Think about the last meal you ate. Now think about what you think about it. Was it nutritional? Did it taste good? Did you make it or eat out or have a family member make it? Did you appreciate it?
Also, how did it make you feel?
Needs and wants these days have blurred together. We of course need food to survive, but what about the foods we crave? We don’t need them but because of their easy access and taste we mistake it for need when it’s really just want. It’s not our fault! The food industry has made easy targets of the glutenous folks we are (no offense to the human race) and marketed the idea non stop.
Growing up my family never went out for meals. We got a treat once in a while of McDonald’s maybe or a Dairy Queen ice cream in the summer. We rarely had sweets packed in our lunches and essentially never had desert with meals. My mom was always big on veggies, but my dad was an all meat eater. While my mom would spread out the meat portions among veggies, mashed potatoes, and corn, my dad was more prone to serve a slab of meat on a bun. Not the most nutritious meal…
But we basically had a fairly healthy upbringing (according to the Canada food guide). When I left for college and moved in with my sister and her fiance, we all took turns cooking. But the meals we had were always full of cheese and salt and butter. I suggested cutting back on these ingredients as the freshman fifteen settled onto my body but my brother in law to be insisted that that would compromise on taste.
And so the war of my love and hate for food began.
For years it was a constant struggle of reading what was right and wrong and good or bad. Taste always seemed to be compromised in healthy recipes. I couldn’t seem to get anyone I lived with on board with my attempt at a healthy lifestyle that was still riddled with confusion over eggs, yogurt and sugars.
Over the last few weeks I feel so refreshed when it comes to my relationship with food! It’s like oh my god food that’s delicious and healthy! Where have you been all my life??? Gone is the guilt and the bloating and the confusion. I don’t have to second guess every recipe I make or despise the bland, boring ones I’d confuse for healthy.
I’ve rediscovered the fun and yum of food. Researching alternatives to some of the old dishes I loved so much but also learning about more foreign recipes from areas of the world that don’t naturally use so many meat and dairy products. I get to enjoy what I create in the kitchen and try so many new things.
And that has the be the funniest thing about all this. When I tell people about my change in food choices the first thing they always say is “ugh isn’t that so restrictive though?”
No way. This has opened up my eating habits to all kinds of new recipes and possibilities. It has also reminded me of the pureness of fruits and vegetables and how delicious and savoury they can be. And I missed that. I can now go out for dinner and leave the restaurant knowing that I just spent my money on a pure, wholesome meal. No guilt there! Or create a stir fry or sauce that didn’t compromise on taste at all but benefits myself and doesn’t contribute to the suffering of animals.
My relationship with food has definitely taken a huge step lately. I eat when I’m hungry and I eat until I’m full. I’ve always been one of those people that gets hungry frequently but doesn’t want to over eat. I would also get unbearably grumpy if I needed food. And all my snacks that I was constantly having were no help at all. All unhealthy carbs and sugar. It feels good to be eating really well for maybe the first time in my life and really feeling the rewards of it!