Frozen Soup & Stick Blenders… What they Taught Me about Self-Care

A few years back, I was attending a Universal Medicine course and was sharing accommodation with some fellow students.

One of the students was eating what looked like very tasty soup and I asked her where she bought it.

She told me she brought it with her from home. I looked at her quizzically and asked, “You travelled with soup?” “Yes,” she replied. She told me she always has some in her freezer and travels with it so that when she’s at her destination, she can eat something that is home-cooked and nourishing.

Well, you could you have knocked me down with a feather. I thought that was pretty strange. But when I thought about it a bit more, I could see the benefits of doing that as I have found myself at the mercy of what food is available nearby, and sometimes that’s only been a basic takeaway store or a 24/7 convenience store, where the food may not suit my dietary needs – or be a nourishing meal! And if truth be known, I have often used that excuse to eat food that I know is not good for me.

So I took that idea and when I next made soup, I prepared extra portions and had them in the freezer ready to take with me next time I travelled. When the time came to travel again I was prepared and I travelled with my frozen soup.

I thought I was pretty nifty. And my body thought I was pretty nifty too, as it liked my soup – it always felt good after eating it, like it had been taken care of. It did a little dance after eating it – almost imperceptible to the untrained eye, but it was there.

Little did I know that travelling with frozen soup would just be the beginning of my home-away-from-home food adventures.

A friend was attending a conference in Cairns and came to stay for two nights. When he arrived I saw that he had brought all of his meals to eat at home and at the conference. They were ready-made frozen meals with combinations of fish or lamb and vegies. I was again surprised at what someone was travelling with and whilst impressed, I was not sure that I was quite ready to make that kind of commitment. I still liked to eat out as well.

Another friend travels away for work, and was sharing with me that she had recently taken her stick-blender with her so she could have her smoothies for breakfast. It was another one of those moments where I was like – you travelled with what?

So when it came time for me to travel for a conference, I was not quite ready to travel with whole pre-prepared meals, but was up for travelling with my stick blender – my new companion. It felt good to pack it, like I was travelling with a good friend who knows how to look after me. Away we went and when we checked into the apartment, I unpacked my old companion – frozen soup – and my new one, the stick blender. I had checked that a supermarket was nearby before I left (loving the pre-travel care I was undertaking!), and went off to the supermarket to buy smoothie ingredients.

In the morning I made my smoothie. My body did another little dance – it liked these smoothies. My mind was a bit miffed as it wanted to eat the pork and eggs downstairs at the café but my body was going … oh yeah, I like those smoothies. I felt light, looked after, and ready for the day!

At the conference for lunch there was a mix-up with my pre-arranged dietary requirements, and I did not get what I ordered. I picked the bits I could eat, and left the rest. I felt no nourishment from what I ate and it left me feeling a bit tired.

That night I called into the supermarket and bought some lunch ingredients and made up a yummy lunch for the following day, plus enough for the plane trip on the way home – so I would not be limited by the food choices available at the airport food halls.

I really enjoyed eating my lunch, both at the conference and on the plane ride home, as not only was my lunch tasty and nourishing, it gave me an opportunity to take greater care of myself and to appreciate this moment of self-care.

I find travelling away from home can be a bit stressful, and so can attending conferences. I’ve often found the food at these events involves lots of carbs like sandwiches, muffins and sugary cakes, often leaving people really heavy and tired after eating them. Plus the venue often does not have natural light and can pack the delegates in, which can make me feel quite drained and exhausted.

I saw so clearly that bringing soup, making smoothies and preparing my food supported me in those environments to stay steady and clear so I could take in what was being presented, and also be present when engaging with my colleagues (and not slip into a food coma after eating – you know the one when you have eaten too much and cannot move or think!).

In all my previous travels, I have never taken this kind of care nor this level of responsibility before. I had always used the excuse that it’s too hard, or complicated, or I’m too busy (before or during the conference) to look after myself in this manner and so allowing myself to be at the mercy of what is being served around me. But the truth of the matter is that it is not that hard after all.

All it took was me being open to the inspiration that was around me, and taking a few steps to make it happen – like making sure I had prepped extra portions, that there was a small fridge and microwave/stove in the accommodation, letting the conference people know I will cater for myself, checking out where the local supermarket was, and most importantly packing my stick blender!

There have been a few trips since then, and I continue to look at how I can deepen my care for myself when I am away. It makes the world of difference to me – I feel much steadier, supported and ready for what is needed.

By Sarah Flenley, Woman and keen observer of life, Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia

Related Reading:
What’s all the Fuss about Self-Care?
When it Comes to Food – Let Your Body Speak

520 thoughts on “Frozen Soup & Stick Blenders… What they Taught Me about Self-Care

  1. This is an example of living one life, taking care with the same level for oneself while travelling as while at home. No difference.

  2. It is good to prepare for your travelling and support yourself as best as possible as travelling does brings some major changes to the body, especially for long distance travelling when not prepared could possibly lead to physical problems like a jet-lag or stiff and disabled body because of the long sitting.

  3. ‘Frozen Soup & Stick Blenders… What they Taught Me about Self-Care’ While reading the title of your blog I had thoughts of splashing soup because of using your stick blender with not enough attention and the self care in that being not in rush but present so this splashing would not occur. Nothing of this all only the ‘weird thing’ of carrying a stick blender in your luggage and how your body responded with love as you had been willing to not go with what is normal but putting the support for your body first.

  4. I always take some food with me wherever I go and am always thankful that I did as there is rarely find anything that appeals or is wholesome and nourishing in public places. I know such places exist that provide such fare but they are few and far between and tend to be expensive.

      1. This is very true and a great point Nico. If we are truly always prepared, we are basically prepared for anything.

  5. Going beyond the thoughts that says ‘it’s too hard/complicated. I have no time for that’ to do something for myself feels extremely nurturing, it makes me feel very special, and I am that special person who is very much worth being loved and cared for by me.

    1. And it is great fun to be aware that it is not only for ourselves we do make those self-caring choices, but that in that choice we also live it in all that we are which then becomes a vibration that can be felt by everyone we are with.

  6. When you think about it, it is so easy to prepare beforehand and in that way you don’t get caught out when a venue forgets or mixes up your dietary requirements, and to know exactly the quality of food you are getting really helps.

  7. “In all my previous travels, I have never taken this kind of care nor this level of responsibility before. I had always used the excuse that it’s too hard, or complicated, or I’m too busy…”

    I recently watched a Women In Livingness workshop, presented by Natalie Benhayon, and she talked about the ‘fob off’ when we get a niggle to do something that is good for us and we ‘fob it off’. And above is just one of my fob offs, and really this blog exposes that is not too hard or you are really never too busy. And it is good to listen to these nudges that we get from our body and what excuses we give ourselves not to do it.

  8. As well as really loving being prepared with food to self cater, I am also discovering the joys of not having any anxiety about holding back about what I do and don’t eat when I am in a restaurant or visiting a friend. Being open and willing to share about the way and what we eat allows for a deeper and richer communication, connection and understanding, no matter where we are.

  9. Yes I found too that conference food is really not supportive as it is often sweets, little snacks, cakes, juices and a lot of alcohol. We might need to consider that the kind of food that is served at a conference does affect the people being at the conference. When we want the conference to be truly efficient and taken in to the most possible, considering the food we serve is a big part of that.

  10. It is beautiful to feel the beauty of when we take care of ourselves. It is like spotting us caressing ourselves. We recognize ourselves when we do this confirming us deeply. It is a multi-layer action.

  11. It’s interesting that you use the word food coma which people can slip into after eating certain starchy or sugary foods, we know this is what happens so I do wonder why when at sales meetings or conferences there is such an abundance of it as you would think that people would want to keep their minds and bodies clear.

  12. Upping the self-care is a daily offering and one that I don’t always pay attention to. But last night, I decided to and upped the self-care in which I put myself to bed. I turned off the screens, had a warm shower, lovingly put some cream on, put an audio to support me being in my body, and then lay myself to sleep. Quite a stark difference to being on screen right up until the last second, turning it off, and laying my head on the pillow and passing out which has become my norm of late.

  13. Being prepared with food is such a support on so many levels, and when we can appreciate that the time taken to prepare it is all part of the process and not a ‘waste of time’, this changes everything.

  14. Preparation is key in life, to prepare for each day really lays the foundation of the day ahead to run smoothly and flow. And if there are any hic-cups, they are easily resolved and not a big drama.

  15. I loved to be prepared especially when it comes to food. And all that loving care around my food, and always having batches and freezing, for those days that are full on, is also in itself, very nurturing!

  16. I recently went on an overnight stay and went thoroughly unprepared in regard to food preparation, clothing and luggage equipment. Beneath my annoyance and wanting to blame the situation, was a sadness that I wasn’t treating myself with the love I have allowed myself feel I deserve. I’m embracing the live and learn element and am now investing in a lovely new suitcase that’s not too big, has good reviews and has compartments that will suit my requirements. I’ll also research hotels more and make sure they have tea making facilities. I’ll also look into how I can transport food safely and heat it up where needed. It feels very loving, like going out on a cold day with a coat you know will keep you snug.

    1. Love the honest sharing Karin. When we feel the outcome of going somewhere unprepared, its a great learning for future trips away and then making adjustments, like all the things you are now doing in advance, and in preparation for any further trips away.

  17. Sarah – I just cracked up laughing at that question ” you travel with soup?” It is as if it was the weirdest thing you had ever heard and that is really how the world in general sees self care, that is that it is weird and not normal when in fact it could not be more normal.

  18. There was a time when I would have thought having a bowl of green soup for my evening meal would, a. be very boring and tasteless and b. would not be enough to fill me up. Amazing how things can change. As I have learnt to listen to my body and feel what does not support it, the more interesting, tasty and nourishing my meals have become, and how much I realise I had been overeating. And one of the main components in my now weekly menu is green soup!

      1. And there a million different ways you can make green soup with just as many flavours and toppings, it doesn’t have to be boring at all

  19. I travel overseas frequently in my work, and for the past 2 years I have travelled with the majority of home-made meals, and love that I can nourish and support my body in this way.

  20. I never imagined that I would be someone who would either travel with food that I had prepared earlier, or have certain items with me so that I could easily prepare something when I reached my destination. But have experienced how much this forward planning supports me, it is simply something that I now do as part of my preparations when going away.

  21. I love how those around you offered such supportive life lessons and how you were open to experimenting for yourself. I have found this is the way others inspire me. They don’t need to preach or try to convert me to their way of living but simply get on with the way they choose to live and leave it up to me as to whether I test drive their way, or not.

  22. ” It was another one of those moments where I was like – you travelled with what? ”
    Well people who are attached to the Royal family bring their own chef and food with them when they travel.

  23. Preparing for busy weeks is just as important as preparing for travelling as well I have appreciated this week. I am having a super busy time at the moment, and so appreciated having frozen meals in my freezer that are nutritious and easy and I also cooked up a big batch of veges which made a quick and easy meal when I got home.

  24. It is amazing what a difference it makes on trips when we take the time to plan ahead and take care of our bodies on the trip. I have certainly noticed this for myself when I travel away on holidays or business trips.

  25. As long as we keep on doing what we know feels right for our bodies, without making a big deal out of it, then others have the opportunity to be naturally inspired simply by what they are observing and feeling, even if they are not fully aware of that fact.

  26. It feels best to provide one’s own meals when travelling; even when labelled gluten and dairy free, most offerings are loaded with sugar, additives and other fillers that make the body feel heavy and unsupported.

  27. A little bit of care and foreward planning goes such along way. I was away recently for a weekend and had to plan what I was going to eat. Although I found the planning a bit of a challenge, it felt brilliant to have done so when the time came as my body didnt have to deal with anything unexpected that I may otherwise have subjected it to.

    1. Wise words Sarah that will be used to occaisionally flash up onto my computer screen as a reminder 🙂

  28. My food processor broke down recently and the motor needs to be repaired and I’ve noticed how the quality of food I am eating has been far less nourishing. I love my food processor and being able to produce such a wide variety of nutritious meals.

  29. Recognising the ripple effects of how I care for myself makes me more committed to it – like feeling the steadiness and vitality that you mention and ability to be more truly engaged and connected with others.

  30. Is it not amazing how uncaring we are to ourselves and we do not even know it . This writing is a great example of the law of reflection and how it works and you for sharing.

  31. I have found it interesting how others respond to me and my food choices when I am away from home. Some accept effortlessly but others have resisted which has made me feel that there was something wrong with me! But what I have come to realise is that they are not resisting me personally but the self care and love I am willing to give to myself. It is very true… we can either be inspired by another or we resist and consider what is there on offer that will support us in our evolution.

  32. It makes so much sense to make larger portions of food when we are cooking that we then freeze rather than running out all the time. It was my daughter who pointed this out to me recently saying ‘mummy, why don’t you make two batches and we can just put one batch in the freezer for another time’ and I thought that’s such a good point – why don’t I?

  33. How crazy is it that in our world today we have become so conditioned to not be loving with ourselves and all those around us, that to living in a truly loving and nourishing way, seems quite hard and a lot of work when in fact it is super simple and super rewarding?

  34. ‘I continue to look at how I can deepen my care for myself when I am away. It makes the world of difference to me – I feel much steadier, supported and ready for what is needed.’
    The support we can give ourselves by bringing our own food and planning ahead is huge. Something I always bring is my own pillow, to give my head the support it needs.

  35. I also like to or will ask a member of my family to get some soup or minced lamb already cooked our of the freezer to thaw in the fridge ready for when I come home after being away. It feels super lovely and supportive to come home after traveling to my own food that is already prepared. There is always a way to lovingly support our bodies – we just have to be open and willing to receive it.

  36. I have been taking my own food around with me for a while now and agree how well this works Sarah. I recently moved house, bringing my food with me to go in the new fridge which was being delivered that morning. Unfortunately it was not delivered and it was a heat wave day. I just had to get the food into someone else’s freezer at the last moment. My house mate and myself ended up getting some take-away and, although this restaurant had been recommended by friends, our stomachs ended up feeling pretty dire. I was so appreciative of the food we normally have and cook ourselves, and carry around with us.

  37. When we deeply nurture our body the body responds accordingly as it recognises this quality as our natural and harmonious way of being.

  38. It makes life much simpler to take food that supports us when travelling rather than be at the mercy of what food is available nearby.

  39. I love how this is something that you developed over time and can keep refining according to new inspiration, experimentation and learning!

  40. I love how you were inspired by those around you, and so brought in more self-loving choices, ‘as not only was my lunch tasty and nourishing, it gave me an opportunity to take greater care of myself and to appreciate this moment of self-care.’

  41. I always have frozen broths with broccoli in the freezer to support my gut when needed, so when a friend was recently admitted to hospital for gut issues it was ready for her without any time delay or effort… so simple and easy to do.

    1. There are so many great tips in this blog and the comments offering a range of food opportunities that can be pre-pared, precooked and frozen if needed. Thanks Toni – may experiment with green beans in broth too!

  42. It’s really worth taking care like this to be inspired by others and experiment with new things seeing how and if they feel true to us and help us to be more truly engaged and connected with what we’re doing and whoever we’re in touch with during the day.

  43. Wow.. This is very inspiring Sarah, and so simple indeed! Taking care of ourselves is much more easy than sometimes we can imagine.

  44. It’s so simple isn’t it!… Travelling with a stick blender can change our whole work experience when we travel… Now how can I fit my wok and gas burner into my suitcase!

  45. This is super cool Sarah, I use to think that cooking your own food while you travelled was boring and that I wanted the excuse to constantly eat out. Honestly though, once you brake down this belief system you are free to enjoy both eating out and preparing your own meals. I remember when I went to Italy when I was in my early 20’s, we stayed in an apartment that had a kitchen, we had spent weeks trying to find good pizza and pasta at the restaurants and were really disappointed. Whilst staying at this apartment, we had access to a home kitchen, we shopped at the locally farmers markets and small supermarket and made the most amazing meal that we ate in Italy! I am not joking, the ingredients were so fresh, the meal was just stunning.

  46. I have been coming home late from work these past few weeks. When I get home I’m tired and cooking can feel like another thing to do, so this past weekend I cooked four meals and put them in the freezer. It feels very supportive to come home and know me or who evers turn it is to cook only has to prepare some veg to go with our dinner.

  47. I love how you have described the way the body responds to self-care Sarah, and when we appreciate the care we have taken to support ourselves we allow a deeper level of love to become our new foundation.

  48. Love your blog, Sarah – it made me smile as I was on a day trip last week with the Managing Director of the company I work for, having been invited to make a presentation at a conference one of our clients was holding at a hotel. I had made a dairy and gluten free lunch request, but as usual, also packed some food of my own, just in case….! The hotel did indeed provide my requested lunch – sandwiches made with very plain gluten free bread and a slice of roast beef surrounded by limp looking lettuce and a sliced tomato (this was a 4* hotel). I haven’t eaten bread, gluten free or otherwise, for more than 10 years. I wouldn’t have found it as amusing as I did had I not taken the time and care to pack and bring my own lunch.

  49. Food is fuel, but it is not about filling our vehicle (our body) with what ever we want, the quality of that fuel matters. We can say when we are away, on the road lets have a fast food break, or a blow out on Friday night, but all of these choices stack up and our vehicle feels them. It copes with many of our selfish and indulgent choices but does it thrive and flourish which is a very different way of being. How we eat in all our days matters and that is why it is so lovely to provide supportive food, whether on the road or not that is nourishing and offers your body true care and support. 

  50. A beautiful reflection and inspiration of taking care of yourself and your body in so many simple and loving ways and what a difference it makes. It can change how we feel about ourselves having taken care and the clarity of not eating whatever is on offer noting the lack of goodness and energy it comes with. If we all took food with us prepared lovingly with a clarity of what we are eating the difference it makes by reflection and the new normal way of being it would make is amazing to feel and could really make a difference to world health .

  51. I love being prepared especially when it comes to food and my body loves it too. I leave in the morning with my lunch bag and bottle of water ( and my teabags), and I know I am ready for all that the day will bring. Yesterday, I worked a 14 hour shift, and this morning I was still up at my usual time, (4ish) and without an alarm clock. Nourishing food lovingly prepared at home is an amazing support we can give to ourselves.

  52. The other day I had this situation too Sarah. Inspired by your words I prepared some yummy soup for my travels for work. Only when it came to the end I forgot I needed to freeze it – and so arrived at my destination with 6 tubs of off brocolli soup! I investigated cafes and nearby restaraunts but none of them offered food I felt that I needed. So I headed to the supermarket and with a few essential purchases (hello olive oil) whipped up a quick dish. I enjoyed it so much and so much more than any take away food, simply because I listened to my body and honoured it with what it likes to eat. So thank you Sarah for the inspiration here to give yourself that extra care, in a way that goes way beyond the food that we eat.

  53. It comes down to the simplest things in our lives that support us the most. Whether it is with food being prepared in advance, having clothes on hand that will either keep us warm or dry, a tube of hand cream in our bag to soften dry hands or a glass or bottle of water always available. Being prepared for any eventuality that could potentially affect the immediate needs of our physical body means that we always feel supported energetically and are therefore more able to deal with situations that may come our way.

  54. ‘That night I called into the supermarket and bought some lunch ingredients and made up a yummy lunch for the following day, plus enough for the plane trip on the way home – so I would not be limited by the food choices available at the airport food halls’. Very good idea Sarah! A couple of years ago I was going down to Sydney to visit my daughter and leaving at 4pm. I knew that I would be there in time for a delicious dinner and so was only carrying water and a few nuts with me. The plane was delayed because of a huge weather thing coming and we were in the airport until 10pm that night and then shipped off to a hotel in town an hour’s drive away for 4 hours slept before coming back to get a plane. There was nothing in the airport I could eat, and nor could you get anyone to rustle up even an omelette with spinach because all the food was pre-cooked before it came into the cafes! Finally at the hotel the kitchen was closed, but I got onto room service and ordered tow poached eggs and spinach – I really enjoyed that. Needless to say I am more prepared now.

    1. I love that Lyndy. Not that you were caught without food, but that you were shown a whole new level of preparation! Then regardless of what happens, we know we are ready. A beautiful reminder – thank you.

  55. This blog to me expresses the joy in supporting ourselves through the day in a world that doesn’t usually reflect loving yourself to the ninth degree. So whilst there are posters advertising all sorts of health related and beauty products they do so on the basis of improving oneself or finding a solution to an ailment whilst not communicating we are already amazing and this amazingness can be supported by simple things – like going for a walk at lunchtimes (taking a break at lunch time even to reconnect to oneself) and eating something nourishing. I’m not so hot on the food side of things but one thing is to not eat in front of the computer at work. Eating food I’ve prepared at home with a loving supporting energy reminds me of this being love during my day and not being distracted by all that goes on around me.

  56. Yes, Sarah, taking those few extra steps to ensure that we feel supported and nurtured while travelling make all the difference, not in a controlling way, but with a joy that simply reflects to the world that love will not be compromised, no matter what the situation.

  57. As you say Sarah – the body just loves it when we stop and feel into what will support us. Your blog is a wonderful wake up call as I have been putting off getting back on track with my diet using all kinds of excuses to delay. No more time for delay – simply enjoying each moment with my body.

    1. What a great point Jennym. You made me realise how so many of the things I eat, wear, the way I do my home, my hair, the way I write or work is all based upon inspiration from others! In that moment that I read your comment the whole world of interconnectedness was so alive and vibrating in my body. There is no individuality. What a myth that is!

  58. I wonder how often we blame the day for how we are feeling rather than the food we are eating. I can relate to the food coma you mention Sarah where we suddenly feel heavier and bloated and the mind is not as clear, but we don’t always relate it to the food we eat because there is often a delay between when we eat it and the heaviness we feel. Food plays a huge part in how we are during the day so it makes sense to take care and listen to the body and not over ride it for the sake of what we may see at the time as being convenient and less hassle.

  59. Thank you Sarah, I can really see the value in having these kind of food adventures, where there is opportunity to learn and develop stronger practices of self-care that can deeply support ones desired quality of everyday life.

  60. Taking this level of care to prepare food for our day can seem daunting or too time consuming at first but once you try it even once you are likely to feel just how much it supports the flow of your day as well as your body.

  61. I went away recently and approached this trip with your blog and the inspiration of your friends in mind. I took frozen soup I had made specifically for this reason and when I was at my destination simply added a couple of ingredients to it as support. The difference in my body was astounding. It was such a support. Food was waiting for me at the end of my day, I had breakfast if I felt like it and lunch ready without any stress. Well worth having a go with!

  62. So what is normal? I know I have thought things strange and now I happily choose them, there are too many to mention. But some would be eating egg white omelettes, broccoli for breakfast, or not drinking alcohol…However I know if we are open to life we are open to change our habits, and our normal can very easily become a new normal. This is a great reminder to be open and not closed minded to other ways of living…they may just suit us better.

    1. It is so great to break out of the bondage of what is touted as ‘normal’ and do what is true and works!

      1. I could not agree more Lyndy – so much of my life I have spent trying to do what is normal and be normal I lost sense of what I knew was true and also got extremely frustrated by life. It feels so much freer simply doing what you sense is true.

  63. While it may initially feel like a chore to be prepared in this way, it actually sets us up for a smoother ride and eliminates a whole host of complication that can enter when we are caught ‘off guard’ and then are at the whim of all that plays out when we have not laid a solid foundation upon which to move.

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