The gorgeous Ella (@epolczyk) shared her story on how she managed to crate a sustainable and nourishing lifestyle. #yourstory
Hello reader! My name is Ella, I’m a saxophonist and Music Therapist and have a passion for feeling good and consuming delicious food! Disclaimer, I am in no way a nutritionist/ food expert, but I do love feeling good and fuelling my body properly. Have I always been this way? No! Throughout university I was a regular goer to my local kebab shop after a night out (so regular in fact, that they once re-opened after closing because they saw it was me. Tragic or impressive? I’ll leave that to you.) I loved having multiple take-aways a week, and home cooked food was not quite the nourishing variety it is now- thank-fully that has changed dramatically.
My first introduction to any glimmer of intentional healthy living and a healthy lifestyle, came when my friend PT friend Becky introduced me to her Arbonne business. She explained the brand, how they focussed on a holistic approach to beauty, health and wellbeing through embracing the connection between our mind, body and skin. Completely vegan, cruelty free and never tested on animals I thought this could be a good route for me to take to improve my general health and wellbeing (something which as we know, had been lacking previous to this). I fell in love with the philosophy of the brand and the products, but what really blew me away was their clean eating programme called the ‘30 days to healthy living and beyond’. Now bear with me, I had never gone on a ‘diet’, in fact I had an incredibly negative view of ‘diet culture’ in general and believed balance was the key to everything, but I also couldn’t ignore the information Becky shared with me and the testimonials from other people. I also didn’t feel my best. My skin was never clear, I wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without makeup and until I started the plan which included eating clean and nourishing my body properly, I honestly didn’t know I could feel as good as I started to.
I followed the plan to a tee, there was no calorie counting which I loved, and the recipes were packed full of whole nutritious foods, some I’d never even heard of before! There are so many health programmes out there, and I think find one that works for you¬- but find something that focusses around creating healthy and sustainable habits. In my opinion ‘yoyo’ dieting doesn’t do good for anyone, not your body, nor your self-esteem. I now know what makes me feel good from the inside out and how to properly fuel my body. This is going to sound simplistic, but at the time for me felt so profound, I hope you’re ready… What goes into your body directly effects how you feel. BOOM! Once I had that realisation it excited me so much more to cook delicious, nutritious and wholesome food.
Another thing I noticed when strictly ‘on plan’, was how as a culture and society I think we have rebelled against fad-diet culture so much that anyone on a journey to healthy living can come up against scepticism, whilst having ‘a girls night in with pizza and wine’ is generally very encouraged and celebrated, especially on social media. Don’t get me wrong, I too like pizza and wine on occasion however education around what is actually good for our bodies, I believe, is so needed in our society. We as a population (I feel) need to take more responsibility when it comes to our relationship with food, our health and especially what we eat. Even the word ‘diet’ has a huge stigma attached to it, usually negative, whereby people associate the work with restrictions on what they should and shouldn’t eat, and an opportunity to shame people for either being on a diet or not. The word ‘diet’ literally means ‘what we eat,’ so yes, we are all on a diet. Whether yours is a healthy one or an unhealthy one is where the education around choice comes in. The realisation that what goes in makes you feel either good or bad was huge for me, food should fuel us, not turn you into a slug at the end of every meal! I also believe our ‘diet’ is what we consume everyday through social media, books and what we expose our minds to, but perhaps that’s a different blog entirely. Just be mindful of what you’re putting your brain through every day.
It wasn’t enough for me to just try and ‘be healthier’, because in truth, I had no idea where to start! By following the plan that I did, I had guidelines to go by, recipes already there for me and a support system meaning I couldn’t go wrong. I’d tried to just ‘be healthy’ before, would make one boring salad and then call for a dominoes at the weekend. Some things I’ve learnt so far on my health journey: healthy and clean eating can take readjusting your brain to new ways of thinking about what’s healthy for you; it can take longer in the supermarket the first few times as you navigate the ‘free-from’ or the fresh veg section; and it takes learning new habits and kicking out old ones. But if you’re willing to invest in your health properly, it’ll change your life and most likely the lives of those around you! Our health really is everything and all that we have, so whilst we are often fortunate enough to have a fun social life, have a high flying job, get to travel around the world- remember to prioritise your health, I promise you’ll enjoy life so much more.