Welcome to Bitter to Sweet, a blog about healthy living, which to me is about more than just salads and protein shakes. If you are reading this you have probably come across my Instagram page where I have been posting photos of my own ‘creations’, as well as of dishes at my favorite hotspots in London and Belgium (anywhere I go, really!), for a year and a half now. However, I have gotten some requests for recipes, which is why I have decided to start posting them on this blog.
A bit about me
I am a Belgian student, born on the December 6th ’96 (shout out to Sinterklaas!). Having recently finished my Bachelor in Arts and Sciences at UCL in London, I moved to Amsterdam, where I am interning at W.Green Agency – a branding agency working with sustainable brands only, putting honest communication first.
Things I love to do during my free time: forcing my friends and family to come out for vegetarian food with me, reading informational books, and photographing all things beautiful.
Follow me on Instagram for daily posts on vegetarian meals, restaurants, my pug Jimmy, books etc. Or continue reading for some more in-depth topics of discussion and thoughts!
Is there a ‘right’ choice?
As most of my close friends and family may know, I have gone from cutting out most of the meat in my diet as a young teenager (after having watched Food Inc), to a fad diet cutting out carbohydrates a few years ago, which I thought would help me lose some weight (ha!). For now, I eat mostly plant-based foods, meaning I do not eat any meat, fish, eggs, or dairy 80% of the time. All of these changes probably suggest that through my dietary choices I wanted to:
- Lose weight
- Save some animals
However, there’s something I disregarded all these years, but unconsciously knew was most important. I’m referring to the way I felt. It is not because eating meat, dairy, gluten etc. does not work for one person that it shouldn’t work for YOU. Let them criticise all you want, but if you feel good after a nice bowl of pasta with loads of gluten and dairy, then go for it!
Think about it this way:
Priority 1: Feeling amazing and energised (also mentally)
Your (healthy) dietary choices should make you feel great physically, but they should also make you happy. If you feel very restricted on a Vegan or gluten-free diet to the point where you are developing an unhealthy relationship with food, then DO NOT do it. Choose a way of eating that will never leave you sad, stressed, anxious or deprived.
Priority 2: Eating healthy foods
It is important to start adding healthy foods into your diet slowly and not drastically change your eating habits. I would suggest not going from eating one pizza a day to having a kale smoothie for lunch everyday.
Quality is key
Organic. I am sure I can hear some of you sighing from behind your computer when reading this word. Yet, I believe that the quality of the food (especially animal products) you put into your body is extremely important. Be aware of the additives, hormones and antibiotics that can be found in a piece of supermarket chicken filet. The same is true for packaged foods. Make it a rule-of-thumb not to buy anything containing ingredients you do not know. However, even though the thought of going ‘all organic’ is lovely, I know very little people (including myself) who can actually pull it off, especially if they are on a student budget! So do not beat yourself up about your fruits and veggies not being all-organic. Just but be sure they are in season and/or as local as possible.
Diets are bull****. There, I said it.
Although this probably sounds a bit harsh, I’d like to explain what exactly I mean by a ‘diet’. I am referring to the short-term change in your eating habits with the objective of losing weight quickly. There are tons of diets that supposedly get you to your goal quickest (e.g. one-week juice fasts, no carb diets, 2 meals a day, 1200kcal diet etc.). There is no quick-fix. The fat you are trying to lose probably took a while to get there, you guys are close now, so why would it suddenly leave you? Goodbyes are hard. Of course, I do understand you would want to cut down on the calories the days following Christmas Eve, for example, but if you are seeking permanent change, you will have to make some permanent changes.
Fitness and lifestyle
As I mentioned earlier, the aim of this blog is not solely to write about food/make you hungry (even though there will be a lot of that!). Of course, I believe that changing any unhealthy eating habits is the first step into a healthy lifestyle. However, fitness, spirituality, and body care fit into that way of life, too. Trust me, once you have been eating healthy foods for a while, without (too many) restrictions, you will want to feel great on other levels! When it comes to fitness, I believe that, as your dietary choices, the way you workout is personal. You need to do what makes YOU feel great. Do not just do Yoga because your best friend does it religiously. Do not train for a marathon if you strongly dislike running. However, with this blog I will give you some tips on the types of workouts that I have tried out or am currently doing and the way they make me feel.
Welcome to Bitter to Sweet!