Fettle was born from a conversation I had with my mother one evening following 3 days of feeling unwell with shortness of breath. I called my mother as you would to seek home remedies for fear of going into hospital as Covid 19 was at its peak with death rates being reported in the thousands a day in London.
My mother advised me straight way to pick an onion and cut it and eat it raw. At first, I thought to myself- she must be joking, I am not going to do that! And I was going to silently just kill that conversation, but she insisted, so I indulged her and cut an onion. I cut into little pieces and chewed it bit by bit, my mother still on the other end of the line, I suppose trying to make sure I follow through with it. It was not pleasant, as I am sure you can imagine, but almost instantly, the sulphur which is the compound found in the onion that has that bitter taste, and sometimes makes our eyes water when we cut the onion, travelled through my mouth and into what felt like every single pore and opening within my mouth, and – almost instantaneously, I had some form of relief. I certainly hadn’t felt that way for the last 3 days, despite pumping all the steroids the world has to offer in the form asthma inhalers. And with that one bite of the onion, I was sold into what I have now learnt is a whole new world of food as medicine, and fettle was born.
My own journey with food has been a long one, I was always known to be heavier than my age group, and when I look back at some of my photo’s as a teenager, I wasn’t what I would now call, big, but I always believed that I was. In a way, I therefore did not care about what I ate, and my weight just kept piling and pilling. Like most people in their 20’s , I tried and tested all the fad diets known to man, I bought gym subscriptions and attended vigorously for the first two weeks before I gave up and went back to my comfort spot. I resigned myself to the fact that I was “big boned”. Towards the end of 2018, I started to feel very tired, I could not perform tasks that I would otherwise glide through, like the school run, and I started to worry something may be wrong. I booked an appointment with my doctor who suggested I take a blood test to check my sugar levels. This came back at 96, which is shockingly high. And just like that, I was diagnosed as a type 2 Diabetic. In a way, that was a light bulb moment, and I suddenly woke up and knew I had to make some changes. I had no idea how I was going to achieve it but I set out to try and find solutions. My first goal was to cut off sugar, which I did. It was not easy, but I have the mind set of steel, when I set my mind to do something, I do not falter, I just do it, provided there is an end goal. A friend of mine told me about intermittent fasting and I thought I would try it for a few days and see how that went, again, it was an excruciating and painful experience as I was extremely hungry and at some point I thought to myself I wasn’t going to survive this. I pushed through and by July 2019 I had stopped sugar for 6 months and had practiced intermittent fasting for 3 months. I felt great, my tests were looking good, and I was motivated. I then stumbled upon what I can say someone who changed my relationship with food completely, Deborah Murtagh, a nutritionist and founder of Ketogenic Switch. This is not your usual Keto diet. I started her programme, and learnt about the different types of foods, when to eat, what to eat, how to make food taste amazing, and I completely changed my mindset and my relationship with Food. My last test in October 2019 showed I was in the normal rage with a reading of 33. My blood sugar has been stable ever since, and I have maintained this healthy way of eating for almost 2 years now and it is now a lifestyle.
What I want to share with others is that your relationship with food is such an important aspect towards longevity and good health. Understanding the role of food in our bodies and how our bodies work is key to maintaining a healthy weight as well as a good state of mental health. Our bodies are like a car engine, with all the parts needing to be in good working order for the car to function. We are whole beings; we are not processed and such what we eat should reflect this as much as possible. I hope Fettle can change the mindsets of people about food, how to source healthy wholesome foods, by avoiding what is literally killing us slowly, and how to prepare it so it is delicious!