Emotions, Habits and Discovery – A healthy love of food


This topic is both for big people AND big people feeding little people, so if you don't have kids, keep reading as we just start with a kids' example...

Here's what we'll cover:

Tips for feeding kids

Sometimes I have epiphanies. A recent one came when I was asked to give my top tips on feeding kids in a healthy way during an interview. My top tips were:

  1. Love veggies yourself. Be the example who visibly chomps on raw carrot sticks and beetroot / guacamole dip, and say how super yummy it is and how it's a favourite veggie of yours. Show as much if not MORE enthusiasm for veggies as 'treats'. We tend to (as a culture) get our kids ballistically excited about 'that special cupcake' and then sternly say 'eat your veg'. The messages are all wrong and no wonder the result is that kids might turn their noses up at the food they're supposed to eat and chase the thrill ride foods instead…
  2. Take your kids to a market and let them choose the veggies, then cook the veggies with them - taste some raw veggies, talk about the texture of raw and then cooked, then let them stir in the butter… we seem to mainly let our kids in the kitchen to cook with us when it's cake making time. If they're part of the every day cooking, they'll be much more inclined to have a go at stuff they've made the effort to cook. No age is too young. My son used to stir (assisted by me, he's no boy genius!) his purees from 4 months in the Bjorn.
  3. Purée isn't just for babies - it's a great way to break up the boring old 3 steamed veg texture at meal time. Invest in a good stick blender or vitamix / thermomix type tool that you'll have for years and years, and make ultra delicious, super smooth mashes and purées, packed with veggies. We sometimes do half cauliflower / half beetroot and then the little guy gets to swirl them in to make rainbow mash. Pumpkin, zucchini, fennel, sweet potato, broccoli… they all purée / mash really well when well cooked first. Just add butter and or coconut cream / additive free cream, and a pinch or two of celtic sea salt and you get a filling, luscious mash and/ or purée packed with vitamins and healthy fats to absorb them all.

So let's focus on tip number 1, because it is potentially the greatest problem we have today with food: our tone and our own enthusiasm towards great, real food. We've seen advertisements for treat after treat - where are the enthusiastic carrot ads? Oh that's right, the organic carrot farmer can barely feed their family let alone advertise their produce! I'm not bitter, this is just how it is and once we're aware of something that isn't fair, boy is it just so much easier to make changes for the better.

You can have all the knowledge in the world but knowledge doesn't equal transformation. If knowledge was all we needed for transformation, I would never have been a smoker (yep. For 10 years I was, and I gave up 10 years ago.)

Feelings and emotions

I believe what really creates transformation are FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS, and we're going to look at this from a few different angles today

Take the additive laden treats that people try so desperately to kick, even though they 'know they're bad for me'. What if, as done in the first couple of days in this course, we added emotional layers that had us questioning such products in relation to our ethics. Well, WOAH. That is where this stuff starts to hit you like a tonne of bricks. "Have a break, have a destroyed rainforest" isn't hippy extremist, it's sadly a fact. The kit kat doesn't look quite as exciting now, does it? You still want the break and you very much deserve it so let me ask you this:

Were you even hungry? Why is a break always about eating or getting a coffee? Why is a break always about consumption? So here's a challenge for you:

List 5 things you LOVE to do with free time or to take a break, in your course journal (that you all bought yourselves - right, right?) - none of them are allowed to be food or drink related and it's probably best to have a couple of quick activities and a couple of longer ones so there's a variety of time frames in your options.

Then, next break, instead of reaching for the Pringles or M&Ms that the TV and radio have said we deserve for our busy modern lives, do something from your list instead.

The truth is, you might have turned to food so intrinsically as the years went by, that you've forgotten anything else that you love to do BUT eat. See that keyboard behind me? I stopped 'having a break & having a biscuit' when I reconnected with my piano and songwriting that I really enjoy doing. I get lost in the music instead of the leftover chocolate cake.

What do you want to get lost doing?  Fill yourself up with something other than food over the next week when you feel the need to browse but you're clearly not hungry and you've just eaten recently. If you find yourself craving the junk, research the ingredients and for your 'break' instead, hop onto YouTube and watch a report on palm oil deforestation or GMO monocrop effects on soil. The shiny ad is so, so far from the reality and once we truly understand the reality, the ads seem so shallow and our desire becomes less and less strong. This can take time but trust me, it will happen if you follow this simple plan to be emotionally stirred up by the reality of how the junk came to be, vs the ever-so attractive fantasy of what the junk represents.


Now... onto tone when feeding kids. What are you telling them? What is their psyche being filled with as you discuss food, impose on them to finish this and that, reward them with this and that...

Tips 2 and 3 will help you get on track to make things delicious for them in the vegetable kingdom but use this time to reflect and catch yourself - how am I talking about meals vs treats? Focus on your enthusiasm meter and be sure to use enthusiasm for what you want your kids to eat, yourself when you're eating those foods. Eating at the same time as your kids will get you the fastest results with this as you get to be a role model right in front of them. If you feel you have multiple issues feeding your kids / getting them to love real food, then you must keep an eye out for the kids course: THRIVE: Raising kids who love real food, created by Brenda Janschek & myself.

The dreaded "perfection" trap

This course is uncovering a WHOLE lot of stuff. Stuff you might not have considered before. Stuff that might be sending you into a tailspin sometimes. That is actually completely normal and it's a nice time for me to say thanks so much for trusting me to support you and take you through this information.

I went through shock, anger, panic, guilt, curiosity, disbelief, finding awesome in new ways to shop, making peace with food and then into 'how can I help as many people as possible' mode over a 12 month period.

Orthorexia is a disorder where one obsesses about how 'clean' their food is and how 'pure the source' is, or calls certain wholefood types 'evil' or 'dangerous' for your health - as in, when a person wouldn't even eat what's on offer at a friends' buffet barbeque if it's not organic or if there are croutons and they don't actually have gluten intolerance / coeliac / other allergies, they just believe it's 'dirty' and 'wrong'.

Please, do not let negative emotion and stress spoil what should be a beautiful journey.

What you do most of the time is the answer, and that's what you're working hard on right now. Be super excited about that. Be joyous. Be thrilled that the majority of your choices as you get more and more confident, are awesome choices. What happens the odd time, is nothing to be ashamed of, feel guilty about or be hard on yourself about - or your kids for that matter. Eventually you'll crowd out the weirdo packets and that will literally leave just social occasions. There's always a choice in social situations, so choose the best option for you and enjoy it, focusing more on the occasion at hand and the people to connect with, rather than the food - food doesn't always have to be the focus and "food" is actually many things as we have seen.

So it's time to reconnect with soul food and it's time to start being really mindful of how we talk to ourselves about food, and how we talk to kids if we're parents, about food.


Have a look at your core values. The values you hold true to you in the deepest part of your heart. The things you hold in highest regard as a marker for leading a successful life. Really think about them and write them down.

Mine are peace, justice, adventure, love and inspiration.

Real values are slow, beautiful, meaningful and beautiful. Now have a look at the values of a company that produces BBQ Shapes, or vegemite, or Slurpees etc

Profit, Addictive, Long shelf life, Cheap, Create a sense of fun for people.

Stripping back a product to the true 'values' of the business, you'll find these are often very different to the marketing values, which are fabricated to deliver on the real values behind the brand. Read here on REAL VALUES with a past piece of mine on the blog.

So thinking about YOUR values in relation to the things we buy and their values, can be an interesting way to tap into a deeper place to create change for ourselves if we've struggled with the 'oh no I really shouldn't' type of feelings towards the weirdo packets we don't want to desire any more.

And now onto another slightly different angle to further cement the psychological shift... a phrase I coined to work as an anthem of sorts on this journey - one where we feel excited about what's new instead of sad about what's gone -

Discovery, not deprivation

It's quite simple really. Operate throughout your journey from a place of discovery rather than a place of 'I shouldn't' and 'I couldn't' and you will eventually find far more cool and delicious things than you ever let go of.

You have to understand what's in those so called treats and processed foods in the first place to be free from them. I'll add another layer for you...

There's a boardroom. There are consumer insight surveys. There are calculations. There are 'crunch' mouthfeels patented - I kid you not. Kelloggs' crunch is patented. They're products made by companies who want to - and must - keep boosting their sales and share prices. Nothing wrong with making money, but dirty money that makes us unwell? Not so cool. The way they do that is by continually finding cheap ways to manufacture weirdo products, that people in white lab coats work hard to make addictive, so that we keep coming back. A friend of mine who was a food technologist once, was asked to 'do whatever it takes' to shave 4 cents off the cost of a packet of 4 Mushroom flavour Cup o' Soups, how horrible is that?

Then once the food tech guys are done, a marketing team works really hard to make it look like life sucks until the moment you get to enjoy those XYZ's. It might be hard to swallow that reality right now, but it's absolutely the truth. We've been totally duped and life is way sweeter, the sooner we realise what's truly behind these brands and how ridiculously unnecessary they are to our happiness. 

It's hard though, right? It's everywhere on TVs, the back of the buses, radio... so that's why you'll exhaust yourself quickly if you focus on what you can't have. Instead, we must see those things in a different way and discover quite literally a new language. Some of you have been doing this for a while now so you'll know. Support others that are starting out by sharing your tips and successes in the comments here in the lesson...

I became quite excited when I cracked the whole guilt / reward / deprivation circle of processed treats and have really enjoyed helping people do the same through my blog. My motto for anyone who might be about to have a whole bunch of 'holy crap, I've been eating WHAT?' 

DON'T FEEL GUILTY... remember?

So... what would I suggest you make your 3 things to DISCOVER? Nothing, this is your journey. What I will suggest though, is that you make it things you've either not tried before, or not tried to make before. New recipes from great cooks and chefs are always a great discovery tool, because they're going to be delicious and exciting. Going to a produce market and finding something you've never tasted before is also an awesome thing to do as well.

I'd also recommend that if you do start looking through blogs to find your 'discovery' dishes, that you have a look at the comments in the blog (please, if you make any of my recipes leave comments? it helps inspire others to cook!) and scan for repeat negative results on a recipe. Making something that's a flop can be expensive in the organic / wholefood world so you want to be sure you trust the recipe developer.

Maybe your 'deprivation' is a favourite Nigella Lawson recipe you're already pining for... why not try to switch refined ingredients for whole ones and see how it tastes? TIP: DON'T DO THIS WITH COCONUT FLOUR. It doesn't translate well from flour. Stick to spelt / rice flour and buckwheat conversions to start with.

Maybe your deprivation is processed chocolate and it's time to finally have a crack at making your own. Make mine here.

Maybe your kids' favourite thing is chocolate paddle pop - go out and choose cool icy pole moulds and then make a round of chocolate paddle pops of your own together. My chocolate thickshake is awesome for pops and packed with nourishment.

Keep learning with these podcasts...

In this podcast episode, I chat to Leila Masson about deficiencies and actions we can take to treat them.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Steph Lowe on eating real food and supporting your food choices.

In this podcast episode, I talk about practical tips on how you can afford organics.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Jude Blereau on developing confidence in your food choices in a noisy world.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Cyndi O' Meara on debunking food myths and making healthier choices.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Maeve O' Meara about the magic of plant based foods.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Vanya Cullen all about biodynamics and food matching.

In this podcast episode, I chat to Nicole Avery as she shares some of the most incredible food organisation tips and tricks.


And just in case you needed to hear this today... just do the best you can and let that be enough.

Real Food. Happy Discoveries.

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