I’m Jade, a 24 year old British girl with a simple goal, to live a happy and healthy life.
At the end of 2014, after a year and a half of living and working in London and feeling drained of positivity and motivation, I decided to do something drastic and move to the Caribbean to start a new venture! The move was the best decision I have made to date. Island life made me happier than I ever was in the throng of the city. Perhaps the most fundamental effect that escaping the city had on me was that it opened my eyes to a completely different way of life, opportunities, and new thought processes. The motivated, passionate spark was reignited in me and the future suddenly started to look very very bright!
I left St Lucia at the end of 2015 with a completely different mindset and now I’m on a big backpacking adventure to see more of the world and learn even more about myself. In my opinion, the greatest gift the experience of living abroad and travelling alone has given me is time to think. I have been able to realise what I want to do with my life and to develop into a happier, stronger and more self-reflective person.
Essentially, this blog is the product of the realisations that came about when I made the move from England to the Caribbean. However, it wasn’t as straight-forward as it sounds. I didn’t just arrive in the Caribbean and start working on the best possible version of myself in the blink of an eye. There is a reason why I didn’t start this blog as soon as I got here. Instead, like most things, I had to struggle through to get where I am today.
As a young 22 year old in London I got almost obsessive over my appearance, but my willpower yo-yoed depending on my mood and I struggled to reach a happy medium. Looking back I would say that I went too extreme – often exercising twice a day, sacrificing my social life because of it, replacing dinner with protein shakes…that kind of thing. The result was an unsustainable lifestyle and its restrictiveness would still lead me to binge out on chocolate on a regular basis. In fact, for the 80% of the time that I ate really well, the other 20% of the time I was a total sugar-addict.
When I arrived in St. Lucia I embraced all elements of the change and slacked off the exercise, I went back to not caring so much about what I ate, I drank a lot more, socialised more, and found happiness all at the same time. Here I had stumbled upon a new problem. Mentally, I was healthier – happy, loving life and appreciating the simple things. Meanwhile, I had really started to neglect my body and physical health. I was working 50-hour weeks with no time (I thought) to exercise. I put on weight, my skin broke out, and I was suffering from frequent nausea.
The breaking point was when I got on the scales on a rare visit to the gym and I was nearly a stone heavier than when I left the UK! For someone who was such an exercise fanatic a few months previously, this was a pretty alarming realisation. I felt like that person who finds happiness in a relationship and lets everything else go. At that moment I decided I needed to try to find that balance that everyone is seeking – in their diet, relationships, lifestyle and mind.
I knew that the ideal version of myself would be someone who combined my old self-motivated lifestyle with the carefree, positive personality that I had developed while living here. Of course, this was very much ‘the ideal’ and prior to the scales incident I had reasoned with myself that if I got a little chubby while I was here ‘that was fine because I was happier than before.’ In truth, I was leaning towards the ‘acceptance’ option because I could not see a way to convert my habits in England to my life over here. It was too hot to exercise…and I couldn’t fit it into my routine…and I couldn’t get a lot of the ingredients I wanted.
But really this was just what I was telling myself. As my desire to cook more exciting recipes increased, and I became desperate to lose the excess weight, I realised it was time to seriously snap out of it.
The truth is, I was living on an island where coconuts, cacao, mangoes, moringa, and so many other amazing ingredients grow on trees…literally everywhere. Amazing resources are available to me, they just might not be on the supermarket shelves where I’m used to seeing them. We have to eat seasonally, but that’s actually great because as soon as one amazing thing goes out, another more delicious ingredient comes in. Eating seasonally is actually better for you and the environment, and you have to get creative to make the most of what you’re given!
All I really had to do was be smarter about things, more resourceful and make the most of the food just as much as I was making the most of the rest of the experience. That included getting up at dawn on a Saturday to get my fresh fruit and veg from the local market, picking anything I could from the garden and planting more. I also eventually discovered a great store up in the north where I could get myself ingredients like flaxseed, agave, chia, coconut flour and other bits (albeit for a huge premium). Meanwhile, I stopped making excuses and committed myself to developing a regular gym routine.
This blog is my platform for sharing my new way of living. I want to make people on small islands and in developing countries realise that they can easily eat as well, if not better than those in the developing world if they make the most of their natural resources! I would also like to inspire people to live a more plantbased, sustainable lifestyle and consider whole foods as medicine. It will mostly be full of delicious healthy recipes that I have devised based on what I can get my hands on in the country I am in, with a limited budget. You can also find short stories and recommendations from my travels in the ‘experiences’ section. Finally, as time goes by I also want to look more seriously into the world health crisis and it’s connection to diet and culture.
I can only hope that my journey inspires you to take risks, step back, travel, reflect on what you want in life, and start making decisions that will help to change everything for the better.