Just four months ago I was eating cheesecake and lasagna at my wedding and inhaling chocolate and anything with sugar in it like there was no tomorrow, and today I’m considering making recipes without salt?! What happened here??
I should back up, though. My food history started before I was born when the concept of healthy eating was first introduced to my parents. I was raised vegetarian, mostly vegan too, but I remember eating the fresh eggs from our chickens on the farm and we must have had cheese at least every once in awhile because Saturday was always pizza night. 🙂 Sometime during my junior year of high school I suddenly decided to make a few radical changes to my diet. I still don’t know what possessed me at the time, but I’d noticed that chocolate gave me a headache, so I decided to just stop eating it. I also decided that I was going to become a vegan. I’m not sure whether this surprised my parents much or not, but they pretty much followed suit. Unlike them, however, I’ve fallen off that wagon more times than I can count. My first college boyfriend was decidedly not vegan. In fact, he was a meat-eater (gasp!). That, along with the fact that the cafeteria’s vegan fare was usually less than palatable, soon brought an end to my veganism. Actually, if I’m being totally honest, I missed yogurt like crazy and that was pretty much what did me in…
For the rest of college and after college and then during graduate school, my diet was horrible. Not only was I eating just about anything (except meat- I didn’t developed a taste for it growing up so I never missed it), but I was eating it at crazy times and in crazy quantities- sometimes I’d eat until I was ready to pop and sometimes I’d get so busy with life that I’d hardly eat at all. I have a super high metabolism, so I’ve never had problems with my weight. This is probably almost a bad thing because I never had losing weight as a motivation to eat healthy. Food has such an impact on your life and body, though, and I always knew this even when I wasn’t acting on it.
I remember one summer a few years ago when I was trying to gain a few pounds. This is actually not easy for me and very frustrating because almost everyone else in the world is trying to lose weight. It’s difficult to find both sympathy and good advice. Anyway, I kept a food journal that summer and my goal was to eat 2500 calories a day. My husband just saw a few of those journal entries the other day and it was pretty embarrassing. Cottage cheese and ice cream for dinner?? Yeah, to some people it probably sounds like a dream come true (ok ok, it is for my taste buds as well and I think I’m even starting to drool on my computer), but I think we all know it’s not nutritious.
About a year and a half ago, my two best friends and I decided to commit to a diet of strictly whole foods for one week. We all lived together in a small apartment and shared a tiny tiny kitchen. I proudly stuck to the diet for the entire week and felt so good that I continued to eat that way for awhile. Eventually, however, I lost my motivation and slid back into old habits. This time, however, I had seen some significant changes in my health and I couldn’t get the concept of healthy eating out of my mind. My favorite food is ice cream and I could eat chocolate all day long, but some pelvic pains that had been bothering me for 5 years had subsided almost completely while I’d been eating whole/non-processed foods, and that really got my attention. The benefits didn’t seem to come when I only halfway followed the diet, however, and it seemed so difficult to maintain long-term that I got discouraged, Iguess, and eventually quit trying.
I moved to Michigan a year ago to live closer to my now-husband, and since that move my eating has improved, thanks to his support and encouragement (as well as his good eating habits). Just this month I heard something one the radio about whole foods and for some reason it really inspired me. I said to myself, “If that person can do it, so can you!” and I decided to really give whole foods another serious try, but for a longer period of time. I decided 8 weeks was a good length of time to try to be really strict with myself.
That was about 20 days ago. I can’t say that I’ve totally adhered to the standard this whole time, but I have kept trying. Eating in restaurants is kind of a problem because it’s difficult to know what you’re really getting. Going to other people’s houses is difficult too, because even if you know what’s in the food sometimes you don’t want to hurt their feelings by refusing to eat it. Most people have a difficult time understanding such a strict diet. Vegetarian- ok fine, most people know what that means. Even vegan is a concept that people can easily get. But when you trying to cut out processed foods completely, the majority of people in this country are at a loss to know what to feed you- lettuce??
I have come up with a couple of strategies to help myself not give up on whole foods. The first one is this blog. I know that it would be embarrassing to get on here and have to say, “Yeah, I ate cheesy lasagna last night”. I know for certain that I’ll have some confessions at least, but I’m hoping it will deter me at least somewhat. The other strategy involves the book “The RAVE Diet & Lifestyle”. This book has about 215 recipes in the back and I’ve decided to make all of them before my birthday in August. August 13, to be exact. I will pretty much have to make one every day, or maybe two. I might slip up in between meals, but as long as I’m feverishly trying new whole foods recipes I figure that I won’t have a lot of time (or tummy room) to sneak the junk I crave. Hopefully by the time I’m done my body and sense will have adjusted to the new way of eating and I will have made a permanent change. If my pelvic pain disappears that will be absolutely wonderful, but I know there are many hidden affects of diet that should motivate me to feed my body good things anyway.