In 2017, Health Ireland (HI) conducted one of the largest social surveys in Ireland in recent years. They looked at general health and health behaviour. In their findings, they discovered that 62 percent of people are overweight or obese. To add to these shocking figures, only 49 percent of people who are obese or overweight are trying to lose weight.
In today’s modern society, convenience food is needed due to the fact that everyone is too busy to cook. But at what point does this become too much? Only over a third of Irish people, 37 percent, admitted they eat their five portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
We spoke to Sorcha Hanway, the founder behind the healthy, wholesome and aesthetically gorgeous Instagram page @my_happy_plate_ which encourages people to get back in the kitchen and fall in love again with cooking.
Where did it all begin?
“I thought that the way to lose weight was to eat really clean and only eat steak, turkey burgers, broccoli and rice. I didn’t understand that healthy food could be tasty. I just started cooking and experimenting and it became so much fun. The more I cooked, the more experience I got, the more creative I became. Then it became a challenge how can I make something yum or how can I use something that was going off so I can eliminate waste.”
Why did you set up the page?
“I didn’t want to share it on my own page anymore but I didn’t want to make a food page. I felt I didn’t have the confidence but then one day I just thought I’d do it. I got great feedback and it just encouraged me to keep going. Knowing I had an audience and knowing how demanding Instagram is, it just encouraged me to cook loads.”
What are the benefits of @my_happy_plate_ for you personally?
It’s such a hobby for me like such an outlet. When I am cooking in the kitchen it’s like I go into a state of flow. I am so mindful in the kitchen. It’s like a form of meditation for me, it totally gets rid of anxiety. It’s so easy and healthy to do knowing you’re saving money and not eating badly.”
Where did you get the inspiration for @my_happy_plate_ ?
“I was inspired by the Body Coach because I liked to do things quickish and each meal I made had me buzzing to do something new. I always had cooking on my mind and how I could turn an everyday item into something different and inventive. It was a game of unlocking whopper taste. A collection of Instagram pages helped me conceptualise dishes and my general knowledge and flair for cooking.”
Have you had any cooking disasters?
“I tried blending beetroot into pancake mix to make it pink and it was so horrible I wanted to cry. So it’s all about experimentation but you won’t discover whopper stuff unless you are bold.”
What do you think about modern-day eating habits?
“I think with modern-day eating habits, people are in a very fixed mindset. They don’t realise that eating healthy isn’t that hard and once you make the transition, after a few days it becomes like the bible. Just like anything the more you practice the better you get at it. Once you start seeing how much you save money and how much better you feel, how you can jump out of bed, how much energy you have, you feel so much better.”
What steps do you think people can take to change their eating habits?
“Change their mindset. You know it’s not expensive to eat healthy, everything I make is easy, it’s not hard. Get a cookbook, an easy one like Lean in 15 by The Body Coach and just practice, practice, practice. If you’re picky, try have open mind.”
What tips would you recommend?
“Oh, definitely spices. I cook with spices every day. They transform a meal. You can turn a plate of veg to a plate of yumminess by making them spicy. Also if you want to eat healthy to lose weight, get tupperware, batch cook something and put it in the freezer and then you don’t have to worry for the rest of the week.”
Check out Sorcha’s Instagram page here for meal inspiration.