Tag: autoimmune disease

…And Why Is It So Hard?

This week’s post includes some additional thoughts on last week’s topic, “What is ‘Healthy Eating’?”

On a podcast I was listening to the other day the guest made a very simple but valid point that resonated with me. Eating healthy, giving our bodies the nutritious fuel we need to live our lives, is not supposed to be a monumental task. Think about that for a second. Eating is not meant to be the daily ginormous physical and mental battle that is has become for so many. It really isn’t supposed to be this hard. So WHY is it and why do we guilt ourselves so badly about it??

If you asked most people what the first thing is that pops into their head when they hear the term “healthy eating” it’s likely not an energized sense of well-being. Maybe more along the lines of a guilty flashback to last night’s piece of chocolate cake. I think it’s something we’ve all experienced at least one time or another (if not all the time!). It might start with an internal groan followed by an excuse on why a “pass” is deserved (dare I say… again?) and maybe even a few tries at making yourself feel better about your current attempts to follow whatever you think or have been told equates to a healthy diet. And let’s be real, what’s considered “healthy” one day often changes by the next. Well, not quite that quickly, but you get my gist. Eating healthy can be time consuming, frustrating, expensive and downright overwhelming.

As to why, I think many cases could be made. The blessing of modern technology has brought with it an insane amount of added chemicals, hormones, preservatives and dyes that now make up a majority of the food in our grocery stores. We are bombarded with ads for these items everywhere we turn, from our local fast food favorites to commercials and ads on the television and internet. It’s literally in our face. All the time. And it is so easy. From the frozen dinners at the supermarket to the drive thru at McDonald’s, it’s not hard to see how these habits quickly creep into the lives of busy families and become a weekly staple. Then once they do, what happens? There are just as many ads enlightening us on how we can “redeem” ourselves. It can be quite the vicious cycle.

I can’t help but throw one more wrench in the works by adding another possible and all too common scenario as to why someone might be struggling with sticking to a chosen path. What about those that didn’t knowingly choose it? What if you HAD to eat – or not eat – a certain way due to health concerns? That doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to stick to. In some ways, it makes it even harder because unlike willingly choosing to try and eat a certain way, it wasn’t something you sought out. This is the perspective I come from. (Yet another topic for another time but one I think it’s important to cover sooner rather than later.)

Now I ask you, what if it wasn’t hard? What if when we feel we’ve slipped up or overindulged yet again, we didn’t beat ourselves over the head? What if we accepted it and moved on? This doesn’t mean you should be lackadaisical about it but there’s no sense in letting it ruin your day and everyone else’s. The age old adage “tomorrow is a new day” is wonderful, but you don’t need to wait until the following day. The next piece of food you put into your mouth has the potential to be a new beginning!

Speaking of eggplant… this curry was so good! (Recipe courtesy of the Rich Roll Meal Planner.)

Many people have simply never been shown how easy, fun and delicious it can be to make their own nutrient dense meals with minimal but high quality ingredients. Sure, you can get elaborate if you want but when I’m hungry, I want to eat now and anything that takes a great deal of time is just not going to happen unless I’ve planned for it in advance – which is another great habit to get into it… but more on that another time.

I recently made a personal commitment to start eating more plant based meals. I’m picking up vegetables in the grocery store I’ve never ever bought and in some cases, have never even heard of before, and – with the help of God and Google – have been incorporating them into my meals. Who knew that eggplant was so good? Laugh at me if you will and rest assured, you don’t need to get all crazy. My point is, I’m finding that it’s really not that hard. Or time consuming. It just takes a little effort and practice. I am by no means a lifelong cook. It’s a new passion and the more I try, the more my confidence grows. Yours can too.

Recipes are a much needed guide to begin with (for me at least) but after some practice, you just might find yourself becoming a little daring and attempting some of your own inventive concoctions. Next week will see the launch of a series of blog post explaining my own back story and what put me on this path.

What Is “Healthy Eating”?

This is a question I’ve asked myself over and over and over again. I use to think that “healthy eating” was a very specific rigid way of life. A way of life that made people groan when it was mentioned and grouped foods into “good foods” versus “bad foods”.  As my personal journey and knowledge has progressed, I’m realizing that could not be further from the truth. Not long ago someone redefined for me the way that we think and talk about food. They said that in reality there are foods – real, actual foods that deliver nutrients to our body – and there are non-foods, which are made up almost entirely of “things”, additives, etc. that are not natural and would be un-recognizable to anyone a few hundred years ago. One is not a good food and the other a bad, one is simply a food and the other isn’t.

That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in these “non foods” once in a while. They are a big part of our society and it’s very hard to avoid them all the time, in fact, I’m sure you even have some favorites – I know I do – but recognize them for what they are… or are not. Maybe you disagree or perhaps you view it differently (in which case, please send me a message or comment and share, I’d love to hear your viewpoint) but it made sense to me and I hope it will to you also. There is no one size fits all shoe when it comes to a successful healthy diet or lifestyle. Our bodies are all very unique and so too are their needs.

One of the most beautiful things I have learned thus far is how to listen to my body. A certain way of eating or a certain way of living might be serving your best friend wonderfully, and it might look good too. But that doesn’t mean that it’s right for YOU. Perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t. Give it a try and then pay attention. Really, truly listen to your body. Over the last year and a half I’ve had so many different tests done as I’ve tried to navigate my own health journey back to healing. They were all useful and served a purpose but in retrospect, some of them simply validated what my body was already telling me.

Don’t get trapped in the belief that you have to eat keto or paleo or gluten free or vegan or whatever you might believe or may have been told is the “right way” to eat healthy, because there are many. (Just to be clear, this isn’t a free ticket to indulge on a diet that consists of chocolate chip cookies and Coca-Cola. That’s not what I’m talking about here.)

What does healthy eating mean to me? To me, eating healthy means a protein shake every morning (not because I need more protein, but because I simply enjoy them and love starting my day off with a chocolate/peanut butter/banana flavor combo… soooo good!). To me, eating healthy usually involves a lunch that consists of yummy leftovers or a one pot hodgepodge that may or may not consist of leftovers, fresh veggies, beans, rice, and maybe some chicken. (By the way, some quick, easy recipes coming soon for these “hodgepodge” meals. I’m obsessed with them.) To me, eating healthy means snacks – lots of them – that make me want to keep moving, not lie down and take a nap. To me, eating healthy means eating mostly gluten and refined sugar free. To me, eating healthy means colorful vegetables. To me, eating healthy means finding foods that make my body feel good inside and out. To me, eating healthy means not beating myself up when I’m traveling and have had too many orders of sweet potato fries… a personal weakness. To me, eating healthy means finding the time to bake and doing so creatively (minus the gluten/refined sugar) without skimping on the taste OR the chocolate content. To me, eating healthy means listening and readjusting to my body’s ever changing needs.

What does eating healthy mean to you?