February is the Month of LOVE. Since Food is one of my great loves, I wanted to talk about my relationship with food past and present. Most importantly, I wanted to set the stage for my future relationship with food and my body.
I was writing this post in my head for the past week and then, today, I saw the video below of Sarah Britton from My New Roots at her TED Talk. I cried.
Sarah’s site, My New Roots has been a real inspiration to me for the past two years. The site is filled with stunning photography and recipes, plus bunches of nutritional facts presented conversationally. I get excited every time I look at her site. On the video, what she says is simply magical and spoke directly to my heart and soul. I knew I had to write this post asap so I could share that video and my story with you.
Let me set the present and future stage: My Personal Mission is to Find Foods that Love Me Back.
Let’s go back about 5 years ago:
- I was stressed, busy, overwhelmed, and I would fall back on junk food or food that would fill my belly temporarily but not nourish me.
- Work meant travel to multiple countries & time zones: I never knew if I was coming or going or even what country I would be in. Add long work hours and gulping down strange foods or whatever was on hand and I was a recipe for disaster.
- My Kryptonite is Fountain Soda and I would casually and carelessly drink enough calories per day to sustain a small village.
- Stress, separating my marriage and multiple life changes in a very short period of time contributed to a weight gain that made me unhappy and uncomfortable.
- Another side note to all of this is that I have lupus and fibromyalgia. Poor food choices can directly affect my health. I do not want my disease to run my life. Or my scary family history of cardiac issues, cancer and hypertension.
All of this crapola came home to roost. It always does. I promise. The march of time and poor food choices catch up with us inevitably. Our bodies start to hurt or have uncomfortable or scary symptoms. Our minds become foggy. Energy levels plummet. It is a negative cycle that we perpetuate daily until we make changes.
The time came that I had to wake up and realize that my food choices were hurting me. I longed to get back to the whole foods, fresh foods that I grew up with and that had always been a staple in my life and in my cooking. Food in a package?? This was simply not how I had learned or longed to eat.
The Universe passed me a note via Facebook – You Eat to Nourish Your Body or Feed Your Disease. (thanks Facebook!). I think about that every single day. And I began to make changes and to be more mindful about my food and (importantly) my eating habits.
18 Months Ago – Mindful Eating & What Inspired My Change:
1. Food writing has certainly made me more mindful of what I am eating, ingredients that I am choosing and presentation. Providing scrumptious, interesting recipes keeps me motivated to make better decisions.
2. Having positive food influences and an Alternative Medicine Doctor has been a great blessing to me. When I returned to Florida over a year ago, I began a 80% gluten free diet that I try to stick to. It keeps the carbs down, makes me search for alternatives to foods that have gluten and … I FEEL BETTER. My lupus and fibromyalgia pain began to reduce within a few weeks of cutting out gluten.
3. Whole Foods is my happy place – I love going in the early morning when they first open and cruising through the produce section especially for inspiration and stimulation of new recipes.
4. I prepare snacks and grazing food ahead of time so I am not tempted to make poor choices:
~ Greek Yogurt, broccoli, beet chips, fennel and orange slices are some of the snacks that I try to focus on
~ I learned to make perfect fluffy Quinoa and I make a batch at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge, so I always have it on hand for salads, soups, scrambled eggs, whatever!
5. I started a LOVE AFFAIR WITH VEGETABLES. I roast them, braise them, shave them, spice them, oil them up and LOVE THEM. Lust after them! Beets with fennel pollen and Brussel Sprouts as a salad or right under the grill – Rutabagas mashed with carrots and a few potatoes – Squash in every form imaginable – FENNEL with its healthful crunch … how I love all of you! They became the focus and I realized that as I fell more in love with veggies, I wanted meat less. Do not get me wrong, I am a carnivore, but now the veggie intake is far greater. My goal is a celeriac pot roast … drool??? YES!
6. I control my soda cravings by drinking fizzy water and iced tea. I buy the Whole Foods Italian Sparkling Mineral Water and always have a bottle near me. The less soda that I drink, the less that I crave it.
7. I talk to myself A LOT. I question my decisions – I lecture myself about Food Sabotage – I praise myself and feel awesome when I make positive choices. I ask my body what it needs and if it is an Intelligent Craving, I give it to my body. (Stay Tuned for More on Intelligent Cravings and my friend Lakshmi who is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and another positive influence for me!)
All of these changes have not taken place overnight. I work at it everyday and sometimes struggle.
Where am I since the slow slide to the darkness of crap eating?
Embracing Self Love AND Food Love ~ Dropping weight quickly and steadily ~ more excited about food than ever before ~ ready to keep making changes ~ more energized than ever before. PHEW.
Find Foods that Love You Back. Make a Change. Watch this Video. And drop me a note and share your food story! *LOVE* to you all!