By Kaveri Jain
As a doting mother to two teenagers, and a home baker/cook by passion, taking time out for myself has always been a daunting task. I am confident many other mothers in similar shoes would understand what I mean. The family and their needs quickly fill up the front seat and, unknowingly, self-love slides way back in our lives at times.
Last year around the same time, when many were talking about gifts, candlelight dinners, love poems and everything romantic, I decided it was time to bring in the winds of change. Though I do love the attention my spouse bestows on me on the occasion of Valentine’s Day, I decided to be my own Valentine and mark the day as the beginning of my journey to self-love.
For me self-love directly relates to keeping my body and mind healthy. Today, after a year, I am a transformed person; my journey of self-love through food has put me right back in the driver’s seat and I couldn’t be happier.
Here are a few things that I started with:
- I decided to ditch “The Diet” and switch to healthy eating. This was a mental trick and it worked. I am never on a diet now; I just eat what’s right for my body and mind.
- I stopped rushing through my meals. I sat and ate slowly without watching TV or glancing through my phone.
- I kept a check on my daily needs of carbs, protein and fats and always pre-planned my meals. Also, I made sure that I made small beautiful looking meals for myself, using my precious china every day rather than saving all of it for that “special occasion”.
- I reorganised my kitchen and did away with most of the processed and packaged food. I traded preservatives for beautiful colourful berries, nuts, seeds, olive oil, ghee, coconut oil, whole grains, cheese, protein, figs, fruits, yogurt, fresh leaves and vegetables.
- I dabbled between yoga, Pilates and weight/strength training five times a week. Some form of exercise is important; it not only tones the body but is essential for a healthier mind.
- I made sure to treat myself with a glass of red wine, some dark chocolate or a cool lemon sorbet every once in a while. Taking a day off once a month and indulging in a pizza or a brownie or whatever my body was asking for was normal; it was part of eating my way to good health.
Three months down this journey, I learnt to listen to my body. I noted foods that uplifted my spirit on that dull day, or how much protein I needed after a heavy workout, or how to eat right on a holiday.
And soon enough I did see the results. My weight, my skin, my mental health slowly seemed to be doing a happy dance. Today, I can say that I’m not the same person I was a year ago and it’s only because of this lifestyle change.
Here’s a quick menu to start you up on your journey:
Breakfast: Greek yogurt muesli and blueberries with a drizzle of organic honey
Lunch: A green leafy salad with sundried tomatoes, goat cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar on a bed of stir -fried quinoa
Dinner: A glass of red wine with a platter of cheese, to begin the evening. Followed up with hot char-grilled mushrooms, gluten-free pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil. And for the finale, caramelized figs with a scoop of vanilla sorbet
Who said healthy eating is boring? Fall in love with yourself this Valentine’s Day.
Kaveri Jain is a home cook, food blogger, vodka connoisseur, and mother of two whose kitchen is her kingdom. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.