Starting out snacking

Fossil Fuel_environment v2

If you’re at the point where you are feeling able to introduce new things into your diet, then I know you might feel both excited and daunted at the same time (I know I did!). Because I didn’t have the proper medical support I needed as I was getting better, I decided that the best way to recover and heal my body physically was simply to put weight on. I was purely focused on weight, and still didn’t love myself enough to want to look after my body. So I stuffed my face with junk food and slowly I watched the number on the scale rise until I was at a ‘safe weight’.

Aside from the obvious negatives for my mental wellbeing through all this, it was also harmful for my damaged body. My body had been through something incredibly distressing – yet at the time I was too young (and too poorly) to comprehend that. Looking back now with the knowledge I have of the human body and how it works, I am astonished that I didn’t do more damage not only due to the Anorexia, but also due to the way I recovered.

I know that from a professional perspective recovery of all types should be encouraged and I would never tell you to ‘eat this’ or ‘not to eat that’. As long as you are repairing your body, improving your relationship with yourself and food and rebuilding your life, then that is all that matters. However I do like to think that if we have a choice in what we eat, we could make some nutrient-rich choices which will nourish our desperate bodies and give us the helping hand we need as we recover. It’s only in recent years long after recovery that I have become especially interested in nutrition – and without that knowledge, I genuinely believe I wouldn’t have the energy to run my business, write this blog or finish my books.

I always found the concept of snacking really difficult whilst I was unwell and so I had a think about snacks you could introduce into your diet which aren’t too frightening for you mentally, but physically have plenty of fantastic benefits for your body and brain. Here’s my list below of my top 3 snacks you could try – as always if you have your own to add, please contact me!

Whole Milk: I love milk. It really has been a saviour for me in recent years when I have been unable to eat because of my IBS – because it contains lots of vitamins and minerals in addition to healthy fat and energy. No, it is not ideal to substitute food for milk – however I think milk really does have its place as a snack. I love throwing mine in a blender with cocoa powder, protein powder and collagen powder.

Wholesome Bars: Recently I discovered Fossil Fuel bars – and fell in love. I thought they’d be perfect for this post because I love ‘fast food’ which is delicious, easy to eat and 100% nutritious. They are similar to current offerings on the market but what I like about them is they are larger in size and pack a real flavour punch. They have no nasty ingredients in them but they do offer plenty of energy – so this means that if you are panicked or don’t feel able to tackle food on a given day or at a given mealtime, you can snack on one of these knowing it’s MUCH better than nothing.

Cheese: I often snack on cheese if I’m pushed for time and starving hungry. I know some of you might be HORRIFIED that I have suggested cheese because of its fat content but as you will know if you have read Recipes for Recovery, fat don’t make you fat. You don’t have to have lots of cheese to get a decent hit of energy and taste – so I think this is an especially good one for anyone who is frightened of quantity rather than the actual content of what they eat.

Do you have any snacks you are rediscovering currently (or have you tried any of the above?) If so, please get in touch!



Choosing the perfect coconut water


Everyone who knows me knows I love all things coconut. From the dried flesh to the sweet oil, I’m all over the stuff.

Since coconut became a ‘superfood’ last year, products have been springing onto the market left right and centre which whilst driving the price down of what were previously ‘artisan’ items can make it difficult when selecting your daily coconut fix.

I’ve always been a fan of coconut water, and had a couple of ‘go-to’ favourite brands which I reached for every time I was in need of refreshment from something other than plain old water. Why were these my favourite brands? Flavour. Assuming (wrongly) that all coconut waters were made equal (at least the relatively expensive ones which didn’t contain added sugar or preservatives) I chose my coconut water based on its taste.

One of these brands is Unoco. I love the refreshing, crisp, mildly sweet flavour – the closest I could find to my treasured ‘on the beach’ fresh coconut water experiences. I really disliked the characteristic cardboard-taste of some other brands, coupled with a tangy sweetness and a lingering coating on my tongue like I’d just eaten a packet of sweets.

I was sold on Unoco already. So when I recently discovered the astonishing truth behind commercial coconut water, I was shocked (and actually rather relieved).

As I had mistakenly failed to consider, not all coconut waters are created equal. Some are processed differently (as is sadly the case with a lot of ‘healthy’ foods) rendering it less nutritiously beneficial than others brands (which thankfully includes Unoco).

In fact, Unoco coconut water is one of the healthiest choices you can make when you’re thirsty for a tasty product with lots of added goodness. In comparison to its rather crafty counterparts, it is 100% raw. That means that it is ‘unpasteurised, unrefined and untreated’ as the company divulge themselves on their website – so basically it hasn’t been tampered with and is as pure as the day it trickled out of that young green coconut. Testament to this saintly method is the water’s slightly pink hue (caused by oxidisation of the fresh product in the bottle) – often not present in coconut waters which have been processed.

What does this mean? Coconut water which retains its wonderful natural flavour, but also holds onto its intricate, complex mix of minerals, vitamins, enzymes and the unique hydrating qualities which caused it to make headlines a couple of years ago as the health food in vogue at the time.

I use Unoco in my upcoming recipe book (updates on that coming soon!) for a few of my drinks recipes – but here’s one you can try in the meantime!


Coconut ‘lemonade’

2 bottles Unoco (fresh from the fridge – as it is pure without added preservatives it has a shorter shelf life)

Juice of one lemon

3 tbsp Sweet Freedom syrup

Sparkling mineral water

  1. Pop the juice and syrup into the blender and blend until the syrup has completely dissolved. Add the coconut water and blitz once again.
  2. Pour this mixture into glasses or a jug half way up – then top up with the sparkling mineral water. Perfect for a hot summer’s day!





Please note: This article isn’t a paid endorsement or false testimonial – I do actually love this brand and use all of the brands I discuss here on the blog or in the book myself on a regular basis. I’m simply passionate about good, wholesome, honest food and unprocessed, unrefined natural brands whose products have no harmful side effects in the body. I’m here to save lives, not to promote products!


Foods For Recovery: Oats


Oats. A pretty unremarkable, boring-looking superfood. Without the snazzy bright colours which blueberries and beetroot boast, they are admittedly a little bit beige! Not the most exciting colour. But there’s nothing boring about the benefits that oats boast for your body!

I love oats. I love porridge, flapjacks and I often use oats in my cakes and cookies. They’re really versatile as a food and because they aren’t overpoweringly flavoured, they’re a great base to add whatever toppings you fancy to.

I love plain oats or chocolate oats made with whole milk to make them creamy, but it’s not just the taste I love. I have lots of oat recipes in the book purely because not only are they incredibly yummy, they’re also very good for you – especially for recovering bodies.

Oats are high in fibre and protein, so they’re good for energy and digestion. They also contain good amounts of Manganese, a mineral which supports skin, hair and bone health – as well as iron and a host of other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Because you’re unlikely to consume oats dry(!), you’re also getting the added benefit of yoghurt or milk and the toppings you choose – like berries and nuts. If you buy them in their raw state they’re also 100% natural – so what’s not to like??

Have you tried oats? If so, what’s your favourite way to eat them?




Foods For Recovery: Avocado


I have to admit I don’t eat lots of fruit – but avocado is one of my favourite fruits. Embarrassingly I thought it was a vegetable until not that long ago (oops!) I often have avocado with smoked salmon or in salads – it’s really versatile and some people even make desserts with avocado!

For me it’s a great recovery food because it’s really nutritious and dense in good things for the body. Even a small serving provides good amounts of vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E – PLUS Magnesium, Iron, Potassium Zinc, Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin. Phew! That’s without mentioning that avocadoes are full of healthy fats which are good for the body as a whole but especially the heart, in addition to high amounts of fibre which make it easily digestible.

You can make a really easy guacamole simply by mashing an avocado with chopped tomatoes and paprika – or simply slice it up and enjoy it with cheese, steak or fish. If you’re not a fan (it is a little slimy which isn’t to everyone’s taste!) then how about popping it in a smoothie?

Are you trying avocado?



Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!


Foods for Recovery – Coconut


I am an official coconut mega-fan. I have coconut every day – that’s how much I love it!

My love for coconut started when I started with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) a few years ago, because I can digest it with no problems. I started using desiccated coconut in my food and then began to use coconut oil and coconut flour in my baking.

Fast forward a few years, and coconut has recently been hailed a superfood (something I was delighted about!). With that, many products have seen increased popularity. Coconut oil and coconut flour are now widely used and much more readily available.

So why is coconut so good for you?

Coconut has such a wide range of benefits for the body in all its forms. Coconut oil in particular is a good all-rounder for the body because it is rich in fatty acids and is a good source of energy as well as containing Lauric Acid, which has lots of different uses in the body but notably helps maintain healthy skin and hair. It also helps to look after your digestive tract as it has anti-microbial pro-biotic properties which keep stomach nasties and yeast at bay.

What coconut products can I try?

Coconut is really versatile – meaning there’s lots of different by-products. Here are a few I use below, what they are and how you can use them.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is what you can hear sloshing around inside a coconut – but the type you drink comes from a young coconut which is softer and green – not the matured brown hairy variety. It’s rich in electrolytes (which aid hydration) and naturally sweet, yet fairly low in sugar. The best way to enjoy coconut water is straight out of a fresh young green coconut – but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury here in the UK! There are lots of different varieties of coconut water now, some with added fruit pulps which are very nice. I like Zico and Unoco – and Vita Coco do lovely ‘lemonade’ and ‘mango’ varieties.

Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil a lot in my baking and also have a spoonful every morning with my breakfast. It has a distinctive sweet coconut flavour – some people use it in savoury dishes but I only like it for sweets! Along with coconut water, coconut oil was arguably the first coconut product to receive renowned nutritional status. Tesco now sell cold-pressed, organic coconut oil for around £6 but Coconoil, Lucy Bee, Biona and Tiana are all good quality brands which can be found online.

Coconut Butter

Coconut butter is similar to coconut oil but is less greasy and has the same relationship to coconut oil as olive oil spread might have to olive oil. I use coconut butter in baking and for making raw chocolate – it has a less strong coconut flavour than the oil but is rich and creamy. I like Biona Coconut Bliss – but Tiana also do lots of different types of oils and butters some with added Omega 3.

Coconut Flour         

Coconut flour is basically dried milled coconut meat which takes a powdery flour-like form. It’s higher in protein than its counterparts and is also rich in fibre as well as having some of the other antioxidant and nutritional benefits of coconut. It’s really versatile and great for baking; it has a sweet slightly coconutty taste so if I don’t want to make a coconut dish I usually mix it with almond or rice flour. You can get coconut flour from lots of online health stores or on eBay.

Coconut Palm Sugar

Coconut palm sugar or ‘palm sugar’ comes from the sap of flowers from the coconut palm tree. It looks like brown sugar and similarly has a rich caramel flavour which I just love and which makes it perfect for toffee and caramel dishes – but for that reason it’s not always suitable for lighter desserts. I use organic coconut sugar which can be sourced quite easily online from Biona or eBay.

Flaked/Desiccated Coconut

The most familiar form of coconut in western diets until its emergence as a popular health food, the older generations of our families will be familiar with coconut from ice buns and coconut ice sweets! It is made from dried coconut meat which is then flaked either into tiny pieces or larger shavings. You can find unsweetened desiccated coconut in most supermarkets.

Fancy trying coconut for yourself? There’s plenty of coconut recipes in my book – take a look here.

Coconut is also one of my favourite beauty products!



Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!


Foods for Recovery: Ginger


I LOVE ginger – in face there’s several ginger recipes in the book because it is such a favourite of mine. Warming, spicy, comforting – but also a zingy addition to lots of savoury dishes, this versatile spice is actually packed with health benefits which makes it the perfect recovery food. I’ve listed a few of its many qualities below which are relevant to recovery – I’m sure they’ll surprise you!

  1. Anti-inflammatory – Handily-titled Gingerols, found in Ginger, help to reduce inflammation and therefore help with mobility and joint pain, especially in people with Osteoporosis. Brittle bones are a huge problem for anyone after an eating disorder, so calcium is often prescribed to help improve bone density and body function. With this in mind, not-so-obvious foods like Ginger may be able to really help the body to recover better.
  2. Digestive Health – Your digestive system takes a real hit going through an eating disorder – and after it has been gently eased back into ‘normal function’, residual problems can still be present which make can life pretty unpleasant and difficult. Aiding digestion is really important as it helps all your bodily functions, allowing the nutrients from the food you eat to be absorbed properly into your body. Additionally for those with anxiety and chronic IBS like me, any relief from the excruciating symptoms is much welcome. Ginger tea is said to help this and I can certainly vouch for the fact that it tastes lovely and the simple warming taste and feel of the tea does help to calm me a little. Ginger is said to ease the painful cramps and contractions caused by IBS, so it can also regulate and keep good bowel function in those who are recovering. In turn, it helps us to properly absorb the goodies from the food we eat and keeps toilet problems at bay (I’ll leave it at that!). Fresh Ginger tea (fresh Ginger brewed with hot water and Manuka honey) is said to be the best way to aid digestion using Ginger.
  3. Circulation – Many of us suffer with poor circulation even well into recovery (and after, as I’ve discovered – my circulation is irretrievably damaged). That’s why I’m passionate about recovery nutrition – if I had consumed some of these foods during recovery then perhaps I wouldn’t suffer now with the irreparable consequences of my eating disorder. On a positive note however, anyone with poor circulation can use Ginger to help improve blood flow!

Ginger Tea

You can buy Ginger tea bags at the supermarket – but here’s a simple recipe for Ginger Tea if you fancy making some for yourself and trying it at home.

  • Ginger Root
  • Manuka Honey
  • Boiling Water
  1. Peel the Ginger Root and then grate the ginger or slice and chop thinly.
  2. Add Ginger to a mug or cup and pour over the boiling water. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes maximum.
  3. Stir in the honey. You can add Cinnamon or Lemon for additional flavour if you like!

Ginger is in a wide range of delicious foods – especially Chinese and Thai food. I enjoy Ginger in cookies and cake – recipes for these can be found here in my book, Recipes for Recovery.

More Foods for Recovery here!



Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!


Foods for Recovery: the (not so humble) Egg


Eggs. Often overlooked as a ‘staple’ grocery – we consume 11.7 billion each year in the UK – that’s 32 million per day! Eggs are SO versatile; just have a think about all the dishes you can make using eggs! Of course, they can either be used whole, or the yolks and whites can be isolated to make a huge range of dishes. They are also light and suitable for people who are poorly or have digestive issues. Packed with protein, they really are a tiny nutritional hand grenade and a fantastic addition to any diet.

I have eggs at least once a week – I either bake them into a soufflé or quiche (you can find my quiche and soufflé recipes here in the book), I’ll often have them poached with salmon in a salad, or scrambled or devilled as a snack.

Why are they so important for recovery though?

  1. Protein – Eggs are high in protein and good fats, so they pack a fantastic nutritional punch considering how little they are! They are filling whilst being light in texture – so one little egg goes a very long way.
  2. Other nutrients – High in selenium, Iron and Vitamin D and a host of B-Vitamins, eggs are incredibly nutritious and perfect for helping your body repair and restore itself. They also help to increase good cholesterol which is really good for your heart. Eggs also contain their very own unique antioxidants which help maintain good eye health.
  3. Digestible and light – They’re a great addition to almost any diet because they are not too heavy on the digestive system. When your digestive system has been through something as harsh and debilitating as an eating disorder, it’s going to take a while for it to get back on track. And when it does, being kind to it by eating soft, easily-digested eggs which are packed with nutrients and protein can only do it good.

More Foods for Recovery here!



Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!