Eat Yourself Happy (Recipe Book Round-Up)

So, last week I had a day where I could quite happily have dissolved into a big puddle of shaky self doubt, poured myself into bed and stayed there for the rest of the day.

I sat in front of my computer for almost five hours, with a very productive looking list of emails to send and various HTML issues to tackle beside me. Somehow though, I managed to spend until 2pm in my pyjamas, alternating between refreshing my Instagram feed, wondering why people weren't reading my posts, and shouting at the screen when I made everything vanish trying to tweak my blog template with no real idea what I was doing.

That horrid self-doubt became the over riding emotion of the day - I have no idea what I'm doing!! A few days before I was so full of enthusiasm and optimism for this new journey we're about to set out on, but today I wanted to hide from the world, delete this whole stupid blog and get a normal job.

This is unlike me - I can usually keep up the positivity, and am pretty good at taking a breath and not letting myself fall down a rabbit hole of doom (and even if I can't I'm pretty good at pretending things aren't happening and ploughing on regardless!) but not today. I even swore at a lady from the council who was valiantly trying to work out where our brown garden waste bin has got to! Not cool.

You know what the problem was?


I got up, made my usual vinegar, lemon and cinnamon concoction, and measured out some oats ready to make porridge. Then I realised there was no milk, oat, almond or otherwise! I could have made porridge with water, but nobody wants that! We'd been saying "We need to do a food shop" for the last few days, so alternative options were pretty slim! I grabbed an apple, took my vinegar tea and opened my laptop, thinking I'd have fifteen minutes of checking emails while I drank my tea, then pop to the shop for some milk.

Four hours later, I was still there. I'd eaten an entire packet of dark chocolate covered rice cakes, the last of the salted caramel fudge D bought as a treat, and another apple!

What an utter disaster!

I felt shaky and light headed, completely unfocused and unable to string a sentence together. I had about 15 tabs open, trying to do too many things at once and actually not doing anything at all! Enter my feeling of complete uselessness and descent into a wobbly mess that quite closely resembled that emoji with the zig-zag mouth.

However, as soon as I took a moment to look at what I'd eaten, I was able to recognise this as nothing more than sugar induced insanity! I think it was made worse because I usually eat so carefully that if I don't everything goes a bit haywire!

So, I washed my face, got dressed, got in the car and drove to the shop. I bought avocados, and rye bread, lentils, chickpeas and coconut milk. When I got home I made some avocado toast with a big mug of fennel tea, then made my favourite lentil, chickpea and spinach dahl ready for dinner (and ate some of that too!)

Normality slowly began to return, my hands stops shaking, the fizzy, static feeling began to fade and I was again struck by what a massive difference what we put in our mouths makes to the rest of our lives, and not just in terms of putting on or loosing weight!

I changed the way I ate around three and a half years ago, and since then have learned a lot about nutrition and health. I adore food, and while I don't restrict myself anymore (I used to strictly avoid dairy, gluten, white carbs and sugar, and as you can imagine this ended up being rather stressful!) but I do aim for a sort of 80/20 split between eating clean, and treats!

When I first started eating this way, it was often tricky to find ingredients and recipes, but recently the rest of the world seems to have caught up and now its easier than ever to eat a diet which supports your overall health!

So, there really should be no excuse for the type of abysmal food day I almost had last week. I managed to rescue it at the last minute, but it just served to remind me of how important food is and why I love it so!

To make this post slightly more useful than just a rant about how I ate too much sugar and felt icky, I've decided to round-up my ten favourite and most used "healthy" recipe books (We own about 250 altogether so it was a tricky choice!) They're in no particular order, but they're the ones we both pull out every day and that have recipes which we know will be tasty, easy and nutritious.

Enjoy, and do check them out if you're in need of some inspiration!


  1. I know exactly what you mean...a good diet is so important. If I don't eat, I usually get pretty grouchy too, not a pleasant experience for anyone.

    You have quite a collection of recipe books there! I have the River Cottage Light & Easy one too (was attracted by the fact that a lot of the recipes are gluten free - I'm coeliac) but really need to use it more. I have a terrible (/wonderful!) tendency to buy lots of lovely recipe books, spend ages poring over all the delicious recipes but then put the books away and cook the same things all the time.

    Do share your dhal recipe sometime, it sounds delicious! I love a good dhal :) x

    1. It's an awful feeling isn't it, I don't let it happen very often thankfully!

      We do have rather a lot yes, and I'm also fairly guilty of not using them as much as I should do, but they've become a proper collection now a well as a useful resource and we're planning various ways to display them once we start decorating the dining room!

      As for the dahl, it's actually a recipe from the Madeleine Shaw book, it's really simple and is one of my most favourite meals too cook and eat!