We had a chat with Michelle Hunt whose blog, Peachy Palate, is fast becoming one of the most popular food blogs around. As well as sharing her favourite healthy-eating recipes, Michelle shares with her readers the story of how the blog came about. It's a personal story that explores her relationship with food, and she doesn't shy away from discussing the struggles she has overcome to be where she is today.
Here is her story.
My Friday nights are not those of your average 27 year old woman. I don’t drink, I bake. TV doesn’t amuse me. I sit typing, googling, randomly jotting down potential new delectable (yet clean healthy) eating creations. I’ll take tyre flipping and prowler pushing over sweating it out on the dancefloor, please and thanks. All of the above being my favoured free time diversions.
I’m Shel, some people call me Peachy, and I’m a food, fitness, health and all-things-nutrition enthusiast. Having started out in the world of nine to five, office based, desk bound work, two years ago my passions took hold. My health and happiness finally became more important than any potential secure salary that might have been on the not-so-distant horizon. And I began to chase my dream job.
You see, with ten years of eating disorders under my belt, a life of unhappiness just wasn’t an option. I’d turned a page, in fact I’d turned many pages and had had many enlightening moments where I thought I’d finally reached the end of the tunnel and that recovery had been achieved. But some seven years further along the road, in retrospect I realise that I had so much more to learn, that particular journey had far from been completed.
Digestive issues plagued me for years post “recovery”. I’d gained some much needed weight. I was relatively healthy. I exercised a little too much, running to create what I believed in my mind at the time was balance. I went from an easy going vegetarian to strict vegan where I lingered for far too long, an eating style which was supported and very much fueled by my chosen acquaintances.
I was so set on sticking to the regime that I failed to see how it not only supported the extension of my poor restrictive relationship with food, but also provided fuel to my internal fire aka my digestive discomfort. While it might be a good option for someone else, it just wasn’t the most appropriate eating style for me and my body - what works for one won’t necessarily work for the next.
I was bloated ALL THE TIME. I’d awake every morning with what can only be described as a sugar hangover having consumed six or seven pieces of fruit before bed as my chosen “healthy snack”, served up with a side of some dried fruit. And all this after my humongous bowl of roasted pumpkin which I insisted on eating every single day as part of my veggie based dinner; the most noticeable side effect being my distinctly orange pigmented palms, easily mistaken for poorly applied fake tan if it hadn’t been for my decidedly paler tone.
Two years ago, just after Christmas 2013, I awoke with an insatiable desire to eat a fried egg. And though the idea might seem strange, it was just something that my body wanted me to do. For some unknown reason I decided to break from the mould I’d made myself fit in to, give in to what for years would have been intrinsically perceived as a mark against my character, a crack in my determination. Instead I took on a new perspective, one where embracing change became the focus, ridding myself of boundaries and eating a little more intuitively became central to how I approached food.
I haven’t looked back since. My diet and lifestyle flipped upside down, and within the space of a few months my digestive system began to thank me for it. Improved energy levels, little to no bloating (also attributed to the fact that I didn’t over eat), choosing to space out meals, not putting pressure on myself to consume large quantities at each and every sitting, clearing my plate because that’s what I’d become accustomed to during recovery - these were all things that suddenly became part of my life.
Granted I have embraced some other techniques, skills, and created minor adjustments here and there (which I continue to do on an ongoing basis), but the key learning for me was that not one eating style can be described as ideal. The most important thing is to listen to your body, which I know more than most perhaps, is possibly the hardest thing in the world to do. The mind plays tricks; our hormone levels create demands and sometimes yield unbearable cravings; our head says one thing but it’s not necessarily so easy to follow through.
I’m at a place now where I love food and it loves me back. My body is in a happy place. I’ve a few other issues to address but sure what’s life without some minor hurdles. I like change, I embrace it at every opportunity as well as creating it intentionally.
And now I have a job that I love, working with some beautiful people that share my passion for food, health and nutrition. In the midst of my dietary and lifestyle changes, I also went back and studied a year of nutrition.
I now have regular opportunities to share my healthy food creations via my blog with friends and family, as well as a few regular clients who favour the likes of my caramel slices over anything shop bought. And if I could offer one piece of advice that covers all things food, health, nutrition and life, it would be create your own ideal. Let it be one that allows for fluctuations and regular modifications; sticking with the straight narrow path is likely to end up feeling quite claustrophobic and will inevitably be fruitless.
And don’t race to the finish line, you just need to be able to see the light.
My, I’m getting quite deep in my old age. Now back to the more trivial pursuit of perfecting a sugar free grain free dairy free biscotti that my tummy and taste buds alike will love me for.
Can you relate to Michelle's story? And have you ever changed career path like this?