Butterbean stew recipe

Hello everyone,
I haven’t posted a recipe or anything for quite a long time. I asked a few people on Instagram if they would like me to start posting recipes again and I got such positive feedback that people would love to see recipes. I dip in and out of blogging ever such a lot but I really enjoy it. I enjoy having the space to share anything my heart desires. So, as with all of my other recipes I have shared I thought I would post them on this blog. This particular one I am going to share today was actually requested and I didn’t really know what you would want me to share so I thought I would kick off with this one.

Butterbean stew:

Butterbean stew

Ingredients:
400g can chopped tomatoes
1 can of butterbeans in water, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1tsp each of cumin, coriander and garam masala

What to do:
1. Heat a little oil in a saucepan and add in the onion, carrot, pepper and courgette and cook for five minutes
2. Add the butterbeans, chopped tomatoes, cumin, coriander and garam masala and simmer for 15 minutes. You may need to simmer for longer depending on how crunchy or soft you like your vegetables to be
3. Serve with whatever you would like and most importantly enjoy! 🙂

The reality of eating disorder recovery

Hello flowers,

I am ever so sorry for my recent absence. I realise that I haven’t posted in a little while and before that I only posted recipes! I guess I will tell you a little bit about my past week. Things have been up and down. Mainly down unfortunately but it is imperative that I keep that positive mindset going. Food has been the best it has for years and years. I cook for my family twice a week, we have roast dinners every Sunday, I bake and eat my baking, I eat pizza, pudding every single day of ice cream or a sponge pudding and I have lunch out with my mum at least once every two weeks. These are things I would NEVER have dreamed of doing only five months ago. Five months ago I was in hospital and I woke up every day feeling dread, hatred and self loathing.

This is where the downside comes in. I see many many people who go through recovery and they eat and suddenly their whole life falls into place. They have a job, friends, they go out have generally have FUN. I always wanted to be that person, I always wanted to recover just like that. I think the reality is what I described above is very rare. The more common type of recovery is that one eats and engages in anorexia recovery 100% (me) but then then their mood plummets, they feel more depressed than ever, they are tired, they don’t want to do anything like go shopping, horse riding or the things we love. We think we hang on a second,we were told me all of these professionals and all of our loved ones that if we eat then things will get better. Our mood will increase, we will have energy etc etc.

This is NOT (always) the case. I know exactly what has happened with me and I wanted to tell you all because I don’t have a solution to this problem but it helps knowing what the problem is. Because when you are just sitting there with the worst thoughts ever, it is so frustrating because you don’t know WHY. And I hope that this will help some of you understand a little bit more. When we starve our bodies of the most important source that it needs to function, generally everything goes to pot. We feel physically unwell as well as mentally unwell. Our mood decreases but also something quite interesting happens to our mood. Our brains can’t function properly and when you are eating so little this is even more the case. Your body starts to shut down and when you have NO energy supplies, the body desperately tries to get energy from your muscles to keep your body working.

This is why when our body and brain is malnourished then if a situation happens, it will go over the top of you. You might care about it but you don’t have the time and energy to think about it. You don’t have the energy to make up a thought process of I am feeling happy/angry/sad because… So because of this when you do start eating again your brain CAN function properly. You have thoughts and feelings that are so loud you can’t switch them off. The fact is your thoughts never went, they were always the same but malnourishment caused them to be buried. And this brings me around into a full circle of why you developed anorexia in the first place. Maybe (like me) you had extremely low mood to begin with and of course the anorexia (or other eating disorder) hid that away because you are so consumed on food that you can’t think about anything else. And if this is the case then you know that your low mood that you are experiencing now, it’s just the same as before. It may feel like your mood has gotten a lot worse than when you were buried in anorexia but the truth it is no no worse than before you developed anorexia.

You have come around full circle. Anorexia never got rid of your low mood, anorexia never got rid of the situation as to why you became ill in the first place. It covered everything up so you wouldn’t have to think about it and now here you are faced with the problem again. Like I said above, I do not have a solution to this problem. It is difficult for me to talk about why I became ill in the first place. I don’t 100% know why actually. But the thing I want to improve now that my brain is functioning well is that I want to practice self love. I want to banish all of the awful thoughts I have about myself. I don’t like talking about me being bullied at school, it was an extremely difficult time for me. I now have the thoughts every single day that everyone hates me. Everyone hates me and they would be better of without me. THIS is what anorexia covered up and THIS is why I feel low. Anorexia didn’t just cover that up. It covered up way more than that but the point is I know what I need to improve on. I need to learn to love myself and I think that your first step could be learning to love yourself as well. You don’t have to know why you got poorly. You just have to know the catalyst. (low mood, low self worth etc.)

I really do hope that this helps a few of you. This is where I am at right now and it’s painful so painful but I know if I went back to anorexia I would have no chance of a peaceful life. I would be forever battling with my mind. It is just baby steps like it has been my whole recovery, one foot in front of the other.

Apricot and walnut sandwich bars (Mary Berry recipe)

Hello,

Some of you might know that I absolutely love baking. It is one of my favourite things to do but unfortunately anorexia has taken it away from me as my mum was getting a bit frustrated when I used to bake all of the time but I wouldn’t eat any myself. I remember when I was in hospital, every Friday was baking day and I would make chocolate brownies and biscuits etc and I would give them to my family and all of the other patients and staff. It was like no one expected me to eat any of what I had created. None of the staff said anything so I just kept baking and giving it all away. But then when I came home I WANT to eat my baked goods so I stopped baking from fear of having to eat it because I have made a pact with myself if I bake then I MUST eat it. And then at the weekend I hadn’t baked in months so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to bake something and eat it. I made these apricot and walnut bars from Mary Berry and they are so delicious. They felt wasier for me because they have oats and wholemeal flour and walnuts in but they still have their fair share of ingredients which my eating disorder would make me cry and run from. So I thought I would share this recipe with you. And of course it is Mary Berry so it has GOT to be good right? 😉

IMG_0287

Apricot and walnut sandwich bars

Ingredients:

  • 50g rolled oats
  • 50g light muscovado sugar
  • 40g chopped walnuts
  • 200g wholemeal self raising flour OR plain wholemeal flour with 2tsp baking powder
  • 175g butter, melted
  • 175g dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
  • 50ml water
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • grated rind of 1 lemon

What to do:

  1. Pre heat your oven to 130 degrees (fan) or 150 degrees and then grease and line a 18cm square tin with baking parchment. Begin by making the apricot filling. Place the apricots, water, sugar and lemon rind into a small saucepan. cover and simmer gently until all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you prepare the oat mixture.
  2. Mix together the oats, flour, sugar and walnuts in a bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix well.
  3. Press half of the oat mixture into the tin and press down evenly. Spread the apricot mixture evenly on top and then top with the rest of the oat mixture evenly.
  4. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. I got nine squares out of my mixture and when still hot cut gently through the mixture to score out nine squares and then leave to go completely cold before completely cutting the bars and lifting them out of the tin.

Enjoy 🙂

Challenging yourself in a healthy way

Hello everyone,

Today I wanted to talk to you all about challenging yourself in a HEALTHY way. I think that anyone with any type of mental illness has fallen victim to punishing themselves and setting themselves too high a goals which they cannot achieve. I know personally my goals were ridiculous, to be friends with everyone and to be happy and bubbly all of the time. So in the end I was exhausted and wearing myself out and my anorexia got stronger and stronger until I felt oh this is great, I am losing weight finally something I can be good at. Of course in time I found myself as unhappy as ever and so I entered recovery and have been trying to find new ways of challenging myself that do not include unachievable goals or physically and mentally harming myself.

This next week marks a very important week for me in my recovery because my parents left for France yesterday evening for 10 days. I got ever so anxious yesterday and when I get anxious I scream because I don’t let the thoughts come in. So I am just sat with an anxious feeling and I have no idea why. But yesterday was one of the easier times where I could link my anxiety to a big event and sometimes I can’t do that. So, after I had calmed down a little bit I thought to myself… This is a REALLY BIG positive step. I am challenging myself from being away from my mum so I have to take care and responsibility of my own recovery. This is a huge positive and healthy challenge because I am not going to be punishing myself and I have set myself an achievable goal and if I don’t quite manage then no harm is actually done. I am still going to feel accomplished because being away from my parents is already half of the challenged ticked already.

So I wanted to share with you a few other little challenges that I have/want to achieve. I do lots of planning of these kinds of challenges and it makes me feel SO GOOD once I have finished them. Like I didn’t know I could have such a confidence boost just by doing my favourite hobby regularly or doing homework tasks set by my therapist. You will see these goals are not entirely food related but some are because I like to have a mixture. The one thing they all have in common is health and well being related. Here are my goals:

  • To make my friendship bracelets whenever I have a few spare minutes in the day
  • To give in my job application forms (already done this one!)
  • To go horse riding as regularly as possible. I love horse riding but sometimes it’s a lot of effort to make myself go. Just because my negative voices are very loud and recently I seem to have lost interest in nearly all of my hobbies. But horse riding is something that actually makes me feel good about and it is a challenge to make myself go so that is why it is on here
  • To put effort into my mindfulness practice and to do it at least three times a week
  • To go back to college in September (That’s a huge one and I have knots in my stomach just thinking about it!)
  • To make the effort to have lunch out with any family member each week. This is an important one because I have found that I absolutely love having lunch with my mum. I can talk to her about therapy and any worries I might have and because it is at a time and day that we have planned to have lunch then I can plan what to say and I find that very useful because if we didn’t do that then there wouldn’t be another time that I feel more comfortable talking to her. Because at my house it is busy busy busy!
  • To make sure I keep writing to my pen pals
  • To make sure I look after myself. Wash my face, put a bit of make up on, use my perfume, use my favourite shower gel and body lotion. Hand cream and foot cream. When I was deep into my illness I wouldn’t do any of this. My hands and lips were completely cracked and bleeding because I refused to look after myself. Now I wake up feeling like I want to get out of bed and have a nice day just because it feels a bit nicer being in my skin.
  • To walk my dogs everyday

So those are all of my goals and challenges to make me feel like I have a purpose to my life and I am not just floating around doing nothing. I have ambitions and I want a proper life and hopefully my goals will help me towards that. What are your personal challenges/goals? I would love to hear them.

Yesterday lunch

Hello everyone,

I shall be posting a recipe later on today but first I wanted to do a little post about my lunch that I had yesterday. Me and my mum love going out for lunch so we decided to make it a regular occurrence and we usually go once a week depending on how busy we both are. It’s lovely to spend some time with my mum and also I sometimes meet her before/after therapy so it puts me in a good mood. We have two favourite cafes now but we want to find new places to go because it’s always nice to go somewhere different!

The place I went to yesterday was actually a shop and they have a cafe on the top floor. I think lots of places do that now actually and I like going there because then I can look at all of the kitchen/craft stuff when I am finished 😉 Yesterday I felt like a toasted sandwich and I hadn’t actually seen them do toasted sandwiches before but maybe that is because I wasn’t looking? I chose a cheese and tomato toastie and it was delish.

Cheese and tomato toastie

And then for pudding we both got a cake and I got the coffee and walnut cake which is one of my favourite ever flavours. I have also had the chocolate brownie there before as well. I think I like my chocolate things 😉 I shall have to try the chocolate cake next time I go. I have always been eyeing it up but I think that saying you eat with your eyes is true. Because once my dad bought a cake slice and I just wouldn’t have chosen to eat it because it looked just a bit boring but I had it and it was actually very tasty. I don’t know I think that I do usually make such a fuss if my food doesn’t look tasty I think that is definitely something I need to work on! But I don’t think it is a specific eating disorder thing. I think it is a me being silly thing! Ramble over… Here was my cake.

Coffee and walnut cake

I did enjoy it but it was very very dense. It wasn’t light and fluffy and my mum said that my homemade cakes are 1000x better. I think a bake session is in order this weekend 😉 Something different will be happening next week. Something different and scary. On Tuesday I am going out for lunch but I am not going with my mum, I am going with my dad. Me and my dad have a difficult relationship and my illness has made it worse. The other day I was just talking with my dad and suddenly I asked him out for lunch. I am not one to be so forward but I did it and I am actually very proud. Me and my dad don’t really do anything together and if we do then my mum is always there. So I hope that this will be a good time to bond and also it will be out of the house and at my favourite cafe so I think (I hope) that I will feel relaxed because most times I don’t feel relaxed at home and that’s when the conflict starts.

I think I am making important steps and I am quite proud of myself which one day I won’t be ashamed of saying! Eating lunch out is getting a little bit easier each week and I think it just proves that if you try then you will succeed. I am aware that most people might not go out for lunch once a week but I think for me it is helping challenging myself and it helps putting an hour aside each week so me and my mum can have a good chat in a calm and relaxed environment which unfortunately is not home at the moment but it will be. Just take each day as it comes.

Food never has and never will be the enemy (the mental health project 2)

Hello 🙂

I have started a series on my blog and I am not really sure how well this is going to go down BUT I want to help people so once a week I will be talking about subjects that are all mental health illness related because I want to share my experiences and hopefully if you are really struggling a lot at this current moment then I want to tell you what I know and hopefully help. You can read more about my project here.

So I guess I shall get started on today’s topic. I think everyone with an eating disorder no matter what it is has grown to fear food. Maybe use it to control their emotions or to make themselves feel numb to anything. An eating disorder is a hugely powerful thing and it makes you believe that if you eat xxx then something terrible WILL happen to you. It’s not as simple as someone saying to you don’t eat that, that’s bad for you. You have an eating disorder because of something powerful but that’s okay because it IS possible to break free from that horribly strong grip. If you are anything like me then you would know all there is to know about nutrition, calories, the lot really. I find it helpful to take a moment to stand back and say to myself that eating is NOT the bad thing. This eating disorder wants to kill you. It doesn’t want anything good for you and it will poison your head with lies until it’s completely taken over and there is no “you” left.

What if you could tell yourself that all food is, well… food. It’s just something you need, it’s like air and water. I don’t know anyone that deprives themselves of oxygen. You can say it’s not the same thing but I think it is. You are depriving yourself of one of the essential components needed to live. If you had the choice to eat WHATEVER you wanted then would you take it? You do have the choice. You have the choice to stand up to the bully in your head. You have the chance to say YES when someone asks you out for a meal or YES when your friends invite you out. You have the power to say no to this eating disorder but it is all up to YOU.

Moving on to the types of food you eat, I believe that you need ALL foods to make a BALANCED diet. Chocolate, fruit, cereal, pasta, pizza, whole grains, cake etc. etc. You need all the food groups for your body to function at it’s best. I do understand that some people might genuinely like eating only fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. But I don’t want people to on purposely deprive themselves of food just because their head has bullied them into it. My diet used to be very different from what it is now. It was very wholesome with not much variety in it at all. I wasn’t happy, I rigidly counted calories, I would refuse to go out for family meals yet I was convinced I was beating my eating disorder because my weight was higher than previously.

If you feel “comfortable with where you are at now then there is a good chance you are pleasing your eating disorder. I’m not telling you it’s easy and I am not telling you to do something which would make you go back again. I just want you to think, do you really want to please your eating disorder and remain in it’s grip for the rest of your life? Recovery is never ever going to be easy but I do believe it will be worth it.

Because in recovery I can eat meals my family have prepared, I can eat crisps, cake, chocolate, fruit, cereal, carbohydrates without a second thought, I can forget about numbers and think this TASTES good, I can go out to lunch with my mum and not bat an eyelid at the options. I have a long way to go, I accept that and I am up for the challenge. Because it is a long way up from here but it is even longer back down. If there is only one thing you do then that is have faith that things WILL get better.

A bit about my week

Hello,

I hope you are all well and I hope you have had a lovely week. It’s the weekend now which means we can all slow down a bit and I give permission for you to have a break and relax this weekend. I guess a lot of things have happened since last week when I last wrote a blog post so I shall start with last weekend when it was my nanas 80th birthday party and on Saturday morning I travelled up there with my parents because it takes 5-6 hours to get there and my sisters went the day before so they could help with the party preparations etc. On Sunday evening it was my nanas actual party but on Saturday evening it was still a huge challenge for me. We had dinner with the German side of my family because we just haven’t seen them in so many years and it was nice to catch up. I find the socialising part so difficult in itself because it has been so many years since I have seen my German cousins so that is one challenge. And then the next challenge was actually eating in front of them and at first I got so anxious and upset because I would say no when I was offered a drink but they kept going on and on and wouldn’t take no for an answer so that upset me a little.
So the second challenge was to actually eat in front of everyone and I think a lot of people recovering from eating disorders find this bit hard and I know I do because I think people are going to be staring at me and thinking nasty things about me. The more likely thing is that they would probably be too engrossed in their own food to even notice. And then the last challenge was eating a Chinese takeaway (!!!!!!!) Oh my I haven’t had a takeaway in over six years. It was scary and uncomfortable but I did it and I came out the other side and I am not ashamed to admit I am actually a bit proud of myself.
So then the next day on Sunday we spent most of the day preparing the food for the party. The actual party was with all of the family and some of my nanas friends as well. I think the most difficult part was the socialising. I just kind of felt out of place and I didn’t know what to say or how to act. I didn’t really feel like I belonged at all. And then that’s sort of how my week turned from bad to worse because I started listening to all of the thoughts again. I listened to my eating disorder and I obeyed but starting from Wednesday I have been trying my absolute hardest to follow my meal plan again.
Yesterday was also a huge challenge for me because I had to go out to lunch with my community nurse. It was scary for me and it’s hard for me because she barely knows anything about eating disorders. She had a training course a few weeks ago and she likes to tell me things that aren’t even relevant. Like I said once that I am worried about putting weight on quickly and she said when you are at such a low weight, the dieticians increase your meal plan gradually so you don’t get refeeding syndrome. And it’s like that has got nothing to do with what I said she just likes showing off.  It frustrates me because she goes on about eating disorders being secretive and then I ask her not not be weighed and she is fine with it. I know I should be more angry at myself for doing what my eating disorder wants be I WANT them to stop me when I can’t stop myself.
Anyway, by the time I got there I was so anxious and I wasn’t hungry one bit. I said to her I don’t want anything because I am not hungry and then she said oh okay then well do you mind if I get something then? I don’t know, I feel like I ask too much just for these people to support me. I want them to help me but they don’t they just sit there while I have a battle against myself and it’s just unpleasant. In the end I did order a sandwich and it was actually really tasty and that is all that matters I have decided. Not that my nurse just had a salad and I could have gotten away with not having anything. I stood up to the bully in my head and I ate.
And then today has been quite a busy day and I have really enjoyed it actually. I went to my volunteering this morning which I go to every Friday morning. I help out in a charity shop and I really like it because it helps me a lot with my social skills and that is the area that I need to improve on a lot. And then after the charity shop I came home and had lunch and then I painted my nails this lovely coral sort of colour:

IMG_0206

I then relaxed a little this afternoon and ate my amazing afternoon snack of course which I wanted to talk to you about.

IMG_0200

I just love eat natural bars SO much and if you live in the UK, like fruit and nuts bars, like chocolate then you will love these as well. I always have my cupboard stocked with them because they are my favourite go to snack. I like how they are really balanced with a little bit of fruit, protein, important fats and then the chocolate which is needed to balance it out. I think this one here along with the cashew and blueberry yogurt coated ones are my favourite. So yes, if you haven’t tried these already then I would highly recommend you trying them! I hope you all have a lovely evening and I shall be bak with another post very soon