Yesterday, as I was loading up the new site and gettin’ thangs in order, one of my fave bloggies Justine (who seriously has one of the cutest lil’ punkins ever) wrote me a sweet comment saying,
“Gosh all your food looks marvelous. I love how you eat. Do you ever worry about cals, carbs or things like that?”
Well, it got me thinking. If somebody had told me I would be receiving that compliment five years ago, I would have quite frankly laughed in their face. Now, eating big junk salads and yog messes has become second nature. Just how did I become The Healthy Everythingtarian? Well, you are about to find out…
Growing up, I was never per se a bad eater. Mama Everythingtarian made sure we had our veggies, our fruit and all the fixins for a healthy meal. However, I wasn’t ever really taught how to eat. Growing up with three sisters (my mom is one of ten kids; my dad one of four), you pretty much just ate as fast as you could otherwise you wouldn’t get seconds…or dessert. In other words, I ate my peas and had my ice cream too.
I’m not too hard to find…look for the frizz.
Now, this isn’t a bad thing, but you can bet I ate more cereal + milk than this luscious combo for breakfast…
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup POM juice
1/4 cup BaNilla yogurt
1/2 cup skim milk
~ soaked overnight ~
sprinkle o’ coconut
mound of raspberries
river of AB
Throughout high school, eating turned into more of an emotional coping method than anything. You see, I didn’t quite discover hair product until 7th grade (think huge bird’s nest for hair), get my braces off until sophomore year of H.S. and really start to feel comfortable in my skin until senior year. Food was a friend – somebody who would stick by me in afro times and in metal mouth times.
Does the fro, Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt and eye roll give me away?
Entering college, my eating actually improved. Living on my own forced me to buy the good stuff (instead of the crappola that never really filled me up), and I made better choices. I also started exercising more regularly.
However, all that fruit-eating (this red plum x 4) came to a screeching halt as I – literally and figuratively – ate my way through Europe studying abroad sophomore year.
Coming back from the culinary delights of the motherland (think hunks of English White Cheddar, pints of English cider, plates of pizza in Italy and truckloads of gelato), I was definitely at one of my heaviest points. When I got home, I continued eating healthy and working out, including starting a running regime.
However, college is college. I think you know what that means: drinking. Although I probably lost a good 15 pounds from my study abroad days, dranking doesn’t make you lose weight. FYI.
Sidenote: Thanks to Janetha – I brought trail mix to work today and didn’t even realize it was National Trail Mix Day!
Back to the story.
In the year leading up before Thailand, I had become more and more health-minded, but it wasn’t until I moved there that I became a vegetarian. Go figure. Although, if you take one look through the open air meat markets, you will know exactly why I went veg in Thailand. It’s not pretty peeps.
Upon landing back in the U.S. on home soil, I was ready to make some real changes.
I continued my veggie ways and even went vegan for a couple months. However, living in podunk Wisconsin, being a vegan wasn’t exactly the easiest thing (hello – complete lack of options!). My stomach could (and can) handle dairy, and honestly, I missed my yogurt. I went back to being a veg and ate at lots of Indian buffets in the process.
1 can diced tomatoes + 1 small can tomato sauce
a couple dashes cumin, cinnamon, garam masala, curry powder + garlic powder
Ezekiel tortilla brushed with EVOO + garlic salt
dollop o’ cottage cheese
However, engorging myself in all things health was ironically, not healthy for me. I began obsessively counting calories, weighing myself daily, making sure I was getting the right amount of this and that, and that and this. For the record, I was not anorexic, but I did have an eating disorder – I was a food addict.
As a food addict, I thought about food all the time. What I was going to have, crunching numbers, counting servings – it was miserable. I thought about all the foods I “couldn’t have,” or “shouldn’t have.” If the scale read 2 pounds heavier than the day before, I would get angry. Dealing with numbers, ratios and how much of this and that was utterly frustrating, angry and NOT ME. I mean…come on, you know I rock at equations.
So I stopped. Instead, I focused on eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. That’s it.
The rest of it kind of just fell in place. I already ate whole grains, enjoyed my lowfat yog on a daily basis and enjoyed all types of protein – especially good-for-you nut butters and beans. I told myself nothing was off limits, and you know what? The cravings disappeared.
By then, exercising had become a stress reliever, motivator and great hobby. I knew that if I worked out 3-6 times a week, got my fruits + veggies in and listened to my body, things would probably be just fine. And you know what? They were.
BaNilla yog + Vegan Tropical Breakfast Bar in the creepy cat mug my laundry lady in Thailand gave me for Christmas. Yeah, that’s another story for another day.
And so here I am now…still unperfect after all this time.
So, to answer your question Justine… no. I don’t count calories, carbs, fats, omegas or really anything else (although I do try to exercise portion control and measure things out when I am unsure). In the end, I know, as well as most, the right foods to eat and which out of those are right for ME.
Most days, do I practice what I preach? Yes. Some days, do I catch myself mentally calculating calories and bemoaning the ginormous bowl of ice cream I ate last night? Of course. I am only human.
However, I am a human who can laugh at the fact she never thought she would one day be The Healthy Everythingtarian. So take that former self.