They make us do stupid stuff.
Even though I take myself to be a nutritionally competent person, I still did the stupid stuff like replacing real food with chalky milkshakes, calculating every calorie I consumed, swallowing a pharmacy of pills that made me feel shaky, and worst of all, telling myself I could not longer eat: (insert practically EVERYTHING here).
Humans were meant to eat food–not obsess over it.
But here’s the deal: I love food.
I love preparing it. I love serving it. I love eating it.
I love how pasta feels in my tummy.
I love how cream transforms my cup of coffee.
I love how sugar turns peaches into peach pie.
AND I love the crunch of a juicy carrot, the tartness of a robust vinegar and the zest in a bite of dark green kale.
I love it all, and it would be silly to spend the rest of my life convincing myself that I don’t like bread or pasta or sugar.
But just because I am a foodie doesn’t mean I don’t care about nutrition. Good health is very important to me (as well as fitting into my skinny jeans!).
A couple weeks ago, I watched a very compelling documentary called Hungry for Change. The gist of the film was about how the calorie-laden, low-nutrient American diet is causing our bodies to break down. The main point that I walked away with was that if you put good, highly nutritious foods in your body, eventually, your body will start to crave the bad stuff less and less and the good stuff more and more.
So for the past week, that is exactly what I’ve done. I eat as I normally would (no cutting out carbs or all that other nonsense) and then I make sure I eat all of the following each day:
1. An apple–I really do believe than an apple a day keeps the doctor (and mid-afternoon munchies) away.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar–I mix 2 teaspoons with 8 ounces water each morning and drink it down. I find it very refreshing, but, then again, I love sour foods. Raw apple cider vinegar contains potassium and calcium, and I just feel clean after ingesting it.
3. Chia Seeds–Filled with Omega-3s and antioxidants, this seed is an inexpensive detox. I purchased my bag for $8 at the health food store. Add to oatmeal, smoothies or in baking. I allow mine to soak for about an hour or more for maximum benefits. I aim for 2 Tablespoons daily.
4. Cinnamon–This spice is nice because it stabilizes blood sugar and is a great replacement for sugar in oatmeal or sprinkled on fruit.
5. Parsley and Cilantro–They contain antioxidants and anti-infammatory agents.
6. Dark Leafy Greens–I require myself to have at least one dark green salad (kale, spinach, romaine) a day, two if possible. I toss it with homemade vinaigrette so that I can control the ingredients. Store-bought dressing is full of yuckies.
7. Morning Smoothie–I like to blend greek yogurt, chia seeds, parsley, half a banana and some pineapple up for a nutritious pre-breakfast smoothie. (Yes, I require two breakfasts.)
8. Oatmeal–Fiber and protein rich, I’ve replaced my morning cereal with oatmeal. To it I add raisins, nuts, chia seeds, cinnamon and milk. Yummy and filling.
9. Exercise–I make it my goal to be in the gym two hours a week. That doesn’t seem like much, but it helps me feel like I am meeting my goals during the crazy weeks. And on the not-so-crazy weeks I am in there 5 hours a week.
And the results?
I’ve lost a couple pounds, my body feels vibrant and what’s more, I feel so…empowered. For once, I can finally take care of myself while being myself. And in allowing myself the freedom to eat food instead of obsess over it, I’ve discovered that I have a lot more self-control than I thought I did!
I mean, I turned down Doritos the other day.
Just flat-out didn’t want ‘em.
I have never done that before.
There is always a reason to eat Doritos.
Here’s what happened: I purchased a bag with the full intention of noshing on them that evening, but after a full day of nutritious foods, not to mention a dinner of bok choy curry, I simply wasn’t hungry.
This is not to say that I will never eat Doritos again. Heck, I made a batch of cookies yesterday and ate two for dessert. The only difference now is that a serving size or less is enough for me. If anything, I enjoy the food more because I am able to focus on what I have instead what ELSE I could have.
Adding the good and forgetting the rest. Now this is a lifestyle a foodie can maintain.