Two months after leaving food-focused retreat centres, I notice the lessons I learnt there sinking in with the challenges of travel and less equipped kitchens, plus cooking for myself! In London with my full kitchen it was easy to experiment with almond pizza, quinoa chocolate cake, raw vegan lasagne and homemade kimchi. Many of these recipes take time to make and require expensive ingredients from specialist stores e.g. nutritional yeast.
For Greece, I decided a good blender was vital, so into my bag went a NutriBullet. I brought 1kg of chia seeds and electrolyte powder with me. Vassiliki’s shops have wonderful Mediterranean vegetables, feta cheese, fruits and Greek yoghurt for sale – even lactose free and goat versions of Greek yoghurt! The local grocery shop makes her own sheep and goats cheese that she sells in large boxes for less than two Euros! Thankfully, the shop just outside town sells nuts and seeds too in large kilogram bags.
Key to my diet are:
- Chia seeds every morning for fibre and some protein. These bulk out a smoothie for more filling & energy than fruit alone.
- Soak 1/3 chia seeds to water in a sealed tub overnight. Give it a good shake.
- Fruit in the morning makes me feel fresh, but it is not sufficient energy for my day.
- Vary between green fruits like kiwi & avocado and red/orange fruits for a healthy diet.
- For more filling days I add the lactose-free Greek yoghurts.
- Electrolytes, especially magnesium prevent my dizzy spells and help with insomnia.
- Thanks to Grace van Berkum’s recommendations I have tasty and low sugar choices: Ultima Replenisher and Calm.
- Green leafy salads – lettuce, cabbage, peppers, avocado, tomatoes, olive oil & lemon dressing. Sprinkle over salt in a hot climate for all the sweating!
- For a more filling salad add boiled rice, or an egg, or some quinoa.
- Nuts are a great alternative to a grain or egg, with their crunchy texture for fun.
- Nuts – good source of protein and I love added texture to foods.
- Whatever I can get my hands on, but walnuts are high priority because they can make something ‘meaty’ and are great for the brain!
- Brazil nuts are less common by such a treat!
- Fermented vegetables – this help digestion of foods they are eaten with alongside add enzyme content to a meal for super digestion!
- Lentils – cheap! High in fibre with good levels of potassium, magnesium and iron these are great for a more filling meal.
- Clean and with vegetables this is a super tasty meal once I throw in chilli, curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
- A daal every week to remind me that there is spicy food out there to enjoy & get some fire in my belly!
Dinners with friends at mine are lentils, roasted vegetables and salads. We love to invite people around to eat with us in our flat and share the food love! As people working in health and fitness everyone cares to eat healthy food and learn new recipes.
Weekly BBQs on the beach are great fun. I enjoy the social element and charcoal taste. However, my desire to eat meat has wained so the veggie choice is halloumi skewers or King Prawns with vegetables. BBQ meals always come with pitta and tzatziki – yum! Then I noticed the foggy head every Tuesday night and groggy feeling when I went to bed. Wednesday, I would be in a low mood, wanting to curl up in bed by 8pm feeling sorry for myself. What was going on?!
It appeared that gluten and lactose together was not something my body liked to digest together. Then I noticed that it was the bread at other social events when my groggy head kicked in. My stomach became bloated and I just felt gross. I never liked gluten and have tended to avoid it when being ‘healthy’, so now with awareness of such a clean body for so long I can confirm it is best avoided if I want to feel vibrant and full of clean health!
Lefkas is an island, so surrounded by fish. The restaurants sell amazing seafood and fish that is so substantial in portion. There is a ‘staff’ price that we pay in most restaurants of our town, so we get amazing meals for very good value. There is a great deal of eating out – and much alcohol with that! As I don’t drink I enjoy the meals to get to know the others and there is a community love to share dips, starters and small plates.
Some restaurants serve more fried food than others, there are chips or rice, roasted vegetables and pizza. Endless bread and tzatziki comes out in restaurants, so I begin to learn to resist the pull of the bread. The restaurants that have a large proportion of fried dishes (variations of deep fried cheese!) become my less favoured choice or I am careful about what I pick on the menu. But the king prawns and sea bream always have my order – I just love them both so much and, even fried, they are such a (healthy) treat!
Our diets should always change to reflect our changing body, environment, emotions and health needs. We are constantly changing and need to check in within ourselves carefully to see how we may need to adapt. It is important to have a period where you cleanse and clean out any impurities in your body. Only when you feel truly ‘clean’ internally can you begin to feel what foods or combinations of food, contribute to your lesser health.
Like a house you want to excavate and clean the foundations before you build your home. Your body is your home for your entire life – clean and check your foundations regularly to keep your home stable and safe.