Is That An Avocado in My Burger?
From exploding tastes-buds to the metaphorical breaking–bread together, this week Emma Rogan goes basic on what powers her up, drains her energy, and the importance of food to her and her family’s quality of life.
Food makes sense to me, I love the chemistry of cooking, the possibilities of combining flavours and imagining how my cells are energised by what I chew and swallow. Learning, gathering, planning, preparing, washing, cutting, cooking and sharing food connects me to myself, my body and since being diagnosed with MS, with my health. But it is not only about multiple sclerosis. Heart disease and cancer have both affected my family, being lean is one of my ‘things’ and I’m a divil for the greens and salad.
Wasn’t it simpler in the old days?
From the colourful noisy streets of Istanbul I’m catapulted to a time long ago, back to the cool scullery where my Granny kneaded dough before baking it in a griddle pan in the warm and toasty kitchen bathed in the scent of soda bread… it’s a close to heaven as I can get. In boarding school, it was the promise of something warm and tasty that kept us queuing to get into Mrs. O’Hara’s dining hall and, despite the complaints, we left nourished and sated (at least until the Tuck shop opened or someone opened a packet of cheese and crackers!). The food I ate at school gave me the energy to play hockey, to study and learn and at college we would share meals together as ways of getting to know one another. It was simple, it was nourishing… it was body AND soul food.
Now with all the different wannabe TV chefs, Instagramming and food fads, it can be difficult to decide who to trust or follow. Food is what makes us go, it is energising and restorative, and is such a joyful thing. Food can start relationships, ease new connections and spark possibilities where they were never there before. Food is a big part of maintaining a healthy heart and body and while we learn from the experts, we decide what we put on our own plates and into the bellies of our children. Make good choices.
Over the years, I have made significant changes, some subtle, some profound. I’ve joined the GYI gang and grown kale on my balcony, we eat vegetables for every meal and I look to leaders in the field like Dr Roy Swank who studied people with MS over decades on low-saturated fat diets, Dr Terry Wahls (Wahls Protocol) who researched mitochondria and Dr George Jelinek who leads the Overcoming MS community. When it comes to what I put into my body, the diagnosis put me onto a colourful, scent-filled culinary journey that lead me to new ways of living. Fresh tomatoes, tofu, courgetti, avocado, oats, almond milk, no meat and minimum saturated-fat (I stay away from cheese, cow’s milk). When I was training, I had the benefits of having a personal trainer with great advice on keeping healthy and strong. It is not about not eating what you want; it’s about choosing food that will energise you later in the day, that tomorrow you won’t regret. Yes, there are days when I share a cheesy pizza but I soon go back to my greens. Yes, I have eaten fast-food meat in the past six months but it was a forkful not a meal. Yes, it takes time to put a good meal together but what else is as important than feeding myself and family with good, quality food?
Connect with Emma Rogan on Twitter and see here blog here: https://republicofemma.wordpress.com/