I just want to stuff this deep dish chocolate chip cookie in.my.face! Don’t you? Do you dare?
Are you on a diet? Do you use the word “diet” regularly? Do your friends diet? Does the word “diet” annoy you? Stress you out? Make you want to eat the largest chocolate cake you can find?
People can be very passionate about food. Some are foodies. Some are junk food junkies. Some hate it. Some are obsessed. This list goes on, right?
Where are you in all of this? Do you roll your eyes at the person who is doing yet another cleanse? Do you smirk at the person who is taking sugar out of their diet? Have you questioned your friend who has recently become a vegetarian? What???? Give up steak? Maybe you ARE the person who is doing a juice fast or has recently joined the Keto bandwagon.
Then there are those like me. I am absolutely fascinated by how food affects the body. I read about it, think about it, talk about it, listen to podcasts on the subject, experiment with different food, etc. Of course, if I had to choose a diet…it would HAVE to be a chocolate chip cookie diet!
I mean…a deep dish chocolate chip cookie with homemade whipped cream on top! There is a place for this in my life!!!
Basically, if you eat food, which you must since you’re alive and reading this post, then you fit into some kind of “food” category.
I’ll give you the lowdown on our food situation.
We eat a mostly Paleo diet. Why? My husband has an autoimmune disease and his Functional Medical doctor told him that has to eliminate gluten and that the Paleo diet would be best for him. At that point, I had already been making a lot of Paleo “approved” foods anyway, so it wasn’t a super hard switch. But there are nights when I just want a huge plate of homemade mac n cheese.
For years I have been making Kefir, Kombucha, Kimchi, sourdough bread, bone broth and basically everything from scratch. The only time I use white sugar is if I’m making Tres Leches or Kombucha. I typically use either sucanat or coconut sugar. I use Kerrygold butter. We drink raw milk. I use essential oils and we don’t run to the doctor for every sniffle or boo boo. We don’t use fluoride toothpaste. Need I go on?
Burger Salad. Eating Paleo is not boring and lacking in flavor.
Chicken Kale salad with cauliflower fried rice. Yes please!
Yes, I am one of those people.
Now, I will admit, that I am just getting back into making a lot of the fermented items. For some reason, this last baby just threw me for a loop and I haven’t spent as much time in the kitchen. Not to mention having kids in competitive sports! But as I’m getting back in the kitchen, I’m loving it. I made fire cider the other day for immunity boosting. Last night, I was food prepping. What a sense of accomplishment!
Are you like me? Do you get excited about this stuff? Does it just come bubbling out, even to people who could care less?
Have you experienced the criticism from friends who aren’t “into” it all like you are? It’s frustrating at times. You begin to realize who you can talk to and who you can’t about all of the food and nutrition stuff. That’s ok. It’s right up there with politics and religion. Oh, and sometimes they all overlap. Now THAT’S a fun conversation. NOT!
You know what I’ve come to realize? Eating is a journey. Well, that’s very cliché. No, really! Our eating patterns kind of ebb and flow throughout life. Eating fads affect us, health issues affect us, what our friend, neighbor, loved one is eating affects us, etc. New health information affects us. How about all of that awful low-fat junk that was supposed to be good for us? Now they (silly they – who are they?) are realizing that we need fat! Ugh…But you’re smart…you already knew that, right? Eating really is a journey. We are constantly learning about food whether we know it or not. You may eat one way with your friends or at work and then another way at home.
Guilt. Ow….there it is. That ugly word. Don’t consume: white sugar, fake sweeteners, coffee, food coloring, white flour, wheat flour, potatoes, rice, red meat, soy, msg, high fructose corn syrup, water in plastic bottles, milk, juice, cake, farm-raised fish, conventional meat, coconut oil, etc, etc, etc, etc!!!!!!
Here are a few things that I’ve come to realize.
- Don’t let guilt or fear rule how you eat. Well so and so says that Paleo or Keto is the healthiest way to eat, so I should eat that way too. Not so. You need to eat what is best for YOUR body. Do some research on your own. Figure out how certain foods affect your body. Enjoy your food. Eat as healthy as you are able to at this moment. I mean, there are some common sense ways of eating that everybody knows to be true. Eat more vegetables. Just making this one change can have a huge impact on your health!
- Don’t worry about what others say. I have been criticized for drinking raw milk, taking sugar out of our diet for a short time, eating a Paleo diet, making most of our food from scratch, being on a “fad” diet (Paleo), realizing that my body doesn’t like wheat, etc. I’ve had people smirk, make noises, and tell me that they are through with dieting. I’ve literally seen people roll their eyes when I mention that I’m not eating wheat because I realize how much it affects my body. Like…my joints hurt. I feel like I have the flu when I eat certain things. It used to bother me. Now, I just realize that not everyone is going to be passionate about the things I’m passionate about. Not even that…they may think it’s absolutely silly. That’s ok. I can cheer myself on in my healthy eating efforts. Go Amy, Go Amy! See? You are eating for you…not for others. Your body will reap the consequences of bad eating. On the flip side, your body will also reap the benefits of eating healthy! Yea!
- Do the best you can for you and your family. Some days this might be an awesome, extravagant meal and other days, Girl…it might be cereal. If you find out that a family member has a food allergy, you need to get your big girl panties on and figure out how to change your food planning to accommodate that allergy. You just have to. You should be feeding your family as healthy as you are able to. But as I said before, its a journey. Don’t expect to transform everything overnight. Give yourself GRACE as you make changes here and there. You can make one change a month. That’s doable right? The way you cook for your family, should not be dictated by how your friend cooks or how your favorite blogger cooks. You are cooking for YOUR family. So breathe a little…settle into a routine that works for you.
- Don’t be afraid to be firm with people who criticize your eating style. Honestly, sometimes you just need to let it go. People will always have an opinion and it may not always match yours. That’s okay. But sometimes, you need to just be firm about your decision. Don’t be afraid to back it up with what you’ve found or experienced. Don’t expect them to understand or even agree with you.
- Don’t let food or a way of eating define you and don’t let yourself define others by it. I am not “grain-free, Paleo, processed food free, refined sugar-free, etc.”. That may be how I eat, but that is not me. I do understand that food allergies, choices, and preferences do affect get-togethers. If I know that I have someone who is vegetarian coming over, I will make food to fit our way of eating and theirs. My favorite is a taco/burrito bar! The options for this type of meal are endless and include tons of fresh veggies! For example, we would most likely have rice and cauliflower rice as two options. Also beans and meat. There might be lettuce that can be used in the place of tortillas. All very yummy! I definitely don’t think… “Oh, the vegetarian is coming over. What can I possibly make?” My mom is vegan. I think we work together pretty well when making a meal for the family. She makes some super yummy food and I love that my kids get to try different things. If I am making the meal, I try my best to make food that she can eat. Sometimes I fail! Once I heated some veggie spring rolls up on a pan that I had just cooked some chicken on. I thought that it would make the spring rolls nice and crispy! My poor mom! I will never forget the look on her face when I told her how I cooked them! Oh my gosh! I died laughing when I realized what I had done. Luckily I had some more rolls to heat up…without the chicken fat! LOL!
- Will it be worth it? In my opinion, we were given taste buds to be able to enjoy all of the amazing flavors!!! Sweet, salty, sour, peppery, spicy, etc. Did I say sweet??? Why yes I did! Enjoy your food! Have you ever had a piece of cake and then thought…well that was a giant waste? It just tasted…BAD! Oh, I’ve been there. There was a day when I would just eat anything. Even if it wasn’t the best tasting. It might have been at a birthday party. You know the cakes that you buy at the grocery store? I can’t stand the frosting on those cakes. They are usually sooooo sweet! When I started becoming more aware of what I was putting in my body, I would think, “Will this piece of food really be worth it?”. I mean, a salad will almost always be worth it. A big plate of veggies will always be worth it. A piece of homemade lasagna is ALWAYS worth it! LOL! But there have been specific instances when I have taken that piece of cake or pie or whatever and decided that it sooooo wasn’t worth it. Ugh…gross. It was a waste of my allowed sugar for the day! But then there are those times…you know the ones…when I HAVE eaten the piece of cake. The amazingly, delicious piece of cake. Or pie. I’m really much more of a pie person. Oh Hallelujah for buttery, flaky pie crust! Enjoy your food! Ask yourself the very simple question, “Will it be worth it?” This will save you from eating food that you will feel bad about eating later. And, believe it or not, it will make you enjoy your food even more!!!! *****Embarrassing confession: I recently did this with a toaster strudel. You know the ones? I think they are Pillsbury maybe? They come in the refrigerated section of the store and you put them in the toaster and then spread the packet of frosting on them. They are sweet…but I love them! I hadn’t had one in years and decided to buy a box. Ha! Okay…enough of the confessions now. Your turn!!!!
I hope this all makes sense and even encourages you a little. We all have to eat and it’s amazing how the subject of eating can be so divisive! Whenever I see the COEXIST bumper sticker on a car, I think about the fact that they probably didn’t stick that bumper sticker on their car thinking about food. But the area of food is covered, right? Can all of our eating types coexist with respect and even encouragement of each other? Yes!!!! We are all in different areas of our food journey.
So, go eat! Eat wonderful, healthy, delicious food! Eat a piece of delicious cake! Put away the guilt, fear, judgment, and worry!
Oh, one more thing. Go get a cup of coffee!!!