeds it. Trying to get my eczema under control I was super-strict. Although I had always loved cooking and from-scratch cooking, I had to temporarily say “au revoir” to all of those gorgeous pastries, red wines, dairy and high sugar desserts and nuts. Starting this journey while living in France, cradle and home to these gastronomic feasts was SO HARD. Luckily, there was so much more to focus on; the French food markets are a feast for the eyes, you (almost) don’t need to eat to appreciate them and honestly nothing beats French fresh fruit and vegetables. Thankfully, there was still so much I could eat and nourish myself and my family with.
Now living back in Australia and with my health back under control I still try to eat ‘clean’ and based on the Paleo/ GAPS principles. This really works for my family and helps them to thrive. We do have the occasional day or meal off. I’ve learned that both cooking and eating with love and appreciation is the most important ingredient for any meal. I hope you enjoy my journey and recipes.