Sorry I can’t do it

Sorry, I can't do it!


‘You never invite me for dinner!’ my friend commented the other day.

I have to admit, it’s kind of true. My dear friend cooked for me at numerous occasions throughout the years. I only invited him back a few times. That was, when I still was living with my former flatmate. She loved to cook and it was the kind of stuff my friend enjoyed eating.

Does that mean I don’t like to cook?

I don’t think that’s accurate entirely.

Let me take you on a little food journey of mine. It might explain things…

As far back as I can remember, I always loved food!

I remember the sweet smell of plum cake, wafting through the house. My dad made the best plum cake in the world!

As a kid I enjoyed baking tremendeously. Everyone in my family would get a cake for their birthday. They didn’t have a choice really. Here’s a funny story. I made marble cake for my aunt and she put it in her boot, while we were out for lunch. When we came back, the cake had been half eaten by her dog. I was devastated. My piece of art had been destroyed brutally.

As a teenager I was known for my world famous Tiramisu. I’d always bring one to the parties, people invited me to. It was a recipe out of a women’s magazine called ‘Brigitte’ and I loved making it.

Sorry, I can't do it!

After having completed my A-levels, I volunteered for half a year in a Camphill (an anthroprosphical community for disabled people) in Ireland. Guess what, I had to cook for 15 people every day. It was a great lesson in cooking and since no one ever complained, I experimented a lot with mainly vegetarian recepies.

In my early twenties I was not only studying Social Work in Hildesheim, but I found myself in my first serious relationship as well. One of the things, that defined us as a couple, was that we both loved cooking together. We’d dance around each other perfectly in the kitchen. Harald and me also greatly enjoyed inviting friends over for dinner. I at the time was famous for my homemade pizza. My dad had given me an Italian cook book with those great recepies for pizza from scratch.

The love for food runs in my family. My dad is a great cook. He’s always full of enthusiasm when it comes to cooking as well as eating.

Interestingly enough, the few times, when I lived on my own, I didn’t invite people anymore. I don’t know why. Maybe it was, because of the space being so small. Maybe I just prefer to share cooking with someone else, including the joy of having friends over for dinner.

But now, let me tell you the main thing, that has changed for me over the years of my food journey. My previously uncomplicated relationship with food has become a minefield I am navigating every day.

Sorry, I can't do it!

Nowadays I am constantly confronted with the following questions:

‘Is this particular food good for me? Do I need to change my diet again? Why is my digestion not getting better? Am I still eating something, which I might have an intolerance to?’

All those foods I used to love and cook I’m not eating anymore. Pizza used to be one of my favorites. I haven’t had it in years.

I am dealing with Hashimoto’s, Irritable Bowl Syndrom and several food intolerances all at the same time. Not to forget the Chronique Fatigue, which is playing havoc in my life.

So, as a result I have been cutting out a lot of foods I used to eat. All in an attempt to heal my gut and get better again. It’s tricky though. Because, when you cut out things, you might indulge in something else too much, which in return you might become intolerant to.

That’s what happened with carrots to me. I used to eat them all the time, as kind of a snack. Until I turned orange in the face and developed an intolerance. Great!

Sorry, I can't do it!

Sometimes I feel it’s a no win situation. No matter what I’m doing to get my health back on track, it doesn’t have the impact I wish it to have.

Here’s the truth. Most of the time, I am quite happy, when I got through the day in one piece. Managing to do a few of the things, which are close to my heart. Writing a new blog post. Rehearsing with my company. Driving my creative business forward.

I know it’s so difficult to understand! All of those health issues are invisible to others. Often people tell me: ‘You look great!’ How I feel inside is another reality altogether. I am living with this challenge every single day and so do millions of others.

Sorry, I can't do it!

One of the things I found out the hard way, is that my energy is very limited. There’s one simple realization, I’m not able to fulfill other people’s demands the way I used to anymore.

So, as stupid as it may sound: ‘Sorry, I can’t do it. I can’t invite you for dinner!’

It’s just too much at the moment. I have to priotize and my well being needs to come first.

Setting healthy boundaries and practicing your ‘No’s’ is crucial, when it comes to looking after yourself. It’s a way to maintain your health. Gabor Maté explains in his book ‘When the body says No. The stress disease connection’ that people with health struggles often have no boundaries.

So, if you need help and support with asserting yourself, I am here for you. It’s one of the things, that lie very close to my heart. Supporting others in learning to express themselves fully. For this very reason I have decided to offer Impakt Theatre Coaching in St. Ives again. I’ll attach the flyer so that you can have a closer look.


Don’t worry, if you don’t live locally. You can head over to my be creative site and book a taster Skype session for free with me.

Looking after ourselves and our own well being are one of the most important things we can do in preventing disease and maintaining our health. Don’t wait until you have to learn it the hard way, like me.

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5 years ago

Sometimes I don’t see the point in cooking for myself. Too much time and effort for one person. And yes, intolerance to certain foods (dairy and sugar, in my case) narrows down your options quite a bit. I’m sticking to the Mediterranean diet, it’s the first time in quite a while that my gut and my body are happy. Btw, your food pictures look delicious 😉

5 years ago
Reply to  Anja

The book I purchased is The Mediterranean Table: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living on the Mediterranean Diet by Sonoma Press ( I love the recipes, they’re pretty easy to make and some are single portions. The only downside to the book is that I wish there were more pictures of the recipes, because I love looking at a prepared dish before I decide to make it.