We’d all love to get it right every time, to do our best work and to be the best version of ourself. But, when the pressure to always achieve becomes a lingering shadow in our life, we need to take a step back and ask if we have let perfectionism take hold. We need to look within and challenge the belief that we are only ok or worthwhile if we are perfect.
Perfectionists put constant pressure on themselves to meet high, often unachievable standards. This is usually followed by disappointment, negative self talk and then a viscous backlash involving more pressure and striving harder. For many, their self worth is closely tied to their achievements, or lack there of because of the unrealistic standards they set in the first place. When the self imposed standards are not met, confidence and self esteem begin to fade. Perfectionism can affect how you see yourself in society, as a partner, a friend, an employee, a team member. While the average Jo will be disappointed if she does’t reach a goal, the perfectionist is devastated and sometimes ashamed.
To break the cycle, you need to change your perspective and see that life isn’t black and white (achieve or fail), but in fact its a million beautiful shades of grey. You need to understand that ‘Perfect’ is fiction, its idealistic and its always going to be a moving target that you can’t quite reach. The key is to start living the journey and stop focusing on the destination. Why? Because perfectionists always think that once they achieve their goal, they will be happy. They base their happiness on something that may (or may not) happen in the future. Its crazy to live like this! But, if you begin to love and accept yourself for who you are right now, in this moment, your idealism will stop ruling you. A good way to put things into perspective is to ask yourself, will this matter a week from now? 6 months from now?
Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Dare to give things a go, regardless of the result and without fear of ‘failure’ (which is really just a state of mind, something that happens within our own heads). With the right outlook, you will see that a mistake isn’t failure, its a chance to learn and its part of the journey.
Its important to also understand that you are so much more than your achievements. Really. What you accomplish has nothing to do with the person you are. And the person you are, is what people love you for. Do you think that you would no longer love your best friend if she didn’t get that promotion she wanted? Or how about if your partner put on 5kg, would you love them any less? Of course not. And this is what you need to know about the people around you, they don’t care if you’re house isn’t squeaky clean, or that your not the captain of your netball team, or that you got a C+ for your English assignment. They care about whats on the inside. You need to start caring about that too.
Learning the art of imperfection is about getting out of your own way. Stop looking over your own shoulder like an unforgiving superior. Instead, talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love. Importantly, don’t put a high expectation on yourself to unlearn perfectionism. Just try to lighten up a little, let things pan out how they pan out, because ultimately, everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that.
When things don’t go to plan for me, I feel so much better if I shrug my shoulders and simultaneously say ‘meh’. But you have to mean it. Next time something doesn’t go to plan for you, try it. Its quite liberating if you have the right space of mind. Its a bit like saying and truly accepting ‘oh well, life goes on’. And it does, it always will.
This recipe serves 2 as a main dish or 3-4 as a side
1 large raw beetroot
1 yellow button squash
1 orange capsicum
1 red onion
1 small zucchini
5 slices of haloumi (approx 3mm thick)
1/3 cup pine nuts
approx 1 & 1/2 cups rocket
balsamic reduction or balsamic glaze
2T butter or ghee
Preheat oven to 200 deg.
Prepare all vegetables by cutting into similar sized proportions. (I cut the button squash in 4 and used that as my guide).
Place the veggies into a baking dish and put into the oven.
Rotate the veggies every 20-30min. Once they start getting soft, add the butter or ghee and toss through so all veggies are coated. Put back into the oven and continue checking until they are cooked through and starting to turn a little golden. Total cooking time will depend on your veggie size (mine took just over 1.5hrs).
Just before you are ready to serve, heat a fry pan over medium heat with a small dollop of butter of ghee. Fry the haloumi on both sides until golden brown, this won’t take long.
Take the haloumi out and set aside. In the same pan with the leftover juices, toss the pine nuts over a low heat until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them.
Arrange the rocket onto the base of your serving plate. Place your veggies on top of the rocket, then your haloumi and sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.
Drizzle a small amount of balsamic reduction/glaze over the entire dish. Don’t over-do it! A little goes a long way.
Lets talk about fat ba-by! Lets talk about you and me, lets talk about all the good things and the bad things, that may be. Lets talk abooout FAT! ……(I totally got too into that didn’t I?! ha ha I was even jigging on my seat as I typed it!)
Ok, I have my serious pants on now. From a nutritional point of view, this is important stuff. I’m willing to bet that most of the things you think you know about fat are probably wrong. For example, did you know that saturated fats are not bad for you? (don’t gasp!). Or did you know that eating egg yolks will NOT increase your blood cholesterol levels? Its true! Unfortunately, most people don’t know these facts, and it’s so vital to our health that we get this right! So I’m going to try to give you the run down, in a multi-part series because its a lot to take in. Today we are talking saturated fats, heart disease and cholesterol. There is a lot of info that I have tried to squash into this post so don’t be shy to ask questions or leave comments at the bottom if you need clarification or want further info. And of course, I encourage you to do your own research.
Lets start with this quick 2 minute video that I think sums it up pretty well:
I’ll go into the points raised in that video soon. But firstly, I just want to give you a quick run down of the different kinds of fats there are so you know which ones I’m talking about in this post. The three types are:
Foods usually contains a combination of these but one is always dominant. See the diagram below for a simple break down of the different kinds of fats.
Saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.
Saturated fat is the victim to bad science. For decades now we have been told we need to avoid it because it clogs our arteries, gives us heart disease and makes us fat. This belief is so widely spread that very few people question it. (I never did until I started studying Nutritional Medicine and a few things I’d always been told stopped making sense to me) The notion that saturated fat causes heart disease was originated by a man named Ancel Keys and was based on his Seven Countries Study which later turned out to be terribly flawed. Keys actually obtained data from 22 countries but simply presented information from the 7 that would support his pre-conceived conclusions about saturated fat. Countries where people ate large amounts of fat but had little heart disease (such as Holland and Norway) were left out. Likewise, countries where fat consumption was low but the rate of heart disease was high, (such as Chile) were not included in the results. The American Heart Association were at first hesitant to entrust Keys’ theory but once he landed himself a position on the Association’s advisory panel, it wasn’t long before his theory got leverage. Later, two massive trials costing over $250 million which involved hundreds of thousands of people, both failed to prove that lowering saturated fat would lower your risk of dying from a heart attack. Yet, the Association didn’t revoke its status on saturated fats because then they would have to admit they were wrong. The Australian Heart Foundation maintains the same ridiculous, very outdated stance on saturated fat, as you would know!
But, here is some real science for you. This review of 21 individual studies was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which pooled together data from over 350,000 people who were tracked for an average of 14 years. It concluded that there is no correlation between saturated fat intake and the incidence of heart disease or stroke. So, the conclusion is, saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease.
The biological importance of saturated fatty acids
As mentioned in my food philosophy, cell membranes within the body are made of roughly 50% saturated fats. If we don’t eat any how can they function properly?
Calcium absorption can only take place if we have saturated fats in the system.
Its required for hormone production (how prevalent are disrupted hormones in today’s society?!)
Strengthens our immune system (specifically, lauric acid which is a medium chain fatty acid)
Also, lets consider the rationale behind saturated fat being unhealthy. To start with, its natural. Its a whole-food and we have been eating it (as man) for hundreds of thousands of years. We evolved eating it. Only in the past few decades have we decided its not healthy (based on the bad science discussed above and the fact that there was a shite load of money to be made by its demonisation) Also, consider the health of the general population. Are we getting healthier and seeing less disease and less obesity now that we have stopped eating saturated fat? Nope.
An extra note: Saturated fat becomes less healthy when it comes from animals that are not fed their natural diet. I’m talking about grain fed animals that should be eating grass i.e. cows and grain fed animals that should be foraging and eating bugs i.e. chickens. The fat from these animals is less healthy then the fat from an animal eating its natural diet. But its not black and white, one isn’t good and one bad. One is superior and thats the one we should aim for. Read more about this here
Neither saturated fat or dietary cholesterol will clog your arteries.
Cholesterol is an important lipid (a single sterol molecule that is similar to but not actually a fat) that plays an essential role in the body and without it we would die. Some of its roles include synthesising hormones, absorbing fat soluble vitamins & the regeneration of cells.
Cholesterol is produced in every cell of our body and our liver is the biggest producer. Its true that the amount your body produces is related to the amount you consume in your diet, but not in the way you think! Your body has a predisposed level of required cholesterol. So, the more you eat, the LESS the body makes. But, if you eat none, your body will just make MORE to ensure it has the required amounts. This is why eating a low cholesterol diet only ever reduces your cholesterol levels by a few mesely percent.
There is only one type of cholesterol. But there are different transporters for it. These are called LDL (low density lipoproteins), VLDL (very low density lipoproteins) and HDL (high density lipoproteins). We will keep it simple and just talk about LDL and HDL. So the LDL and HDL are ‘vehicles’ for cholesterol, because it can’t just float freely in our blood. You need to understand this because it explains why there really is no ‘good cholesterol’ or ‘bad cholesterol’, because its all the same. You just have different ‘vehicles’ for it. LDL carries cholesterol from your liver to your tissues and HDL carries old cholesterol from your cells back to the liver where it is recycled (this is why HDL is often said to be the ‘good’ cholesterol, because it carries cholesterol away from cells and therefor, away from the artery walls)
Cholesterol doesn’t just stick or get clogged in your arteries. Its is strategically deposited where it needs to go by the LDL vehicles. So when we are talking about heart disease this is what really happens:
If the arterial wall becomes damaged or inflamed (due to lifestyle and diet factors) then LDL will deposits cholesterol at the site of the inflammation so it can do its job – help in the healing process. If all is well in the body then this would be fine, as the healing would take place then HDL would take the cholesterol back to the liver for recycling. But, what happens with heart disease is that some of the LDL particles in the body become oxidised (smoking, high blood sugar levels and stress all cause oxidation) An oxidised LDL particles is a lot smaller than a healthy one so they penetrate the artery walls. Because no repair is taking place, more and more cholesterol is dropped off and continues to penetrating the wall where it builds up, causing blockages. So as you can see, the factors that cause heart disease are not the amount of cholesterol you have in your blood, it’s to do with inflammation and oxidised (damaged) LDL.
I would suggest watching ABC’s Catalyst report ‘Heart of the Matter‘ or the documentary ‘Fat Head‘ . With Fat Head, the first part is basically a rebuttal to the documentary ‘super-size me’ so if you don’t have time to watch it all, skip ahead to 43min to watch part 2. You may also want to check out The Diet-Heart Myth written by Dr Kris Kresser, one one of my favourite informative blogs.
Lastly, I have created this information sheet about fats and oil that you can print and put on your fridge. I made it to help you make the right decisions for your health, especially when choosing what to cook with. If you want an easy to print copy emailed to you, sign up for the newsletter here. I suggest printing a second one to give to your mum or sister or bestie, they need to know this info too!
This dairy alternative has become very popular over the past couple of years and you can easily purchase it from any supermarket, but (of course there is a but!) you will struggle to find one that doesn’t contain some form of seed oil and sweeteners. The good news is that its so ridiculously easy to make!
Ingredients (makes 2 cups)
1 cup of almonds (preferably organic)
2 cups of water
Optional additions: vanilla powder/cinnamon/nutmeg or other spices
Drain and rinse the almonds thoroughly under cool running water.
Place the soaked almonds and your 2 cups of water in a blender/food processor
Blend at the highest speed for 2-3 minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine meal and the water should be white and opaque (like milk)
Strain the almonds through your nut bag or cheese cloth. You will need to really squeeze the ‘milk’ out of the mixture, try twisting the nut bag. Pour the leftover almond meal into a bowl – don’t throw it out!
Serve straight away or store in an air tight jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.
The leftover almond meal can be added to smoothies, muffins or cakes as is. You can also use it to make ‘porridge’ or ‘grain free cereals’ type dishes. And of course, you can turn it into almond meal by spreading it out onto a baking tray and bake it in a low oven until completely dry (approx 2-3 hours) or if you have a dehydrator pop it in there. Dry almond meal will keep frozen for several months.