Why I eat Real Food
I promise I’m not a food Nazi. It’s taken me a lot of time, learning and aggravation to get to where I am today in the world of real, nutritious food. I’ve had body image issues for almost as long as I can remember which for me led to an assortment of eating disorders and exercise addiction. Those were the days I’d go days on end eating nothing but grapefruit and cottage cheese. I was afraid of real food like meat and butter and would sometimes refuse to go out to dinners with friends because I’d already eaten my allotment of calories for the day. That is a very sad way to live. It makes me even sadder that I wasn’t really an odd ball and that so many girls and women live like this, scared to eat a steak or home baked cookie because they’ll have to spend an extra hour on the treadmill. On an average Friday or Saturday night I’d spend an hour or two, sometimes three, at the gym before going out. Just thinking back to my extremes makes me a little sad. How sad to prefer to stay at home than do something fun with your friends because you think you look fat.
Then there’s also the health problems I’ve had. Now that I’ve become educated on health and nutrition I know that a lot of my health issues stem from all of my terrible food choices and not nourishing my body properly. When I don’t take care of myself my old issues that are hidden under the surface show up – like fibromyalgia, hormonal issues, endometriosis, IBS, you name it I’ve probably had it. When I eat healthy, real foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables and leave the processed foods alone I feel amazing. It’s the days I slip and reach for convenience foods that remind me why I need to leave them alone. I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before but our bodies are made to be fueled by the foods that were put on this earth for us to eat, not by bright orange little fishies that were created in a lab and come in a box.
I didn’t own a scale for a long time, if you’ve ever had an eating disorder you know that a scale is something you should never, never own. How sad to judge your self-worth by the number on a scale. Why should a little number make or break my day? I’d much rather have a good day because I’m alive and healthy and am blessed by so many good things and people in my life rather than be a slave to a silly number. I spent the better part of my lifetime obsessing about my body and my weight so it’s only natural to slip up every once in a while. I have to keep myself in check and remember that calorie counting is ridiculous as long as I’m eating real, nutritious food. Why would I eat non-fat yogurt when full fat is not only so much tastier but so much healthier?
I slipped up and bought a scale when I was busy obsessing about losing my baby weight. I would get on it every day and that old feeling would come back, the one that tells you you’re not good enough because of that stupid little number. I was busy eating low fat, low calorie foods and not giving myself the nourishment I needed. I’ve since banished the scale and started treating my body with love and respect and it feels amazing. I haven’t lost all my baby weight yet but I feel great and today I don’t care to obsess about it anymore. I’m nourishing myself and nourishing Annabelle with the vitamins she gets through my breast milk. As long as we’re both healthy I’d rather be happy than worried about a number, either on the scale or on a tag.
For me feeling good and being healthy is a strong motivator to eating well. I know what happens to my body when I eat things filled with pesticides, antibiotics and hormones so I prefer to buy organic. I know that if I eat processed foods made in a lab my ADD will be out of control and I’ll be curled up in bed with severe menstrual cramps. It’s pretty easy to tell if I’ve been making good food decisions because I get sick when I don’t. Some people eat all the junk in the world and never have any health problems. I consider myself lucky that my body gets mad and reminds me to stop eating junk and take care of myself like I should. It keeps me in check. I’m a big fan of the 90/10 principle: I eat the most nourishing foods I can 90% of the time and the other 10% I don’t stress about it. That’s the balance that keeps me healthy and sane and able to eat outside of the confines of my own house without any guilt at all.
So yes, I’m passionate about food and health. It outrages me that we’re allowed to market unhealthy foods to children and that the foods we serve in public schools are things I wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot pole. It makes me want to scream that the corn industry is trying to tell us that corn syrup is perfectly healthy and that the cattle and dairy industry want us to believe there’s nothing wrong with all those hormones and antibiotics and that they’re actually keeping us safe. It doesn’t mean I’m a food Nazi, it just means that I listen to my body and try to give it what it was intended to have. And most importantly I never, ever want Annabelle to go through the struggles that I did. I want her to learn healthy eating habits by watching what I do not by doing as I say. After all, we are our childrens first and most lasting role models.