Hi! I’m Josie, The Mindful Cook.
In 2016 my life-long passion for food was the driving force behind a radical career change. I left a corporate job and went to work at a retreat for women in Norfolk called Breathing Space. I have such a love of food that it seemed only natural for me to take on the cooking and it is there that I have created many of my recipes, cultivated a real interest in our relationship with food and started to study eating psychology.
Many people are making more conscious/conscientious food decisions these days for many reasons; prompted by illness, a wish to be healthier, concerns about ethics, or all of those reasons. I have learned from my work at Breathing Space, and from my own life experience, that decisions about food, particularly for women, are not always that simple. There can often be many emotional, historical and experiential factors that affect the way in which we eat, or indeed, don’t eat.
My own relationship with food has been inconsistent. I have always loved it, and was definitely drawn to the the sugary stuff as a young person. As I grew up, like most young women, I became more aware of the shape and size of my body and that informed my relationship with food, rather than an understanding of what was a healthy food choice. Yo-yo dieting, fasting and binging punctuated my teens and twenties and it wasn’t until my thirties that I started to develop a far better relationship with food and my real passion for cooking began.
We live in a very busy world now where we are bombarded with different, often conflicting, messages about what we should be eating. The advancement of thinking on the subject of nutrition and food, the variety of ingredients available, along with the myriad of new diets, exercise regimens and lifestyle fads is completely confusing! If we think that rationing only came to an end in the UK in 1954, many people have been brought up on a fairly unsophisticated diets, whereas now we are having to consider ‘paleo’, ‘clean’, ‘atkins’, ‘alkaline’, the list goes on and on. There have always been food fads and diets, but these days they are very much the mainstream.
For as long as people have eaten food, there have been diets and quack cures. But previously, these existed, like conspiracy theories, on the fringes of food culture.
While it may play a role in raising our awareness of our weight, this mainstream diet culture isn’t helping people to develop healthier relationships with their bodies and food in the long term. It’s an area that often comes up in discussion at Breathing Space and because of this I have decided to complement my love of cooking with a study of eating psychology so I am better able to understand and help people in this area.
THE MINDFUL COOK PHILOSOPHY
I’ve become very interested in three areas:
- Creating healthy recipes that take the best ingredients and knowledge that is now available to us in the creation of a balanced diet – cellular level nutrition over dieting!
- Helping people who have made a decision to cut out wheat, dairy or animal products to make sure they are eating well.
- Understanding how we manage and develop a relationship with food that is good for each of us as individuals, and cuts through the ‘noise’ of modern day food fads.
Through my work at Breathing Space I have met so many people with very varied dietary requirements. It has therefore been my job to create many gluten free, dairy free and vegan dishes that are balanced and nutritious. I personally eat fish and poultry so you will find what I consider to be, healthy poultry and fish dishes in amongst many vegetarian options.
Everyone should be able to enjoy making and eating at least one recipe of mine!
You can read more about my career change in an article I wrote for LinkedIn.