How to maintain a healthy lifestyle at PumpjackPiddlewick

I’ve been thinking on healthy lifestyle choices. I personally am not a great proponent of ‘diets’. I am a firm believer that if you choose to deprive yourself of something, particularly a yummy something, you will inevitably go back to it. Possibly more so.

So although a diet may give a quick fix, I think it is not sustainable. And by ‘diet’ I mean something you do for a bit, hopefully reach your goal, and then stop. Or give up in most cases.


Now a healthy balanced lifestyle that is far more sustainable sounding to my ears.

I am a great believer in real food, which means fresh, local and seasonal. Whether you grow it yourself, or buy from a market. Or supermarket. You owe it to yourself to provide your body with the best you can afford.

There are two things I have come to discover over time. Predominantly, ‘you are (definitely!) what you eat’. And, to a lesser yet yummy sense, ‘enjoy a treat’.

I Can’t Eat That

I was reading this blog post Stop Blaming Gluten and I get it. I really do. Gluten gets a bad wrap these days, and is blamed for so much. Honestly, I think it has less to do with gluten specifically and more about processed foods. 

These days gluten of some form is essentially in all processed foods, hence the correlation. (Have you ever checked the list of ingredients in ice cream?!) But if you think about it, processed food is designed to keep for a long time. How is your system supposed to break down and extract nutrients from something that the natural elements can’t?


I took a lifestyle choice a number of years ago to take processed foods out of my day to day life. What this essentially meant was I stopped buying foods companies made and make all my food from scratch. And yes, I very definitely feel better for it. And it will surprise some that it’s a healthy lifestyle choice that is easy to maintain.

And now I am hearing you scream ‘but I don’t have time to make all my food from scratch!’ And my answer is ‘bollocks / bull / horse shite’. I can put together or cook healthy food as fast as a microwave can heat a ready meal. What it takes is shifting a little out of your comfort zone to start, a little planning (though not much) and discovering a few new recipes. Oh, and not having a microwave certainly helps.

Three simple tips


Something France has definitely taught me is the KISS principle: ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’. The delicious food here is absolutely about less ingredients is more. I personally love recipes that have headlines like ‘Only 3, 4 or 5 ingredients’. For example – steak, green beans and mushrooms. Three ingredients, saute up in a pan and you have a healthy balanced tasty meal in minutes.

You don’t even have to cook every meal. Salad is a primary example. But not some wilted wishy washy thing, a nice robust one with maybe some hardboiled eggs, chunks of ham or cooked chicken saved from another meal, lots of raw veggies, and a salad leaf or two. Or how about a Charcuterie plate? Or simply some soft cheese with cooked spinach, kale or swiss chard.


There is nothing that says you have to eat a different meal every meal time. Feel free to make a large crock pot stew or lentil casserole. Freeze some for those times you don’t feel like cooking. (Yes, I will get on to how to re-heat without a microwave in just a moment.) Eat the rest over a couple meals during the week. You can always vary it up a little if you must, by adding a different side veg.

Or make something like a Bolognese sauce that you can use in multiple ways. Over pasta of course, but how about a filling for a baked potato? (Just bake a few potatoes together once to then use throughout the week.) Or even simply reheat, pop some into a bowl and dip a nice crusty piece of bread or three into it.


I have said it before and I will say it again. I love Leftover Night. You never quite know what you are going to get. And as you liked it before, sometimes it is even better the second time around. Reheating leftovers, whether from fridge or defrosted from freezer, is easy. It’s all about steam.

If you have a slow cooker / crock pot. Stick it in there on low for about 30 minutes. If their isn’t much or any liquid in it add a tablespoon or two of water,stock or wine to help the steam heat the food. Ditto in an oven, on low around 150 C / 300 F degrees. Or in a saucepan. With a saucepan the wider the better and a lid is a necessity to trap the steam in. Put it on your stovetop on low heat. Stir and check the temperature now and then until you have it as hot as you like.

Healthy Food

In taking processed food out of my day to day, I have noticed a difference in my health. Less aches in the joints, definitely more alert, more energy. And very interestingly, less body odour. I rarely have to use antiperspirant these days, even on hot days. Which really makes me wonder even more what processed foods are doing to us.

I am lucky living in France, as it is very much an easier option to find non-processed foods. It’s a country that believes highly in it. Take the humble baguette. My little village Boulangerie (bakery) is simply amazing. Their bread is so delicious it truly is a treat – and it’s made fresh every day. There is actually a law here in France, the baguette only has 4 ingredients; flour, salt, yeast and water. There are no preservatives. This is why a new loaf (or half a loaf) is bought almost every day. So always fresh.

Gluten for Good

As for other foods, by eliminating processed foods and focusing on fresh I not only feel better, I can eat all I want. Yup, as much as I can or wish to eat. And I don’t gain weight. I’ll add to this, I have become more aware of what foods fill me, what are empty calories and which ingredients don’t agree with me. But most importantly, which foods give me more energy. Kind of a nice thing to know when you are getting older.

By undertaking a healthy lifestyle mindset I am less affected by those foods that wreak a little havoc on my body and energy levels. And bonus, I am able to really enjoy the treats I love because they are actually treats.


If you enjoy my musings on food, check out my Food Findings (including recipes). Or if you are into the KISS principle, you will find more musings along this line in my Finding a Simpler Way Living.

And if you would like to join in more, you can support by Nourishing Pumpjack & Piddlewick.

Or shop in one of My Shops. Here’s a taste of what’s on offer, from vintage to my own designs.

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