Any Given Food came to life in October 2010. It grew, morphed, slept, rose from the ashes, changed shape and ultimately rebranded.
In the five years since Ken On Food has been knocking around, Any Given Food has merely been a pointer to my other food musings – what’s happening on the restaurant scene near me, festivals and events, that kind of thing. When I looked to find a home for some new food-related writing, something that could provide a clean slate with a strong focus, it felt right to turn the lights back on at the place that started it all for me when it came to writing about food.
13 years on from a series of posts inspired by an event I was involved in running as part of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, I find that my attitude towards food has shifted. Things have changed, you see. I’ve gotten older for one, married, family, house, dog and the rest. Where once I was purely about the flavour and experience, these days I’m more about education and understanding. Why do we eat the way we do – or more to the point – why do I eat the way I do? And how much do I understand about the foods I consume regarding how my body reacts?
Call it becoming age-conscious or more health-conscious, but I’ve noticed more over the past year or so how certain foods make me feel, how I might react to consuming certain foods at certain times of the day, when I’m over-eating or under-eating, and how external factors impact my relationship with food too – work, sleep, day to day living etc.
With a three-year-old in our lives, my focus on what she eats and consumes has been a trigger for watching what I eat and consume. If we’re able to provide healthy meals for her, ensuring there’s always a mix of fruit, vegetables, a lack of processed food, a good mix of carbs, protein, fats, dairy or plant-based drinks and we do it as a point of principle, then why can’t I do the same for myself? It might appear silly when you read it and especially when you say it aloud, but it feels like common sense to me at the end of the day.
Breaking a pattern
I published a piece earlier this year about having a “f$#k this” moment when it became very apparent that things had to change with regard to my relationship with food. That moment may have involved a combination of red wine, cheese & onion crisps, and Fruit Pastilles, all in excess on a school night but all part of the culmination of what had become my late-night routine for months and months. I’m talking about excessive snacking here, or what I would deem excess snacking when instead of making a food choice that would have a physical benefit for me, I opt for food choices that provide the short-term high with longer-term side effects. If you repeat that pattern long enough so that it becomes a habit, it starts to create some problems. So I decided to break the pattern.
That’s what Any Given Food is about for me, right now. It’s about making the food choices that matter to me, that improve my well-being, how I function, how I react, and how I engage with the world, and with daily life. With learning key, it’s about educating myself more on the food that I consume, it’s short and long-term effects. It’s about understanding what it takes to fuel my body and mind in the right way for me to achieve what I want in life. And it’s about prolonging that life, in as much as I can, through food.
As I type this, I’ve just turned 40. Literally, yesterday. Farewell thirties, happy birthday to me. I’ve been busying myself of late filling notebooks with ideas for more articles, working on recipes and concepts, consuming podcast content where I can, adding to an ever-growing collection of food-related books and more recently, exploring my options on returning to formal studies with a firm eye on nutrition.
For the remainder of 2023, I’ve set myself a goal of improving my understanding of nutrition and applying those learnings back into everyday life.
At the end of the day, we all want to look better, feel better, get fit, lose (or gain) weight but it’s becoming more apparent that these things can’t happen without a fundamental understanding of nutrition. When it comes to weight management, it’s very easy to say “eat more, you’ll weigh more” or “eat less, you’ll weigh less”. But on the other hand, you can also say “eat less, you’ll weigh more” and “eat more, you’ll weigh less”, and understanding those concepts is connected to having a better understanding of nutrition. Again, this is coming back to how we fuel our bodies to do what we need them to do.
To compare it to the motoring world, I drive a diesel car. I know that I shouldn’t put petrol in my diesel car, as if I do I’m likely to do damage to a whole range of parts and cause some real engine trouble. Yet more of us than would care to admit don’t apply the same learning to our own bodies.
What’s driving me?
Car analogies aside, the driving factors are all mentioned above. Family life, a thirst for knowledge, wanting to feel better about how I function day-to-day. Looking better won’t hurt either but it’s a by-product of the process.
I’ve joked for years that I plan to live beyond my years, but that can only happen if I make the changes now in order to reap the benefits down the line. By investing some of my time and energy into the understanding of nutrition and what it means to me, I’m ultimately investing in myself, my own health, my own well-being. Nobody else is going to do that for me and if I don’t start looking after myself or by reading this you don’t start looking after yourself, then it all starts to fall apart.
Why the blog, what am I sharing?
Restoring Any Given Food gives me a home to focus specifically on this food journey that I find myself embarking on. I’ve got plenty of posts to share in the coming weeks and months covering the foods we eat and why we eat them to the effects of certain foods on our bodies, tried-and-tested recipes, learnings, lessons and musings on the world of nutrition.
You’ll find new content on the blog weekly, presented in a clear and minimal style to hopefully make it easier to digest. Genuinely, there’s no pun intended.
If you’re curious as to how I’m feeding my own curiosity and would like to be a part of this journey, there’s the Any Given Food Facebook page you can cast your eye over and follow, or you can email me at any stage, firstname.lastname@example.org will find me safely.