Our Food Story

Growing up in a big family, gatherings were always centred around food. Each person bringing their favourite meal or speciality and placing it on the table to share. ‘Bring and share’ style lunches and gatherings were always full of family, fun, laughter and good food, the things memories are made of. As a result now, time around my own table at home has always been treasured and many of the passed down family recipes are still some of my favourite to make, with the addition of many new recipes. I love recipe books and read them like some people read a novel. I very rarely follow a recipe and love to make up my own variations. My kitchen is as much my creative playground as my painting studio is. 
When Amy (my daughter and co-founder of Shedlock Home) was about 12 years old we discovered that she was a borderline Type 2 diabetic, a result of years of medication for her chest (a story for another time). Not wanting to jeopardise her health but also desperate for her to not rely on diabetic medication for the rest of her life, I consulted a homeopathic doctor who was also a qualified dietician too. She gave me hope. She gave me 3 months to lower Amy’s insulin levels and stabilise her high cortisol levels and told me how to do it. She gave me a life skill I will forever be grateful for. 
The change needed had to be a whole family affair where everyone was onboard and our whole eating pattern had to change. I was shocked because we ate what I thought was a healthy diet with home cooked meals and lots of fresh produce and no one in our family was massively overweight. Dr Carr sent me home with a list of all the things that I had to remove out of our cupboard and fridge. I thought it would be easy as we didn’t have many sweets, cakes, biscuits etc to clear out. How wrong I was. That afternoon I cleared out 6 grocery bags of items I never knew had such high sugar content from sauces, condiments, many every day ingredients and even spices. Did you know how high in sugar a simple Barbecue spice is? She told me about all the names that sugar comes disguised under (so many names and disguises) and taught me how to read food labels. She taught me how to balance carb intake and how to use better alternatives when needing to add sweetness. Thanks to Dr. Carr our whole family went completely sugar-free and after 3 months all Amy’s tests had started to improve. We all felt so much better with increased energy. We lived a completely sugar free life for about 2 years and while sugar did start to reappear in our diet, we all remained mindful of a healthy balance and healthier options. Amy is now an adult and to this day is type 2 diabetes free. 
And so it was that in 2023, when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, I turned to food to help me lower my antibodies and my inflammation markers. I knew the power of changing how you eat and knew how food could help to heal me. I had to undergo surgery for 3 lumps in my neck and a thyroidectomy. Long before surgery (it took 6 months of observation, tests and cancer scares) I started to change how I was eating. 
In my search to help Amy I had come across many writings on the benefits of whole food, plant based eating and many of the chefs and authors whose work and research I admired, had shared recipes that had become firm family favourites in our house. Meat free meals were not uncommon in our house. I had used many of these recipes when helping Amy because they tend to be healthier, low in sugar and more wholesome. So it was a journey that had been put in motion many years ago that would make me transition to a more plant based diet. I already ate very little red meat and I had for years been substituting out meat protein for beans and pulses for some meals. In learning to understand food better to help Amy, I understood the many benefits and sources of vitamins and minerals in a variety of food groups. I had learned to balance meals and find nutrition in a variety of sources i.e protein doesn’t have to come from meat and calcium doesn’t have to come from cow’s milk. Dr Carr gave me skills many years ago that never left me. It was probably thanks to her teachings that I persisted in finding a doctor that didn’t dismiss my symptoms as "merely menopause". I knew there had to be a medical reason for my huge weight gain, bloating, aching body, exhaustion and a host of other symptoms that weren’t “just menopause”. I had a thyroid that no longer functioned and had developed an autoimmune condition. Alongside some medical intervention, I knew that I also needed to make some changes to what I ate too. 
I had to cut many items out of my diet and slowly re-introduce certain things again to see via a process of elimination what triggered certain things like bloating tummy, aching body and general signs of the inflammation I was starting to recognise. Never having had any food allergies this was quite a process for me but I was spurred on by all the research I was coming across about the benefits of plant based eating. I learnt that to simply be Vegan is not necessarily healthy. Many vegan products contain all sorts of rubbish ingredients. Many people choose to be Vegan for ethical reason, understandably. My reason for going plant based was not initially an ethical one, it was to improve my health and so my focus was not on any label …. vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian etc we do as a society love to find labels for people. My journey was about feeling well again and healing my body from exhaustion, aching and swelling. I will acknowledge though that in going more plant based I have started to realise the impact of food production, battery farming and food waste. It is undeniable that many of the methods used in dairy, meat and egg farming are cruel and have a huge carbon footprint on our planet. This increased consciousness has made me even more determined to eat and live well with as little impact as possible. We can’t be perfect, I’m still learning, but we can always be trying to make our bodies, our home and our planet more healthy and happy. A healthy, happy home for everyone.
I hate having to add a label to my eating habits and I definitely wouldn’t want to label your habits either so whatever your preferences are and whatever your motivations may be, I hope I can at least help you to enjoy and eat more fresh produce, whole food and plants. I hope I can share some delicious inspiration with you, even if you love eating meat, I’m not here to preach or judge, just to encourage you to maybe try one plant based meal once a week even…because every little bit helps. The less meat consumed, the better for our planet and the more fresh produce or plants you eat, all the better for you. 
And so I come full circle to share my food journey, my fav recipes and even my new twists on our family favs because eating healthy should never be boring. You really don’t have to miss out on the occasional treat, family festivities or joy around the table at home with family, fun, laughter and good food. Wellness is so much more than what we put in our bodies, but it’s a good place to start. 
x Heidi 
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or dietician but share what works for me. I am a home cook who is passionate about feeding my family beautiful, nourishing meals and gathering around the table to share and celebrate food and make beautiful memories. I am a creative who loves to create with food as much as I love to create with paint. If you have any conditions that are worrying you, please consult a medical professional or dietician. Listen to your gut, if something doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t, so find a professional who will truly listen and help you. 
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