It’s the end of another year and another decade. There was a time that I would have written a list of resolutions that I would then dutifully follow out over the coming months, but I’m not that person any more. The changing of the dates is an ideal time to reflect nonetheless.

10 years ago, I was still married, but about to embark on the counselling that enabled me to value myself enough to leave. When I think of who I was back then I barely recognise myself. I was so hard on myself and always setting myself goals to be better. None of them made me or anything else better though.

2015 was the last year that I made a new year’s resolution. It was to learn more about Indigenous people in this country. I started with following @IndigenousX on Twitter and went from there. As it turns out, this is and will be a life long process. It’s probably the best and most beneficial resolution I ever made too. As Australians, we generally know so little about the people who were the custodians of this land we call home before we came and destroyed everything.

2019 has been a year of highs and lows. We lost our dog and my best buddy Massie and my precious nephew Jedi. They were the hardest parts for sure.

For myself though, it’s been a year of growth and consolidation. Haha, those terms make it sound so business like, but that’s not at all what I mean.

After Massie died, I spent a weekend on my own by the beach. I wrote some thoughts at the time and looked back on them yesterday. In less than 6 months I have grown a great deal.

With my son growing up and becoming more independent, along with having worked through all the ‘stuff’ that comes up when you really heal your relationship with food and your body, I’ve started thinking about what I want the rest of my life to look like.

This world is not in a good state right now, and most countries, including ours, are run by people who seem determined to keep it that way. As individuals, it can often feel helpless but I think that the most important thing will can do is build community. Support each other, help each other and reach out.

I’ve realised, as I get to know myself after releasing past demons, that I am very much a ‘people’ person. I met an older woman on the bus the other day and she liked to talk to people and encourage others to accept people who are different to themselves. She wasn’t pushy at all, but just really friendly, kind and welcoming. That’s the kind of person I hope to be too.

With much of the country on fire right now, and our leadership determined to at best ignore it all, it’s going to be more important for us all to come together and help each other.

I don’t have all the answers, or even any answers at all, but I do know that we are stronger together.

I hope that 2020 is a better year for those who have had a tough one.

~ B


Close your eyes and picture that you’re on a beach. What do you see?

I don’t see anything, just blackness.

Until recently I thought that was everybody’s experience. I was always confused when, in meditation or similar, people said to picture things. I thought they were being metaphorical though I did wonder what was the point in it.

It turns out aphantasia (the inability to form mental images of objects that are not present) is a thing that approximately 1-3% of people experience and I am one of them.

I’m happy to have learned it’s a thing because it explains a lot. Lots of little frustrating times when I just didn’t ‘get it’ and I couldn’t figure out why. So many times in life that you’re asked to describe what you see when you think of something. I always thought I was doing something wrong.

Having a word and an understanding of how my brain works is pretty freeing. It’s interesting how often ‘visualising’ comes up and now instead of feeling confused I just know it’s not a thing I can do and either come up with a substitute or move on.

I’m still figuring out exactly what this all means, but I’m definitely happy to know and understand finally why all this visualising talk just never made sense to me.

~ B

The honeymoon period

img_4100When you are in the first stages of Intuitive Eating, there is what people call a honeymoon period. Because you are giving yourself permission to eat anything you want as much as you want, initially your body reacts with excitement due to the former restrictions and wants to eat ALL THE THINGS!

The funny thing about the honeymoon period is that its length can vary and it can even vary for different foods. In my case, I have definitely experienced varying lengths of honeymoon periods.

There’s a business called Doughnut Time that has a branch not far from my work. They make at least 2 different vegan doughnuts each day and they’re particularly tasty.

When I first started the Intuitive Eating program, I went and bought myself a doughnut a few days in a row. This was part of making sure my brain was truly convinced that I could have one whenever I wanted to. If I felt like one, I had one. Within a few short weeks I have realised that on most days I just don’t feel like a doughnut. The excitement disappears when there are no restrictions. In their book, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch refer to this as habituation. The other night I shared one with my partner as they had a new flavour we hadn’t tried before that looked particularly delicious. I was quite satisfied with half and have no idea when I’ll want another.

On the other hand, I have had a much longer honeymoon period with chick’n burgers.

There’s a great chain of veggie fast food here called Lord of the Fries. They do burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc and are fully vegetarian. Everything on the menu can be veganised, all their sauces (including their delicious Belgian mayo!) are vegan and they have vegan cheese as an option. There are 4 of their stores within an easy walk of my office and I’m a fan of their chick’n burger.

When I started Intuitive Eating, I consciously gave myself permission to go to Lord of the Fries for lunch whenever I felt like it. What I didn’t realise for a while though is that I had only given myself pseudo-permission or partial permission. While I thought I was being free with my permission I found that after I had already been twice in one week, I was thinking that I should get something ‘healthier’ as that was enough for one week. These thoughts undermined the permission I thought I’d given myself and I was still feeling restricted even though I’d consciously said okay.

Once I realised this is what I had done, I had to be very clear to give myself unconditional permission and go every day for a chick’n burger if that’s what I felt like that day. I ended up having one every day for a week. The restrictive thoughts kept wanting to come back but I accepted them for what they are; a relic of past dieting and cultural messages and noticed them and then let them go. I’m confident I have now finally managed to convince myself that I truly can get a chick’n burger any time I want and I’m starting to notice that I genuinely am wanting them less.

I’m not sure the chick’n burger honeymoon period is quite over yet, and I may still go through a few more honeymoon periods with other foods I haven’t hit yet, but for now I’m feeling pretty chill with where I’m at.

The key is though, you must give yourself full unconditional permission or it just doesn’t work.

I’m sure grateful to Christy’s course for helping me get to this point and I’m excited about where it will take me next

~ B

Separating veganism from ‘healthy’ plant-based diet

I’ve always been uncomfortable with the conflation between health/weight loss and veganism. In some ways it’s an unfortunate result of food being a very large and obvious area of animal exploitation. But when the health/weight loss and veganisam are conflated it’s actually dangerous. It’s important for people to realise that you can be vegan and get adequate nutrition regardless of your lifestyle, but when veganism is constantly ‘sold’ as a way to lose weight or become lean or even to get healthy, people will be harmed by seeing veganism as yet another possible solution to the never ending problem of finding the perfect ‘diet’.

In my mind, the term ‘ethical vegan’ is redundant as to be vegan is to be inherently ethical in your choices. Because I don’t want any sentient beings to be harmed and I know that I can eat in such a way that I do not contribute to that harm, the only option I have, if I am to like, value and respect myself, is to be vegan. Animal products are no more seen as food to me than is the option of eating human flesh. Veganism is not about restriction any more than not eating human flesh is a restriction.

Unfortunately, it is seen as a restriction, and this as well as the way it is sold as a health solution, means that it is often used as an excuse for restricting and leads many people to put it in the ‘doesn’t work’ basket along with all the diets.

But it’s not a diet.

Anyway, realising all this is making me all the more motivated to learn as much as I can about Intuitive Eating. What is clearly needed is Intuitive Eating resources for vegans. This is what I hope to create. If you have any ideas or thoughts, let me know 🙂

~ B

PS – the picture on the left is baked potatoes with baked beans and Daiya cheddar cheese, on the right are 2 jam donuts and a caramel slice, all vegan, nothing ‘restrictive’ about it