I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes life gets in the way of eating healthy. For the past four years, I’ve been working full-time and taking classes for my MBA part-time, and two years ago I also found myself starting to write for and edit StartSomeGood’s blog part-time. Convenience became the name of the game and, while I was a physically healthy weight throughout this entire period of time, I doubt that I could call myself healthy from the inside, out. Lean cuisines, Skippy peanut butter, and Morningstar veggie-everything ruled my life. At the time, health to me was all about counting calories and limiting my cravings. And I was unhappy.
While I do acknowledge that I could’ve been in a worse situation—I was thin and at no risk for any diet or weight-related diseases—I didn’t feel great and I could see my relationship with real food slipping away. For goodness sake, I had only Ikea kitchen knives up until a couple of years ago! I attribute my healthy weight during that time period to my portion control abilities and the naturally constricting limitations of a vegetarian diet—I could eat that sodium-laced Lean Cuisine, but I couldn’t eat a package of over processed Tyson chicken nuggets so, I suppose I was a bit better off than some people (again, I suppose). But, again, I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t healthy on the inside. I was hungry and lacking energy and I wasn’t active.
Anyway, I digress. I can’t exactly pinpoint what changed and when, but REAL food came back into my life and has literally become my obsession. I find myself scrolling through recipes on Sprouted Kitchen and Oh She Glows for hours on end. Real food is beautiful and, when cooked right, brings out the most amazing natural flavors. Real food is FILLING and I can eat more of it because I know it’s helping to make me healthy. I’m no saint—I can’t say I don’t have a couple of bags of tortilla chips in my pantry at any given time or that I don’t have a few Trader Joe’s frozen meals as back-up for lazy days—but in general I find myself craving real food more and more. I even recently discovered a hidden love for brussels sprouts—go figure!
And the results are really noticeable! I may have actually gained a few pounds from my skinniest Lean Cuisine eating days, but I’m still the same size I was a few years ago. I’m just healthier. I have more energy. I’m super active. I attribute this mostly to all the long hours training to run half marathons and eating whole foods rich in healthy fats (i.e. avocados, coconut oil, cashews, etc.) that have allowed me to replace my fat with muscle. In fact, I’m positive my body fat percentage is lower now even though I don’t have the measurements to prove it. I couldn’t power through 13.1 miles on a frozen meal, but I can with a healthy helping of whole grains and a side of delicious green veggies (I must admit, I looooove carbo loading before a big race).
Now I eat a mostly vegan diet (when I cook, that is—meals out are another story…goat cheese and good burrata are my weaknesses). Vegetarianism and veganism, however are not the answer to health. I know plenty of “junk food” veg friends. The key is a diet rich in real, whole, fresh foods. I recently got the results back from a blood test that I had as part of my annual physical and I was pleased to find I am not deficient in any vitamins even though I choose a mostly plant-based diet. That and my cholesterol was lowered significantly from my last blood test two years ago. Guys—I’m telling you this works! I am happy because I no longer feel limited. And now when I do satisfy a craving for some takeout pizza every now and again, I literally don’t like the way it makes me feel after and I don’t crave it again for a long time.
All that AND my relationship with the kitchen grown drastically over the last few years. I find my cooking skills are evolving and I’m learning how to adapt recipes and make them my own. I am starting to love cooking. Discovering this passion has given me some serious direction in life and for that I am seriously grateful.
So, my point is, Food Revolution Day is May 17th. Check out foodrevolutionday.com to see what you can do to get involved. Go cook something! Host a dinner party. Cook a meal with your kids. Spread the news around your friends’ news feeds. Go ahead; annoy the crap out of them. They’ll appreciate it in the end. Help yourself and others discover a love for REAL FOOD!
What will I be doing? Loading up on some complex carbs to prep for my run in the NYRR Brooklyn Half Marathon the next morning! But don’t worry; I’ll cook up a nice side of kale too. 🙂