I didn’t begin this year attempting to self-love by taking my nutrition more seriously — I slipped into this veganish lifestyle purely by accident, a God-ordained accident (maybe intervention).
Ten pounds smaller in one month and I almost can’t believe it. Have I really lost ten pounds? I had no intention to lose weight at all, or stop eating potato chips (not so smiley face here).
Now that I’ve moved beyond feeling forced into changing my diet, as the pounds slip off, and my mind gets clearer, I can see the value of healthy eating.
I’ve learned these things about nutrition:
1. I can radically change my diet habits if I need to. I can even change my cappuccino morning routine to an Americano, or even, gasp, a rice milk infusion.
2. Most boxed foods have sugar–a lot of sugar. (And in boxes you weren’t expecting to find sugar.)
3. Fast food is cannot be fast enough to make friends with me. I am blessed to live in a town where fast food is not a thing. Our town kept Tim Hortons and McDonalds out. I live far enough out of town that ordering in would make takeout people giggle anyway. “You live where? Yeah, we don’t drive there.”
4. I can enjoy unconventional grains. I am experimenting with grains I didn’t know existed: buckwheat, quinoa, and chia…oh, and steal cut oats, of course.
5. There are butter-alternatives: cashew butter on toast is one of them. Deleting butter is an adjustment, whereas quinoa with a sprinkling of choco nibs, berries and coconut flakes is super satisfying and distracting.
6. High fat meets are not necessary. I was losing my appetite for sausage and ground beef anyway. I have experimented with more bean recipes, and the odd tofu recipe, but I really like meat. Though I have dramatically lightened my meat consumption, vegan I will not be. Broiled chicken is divine in my mouth. And fish will always be included on my weekly grocery list. Twice a week meat consumption is veganish enough for me.
7. Healthier snacks are easy. Snacks of fruit or veggies and hummus dips made from sweet potato or chickpeas satisfy.
8. Fermented foods are good for the gut. Also good for the palate when you’re accustomed to eating too many potato chips. A nice green olive, a slosh of sauerkraut or a super garlicky pickle doesn’t replace Lays, but it’s salty enough to distract from them.
9. I drink more fizzy water. I crave water. Probably the catabolic state that I’m in. Though my Christmas gift, a wine book, sits lonely on my coffee table, I’m told I will enjoy her yet.
10. Salt will always be on my table. I bought the fancy salt. Pink Himalayan salt and sea salt. Once you throw me over the edge of dietary changes, I’ll spend a lot on salt.
11. I’m even buying organic. Organic! Well, not all organic. But if most of my diet is fruit and veggies, I am eating the most flavorful options, and that’s often the organic, flavour-filled choices.
12. Packaged yummy foods are everywhere. And I was including them in my diet far too regularly, which I knew, but hey, I was not obese and I had no problems. Until I did have problems. Except for an evening snack of a few rice crackers with avocado, my main fat source, and pepper flakes is really yum. (No really. It’s yum.)
Eating super healthy in this culture requires a God-intervention. so I got that intervention in the form of demanding health issues.
We live in a culture of palate-amusing food options at every turn. No time to get bored, lonely, sad — instead, eat something. So, since the option to food-medicate has nearly disappeared, I’m learning to self-nurture in other ways. I’m learning to choose food that are not necessarily my palate-preference. And I’ve been surprised that my palate is following suit, mostly.
Loving myself through eating well.
Though it’s been difficult to radically change my diet overnight, oh it’s been hard, and I know I won’t ever finish grappling with that, I am thankful for my God-intervention so I can love myself a little bit better.