It’s been a little while since I’ve been regular here. Took a little break and it’s so nice to be back. I hope you have all been well! As the new year kicks off, I wanted to share some small tweaks I’m making, and hope that you’ll find some inspiration!
We are still in the middle of winter and so my thinking with this is not to arbitrarily start new initiatives because of the calendar, but about feeling into what we want going forward and starting to align gently with that. This will of course look different for everyone. My aim in the kitchen this year, is to cultivate a more conscious, joyful and nourishing relationship with food with my family. It’s been two, nearly three years since we moved to London from Lagos, and after what feels like a drive via the scenic route, we have arrived at something of a destination in that we have sampled many different products and routines and found a good groove.
There is of course never a final destination in these things, as our needs are constantly evolving, but after a lot of trial and error, and with a desire to always be improving both our enjoyment, health and wellbeing, here are the swaps I’m starting out 2024 with.
I’ve been thinking about making the switch for a while because of the health benefits, and wasn’t sure if it would be practical but I’ve made the leap from the supermarket meat section to the farmers and butchers, and it feels like it’s going well. The difference has blown us away! I’ve managed the cost by splitting our food budget differently. Half of it will still go toward our weekly supermarket delivery of pantry items and fresh produce. The other half is going to go toward grass fed and organic meat. It’s a tough one, but it is already encouraging us to prioritize differently as a family. The only casualty thus far has been snacks and that’s never a bad thing to keep a good handle on. We’ve tried a bunch of things from Swaledale Butchers online including rib eye steaks, spider steaks (more on these new creative cuts later!), liver, partridge, lamb kofta, osso bucco, pork belly. All absolutely delicious, and it feels like a practice we can sustain both financially and logistically. If you are on Instagram, you’ll see how I use these to anchor our family meals!
Raw (and Manuka) Honey
If I may be so bold, I’d like to think this is the reason we have not succumbed to the dreaded winter sniffles as we’ve done in previous years. Starting in the autumn, we have taken one teaspoon a day of 525 or 600 MGO of Manuka Lab Honey. I’ve made sure to always have this around the house, stocking up when it’s on offer at Holland and Barrett, and I’d use it as an intervention to help soothe when we got a cough or cold, but this year I decided to add a little bit every day to our routine. The kids get to choose whether we have it in the morning with our vitamins or at bedtime. We have been incredibly well this winter, knock wood; almost suspiciously so, and I do wonder if this might be why! Google the benefits of Manuka Honey and come back and tell me what you think. Other honeys we’ve upgraded to are Little Apiaries Wildflower Honey and Little Apiaries Acacia Honey. The last two we’ve used to make Fire Cider, drizzle on toast, and glaze roast veggies. Absolutely delightful, and inspired to carry on! These two, while not nearly as costly as Manuka, do cost a bit more than standard squeezey varieties. But, for natural honey that’s unheated, untreated, cold filtered and wild, retaining all the natural proteins and enzymes, AND available to purchase within a regular weekly shop – it’s a winner! Obviously this is not medical advice, just what has worked for our family!
This is partially implied above. This happens in life and it’s normal but we just noticed that snacking was playing a more prominent role than we’d like. This is not to imply at all that these things are all bad, just that we need to bring it all back into balance, especially after the festive season. So we are being a little bit more mindful of reconnecting with our daily routine, set meal and snack times, and making available a suite of more considered options for everyone, without vilifying or labelling any foods as inherently good or bad, but emphasising the idea of feeding our bodies the right sort of fuel to resource us through life.
Depending on your particular priorities and situation, here are some further ideas for things you could choose to focus on and improve: fats and oils, fruit and veg, eggs and dairy, spreads and condiments, cookware and storage.
If perhaps upgrades are not practical or required for you right now, two other ideas you can explore are things like:
-Decluttering – throw out all the old, stale spices you never use, and that fancy chutney you never used, taking up space on your shelf.
– Reviewing your processes – what’s working and what’s not? Not rushing to fix, but noticing any points of friction that you feel that are making your nourishing yourself feel challenging.
What foodie related things are you changing in 2024 and how are you finding it so far?