Health

Lena Dunham salutes Jessica Murnane, the nutritional adviser who changed her life

April 9th 2017 / Lena Dunham / 0 comment

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The actress has been very public about her struggle with endometriosis. Now the way of eating that changed her life has been turned into a book. Here, she introduces 'One Part Plant'

Seriously, you don’t know what’s about to hit you. One Part Plant, by Jessica Murnane is joyful, playful, delicious and guess what? It will also change your life.

Let me start by saying I’m no saint in the food department. When doctors act impressed that I don’t smoke or drink, I always say “but you haven’t asked about cheese yet.” Like so many people, so many women, my life has been a struggle between what tastes right to me and what IS right FOR me. Even during a decade-long dalliance with veganism, my regimen consisted of French fries, Sprite and veggie dogs on massive fluffy buns. My boyfriend describes my dietary preferences as “three-year-old with a credit card.”

When endometriosis entered my life full throttle, I knew I had to make some adjustments as I dealt with a chronic disease, but it was hard to admit those changes might be dietary. When you’re already exhausted, stressed and pissed at Lady God, you don’t also want your Bolognese and biscuits taken away from you. I was a ravenous beast clinging to quesadillas for dear life.

Jessica readily admitted that she hadn’t started out as a domestic goddess and that change is a bitch

But after I decided to go public with my struggle, a little angel reached out her hand in the form of one Ms Jessica Murnane. Without preaching, without judgment, she sent me a list of some of the food changes that had worked for her in her own journey with the illness. I’m pretty public with my challenges, so I get a lot of random emails from people making suggestions (their acupuncturist, their pet psychic, the Wiccan crystal shop that got them pregnant) but something about Jessica’s tone drew me to her. She wasn’t making a big list of don’ts, but rather introducing a whole new world of mysterious ingredients and exciting kitchen adventures. A plant-based Hogwarts, if you will. She also readily admitted that she hadn’t started out as a domestic goddess and that change is a bitch.

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MORE GLOSS: 10 things you need to know about endometriosis

Armed with a Jessica-approved shopping list, I started making some changes of my own. Instead of Greek yoghurt with half a squeeze bottle of honey, I was enjoying coconut yoghurt with a mess of berries and seeds. Instead of toast with peanut butter, there was sprouted Ezekiel bread with black sesame and preserves. I sent her photos of every silly experiment and she cheered me on like a kindergarten art teacher. I loved that her philosophy made room for slip ups, and furthermore, she didn’t even label them as such. She didn’t label AT all. Her natural approach also encouraged me to start asking questions about what was going on my face and body. As someone who spends more time in a makeup chair than I ever dreamed possible, it had never occurred to me that the pounds of foundations, mascara and Aqua Net hairspray that are applied to me on the regular might be just as shitty for my system as gas station beef jerky.

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But Jessica is that friend who always has the better way (while totally acknowledging how shitty the new way can feel). She said, in no uncertain terms, that I was allowed to miss birthday cake ice cream and Lady Speed Stick. I was even allowed to f**k with them sometimes. But small changes are still changes and you will feel them in ways that surprise and excite you.

So I invite you to follow Jessica into the vast green wilderness - the secret is it’s not so scary, just healthy. And fun. All our journeys with our bodies will have a million twists and turns, but knowledge arms us to handle them with aplomb. And there’s a lot of knowledge in here, from a lady who earned it the hard way while still making it look easy.

Thank you, Jess. Viva la plant!

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Extracted from One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane, published by Bluebird, £16.99. Click here to buy. Next Sunday: author Jessica Murnane on how to do One Part Plant.


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