my journey in food
In the past, I had a troubled relationship with food. When I was at university and into my twenties I obsessed about food and my weight and the size of my belly. Unfortunately this didn't stop me drinking wine or beer or eating chips and mayonnaise at midnight! Or pizza, or cake or take-aways. I suppose I ate with the typical abandon of a busy, sociable, healthy twenty-something. At times I over-exercised. I didn't have an eating disorder but my relationship with food was undoubtedly on the disfunctional side. In my mid twenties, I began to recognise that food was fuel for my running habit and I noticed that I felt stronger when I focused on a more wholesome diet. I made more healthful adjustments now and then, but I ate A LOT of carbs. And chocolate. Happily I seemed to burn them off and my approach was that I could eat anything as long as I continued to exercise. I consciously decided not to follow fad diets as I suspected that this would send me hurtling back to the more obsessive mindset of my university days, and I didn't want to go through that again. I enjoyed food but had an awkward relationship with it and hadn't truly made the connection between diet and wellness.
Full disclosure: ice cream is my achilles heel. I could eat it every day. I don't, but I could. Mint choc chip: be still my heart. I have always really enjoyed a range of cuisines: Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, sushi. Italian...obviously. Who doesn't love pizza? In the past I have probably eaten too much red meat. I was never that keen on chicken and would much rather eat steak. I don't buy cookies and biscuits as I know I would just eat them. Cake. Oh how I love a zesty lemon drizzle or a scone with jam and clotted cream. I also always loved salty snacks. Ahhh Doritos. One thing I am proud to say, is that I have never been much of a soda drinker and now never drink it. Ever. Listen guys, I don't have a lot to be proud of in this litany of food misdemeanours, so please let me have that at least...
Perhaps surprisingly given all this, I never regarded myself as particularly unhealthy but clearly I didn't eat consistently super healthily. Too often I made the wrong choices when I was ravenous - I might be go into my local lunch eatery near work for a salad and be blinded by the mac and cheese. No wonder my health has suffered - my disordered approach to eating seems pretty clear doesn't it?
In the last five years I began to clean up my eating habits a little more. This coincided with having my son and needing more energy and, frankly, because I didn't have time to get sick. I hopped on the green juice wagon and started to dabble in vegan cooking or ordered vegan food to the office a couple of times a week. I began to eat a lower carb diet and make more healthful choices. I swapped out dairy milk in my coffee for soy (I will share my current thoughts on soy products later), started making smoothies for breakfast and began adding more wholefood recipes to my repertoire. Along the way I discovered a real love for cooking, having never really been interested before. I began to appreciate the benefits of real home cooking. Real food. I became far more confident in the kitchen with different ingredients, flavours and methods and found that I could have a creative outlet in the kitchen. Food became fun as well as nourishing. Which is pretty much my current ethos. I don't believe that extremely strict dietary regimes are sustainable. Not for me anyway. They may work in the short term, and often do, but, unless you can stick to them like glue, you will fall off the wagon and, inevitably blame yourself for doing so. More on this in later posts.
Today, my day to day diet (or "nutrition lifestyle" as I prefer to think of it) is unrecognisable from five years ago, or even one year ago, and I continue to experiment and make adjustments according to my needs, energy levels, emotions and how I feel in my body. It's a work in progress and I know that what I need today may not be what I need in a year, or even in a week. And what my body thrives on, may not work for someone else. In future posts I will share with you some of the incremental changes I have made to my diet and to my lifestyle which really seem to be working for me. I would love to hear about your experiences with food and how your nutrition lifestyle has evolved over the years. Let's start a conversation!
Photo by the lovely @lusticlife