Some long time readers of The Honest Project might know that I started this blog when I was recovering from a serious cancer diagnosis and a gruelling treatment regime. It's not something I talk about on the blog all that much as I'm quite private about it and I feel quite anxious when I do. My cancer is hopefully in the past but the affects of it are still very real to this day. One of the after affects of my cancer and treatment is that I get really bad fatigue. This isn't fatigue like when you've had a long day and you want to curl up on the sofa; rather it's an all consuming fatigue. When it's at its worst it means cancelled plans, turning down work opportunities, constant early nights, afternoon naps and even simple tasks like doing the grocery shopping can be exhausting. While it's incredibly frustrating, I can usually manage the frustration my telling myself that if fatigue is the worst thing I have to complain about after being so ill, well then I'm doing well. And this is true and I'm incredibly grateful for that. But this way of thinking is also minimising what is a very real issue for me and one that affects me every day. The reality is that sometimes, it can really suck. If I'm being very judgmental of myself I see it as a weakness and a flaw and it's what I focus on rather than on how far I have come in getting better.
We can be so hard on ourselves in a way we would never be on other people. I would never say to anyone who had a serious illness that they should now be able to run a marathon or work full time. But yet I judge myself and I'm hard on myself for not being able to do these things. By the way I did run the London marathon before I got sick and swore to myself back then that it was a one time, tick-the-box exercise, never to be repeated. My toe nails fell off afterwards!!
You may have read my New Year blog post, where I wrote about aiming for a gentle start to the New Year. While this can mean treating ourselves to day-time cinema and the odd pedicure, to be really effective we must go deeper than this. For me, it's a chance to quit judging myself on where I am in my recovery. Everyone is different, everyone's illness and path is different. I remember my oncologist saying to me that there is no data to indicate a road map for me as to what's going to happen next. The truth is, that we all have some struggle. Mine is fatigue and the frustration that I'm missing out on things that I should be able to enjoy. I'm sure other people can identify with what I'm writing in this blog post; and not just those of you who have been ill. There are all kinds of ways that we judge ourselves and focus on perceived flaws. Rather than judge ourselves and beat ourselves up, wouldn't we be so much nicer to ourselves if we practiced some self-compassion and gave ourselves a break.
This is quite the serious intro to a recipe for soup and is not the type of blog post I usually write!! I'm looking at the image of soup I've included at the start of the post and feeling sorry for anyone who started reading this thinking they were getting a simple a soup recipe!! When I started writing, I was going to mention this briefly, but here I am still writing, so I'm thinking maybe there is therapeutic value in getting this all written down. Where I was going with the whole fatigue story is that one of the ways I try to tackle my fatigue is by eating well and by basically stuffing myself with vegetables. How we eat makes such a difference to how we feel and while I'm not claiming that we are what we eat or that a certain diet can do certain things, I'm convinced that taking a considered approach to the foods we eat and how we eat, can only serve us well. This is a timely reminder for me to do so. Keep scrolling for my Cauliflower, Pea and Coconut Soup recipes.
PS: Thanks for reading xx
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Half a thump of ginger, grated (about 1 tbsp)
15g Coriander, stalks and leaves
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 400g tin of Full Fat Coconut Milk
500ml veg stock
Black pepper and sea salt to season
Toasted sesame seeds to serve
Heat the coconut oil in a large soup pot or saucepan on a medium heat. Chop the coriander stalks finely (set the leaves aside). Add the coriander stalks, green chilli, garlic and ginger to the pot and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and stir and cook for a further minute. Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, cauliflower and a pinch of sea salt to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Add the peas and allow to simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.
Once cooked, use a hand blender to blend into a soup. To serve, top with chopped coriander leaves and toasted sesame seeds.