+ Well Nourished | Real, not perfect

Real, not perfect

I was cleaning out my fridge the other day (long overdue) and stumbled upon a very stinky jar of kefir grains in the back corner. My lovely neighbour had given them to me, I cultured my milk for a few months and then, somehow they disappeared into the depths of my overcrowded fridge and dropped from my mind.

Now I Hate (yes that is supposed to be a capital H) food wastage, but alas, these babies were unsalvageable and though disappointed, a small part of me felt relieved. You see I have a tendency to strive for perfection, especially when it comes to my health (I wish I could say the same for my appearance – several days without running a brush through my soon to be dreadlocks is not unusual). I also have a tendency of becoming seriously overwhelmed by all of the things I really want to achieve in a day. I’m getting better at this, but I often find it difficult to prioritise because I think I can do it all and then, end up juggling a million balls and not really achieving much at all. I’m sure this sounds familiar to many mums out there?

My poor stinky kefir got me thinking of this world of online information overload and sharing of social media ‘perfect’ lives. Personally, I marvel at many of the seriously popular bloggers I follow who seem to manage to regularly brew kombucha and kefir water, ferment vegetables, sprout, bake daily  loaves of gluten-free sourdough, make their own yoghurt, butter and ghee (because it’s TOO easy not to), always soak their grains and only eat activated nuts and seeds. They start the day with hot lemon water, oil-pull on rising, eat three tablespoons of coconut oil a day, make their own skin care, always find the time for exercise and mindfulness (and also manage to brush their glowing locks daily). It’s enough to make this regular mum feel rather inadequate.

Now I do my best to focus on the big picture with the information I chose to share here at Well Nourished – that is enjoying real, whole food and the awesome possibilities of creating a meal to share with family and friends. But the details of the best case scenario often sneak in; I figure you can decide what you can manage and what will work for you; fermenting, soaking, activating and preparing your food in a time honoured traditional way, really is perfect…in a perfect world.

Every day I’m questioned asked about my habits in the kitchen – to be honest, they are always changing and evolving. I try to soak grains and activate my nuts, but sometimes I don’t. I used to make my own yoghurt, but at the moment, other things have taken priority and I buy it. Sometimes I sprout, bake bread, ferment vegetables and god-willing start the day with lemon in hot water. Sometimes, it all goes pear-shaped and I pick-up takeaway for dinner.

My point is that the intricacies of  the way we eat seem to have become the big picture and a source of stress for so many (which really defeats the purpose). Try not to get hung-up on all of those little things you “should” be doing. If you’re simply able to enjoy delicious home cooked meals made from fresh, seasonal and local produce (and largely avoid processed foods) I think you’re in a pretty good place.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by a whole-foods way of life and wondering where best to direct your time and energy, my advice is…

  • Prioritise your week to shop for the best quality local and seasonal (organic if available to you) whole ingredients, I’ve written more about why here. Having well-stocked pantry gives you a good head start to prepare nourishing meals each day. My once a week trip to my local farmers market is not negotiable for me, because it fills my cupboards with the best quality produce, saves me money and also time.
  • Focus on putting together simple dishes such as grilled/BBQ’d/ baked/ roasted/ steamed meat, fish or vegetarian protein served with salad or vegetables and a nice home made the dressing (recipe here). This type of meal meets all of your nutritional needs (protein, carbohydrate, fats are all covered plus a good variety of micro-nutrients). Unless your basic diet is nourishing, it won’t make a blind bit of difference that you are consuming a cup of sauerkraut and three tablespoons of coconut oil a day.
  • Always cook more than you need and have leftovers for breakfast or lunch. If you are baking healthy snacks or treats, double the batch and freeze them. This is largely how I manage to avoid processed snacks for my kids – by streamlining my efforts and keeping my fridge and freezer full of options.
  • If you have the time and the forethought to soak, activate, sprout, ferment, make your own bread, yoghurt, butter or ghee – fabulous. But if buying yoghurt or bread that week saves you a little sanity, then it is not the end of the world. If you forget to soak your quinoa in the morning, give it a real good rinse and enjoy it anyway.
  • Direct your time and energy into the things that you eat most. Personally, we don’t eat a whole lot of bread and usually, only buy one loaf  a week. So I shell out for a quality loaf of sourdough and we all really enjoy it. However I have lived semi-remotely in the past where a decent loaf was hard to come by, so at that time, I did my best to make it myself.
  • Also, focus on what serves you best. So for example, if you have a gut issue you might like to prioritise fermenting and soaking to support your gut. But if doing so is super stressful, then you won’t benefit anyway.

My take home message is to focus on the big picture and aim for real, not perfect.

Hope you found this post useful? If so post a comment or question below! So much good stuff is discussed after the post. I’d love for you to join in and share how you manage ‘real’ in this world of information overload.

You might also like my post “Finding Peace with my Plate.” – an insight into why food stress has no place in my life.

All of the content here at Well Nourished is FREE to assist you to be the healthiest you can be.  But you can help me to build a healthier world, please  Share this post with a friend Share this post with a friend.

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Real not perfect

  • Katie

    And here we were thinking you were perfect Georgia! 😉

    Thanks for the reminder – I think this is good advice especially for those of us with teenagers whose diets out of the home can be way off what we’d like them to be. No point stressing…as long as they eat a good breakfast and dinner at home, I’m happy with that!

    • Yes so true. You’ve just reminded me of a post I wrote for a magazine about teenagers (must share it on the blog) – agree, set good foundations, control the meals you can and they will be just fine. G x

  • Kelly Berghella

    Great post Georgia. I agree it can all be a little overwhelming. Most of the people you mentioned are trying to make a living selling a lifestyle, so it is in their best interest to maintain an image and a brand (took me a while to figure that out!).

    I must admit it made me feel good when you said some nights you just pick up takeaway – you are human like us all!!!

    • Hi Kelly, very human and very normal. Yes you are right with the branding, glad you like my thoughts on the subject Gx

  • Jasmine

    Great post! I’ve been caught up in the stress of “doing it all” a few too many times. It’s so true – stress is just as detrimental to our health as an unhealthy diet. As a working & studying single mum on a tight budget, I’ve relaxed into doing the best I can with what I have. I make yoghurt when I can, but most of the time buy it. Making bread isn’t practical for me right now so I buy an organic sourdough loaf each week. You just reminded me about my kefir grains that have been hibernating (most likely dying) in the back of the fridge for a couple of months 🙂

    • Ha ha Jasmine – lots of dead kefir being rediscovered after this post. Yes, food stress serves none of us well. Glad you have a nice balance too G x

  • Amy

    I needed to read this today Georgia! Thank you so much for your honesty. Lately I have been feeling like I’m doing nothing well. I just need to focus on keeping it real, not perfect 🙂

    • Yep, no pressure Amy. A real food focus at the most basic level is good enough (I know my nan lived long and well without kefir/kombucha/sprouts etc;) G x

      • kelly seach

        Lol so true!

  • Anna

    Thank you for this Georgia! I have 3 small children and often feel overwhelmed with everything there is to do in the day. But then also feel disappointed in myself that I haven’t baked something or soaked my quinoa for breakfast or that my kids aren’t eating a perfect diet. I think I need to give myself a break! The one thing that really helps me is my weekly organic fruit and veg box delivery, as even the weekly trip to the farmers market can be a bit of a struggle here!

    • You’re welcome Anna. I think with being a parent, some days it falls into place, others it doesn’t. Flexibility with all parts of parenting is so important. Just this morning I had full intentions of making up a great lunch for my kids then my daughter knocked two big glass bottles off the bench – lunch was abandoned, tuck-shop ordered and the clean-up began. That’s life with kids – juggling what comes your way. Good idea with the veggie box for sure (has saved me for many years when farmers markets weren’t an option). Plus they keep you creative and seasonal in the kitchen which is so important G x

  • Karen

    Georgia thank you so much for writing this. It sure helps knowing you are just like us!
    Love your site. xx

  • Natalie

    Thank you! I really identified with you in this post and am encouraged to just keep focusing on the main priorities with a newborn, 2yr old and 4yr old! I have come to many of the same conclusions you have, eg. giving up making Kombucha as it was stressing me out, enjoying my one $10 loaf of delicious multigrain GF sourdough bread each week or fortnight and knowing it’s totally worth not making it myself, not letting anything get in the way of my weekly trip to our amazing farmers market! I also find it helpful to look back and see how far I’ve come, things that used to seem complicated have become simpler and I know in another few years I’ll have moved forward a little more despite the ups and downs in different seasons.

    • You’re welcome and so pleased you have a lovely, healthy balance. Being a happy, healthy mum is more important than adding healthy, but ultimately stressful tasks into your already super busy life. I’m so with you on the Farmers market – it is my must do too. G x

  • Linda Robinson

    Snap! I too have kefir grains lurking in the back of my fridge. They are in water, been like that for weeks. Are they dead? Whenever I feel overwhelmed, which is daily, I remind myself how far I have come. And then pick just one thing I really, really want to achieve that day and is not too stressful. I’ve outsourced kombucha and yogurt making to my husband and it’s really helped him get onboard with my desire to always improve on how we are nourishing ourselves. We feel more like a team. Forget fancy holidays, cars, restaurants, jewellery etc I want my health and sanity more 🙂

    • Good on you for delegating Linda – I used to do it all, but have really had to get my also busy hubby to step-up in domestic duties to save my sanity too. Our relationship is ironically so much better for it – happy wife, happy life ha ha! G x

      • Linda Robinson

        too true! I always thought I was ‘protecting and helping’ my husband by trying to do it all but now I think they don’t mind being a little busier if it means they get a little more of us (and a happier us) as a result of pitching in more 🙂

        • kelly seach

          Great point Linda

  • Georgia

    OMG Georgia this is the best!! My thoughts exactly! Its like you wrote everything that has been in my head! Brilliant. Thanks for writing. Have a beautiful day being real!
    G x

    • Thanks Georgia, glad you like it. Yes the online perfect world is so overwhelming isn’t it. Real all the way G x

  • Penny McKay

    Snap too! Kefir grains in the back of the fridge. Thank you so much for your honesty in this post. Juggling young kids, work and trying to make everything from scratch is hard. Like you my hair rarely gets brushed! You reminded me what’s important and to give myself a break. Thank you 🙂

    • So pleased to help a little Penny – funny, this is me, just never thought to share it. Thank-god for hats and the ‘top-knot’ being in fashion right now – ha, ha! G x

  • Sonja Morrison

    SO SO True. I didn’t relaise until reading this how caught up in the finer (stressful) details I was until I read this. I Love being in the kitchen but have found it a real chore lately and couldn’t work out why, so thank you for reminding me to look at the big picture.

    • Happy to help Sonja- yes know what you mean. I too have had a reality check when my passion for cooking was a little damp. Cooking basically good meals with fresh produce really is my passion – tonight it’s steak, homemade chips, salad and if I have time, I’ll put together a little mushroom sauce. A basic, but nutritionally perfect and delicious meal! G x

      • Sonja Morrison

        Sounds delicious Georgia – Enjoy!

  • Louise Miller

    What a great post. Thanks Georgia. It is so easy to fall into the trap of trying to do EVERYTHING. I often struggle with my three boys at dinner time, when you’re trying to prepare the meal, do homework and get them bathed. My husband’s 92 year old Grandma has been telling us how they were only able to bath once a week – so I’ve decided that if my kids make it 5 times a week, they should be ok. It has relieved the whole family of a lot of stress at that 6pm time slot that seems to be so busy.

    • Thanks Louise. So funny, just as I first read this I was yelling at my kids to have a shower (as they missed having one yesterday)! Yes, as a mum, sometimes you just have to concede that you can’t do it all. So much pressure daily can be soul destroying. Thanks for sharing G x

  • I had this bookmarked to read when I found some time and I’m so glad I got back to it.
    Brilliant post Georgia and I agree 100% with every word you’ve written. I definitely put too much pressure on myself from time to time to be “health perfect” and it’s not sustainable at all. I’m glad I’m not the only one who ceased making yoghurt and has a jar of fermented veggies growing mould in their fridge!
    Thanks for keeping it real.
    Brig x

  • kelly seach

    I read it today too. Amen.

  • Nikki

    Those kefir grains sure are high maintenance little fellows! I agree shop big and clean, cook big and the rest falls into place.

  • Amy

    Thank you! Appreciate this post x

  • Sille

    That’s why I love following you!

  • Thanks Sille G x

  • You’re very welcome G x

  • Anita

    Oh my, this is JUST what I needed to hear. I have so often read your fabulous posts, and thought I wish I could do it all like Georgia does! Having a son with a serious health condition as well as another little boy, no family within 1200kms and my own less than wonderful energy levels, I can so easily become overwhelmed and try to do everything… and inevitably, end up sitting in the corner comfort eating, because of course, I couldn’t do it all. I know i really need to eat well for my sons and my own health but it is so hard at times when my life is crazy-intense. I’m determined now to focus on one dietary thing at a time. We already eat mostly all organic fruit and veg, buy un-homogenised local milk, Ancient Grains bread for school lunches, no processed foods in lunch boxes except plain popcorn and mostly protein and veg/salad dinners. I think I’m going to try to focus on cooking extra at dinner-time.

  • Oh my goodness, I’m glad you’ve read this post Anita, you certainly have your hands full. I’m very human and far from perfect and to be honest, I think it sounds like you are in a very good place with your diet right now. Take the pressure off and definitely explore ways to use your precious time wisely (double dinners is great). Look after you and thanks for contributing G x

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