20 lessons I learned in 2018 (and what this means for 2019)

As a follow on from my End Of Year Review and as part of my overall end of year reflections I began concocting a ‘lessons I learned’ post after feeling inspired by reading similar posts by others. It ended up as a list of 20 which felt like the right place to stop.

I love the simple clarity of some of these lessons contrasted with the depth and complexity of others - a complexity that goes so much deeper than the words on the page.

Many of these lessons I am already well on the road to putting into action, others will take a little longer as the acknowledgement and the implications land within my soul.

This list is not conclusive but all felt significant for me and I feel offers something of a beautiful indicator as to where my life has journeyed over the last 12 months and areas of focus and intention for the next 12 ongoing.

I’d love to hear from you… what are your top lessons of 2018 …and where are you headed for 2019?

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20 lessons I learned in 2018

  1. ‘Home’ is an internal place not an external one.

  2. The importance of creating clear boundaries and expectations in relationships -both personal and business.

  3. Love will find me when I’m ready and willing to ask for it and let it in.

  4. Travel does not have to be expensive, complicated or a luxury.

  5. I have a desire to live a location independent lifestyle.

  6. I do want kids after all (this one is huge for me)

  7. How much of my precious energy I drain through investing too much in people or situations that aren't in alignment with me.

  8. Difficult conversations will never get easier if expectations and boundaries are not first created, and even then they still require courage to be had.

  9. Stories are powerful - both in terms of how we connect as humans and the (often negative) stories we tell ourselves- rewrite that script!

  10. A calling to take the next step on my writing journey and publish a book.

  11. I can choose to be the 'victim' or the 'owner' of literally any situation I find myself in.

  12. Having continuously rebelled against the idea of ‘structure’ and ‘planning’ since having the freedom of working for myself, I realise I absolutely need them in order to succeed. (note: I ordered a planner for next year and I will commit to using it!)

  13. I currently hold a very negative ‘money story’ which is holding me back from financial abundance (massive reality check!)

  14. What I perceive and beat myself up as being as my big old shame stories no one else even notices or cares about, they’ve got their own stuff to deal with.

  15. Making 'bliss balls' are my no. 1 procrastination distraction tactic!

  16. It's totally ok to be picky, and actually the more specific you are about your desires the more you give ‘the universe’ to work with to co-create with you.

  17. If I'm not mindful, my default mode is to fall into being a 'rescuer' and that does not serve either me or them.

  18. My new favourite green smoothie recipe is: 1 banana, 2 packed cups of spinach and the juice of 1 lime (try it!)

  19. To get to experience the amazingness of life we also have to be willing to embrace the messy bits. We cannot ‘numb’ selectively and there is beauty in the pain.

  20. The pleasure gained from sipping tea from a very big mug cannot be underestimated!

So what does this look like for the months ahead?

Intuitively, I’m feeling that 2019 looks set to embody a more transient lifestyle, an exploration of love (of myself and others), of creating a ‘structure’ that works for me and consciously creating expectations and agreements.

I am curious to see how this sense of awareness evolves!


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2018 end of year review

My end of year review is an ‘emotional space creator’, a calling in what has come and gone, what I have created and what I have left behind, what has fired me up and broken me down what has shifted and evolved with me.

I first captured it's essence on a small piece of paper then burned it in the solstice fire to make make way for 2019.

This blog was originally captured as an audio note. If you would like to listen to the full, unfiltered version you can do so below (it’s 20 minutes long). It embodies the energy of the moment, and of the original essence of my reflection. That said, this written post itself contains minimal editing from the original.


My end of year review comes form an emotional place. Not a place of fact and figures as I have seen in so many other entrepreneurs reviews. This is the place that feels most true for me right now. The facts and figures whilst important and rewire my acknowledgement, don't hold most meaning for me in tis moment.

There were two big driving forces that were most meaningful for me this year, both were in my personal life but that created powerful ripples in all areas of my life and business.

My relationship.

My house move.

First, I met my love in January after seven years of being on my own. Last New Year I put the message that I was open and ready for love out in the universe and later in January itself I met him.

It was an intensely beautiful relationship at first but slowly the cracks began to show. I realised then that I hadn't created strong boundaries and I hadn't called in what was truly important to me deep down. I wasn't living in full alignment with who I needed to be. Whilst there was a still a lot of deep love there on both sides, there were insurmountable cracks that were exacerbated by dramas unfolding in his world and frustrations that I felt were being repressed and not addressed.

I look back and smile now as I understand relationships are always our mirror.

What was I not addressing?

So from some time September though to November we took a careful and steady decision to create some physical space which ultimately have the conversation that would end it all.

It was incredibly painful at times, as I struggled to let go of the desire for him being 'the one'. Yet, it has taught me a lot about what it is I truly need in a relationship, not just what I think I want, and also where I am willing to compromise and where I am not.

Another big driving force this year for me has been my house move.

I have lived in the same house, on and off over the last 28 years (aside from university and short stints with partners) but I had always gravitated back to the family home. It was my rock. On some levels it served me powerfully, but on other levels it really held me back and I knew it. But I felt caught in the spiral. It was a comfort zone that I struggled to break away from.

The decision was made for me. In late September the house was sold. The family home, the place that I had called home for almost 28 years no matter where I was in the world, no longer existed.

That created all kinds of shifts within me energetically. It also coincided with the difficult conversations within my relationship. It was the beginning of the end at that point. A very powerful time.

These things have challenged me in so many ways, they pushed me into discomfort when I have needed to gown but haven't felt ready. In amongst this turbulence, I noticed so much space open up with in me. Space for new ideas to be born. .

So what else has this year brought to light...

It has shown a powerful evolution in my coaching business, it has shown me moving away from nutrition into the realms of vulnerability and authenticity at a level of depth and clarity I hadn't previously explored.

It has seen me 'create' more... more crafts, products, workshops, services. Creation is incredibly important to me, BUT I also notice that sometimes when I create it can be an act of procrastination from not taking action on following through of those creations.

It is a comfort zone to create, but to follow through is a whole different ball game and that is the part I have often neglected and overlooked. I have all too easily jumped ship to another 'shiny idea'. I have launched ideas into the world but then allowed them to dissolve a fizzle out without continually pulling in energy to lift them off the grown in the way they deserve to be. That is an acknowledgement on my part, an acknowledgement that needs to change next year.

I launched my bevisible.me website, as a hybrid of design work and coaching. This is something I really feel will springboard next year... and I am really enjoying the combination of design and coaching.

Drawing out stories, storytelling is an incredibly powerfully space that I want to explore much more deeply next year. We all have incredible powerful stories within us, stories that can draw our people into our world. If we can find away to express who we really are though our stories, through out life and our words... it is magic.

This is where I feel as though I am going more and more. Using my voice to help people share their voice.

That is the work that is calling me.

I believe that this understanding has needed the space of my relationship coming and going and the turbulence of energy from my house move to really bring this to the forefront of my life.

This year I also created the I AM group. A private facebook group to show up is the fullness of who we are.

I found myself using the phrase I AM to explore my own territory, to explore the expansiveness of who I was, who I was leaving behind and who I was becoming, with a sense of curiosity and without judgement. It is so easy to judge ourselves and hold expectation, but when I can let that fall away and sit with the pure curiosity of 'who I am', life shifts in exciting new ways.

I also created the I AM postcards just before Christmas, as a way to explore intention setting for the coming year, as a way if honouring how we really are.

Back in October I had a wonderful conversation with a fellow coach. I shared my frustrations of where I was holding myself back, where I was struggling to give myself permission to step into the life that was waiting fo me.

He asked me a simple question: "what would life look like for you you if you gave yourself permission?"

My immediate unfiltered answer was; "I would get to experience ALL of me."

Even as I said those words I could feel the power within then. In that moment I realised that to become the best version of ourselves we need to be willing to experience ALL of ourselves, that includes the messy bits and it includes the tough conversation, it includes the bits we want to repress and deny. It's only through being willing to be with these parts of ourselves that we get to experience outsides in all of our truly glory.

So then he reflected back that maybe instead of my signature line "I help people become the best version of themselves", maybe instead I rewrite this to become "I help people experience all of themselves'. It immediately felt aligned. I had been able to connect the dots that that been there all along.

It was the precursor to creating the I AM group. It was the precursor to my realisation that I a story teller, but more than that I create space for other people to tell their stories and truly own them. That's what I want to do more and more of next year.

As I sit here now, I reflect on what else I need to acknowledge this year, what has had less obvious impact on me but is important to acknowledge nonetheless.

One key things is my Wholeplus food business. I joined forces at the very beginning of this with a local gym owner who also has a commercial kitchen. The relationship going forwards with the business has an incredible amount of potential. But progress has been very slow, with nothing really moving forwards and other priorities taking over time and time again.

At times I found this incredibly frustrating, but now I see that maybe that's exactly what needed to be. Maybe the energy there had to slow down and be put on hold so I had the energy to inject into me, my growth, the I AM movement, the evolution of my design work, and also my relationship- because whilst my relationship ultimately broke down it was at first an incredible rich and nourishing part of my life with many lessons to be learned.

Next year is a time for growing into the message that has become clear this year.

Now that my message has become clear, my food business also has some space to grow.

I big realisation this year is the I want to become more transient and not fixed to any single location. I have slowly shifted my work, and ultimately my relationship to allow for that transition.

I tested this idea of 'live-work-travel' at the end of this year in Salobrena, Spain and it was a magical experience.

As I let go of the old and allow things to transform into how they can best serve me, I look ahead to committing to myself. Not just creating but committing those creations into action. I also look to building a community because I know deep down this is not just about me. Our stories and our ownership of our lives is a community effort, coming together to express, to share, to acknowledge, to voice our journeys in the presence of others in a safe intimate space is powerful.

So I am holding space for that community. I am committing to my own journey, I am continuing to weave my web as a storyteller, designer and coach, These are the threads that I am pulling together out of everything that has come over the last 12 months and that I am weaving into the tapestry of 2019.

So this is my end of year review. Much longer than I anticipated when I began my reflection process.

Now, I reflect back to you...

What has the year held for you?

What is the essence of what this year was about?

What are the truths that stirred your soul and create the biggest shifts?

What were the biggest teaching points?

What has 2018 meant for you overall?

Once you have a sense of all of these things, how will you bring all of that together as an intention for 2019? If you were to get super clear on that feeling, what does that look life when articulated into words. What is your intention for the year ahead and how will you honour that transition?

Wishing you a wonderful 2019.

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Christmas Wreath Cheesecake! (with so many options!)

I recently took a trip to Spain to soak up some winter sunshine and do some work without the distractions of my kitchen. I have lots of travel plans for next year and this was something of a trial for a location independent work life.

That meant as soon as I landed back in the UK… I was straight back in the kitchen to unleash all that repressed kitchen creativity, ha ha

This was something of spontaneous unplanned creation, although the idea was triggered by a toffee wreath sponge cake in the Ocado Magazine. I veganized it, healthanized it, changed up the flavour and tuned it into a cheesecake. Nothing like the original really!

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What I love about this recipe is the pure versatility…

  • you can make your own plain cheesecake base or if you are pushed for time buy a plain one and focus on making the bliss balls decorations.

  • you can use any cheesecake recipe you prefer (if you have a tried and tested version you love- just go for that!)

  • you can make it any flavour you fancy - I went for gingerbread but any festive theme (or non-festive) would be awesome.

  • You can make the topping ahead of time and then decorate your cheesecake last minute for a super speedy show-stopping dessert.

So have I got your attention yet? :-)

Below, I have provided the cheesecake recipe I used if you want to try it, but as I mention above the main focus of this post is on the decorations, so you could literally use any plain smooth topped cheesecake base you like.

I kept my bliss balls plain for a ‘simple’ understated cake but after I made it I remembered my ‘bliss baubles’ from previous years- they would look absolutely epic on this cake! (Why didn’t I think of that at the time!!)

I developed the ‘baubles’ for a brand so I don’t think I showcase them on my blog at the time - but the concept is simple. Toss desiccated coconut in a little turmeric, greens powder and beetroot powder and roll the balls in it to get a pretty multi-coloured batch!

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Recipe: Christmas Wreath Cheesecake!

Makes an 8’ cheesecake

Cheesecake Ingredients:

Base*

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1/2 cup nuts

  • 1 tbs coconut oil

Cheesecake

  • 1 cup water (separated into 2 x 1/2 cups)

  • 1 tbs agar flakes

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight in cold water or for a couple of hours in hot water, then drained)

  • 1/4 cup syrup of choice (I used coconut)

  • 2 tbs coconut oil

  • 1 tbs lemon juice

  • 1 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1/4 tsp mixed spice

*NOTE: I found my base to be quite ‘bendy’ so it wasn’t as easy to remove from the pan as I would like. (But maybe that’s just me being clumsy as most of the recipe I have looked at use a similar base type)

Method:

Add the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz together until quite fine and clumpy. Press firmly into the bottom of a spring form pan (lining it may also help- optional). Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup water with the agar flakes to a small sauce pan. bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, blitz the remaining ingredients together in a food processor until thick and smooth (you may need to scrape down a couple of times). By this time the agar should be ready. Add this to the food processor and blitz for a further 20-30 seconds until the mixture is as smooth as it can be.

Working quite quickly (because the agar will begin to set) spoon/pour the mix on top of the cheesecake base. Tap the tin gently to smooth the top and get rid of any air bubbles. Once cooler enough place the cheesecake in the fridge to fully set (an hour or so).

Meanwhile, make the bliss ball topping as directed below.


Bliss Ball Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup dates (use medjool dates if you haven’t got a powerful food processor)

  • 1 cup dessicated coconut (or nuts of choice- cashew/almond/pecan or a mix all work well)

  • 2 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • handful of goji berries and pumpkin seeds for additional decoration.

*Remember you could use any flavour here or a mix of flavours - e.g orange, cherry bakewell, chocolate, vanilla would all work well depending on what base favour you opt for!

Method:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor. The mix should be soft and clumpy and easy to roll into balls. Using your hands, roll into balls of various (fairly small) sizes.

If choosing to decorate as multi-coloured ‘baubles’ - dust a little extra desiccated coconut with turmeric, greens power and beetroot power (plus blue spirulina if you can get your hands on it!- any other colours?!) and roll the balls in it.

Allow them to chill and firm up whilst the cheesecake base firms up.

Once ready to decorate, place the balls gently in a mix of sizes around the perimeter of the cake top. Sprinkle goji berries and pumpkin seeds as desired in the gaps as ‘foliage’.

NOTE: you could make these ahead of time as they will store in the fridge for a couple of weeks. They transport well too if you needed to take them elsewhere to a festive party and decorate a cake there!

The entire assembled cheesecake will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.

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Did you try it?

I’d love to see… tag @johodson on Instagram with your creation!! :-)


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The Festive Recipe Bundle!

A ‘Bliss’full Christmas?

With the festive season fast approaching… I had a slightly spontaneous idea to create a festive recipe bundle including a new version of my ‘top 5 recipes’ with some new favourites I have created since the first edition.

I coupled the Christmas Recipe Guides with my favourite Bliss Ball Guide (featuring loads of recipes that haven’t appeared on the blog) because, for me, Bliss Balls are the perfect Christmas homemade gift… so many of my customers and friends will likely attest to that, ha ha!

‘Printables’

The fun bonus with these ebooks is that they are designed such that you can print them (ideally on card), cut them along the dotted lines to keep on hand in the kitchen OR even better, use the recipe card as a gift tag when you present your homemade gift… that way your ‘giftee’ can make the recipe again for themselves. Fun, right? ;-)

All the recipes are vegan (of course) gluten free (some use oats so opt for GF versions) and refined-sugar free… so you have an indulgent Christmas without compromise.

*Note… I don’t want to imply that there should be any ‘food guilt’ I aim to inspire your creativity with food NOT make you feel bad about food! So go full out and eat sugar and refined foods if you want to, I just know many of us feel so much better in mind and body when sticking to mostly whole foods and unrefined ingredients if there is the option, and so if that’s you thing… I’ve totally got you covered!

The whole bundle is just £5…

You can buy it HERE (or click the pic below!)

P.s I’d love you to tag me on social media in any recipes you make - Instagram is my favourite hangout- I’m @johodson over there :-)

If you don’t fancy getting the guides right now, you can still get lots of recipe ideas right here on my blog… Here are a few to get you going!


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The dreaded question... ‘So what do you do?’

For so many years I struggled with the abundance of ideas and options that flooded my mind...

Which ones should I follow? 

If I honour one does it meaning dropping the others? 

How will I tell people about what I do?

Ahhh, now I need another business card...

Which email address should I send this from?

I’m confused about who I am so I’m pretty sure other people are...

It resulted in confusion and overwhelm and feeling like I was scattering my focus so thinly and not really achieving anything at all. My confidence suffered and I cringed when asked the dreaded question: ‘So what do you do?’

Very recently all that changed when the missing piece of the puzzle fell into place.

An awareness and simplicity came into view and joined up all the dots that had been there all along. The common thread that tied everything together.

I am a coach

I am a writer

I am a designer

I am a firewalking instructor

I own a health food business

BUT above all of this...

“I help connect people to the best version of themselves”

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If you are a multi-passionate person feeling stuck and scattered by ideas and options you want to pursue. You don’t need to ‘pick one’ and drop everything else to achieve success.

Rise up and look at the bigger picture. Join the dots that have been there all along.... what is your core desire that connects the seemingly unconnected?

Focus on that place, serve from that place.

It’s your gateway for your clients to connect with ALL that you are, so that they can become ALL they they can be.


I call this the ‘The golden thread’

A fundamental core belief or set of values, that weaves through the essence of our lives and makes life most meaningful for us. 

It could also be called our mission statement. 

To articulate it in words gives it greater clarity and power. It brings the mission to life, beyond a ‘feeling in our heart’. It allows others to connect to that feeling too. It allows us to feel most connected to our purpose. 

Connection is key. If we can’t articulate it, we don’t have a voice. If we are not able able to put words to those feelings keeps us small, holds us back. We lack direction in life without that clarity.

This Thursday 4th October @ 8pm UK…

I am hosting a FREE WEBINAR to dive deeper into the ‘Golden Thread’, to rid the anxiety and overwhelm around the dreaded question… ‘so, what do you do?’

I would absolutely love you to join me there!

This is for you if you are struggling as a wellness solopreneur with multiple passions. Join me on October 4th @ 8pm UK time, where you will…

>>> Understand why you don’t need to ‘pick one thing’ and drop everything else you are passionate about to achieve success.

>>> Discover how knowing your deepest core values can play the biggest role in connecting with clients.

>>> Learn how to make yourself visible within the 'noise' of the wellness industry AND do it in a way that feels really authentic.

I'll be guiding you through a journey of discovery with a complimentary workbook, so you can shake things up and get started immediately!

P.s For more information on my deep dive ‘visibility package’ for wellness business owners kicking off in a couple of week time >>> CLICK HERE

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Self growth : Why we need to get ready for the meltdown!

If you have kids, or young family members, you may well be aware of the ‘caterpillar kits’ that have been doing the rounds during summer time year over the last few years.

A few weeks ago, at my mum’s house, I found myself sat in front of a tiny tub containing baby caterpillars, no more than a few millimetres in size, wriggling around eating so much food as they prepared for their transformation.

As I sat there it occurred to me the incredible magic that is involved, the mind-blowing transformation that takes place in order for them to become a beautiful butterfly.

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There are so many 'inspirational' quotes bounced around on the internet about this transformation, but to be honest, they had always just seemed like words to me: 

"What if the change you're avoiding is the one that gives you wings?"

"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"

"Your time as a caterpillar has expired, your wings are ready"

I'd never really thought about it to the extent I did as I sat there that morning, staring through the sides of the little plastic tub.

What made me laugh as I thought about it some more, is that when the caterpillar wraps itself up in it's chrysalis, attaches itself to a solid surface and hangs there for a couple of weeks before emerging as a butterfly... what is actually happening on the inside!

It practically liquefies, by releasing enzymes to digest its own body. The caterpillars 'dissolve' before rebuilding themselves into a beautiful butterfly!

It felt like a powerful metaphor to me; that in order to undergo this incredible transformation, first we have to have a 'meltdown'.

How true is this in life, when we are going through our own transformation. When doing the work on the inside first, it is almost inevitable that we are going to have a meltdown somewhere along that process.

In that moment I realised it's about embracing this process because that is where the biggest gifts lie. It's the shift that happens during the meltdown where we become stronger and more beautiful as a result.

It's the allowing of that that state of letting go of who we once were, even it might feel like the worst thing in the world at the time, but is actually necessary in order for us to become the person that we have the potential to be.

What's more important as I thought about it again a few days later, as I looked across at these now tiny rugged suspended chrysalis forms, is that there is this outer protection against the world.

The chrysalis shell is the only thing that allows the caterpillar to do the ‘inner work’; the only thing that allows the transformation to take place.  There is no way they could have their 'meltdown' without that protective barrier in place.

I think we all need to create a ‘chrysalis’ in our own lives.

If we are to accept that at some point along the process of our personal growth we are going to have a meltdown, then we need to be better preparing ourselves for that protective container. Having the people, the resources and the tools in place that allow us to fully embrace that.

It's not pretty, it's actually pretty messy in there. But if we haven't got the resources in places to best manage that state whilst we are in it, we are likely to struggle.

Ultimately, I think there are two key learning points to this caterpillar-butterfly process, way beyond the fluffy inspirational quotes...

One is in accepting that it is likely we are going to have a 'meltdown' as we do the inner work to become our biggest, brightest, best self. In order to truly fly in this world we are going to first have a meltdown.

Secondly, in knowing this, it is about putting the people and the resources in place to support that transition and help it run it’s course as smoothly as possible.

It's not going to be pretty, but with awareness and support we can make it through the process and out the other side to emerge in full glory.

So, let’s get ready for the meltdown!


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My Rawgust Experience... and Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

'Rawgust' is over and we are rolling swiftly into September!

I thought I'd take a moment on this sunny Sunday morning to reflect on a few thoughts of my 'raw food' experience. As I mentioned in my previous post I didn't maintain a 100% raw diet, it was more like 85% as my view was to see it as an exploration and open my mind to new recipes and ideas, rather than a restriction which I may have felt had I been super strict.

>>> NOTE: see my previous post for tips and meal inspiration

This decision to go 'high raw' rather than fully raw was partly based on the fact I had a few family commitments and events I knew I would be attending which would have made life difficult. I decided that a 'high raw diet' would allow me to appreciate most of the benefits and enable me to broaden my raw food repertoire without it feeling pressured or frustrated.

Overall I really enjoyed the month, initially I did miss big hot bowls of porridge (yes, I still eat porridge in the summertime!) and I really missed beans and lentils- such a staple in my everyday diet.

That being said, I really threw myself into creating some amazing salads and lots of raw dressings and dips to go with them. For me, a good dressing can turn any salad from average to amazing :-) 

This is definitely something I'll be continuing, as I'd like to aim for at least 50% raw ongoing- basically, i'll be incorporating a smoothie and a big salad every day- pretty easy, right!

I'll post a recipe round up of loads of sauces, dressing and dips from my vegan community in a separate post- hopefully, there'll be lots to inspire you too!

My boyfriend, who took the challenge along with me- who also reminded me that it was his idea in the first place (credit where it's due!!) has, for the time being, decided to maintain a 75-80% raw diet, so we'll still be eating a lot of raw meals together. 

My downfall (if anything) was eating too many Bliss Balls, ha ha. I often get carried away anyway when I make them, but during Rawgust I fell into the trap of having even more excuse to indulge.

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Bliss balls... soooo tempting!!

Many people I know who eat raw, typically follow a high-fruit diet. This is something I have never felt really suits me. When I've experimented with an 801010 (80% carbs, 10% fat 10% protein) style diet in the past I ended up feeling incredibly bloated with the ratio of fruit. I feel I need to incorporate more fats. Maybe that was why one of my favourite meals last month was avocado and tomato on dehydrated flax crackers.

That said, my digestion was, for the most part, really great this last month, even though I have had some tough personal challenges to content with (stress usually impacts my bowels- sorry TMI!) My tummy felt flat and I have lost a little weight. Maybe that's down to the lack of legumes and/or grains... who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens as I add them back.

I'm also not convinced that a fully raw diet is particularly suited to our UK climate during the colder winter months. I know the idea of a nourishing warm meal really soothes me and the abundance root vegetables help ground me. I wouldn't want to forgo soups and stews indefinitely regardless of any nutritional science. 

I know there are ways to create 'warmth' in the body whilst consuming raw foods by using ginger and other warming spices to 'fire up' the body, but nothing compares to a big bowl of soup in my opinion! :-) 

I also query the environmental angle. I like the idea of aiming to eat more seasonally and locally, (although i'll make it clear I'm not perfect at this by any means), so feasting on tropical fruits shipped from far overseas during our cold winter months, doesn't quite sit right with me. I want to enjoy our abundance of winter vegetable roots and brassicas from the ground during this time.

One final point of interest... I was scanning through all my old health and wellness magazines, as part of my declutter ahead of moving house in a couple of weeks and I found various articles on Ayurveda. I am definitely a Vata Dosha and interestingly one of the things it advised 'Vata's' against was to consume raw foods... how interesting!

I have not looked deeply into the reasoning behind this (but now I am curious to know more), but it did remind me that there is never a 'one size fits all approach' when it comes to food, and that we all need to be intuitive eaters when it comes to what we feel our bodies need.  

As an example, I would never directly advise others to eat animal products BUT I do appreciate that we each need to find out own way and tune into what really works for us away from societies expectation and the pressure from the media and those around us.

Most of all, I believe we need to become more curious, more self-aware, more confident and relaxed around food.

Short terms 'Detoxes' and Challenges' (such as Rawgust) create the perfect opportunity for shaking things up, trying new things, re-setting our bodies systems, checking in with any symptoms that might be showing up and reflecting on what we really need deep down.

To break the pattern of the autopilot mode that so many of us function on day to day when it comes to food and lifestyle.

So on that note, I am going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite avocado and tomato salad on raw flax crackers.... ridiculously simple, and definitely one I'll keep on weekly repeat.

raw avo tomato toast 1a.jpg

I'd love to continue this conversation...

Have you tried a raw diet? Maybe you loosely follow a raw-till-4 approach? Or something else... I'd love to hear your own thoughts, experiences and results. 


Recipe: Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado

  • A large handful of cherry tomatoes

  • Dehydrated flax crackers (quantity to suit appetite!)

  • Fresh basil

  • Salt and pepper

  • Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional)

  • Salad leaves (optional)

Flax Cracker Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight

  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight

  • 1 stick of celery, roughly chopped

  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)

  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

  • 1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or other herbs/spices to suit)

  • a few tbs water to create the right consistency (add gradually)

Method for the flax crackers:

Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor, until thick and sticky, adding a little water add needed (I used approx 1/3 of a cup)

Spread the mix to a 0.5 cm thickness over teflex dehydrator sheets. 

Dehydrate at 45C for approx 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 4 hours. 

Cut into any desired slices. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. 

Method for the avo 'toast':

There is no real method.... just assemble everything on top of the crackers!

You can slice your flax bread/crackers into larger 'bread style' squares but because I make mine in a large batch I had pre-cut them into small squares for versatility. Either is fine.

NOTE: I originally made a version of this style of raw bread/cracker HERE. At that time I also tried a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. It worked well so it's an option to try if you don't have access to a dehydrator.

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My top #Rawgust meal ideas & raw banana bread recipe!

It's coming up to the end of the month. The end of August.... and therefore the end of #Rawgust

I didn't announce it directly on my blog (kept that to social media) but I made the decision on the last day of their life to give Raugust a go - that's raw vegan for the month of August. My boyfriend was also up for playing along which helped!

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I felt very unprepared and aware that it may not run perfectly or smoothly but that's ok. It was the spontaneity that spoke to me in the moment when I saw a post by the Ethcs crew that I really resonated with.

Having spent time at Raw Fest on the last weekend of July, and more recently exploring the connection between a plant-based diet and our innate sense of creativity for my forthcoming book, I am learning that a raw vegan diet has the potential to bring you even closer to that connection with self, with source, with nature.

My good friend Rhiannon Van Der Griffin recently shared her raw journey with me a part of my book research and I was inspired more than ever to try it for myself. 

In moments like this I come back to this quote by Matt Cutts. It's simply about getting curious to explore what becoming the very best version of you could look like. For 30 days.

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So how did the month play out for me?

NOTE: more in depth update in this post!

Well, I admit I wasn't perfect. I wasn't 100% raw. Probably about 85% in reality. 

One of the biggest reasons for wanting to do it, was to increase my repertoire of raw meal ideas for the future, and that I did for sure. In particular, raw sauces, dips and dressings for salads can REALLY make a salad.... it doesn't often matter what veggies you have in the bowl if you have an incredible sauce to smoother them in, right? ;-) Make enough for the week and you have easy meals lunches you can make in moments. 

I am going to put together a separate post sharing a big roundup of raw recipes from a vegan community I am part of, but for now I'd like to share a few of my favourite discoveries and tips.

I'd also love to hear about your own 'raw' adventures...

Whether that might simply be incorporating a green smoothie each day, or a raw lunch Monday to Friday, or more raw snacks. It's not about hitting 100% perfect, what works for you?

Have you felt any benefits going more 'raw'? Or what are you currently struggling with?

My favourite things to make...

  • Raw sauces etc (as noted above) - make a weeks worth.

  • Deyhdrated flax crackers which are great as a snack in the go, as cracker as a 'bread substitute' and also as croutons in a salad when sliced into tiny squares- recipe here

  • Bliss Balls are also an obvious go-to, BUT I did have a tendency to eat a lot of them and then be too full for a massive salad- ooops!

  • Courgetti- spiralised courrgette and carrot for a fun pretty bowl. Also great with the chunky bolognaise- see pic above - recipe to come.

  • Smoothies of all kinds - green, berry or banana and raw cacao for a chocolate hit!

  • Overnight oats - this one is a little contentious as to whether it's actually raw, since rolled porridge oats are technically heated in the rolling process. But this was often nice to wake up to instead of smoothie or fruit bowl in the morning, or as lunch on the go.

  • Mushroom curry - so easy and so good (see pic above) based on this recipe using cashews.

  • Lettuce wraps with a peanut satay dipping sauce (technical the peanut butter component wasn't raw) note: gem lettuce leaves work best- those in the picture were from my veggie patch.

Still a few more days of #Rawgust to go, so I will see what creations catch my eye- I will be back with more raw recipes here soon!

For now, I'll leave you with this recipe for a raw banana bread... I totally made this up as I went along, but it worked so well as a spin-off on a bliss ball style creation.

raw banana bread rawgust.jpg

Recipe: Raw Banana Bread Slice

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas

  • 2 tbs flax seed

  • 1 cup dates

  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup nuts- chopped (I used macadamias*)

  • 1/2 cup nuts- ground (I used pecans*)

  • pinch salt

* I loved the flavour and texture of the chunky macadamia pieces, but I imagine cashews or almond would also work well. Any ground nut could be used.

If you want a more intense 'double banana' flavour, try using dried banana pieces (not banana chips) instead of dates - or half and half.

Method:

Blend the banana with the flax, cinnamon and dates until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well to form a stiff slightly sticky 'dough'. (I pulsed the mix together in a food processor but you could do it by hand). 

Form into a log on a liner and chill for at least an hour to firm up. Once firm slice into pieces and serve. Store in the fridge for up to a week. This freezes well too.

NOTE: It makes about three times the amount shown, but I gifted most of it to my boyfriend before I had a chance to shoot it ;-)

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