Food Diaries: Part 1
Food lovers raise your hands!!
If you didn't raise your hand, well, maybe you'll be on board by the time you're done reading this. Food is obviously a huge part of everyone's life. It is the way we stay alive, it is what makes our body able to function, think, grow, thrive. I'm not one of those people who hates cooking, and always eats out. Over the years I've learned that I tend to really enjoy cooking once I'm doing it, and I really like trying new recipes and learning about food. Even still, there are days when I wish I could just take a pill with everything I need in it and call it a day. Because, at the end of the day, food is simply how we stay alive, right? But most of us have some form of an emotional attachment to food that we don't even realize, and it's that attachment that often dictates what we decide we will put in our body each day.
I grew up on a pretty standard junk, sugar, and no care kind of diet. My mom was a baker and a comfort food magician, so I basically just ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Cookies (always cookies - the hot just came out of the oven kind), Mac n' cheese (homemade with Velveeta cheese), casseroles for days, and all of the snack packs you can think of. I could, to this day, live on cereal. I don't eat it anymore, but if there's one thing I miss most since putting healthier habits into place, IT'S CEREAL. The sugary rush from a big bowl of cereal and milk is pure joy people.
Healthy living is something I'm passionate about, and food is a big part of that. I thought it would be fun to start a series called "Food Diaries" to start a conversation about my relationship with food throughout my life, how I view food now, and new recipes I'm loving.
My food journey has been many years in the making. I honestly just now feel like I am in a place of being truly satisfied with what I'm eating, and feeling like I'm eating what my body actually needs. I've never been into "diets". For a long time I couldn't stand the thought of having to cut a certain food out of my life that I loved eating. I wanted to be able to have my cake and eat it too, figuratively AND literally. Why couldn't I eat ice cream every night and feel and look the way I wanted? Couldn't I just work hard enough at the gym? Don't I have stomach aches all the time because I just have a sensitive stomach? I grew up eating whatever I wanted and it hadn't seemed to "affect me". Little did I know, I was so, so wrong.
Like most things in life, your relationship with food is life long and it takes time to figure it all out.
When I first heard about almond milk, I was quite confused. It's milk? Almonds make... milk? Why would you drink that? And what's wrong with regular milk? A friend had told me about cow's milk, what's in it, how processed & full of hormones it is and I was honestly grossed out. So, I decided I would try this almond milk. Turns out, part of my stomach problems were related to: MILK. I was floored. I felt so much better. The milk had to go!
That experience is one of the first things that helped change my mindset on food. Over time I learned that I had some emotional ties to cut with food. I was still making food choices based on how I felt, or the activity at hand. What do I eat when it's raining? What if I'm sad? Or celebrating? Cravings? Watching a movie? The issues are real y'all! I began to realize that there was always a reason to choose the wrong foods. There was always a feeling or event controlling my food habits, and I no longer wanted circumstance to control those choices. I'm in control, I'm the one making the decision, and at the end of the day I'm the one responsible for what is going into my body. It was time to start making the hard choices, getting disciplined, and sacrificing for the sake of my health.
As I began to educate myself on food and how it affects the body, my husband and I started making small changes. We tried some things that helped, and some that didn't. There were weeks we would cut out certain things to see how it made us feel. We tried counting macros, counting calories, low fat, high fat, no sugar, no carbs, you get the idea. Trying different things and reading about what certain foods do once they are inside the body finally got us to where we are now. Now, I feel good pretty much everyday. If I have a stomach problem, I almost always know exactly what I ate to cause it. I know that what we are both putting into out bodies each day supports a healthy & active lifestyle and not preparing our bodies for sickness and disease down the road.
Changing a habit is hard. Especially a habit that is such a gigantic part of life, like food. If you're making a lifestyle change, it's all about mindset. It has to be. That's where I finally felt freedom & power over my diet. This food doesn't control me, and I CAN eat whatever I want. The question was: do I want to choose life giving, healing food or food that fuels sickness and future issues? Now, when I think about what I'm putting in my body that's what I'm thinking about. What will this do to my body? Is it even REAL food? Or laced with chemicals that do nothing for me? I'm not perfect and I have moments of weakness no doubt, but I find that when I am weak it simply reinforces how eating the bad stuff just isn't worth it. I don't feel guilty, I just feel unsatisfied. Headache, energy drop, bloating, tiredness. EW!
I believe that what we eat and put into our bodies is either fueling disease and health problems, or fighting them. I want to choose to fight for my health. If I got cancer today, I would treat it with food & holistic medicine. That may sound crazy, but that's how much I believe what we eat matters. Sickness, disease, ailments of almost any kind start and end with what you are putting in and on your body. I finally learned that I can't expect my body to function at full capacity if I'm not giving it proper nutrients. The focus for what my husband and I eat now is mostly plant based foods. We aren't really anything "free" other than processed foods. We're on the real food diet. As much as possible, we eat the most pure, real form of something. Lots of salads with lots of yummy toppings. Lots of good, filling, full fats. Very little grains and bread. Very little sugar. I'll get into the details of that stuff later and hopefully get to share some of our favorite recipes too!
Here's the deal. I'm no expert, and I don't claim to have all of the answers. I'm still learning as I go with all of this. What I've found, is that's OKAY! :) It all takes time, and each day we learn, we grow, we get a little better at making the best choices for our health. So keep choosing to take care of yourself, and get a little better each day with us!
Thanks for reading :) Be on the the lookout for Food Diaries: Part 2!