I met Fran Allen a few years back when we did our True Beauty Talk in 2018. She joined our event by way of Province Apothecary; we had a panel dedicated to internal wellness / ingestibles and who better to speak to the topic of staying beautiful using our food than a trained holistic nutritionist.
Getting to know Fran through her work and our conversations, I really felt like her values aligned perfectly with mine. Her messaging makes sense and really resonates with the worldview I hope my daughters embrace.
While I don’t often discuss my own insecurities, I can assure you have some! And I certainly did growing up and growing with my body. Personally, I was never much of a ‘diet follower’ but I definitely avoided certain foods and would restrict how much I ate - and my body weight fluctuated with this insane approach to nourishing myself. Even now, as I approach 40, my body is something that I realize is commoditized, especially for the industry I am.
I am only grateful I didn’t grow up with the constant (re-touched / edited / filtered) imagery that is endlessly aimed at us now through social media. I will pause on accounts that speak to body positivity and show models of different shapes and sizes - and I see commentary that is a virtual war zone; a few YASSS QUEEN's and Thank You For Posting Real Shapes - strewn among hundreds upon hundreds of "this is insanity, this promotes obesity", "there's no way she's healthy", "how can you glorify such an unhealthy lifestyle?", to which the back and forth of internet arguing ensues. Opt Out. This is harmful messaging and a harmful mental exercise, filtering through what is truth. Opt Out. Create your own Truth.
We have the power.
We have the power to opt out of insane societal expectations.
We have the power to do what is right for our body, mind and spirit.
We have the power to learn and expand.
We have the power to embrace change.
For me, my change happened when I found capoeira. I had never been active or athletic growing up, as it wasn’t something my parents really modelled; but when I was 23 I found this afro-brazilian fight dance thing (capoeira) and fell in love with moving! The movement with a shift to vegetarian eating essentially transformed my life and approach to health. It felt good to feel strong, to be limber and so I have continued to move my body, to embrace exercise (yoga now as I am less limber than when I was 23). It is not about keeping a slim figure but more about avoiding aches and maintaining strength. Knowing my grandmother in her 93rd year of life, I am constantly reminded that we need to keep our bodies strong.
The move to vegetarianism forced me to look closely at the nutritional value of what I was eating. I learned about food - the minerals, the antioxidants, the good fats, the bad fats…. and learned how to nourish my body; much like Fran’s journey towards body love - it started with education. With food you can be as boring and as tasteless as you would like - but the abundance and diversity of what we are so privileged to have really allows us to be creative and exciting with our food.
Fran’s messaging is one I want to share - because it spoke to me - and likely, she resonates with you too. Her approach to food isn’t about restriction but more about what ‘feels good’ and I am all about Feeling Good!
Try this recipe from Fran for a feel good summer meal! Nothing like a fresh cold noodle bowl, loaded with fresh, crisp veggies. And may I add, Opt Out of eating lunch with your Instagram feed. Your mental space will thank you.
And share below your journey with food (or recipes you love!)! We would love to know what inspires you! And we would love to share more great things to cook!
- xo Jen