After unpacking some groceries the other day, it struck me that my fridge happened to look very orderly. This led to a quick photo and the idea for this blog post. This post is more than a revelation of what's in my fridge though. It's a discussion of a principle that I apply in my clinic daily. Everyone should be eating the food that is right for them. It has as occurred to me that there are a lot of people out there feeling a little unsure about their dietary preferences. With recent focus on clean eating and restricted dietary movements, these feelings really are understandable. I had a strong sense of wanting to share the contents of my fridge with you as a way of saying that it is ok to eat what works for you, whatever that may be.
As a Naturopath, it sometimes feels like there will forever be a corner of my brain occupied by making the next food decision. A very exhausting way to live - let me tell you! I have eaten in many different ways in my life: from vegetarian to paleo, gluten-free and dairy-free, and even a fairly typical student diet - although I did put broccoli in my microwaved 2-minute noodles thank you very much! I now feel I have now reached a point where I am content. I'm comfortable making the best decisions I can, and i'm no l longer on the look out for the food 'solution' to all of my problems. It has occurred to me that this in the past has put my life out of balance. So much time devoted to food often results in difficulty finding balance in other areas of your life, such as exercise, stress reduction and quality time doing what you love.
My life now is much different to when I first graduated many years ago. My food decisions now have to fit into the framework of two young children, a mortgage and establishing a clinic. There are so many variables in life that determine what the ideal food choices for you are at any point in time. Even within my family there is a range of these variables, including preferences and intolerances, which are all reflected in this fridge photo. It makes sense for people with specific conditions to experiment with eating in a way that improves their health. Always use the feedback from your own body as the indicator of suitability. The key is to only do this to point that it does not produce excess stress in your body or life. A change that feels too stressful for now, might be achievable if you break it down into small steps. Also, that same change may be realistic for you in a years time, as long as you continue to move towards better overall health and challenge yourself.
So, what's in my fridge?
Organic whole milk & yoghurt, organic rice milk, coconut yoghurt, full-fat cheese, mozzarella, mung bean & sunflower sprouts, fresh fruit (including a whole watermelon, homegrown white nectarines, bananas, grapes, oranges and half a mango) & vegetables (including organic pumpkin, local bok choy and cabbage, homegrown beans, mushrooms, broccoli and organic carrots), free-range eggs, free-range chicken drumsticks, bacon, pancetta, probiotics, fermented carrots, preserved lemons, pickles, olives, homemade zucchini relish, gluten-free bread, light rye bread, leftover gluten-free lasagne, a packet of leftover gluten-free lasagne sheets (which were turned into lamb shank parpadelle), leftover chicken soup, leftover cooked vegetables, pomegranate juice, white wine, natural tomato sauce, a range of mustards and butter. On other occasions you might find organic almond milk, organic soy milk, sourdough bread, leftover baked goods, chia pudding, bliss balls, gummy shapes, homemade chicken stock, leftover smoothies or porridge. I love having jars and pyrex containers in my fridge, as it helps me see what is in there. It also helps other members of the family see what there is to eat easily too.
Now that may or may not be what your were expecting... i'm not sure! But the point is that it's real and it's ok. I most certainly wasn't putting my fridge out there for approval or criticism. I just wanted to highlight that if you are eating food that is largely based on real food and you are feeling good, then by all means carry on. If not, experiment and be confident that non-one knows your body or life as well as you. The food we eat is very personal, and should always be individualised. It's also my opinion that it shouldn't be a source of judgement or stress.
I asked my husband what he thought of our fridge photo, and he thought it looked like we spend a lot of money on food. And he is right. I've always prioritised food in terms of our weekly budget. I've always felt that any money spent on food to eat at home saves money in the end. I assure you though, other areas of my life compensate for this indulgence. We also tend to eat all of our leftovers to the last morsel, as reducing waste is one of my strategies for buying better quality food within our budget
As a final note, not long after this photo was taken, there happened to be two 6-packs of beer pushed into my neatly organised fridge. And the equilibrium of our fridge adjusted again, and that is ok.