How to stop your fast-food habit

In a life-changing, year-long experiment, Suzy Walker confronts her ‘stop the world I want to get off’ state of mind, and commits to designing a calmer, less frazzled life. This month, she tackles her fast-food habit


How to stop your fast-food habit

3 minute read

My son is a health-conscious teenager with a six-pack – it’s me hiding the fast-food wrappers in the car after a busy day at work. ‘How can you eat that rubbish?’ And he’s right. The Slow Food Movement was founded 30 years ago to ‘counteract fast food and fast life’ in a fightback against the opening of a McDonald’s on Rome’s Spanish Steps.

Here’s my confession: I don’t like cooking. I don’t care about food. I’m a jam sandwich girl. Food is fuel. I eat what gets me from A to B. ‘But food is fuel for what?’ asks Ali Roff, our Wellness Director and founder of the Mindful Health Club. ‘Where are you trying to get to?’ It’s the question at the heart of my journey. I’m stuck on a treadmill of ‘do do do’ and my life is frantic. ‘What’s the point of this busyness? What truly makes you happy?’

Being with loved ones, having adventures, fun, connection, learning and being creative. ‘How can you stop fuelling yourself to get “there”, and enjoy those things now? How can you apply that to your food?’ she asks.

I’m a terrible cook, so I try Mindful Chef, which delivers mindfully sourced ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to your door. My first box arrives, and it’s as if the Slow Food fairy godmother has turned me into the goddess Nigella. ‘What’s for dinner?’ Ta-da! Sun-dried tomato and olive cod en papillote. Lunch? Persian lamb with pomegranate and tzatziki. My son’s so impressed, he’s cooking with me. As we spend more time together, food is not just about fuel, it’s about bonding; mealtimes an event, not a pit stop. We lay the table, light candles, invite friends over… It’s an adventure, we’re having fun and learning new skills – all on my ‘what makes me happy’ list.

My basket overfloweth

I research the Slow Food Movement locally and discover Tablehurst Farm, a community-owned biodynamic farm and shop. I am so inspired, I come home with an application to join the cooperative and a basketful of oddly shaped veg. I proudly make a supper of sweet potato soup with avo on sourdough.

I’m beginning to realise that I’ve forgotten how to truly nourish myself; to fill myself up from the inside out. I crave a different kind of fuel. Not just healthy food, but good company, connection and that helping of joy in the simple ritual of cooking from scratch and feeding yourself and those you love.

Image: Getty