Early in my adult life, my focus on food included concerns over calories, weight, fat content and then, for a while even carbs. UGH—I recall how all that tracking and counting cluttered my mind making food less pleasurable! I'm ashamed to say that it really all came down to aesthetics. I ate a healthy diet but not for the right reasons. Giggle, snicker and snort all you want...but looking back I see how little I enjoyed food! I wonder if you can relate??
Then, little by little I learned to love food without the self-imposed rules and restrictions. I let go of the idea that it alone governed the way I look. Maybe I also let go a little of caring so much about self-expectations based on social evaluation....
Anyways, by settling into a comfortable stride of eating more intuitively, my obsession over daily food choices and how it relates to appearance relaxed. Now not only am I happier with how I eat but I also embrace the healthy body I have. Dare I say that food is my friend!
How did it happen? Here's the abridged version:
While I already ate a decent, healthier-than-average diet, I learned to really embrace a passion for ‘real’ food. Instead of searching for marketing promises on packages of so-called health foods, I started making my own with real, wholesome ingredients. My love of eating and enjoyment in re-creating more nourishing recipes fueled my new relationship with food. The more I experimented and the broader I expanded my educational horizons, the greater my appreciation for REAL foods grew. I slowly evolved to eating less meat as colorful produce packed my plates making them prettier and more health-pleasing.
Now, Ladies, I'll be honest. When habits are new, we slide around a little, don't we? Well, I slipped and slided into old habits from time to time-- like when I decided mid-real-food-revelation that my body-post-baby needed a cleanse. UGH. Maybe cleanses work for some of you but for me, it wasn't pretty. In fact, it was a horrendous experience and sent me mentally backwards into old beliefs, counting calories and eventual over consumption. I still hadn't quite recovered when....
I faced my most unsettling and insulting setback in the midst of exploring the wonderful world of real foods. Many of you know already. My husband was diagnosed with cancer. Since it's well-known that certain foods fight cancer, how did my handsome and healthy husband have pancreatic cancer!? We were already in that battle to win well before his diagnosis!
But I didn’t throw in the towel on the nourishment nature offers. Instead, my food preparation took on a fierce desperation to save Kevin’s life. I feared the worse and it came out in our family’s food. We adopted an almost fully plant based eating style while I stepped my efforts up a notch by removing as many chemicals, pesticides, additives and dyes I could. I juiced every morning, made clean smoothies with 'hidden' ingredients, purchased all organic and attempted to control our family’s outcome. (Note: 'control' keeps cropping up...)
Well, my battle between cancer and food failed. Kevin went to heaven—but only after having tried every cancer-fighting-food-strategy I could concoct! I definetely went down swinging. Swinging but finally surrendering to God's greater plan. We didn't lose....it was a change in course, a deafening and dramatic one to say the least. One I'd never wish upon anyone. Looking back, I did learn a lot and developed even more on my road to eating well more naturally than ever....more happily than ever.
So, here I am now. I never went back to the calorie counting or restrictive routines of my past. I learned from my experiences and settled in a satisfying place where I fully intend to remain: loving real food and proud of it! Maybe it goes unsaid, but after all that, I realized that LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR FOOD TO BE THE ENEMY.
I’m at peace with what’s on our plates as I fill them real foods and awesome flavors. I've returned to my love affair with recipes and intend on indulging from time to time (I write this after an evening enjoying my favorite ice cream with a friend!). It’s been a journey, between food and I. From fear of my own body’s weight and calorie counting to a panic-stricken struggle with food through cancer. I now can say that I simply love real food from its flavors to its nourishing effect on my family. It’s a relief, really!
I steer clear of fake, industrialized ingredients. I consider those non-nutritive substances found far too often in our food system inedible (did that sound snobby?...I don't mean it to, I just think food is best when it's close to the earth and how God intended it to be). I designate the ‘dirty dozen’ to my ALWAYS buy ORGANIC list and buy other organic options whenever I can in order to keep chemicals, GMOs and pesticides out of our insides. I choose this for my family to protect my girls and I from known carcinogens in our country’s commonly processed foods. I don’t buy foods with dyes and I use natural alternatives to white, processed flours and sugar. But, it’s not only for cancer and other disease prevention. I truly find inspiration and a sense of tasty satisfaction from feeding our bodies well!
Stick with me on this site and you will learn lots about my REAL food style of eating. Very simply, it’s back to the basics. Plant based. Non-processed. Palate pleasing.
Plant-based doesn't mean I shun all animal products. In fact, I believe many styles of eating offer good nutrition. For my family I simply choose mostly unprocessed, real foods and adhere to a vegetarian diet 90% of the time. I dabble in vegan recipes because I enjoy the variety of flavor, adventurous substitutes and ingredients they surprise me with. Oh, and to clarify, 90% is an arbitrary estimation. If you stick to your own healthy eating plan 90%, you'll be doing well too!
We eat clean, real and purposeful in my home. My girls enjoy goodies baked with whole, natural ingredients. It didn’t happen overnight. But we have comfortably arrived here without any sense of deprivation. In fact, you might be surprised at the wonderful ways to indulge with real foods! Food truly enhances my life. It nourishes both my body and my soul. It’s a daily source of pleasure and I am good with that. I’ve left the ‘diet’, rule obsessed world behind. Won’t you join me in your own refreshing, real food revelation?
Revolutionizing the American Food Philosophy....one reader at a time :-)