As I love reading and watching 'What I Ate' style videos and blog posts, I thought I'd share my own. This is what I ate on this particular day, but of course my meals and cravings change everyday some days are better, some worse it's all about balance!
As a herbalist, we look at a patient holistically so as a whole person. We are interested in all aspects of you as a person therefore social life can be a big factor particularly food. Often during an initial consultation when we are gathering as much information as possible about your past and present medical history, we will ask you about your diet. An easy way to do this is to ask what a typical day for you would be, for example what you ate for breakfast, lunch and tea, what times you ate them is often underestimated but an important factor in healthy eating, as well as any snacks and drinks throughout the day. A herbalist may ask you to keep a food diary also so you stay alert to what and how much you are actually eating throughout the day.
I've put together this post of what I ate on this particular day which is typical for me around this time of year, as it seems natural to crave warmer and more dense meals when it is cold, so I enjoy lots of root vegetable soups, pasta dishes, porridge over salads and fruit smoothies as I find they rest easier in my stomach is more satisfying when it's cold out!
-Please note I am not trying to tell you this is how you should eat, by no means do I have a perfect diet and have a lot of areas I could improve nutritionally and do remember nobody is perfect! I thought it would be a fun idea as I personally love reading blog posts, seeing recipes on instagram and watching youtube videos on what people ate that day as mainly because I'm pretty nosy to be honest! I also just love food and love gathering inspiration for new recipes to try from all sorts of places especially the internet as I spend so much time on there, so I hope you get an idea to try something new to eat or just enjoy this little nosy into what I eat!
Breakfast. // Banana & Date Porridge
My banana porridge recipe but this time I've added chopped dates and cinnamon which makes it taste like sticky toffee pudding, so is super lovely for Wintery mornings and has no added refined sugar! I have porridge for breakfast pretty much everyday especially during Winter, I find it's the only breakfast that really fills me up and stops me snacking as often! Plus it is so versatile as you can throw in any berries, dried fruit, nuts you have lying around, I love a dash of syrup on top too like the hot choc shots or an elderberry syrup and always a spoonful of peanut butter!
Lunch. // Poached Egg & Avocado On Toast
Toast with mashed avocado, two poached eggs and salt, pepper and chilli flakes. One of my all time faves for brunch/lunch - so simple and easy to make and full of fibre and protein! Sometimes I'll have scrambled eggs or an omelette instead but you can't beat a perfectly poached egg!
Snack. // Cup of tea and a granola bar
I can't go a day without a proper cup of tea! I am sometimes guilty of having biscuits with tea, especially when mid-afternoon sugar cravings can hit! I'd prefer to have a healthier sweet treat by having a natural granola bar such as the 'Eat Natural' ones or the 'Naked' bars are really nice too, or a cheaper way is to make your own raw energy bites like these ones!
Tea. // Mediterranean Cous-Cous Bake
This was a really quickly whipped up, spur of the moment idea as I was working later in the day so was very hungry by the time I got home! I fancied a pasta bake but was a bit too impatient to cook pasta so came up with this cous-cous bake! To make this I rehydrated the cous-cous by pouring boiled water over it and covering, then I grilled some red peppers and mixed some leftover tomato pasta sauce into the cous-cous with some olives, fresh basil and sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkled with some homemade 'vegan parmesan', which I made a while ago by blending cashew nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic and salt or you could just sprinkle with regular cheese of you prefer, and pop under the grill or into the oven for 5-10 minutes! So easy and so yummy.
Although on this particular day, I did have a rather late tea due to working later than usual, timing and environment of your meals is a very important factor as well as the actual food you're eating. Eating too late in the evening can disrupt your sleep as your body is still digesting into the night, it can not properly switch your nervous system to its parasympathetic mode which activates 'rest and repair,' therefore sleep you may get will not be as beneficial to you. Ideally you should not be eating 3-4 hours before you plan on going to bed, which for me for example, would be eating at the latest 7 pm. Making sure you properly sit down and concentrate on what you eat is also a big factor, eating on the go and in a rush even if it is a highly nutritional meal will not be absorbed to its full potential. Of course life can get in the way, but the process of cooking your meal from scratch stimulates multiple senses so triggers your digestion long before you even start chewing your food, additionally thoroughly chewing your food and sitting at a table away from any distracting stimuli such as T.V or screens, makes such a difference and all contributes towards more effective digestion which ensures all the nutrition from the meal is properly absorbed.
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.