Coconut Salad and a Summer Barbecue

30/04/2013 12:21 BST | Updated 28/06/2013 10:12 BST


My previous food experiences were usually to override my body's resistance by shoving more of what was harming me into my mouth so I couldn't feel. Ouch. You may have different experiences and I would love to hear them. We are all so different and yet so alike!

I used to totally justify my overeating because it tasted so good, or it was Christmas, or it was such-and-such birthday dinner or whatever it was, I made excuses to eat food that I absolutely knew harmed my body. Not to mention the drinking binges that meant that the following day I was crippled with a thumping crippling headache, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Those symptoms are not really showing me I have loved and caring to my body are they?

Now I know I will have a few comments ranting at these words, but we all know that we have done it before and will probably do it again. I am certainly far from perfect! We all have our Achilles Heel.

While at work last week I was chatting about food with a friend - always on the agenda - and he was describing how ill and bloated he feels after eating pasta. He went on to say that even though he feels sick every single time, he still eats it regularly because "It's a treat". It literally takes days for his body to recover.

And another friend today was telling me that she was unhappy at work and started to eat food she knows is not right for her. She would feel sick afterwards and now, after months of that pattern, her jeans are tight and she feels uncomfortable. The conversation went deeper when we started talking about how we absolutely know we are eating for comfort.

Eating the food we know is harming for our body because it's tasty, or we just want to, just because! And I for one know that when the gluten, dairy and sugar free cake is in front of me, not matter how hard I try, it's going to be eaten!

My last blog was starting to explore the concept, just a concept that we need to only really need to eat when we are hungry. Now there's a concept! There are plenty of reasons why to only eat when we are hungry ... but we are over-ruled by our mind that listens to all the advice we are given by research papers, diets and professional people in the field of food. There are a myriad of documents that say we are to have everything in moderation. But what if that moderation, as my friends are experiencing, is harming? Are we simply overriding our body's natural resistance to that which is harming us? If the 'treat' is harming us, then is it really a treat after all?

At the moment, mine favourite ingredient is coconut. So I felt to share with you an awesome salad that goes with everything and is great on a shared table around the barbeque.

In a large bowl gently mix some lettuce of your choice with finely sliced fennel and chunks of perfectly ripe avocado. Add lots of dried, shredded coconut and toss together. I made a dressing with lemon juice and olive oil and seasoned with cracked black pepper and a twist of pink sea salt. Toss the salad so everything is well combined and the dressing coats all the leaves. The key with the quantity of dressing is to make sure there is none swimming in the bottom of the bowl. Just enough dressing to coat the leaves, and no more. I make mine in an old honey jar so if I don't use it all, it can go in the fridge for another day.