How I Became an Everythingtarian

by Holly on August 31, 2009

in breakfast,dinner,Indian,recipes,seriousness

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
grilled eggplant
Ezekiel tortilla brushed with EVOO + garlic salt
dollop o’ cottage cheese

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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.

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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 Justineno. 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.

{ 44 comments }

Leianna August 31, 2009 at 7:53 pm

Love your story and your eat snippets of the day! Thanks for the email too, I was just so confused!

Whit August 31, 2009 at 8:02 pm

So I pretty much loved reading this (and I read every word) but I most enjoyed those pictures of your youth. Ah, the early nineties! They were h*ll on all of us, weren’t they?

VeggieGirl August 31, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Thank you for sharing your “eating evolution”!!

Christina August 31, 2009 at 8:10 pm

thanks for sharing holly…love your story!

Abby August 31, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Pretty much an awesome post. I’m with you on the food addict thing (no secret), and I never knew that about you! Now I know why coming to your blog is a safe place for me–you are proof that a healthy balance is possible, but still have a kick-ass time with food and life. Thanks for sharing!

And I’m so glad I don’t have a way to scan in old pictures of me from middle school, as it would NOT be pretty.

April August 31, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Holly you are amazing! And such a good role model! I’ve defintely been there with the “food addict” in fact I think sometimes I still am. But I’m striving to just let everything fall into place like you said! Keep up the good work girlie! :)

And I love your hair! Its gorgeous!

Katharina August 31, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I totally laughed out loud at the frizz and afro comments lol. I love your sense of humor. College can be a scary thing for some girls. It’s sad to see when I see others become obsessed and make a lot of fuss about their weight and diets. I know that I use to be that way and it was just awful being in a constant hate relationship. Now that I’ve broken free from those chains, life is so much better. Doesn’t it feel wonderful? :)

Lots of X’s and O’s!

Katie August 31, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Whohoo! I love the new site. It looks very “clean” – I also love your story!! – Isn’t it crazy the weight that lifts (both literally and figuratively) when you stop fearing fat and just freaking eat normal, yummy, healthy things? At least that is my experience…you have a fantastic philosophy!

Mary (Food & Fun) August 31, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Holly…Love the new site!! and great story!! :)

janetha August 31, 2009 at 9:32 pm

holly!!!!!!! dudette, this was super duper fun to read! i am actually enjoying my dinner and it was the perfect dinnertime reading. thank you for that. you were such a cute squirt~still are ;) it is nice to know where you have been and where you are coming from. you have a great grasp on balance and eating and exercise and i admire you every day for that! ok enough mushy stuff, you know i love you, but HOLLER at the unintentional national food celebration! you are just that rad. mwah. P.s. lets go to london and eat indian and hunks of cheese. tomorrow.

Annabel @ www.FeedMeImCranky.com August 31, 2009 at 9:43 pm

My adorable fellow fro-maned chick, I hope to one day be where you are. I think you have found the perfect balance of health, consciousness, indulgences and, dare i say, sanity. Loved this post!

Mia {runs and rests} August 31, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for sharing your story. I felt like I wrote the being a ‘food addict’ part myself. I also went through that stage for a couple months – weighed myself everyday, made very detailed meal plans, thought about food all the time. Yikes!
So glad I am so past that stage and loving every bite of food!
Loving the new blog!:D

Caroline August 31, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Fabulous post! I loved learning a bit more behind the Everythingtarian story.
Why have I never thought to combine cottage cheese with grilled veggies before?! Genius!

insideiamdancing September 1, 2009 at 1:37 am

You rock, beyond words, Holly. Thank you for sharing this…SO needed to hear this right now. I’d wondered the same thing because I love how you seem to approach food, which was why I *ahem* stalked your blog for so long before commenting.

Have a great Tuesday!

Nicole September 1, 2009 at 1:42 am

Um, welcome to my life with the frizz!!! Before products, my dad would pik out my hair into a fro everyday before school. I didn’t discover hair products until fifth grade, and I remember the day before when I had asked a girl who had curly hair how she got her hair to look like that! It changed my life ever since!!

Sofia September 1, 2009 at 5:35 am

dear holly,
i love the way you infuse your story with your daily eats — very nicely done! and the pictures from way back are pretty fantastic. seems you always had awesome hair!
-CCG/ sofia

Emily (Healthy Fit Mama) September 1, 2009 at 6:31 am

Great story Holly! I still need to learn how to let go of the calorie counting, etc. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) September 1, 2009 at 7:06 am

Girl, you have such a great attitude towards food and life. Love it! :D

Oh, and I spent my entire high school years in frizz and pooh shirts too. ;) It felt like a miracle when I finally discovered there was such a thing as hair defrizzing agents…haha. :D

brandi September 1, 2009 at 8:13 am

can I just say how much I love this post? Thank you for putting this out there – it’s nice to read that others went through similar things and have come out on the other side better and happier and still healthy ;)

Evan Thomas September 1, 2009 at 9:04 am

Awesome post. I don’t think a perfect relationship with food is possible in today’s world, and “perfect” is what you make it out to be for yourself.

Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) September 1, 2009 at 9:08 am

Love your eating story! I, too, grew up without knowing “how to eat”. My mom usually cooked dinner and a veggie or two was always involved, but I ate wayyyyy too much fast food and processed junk (umm lots of chef boyrdee) when I was growing up. I didn’t start eating/liking yogurt, nut butters, whole grains, and veggies until college. I hadn’t even heard of hummus until I was 19! It’s interesting how people develop appetites for different things…I often wonder what kind of eater I’d be if I grew up in a hippie-vegetarian household. hee-hee! Love your eats and your new blog – you’re an inspiration, girl!

Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats September 1, 2009 at 9:18 am

AWESOME post Holly! Loved hearing out your journey to become the healthy everythingtarian :D

Low September 1, 2009 at 9:25 am

So glad to learn even more about my beloved Everythingtarian! You are perfect to me hon!

Cindy September 1, 2009 at 10:00 am

I was the “food addict” till just recently

I love where you are! still trying to get there myself!

I love your 10 fruits and veg’s a day and everything else falls into place!

PERFECT!

:)

K September 1, 2009 at 10:37 am

I love this post – thank you for sharing all of that!! May-jah props to you for putting that mondo eye roll picture online ;) I’m very familiar with those kind of shots!

Your dinner looks phenomenal!

Jessica September 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Minus the whole weighing habit, I was in your same exact shoes (last year), my first year of college!!!! It’s obsessive and ridiculous and no way to live a life. AND, obsessing over a healthy lifestyle is quite far from anything remotely healthy….in my opinion!!

You eat so well, and I love that you have found peace and balance with a plan that isn’t too strict, but just right for you!! We are only human, so of course some weeks we have time to work out more/less than others, and sometimes we eat supa clean or supa dirrrrrrrrty/get our drank on. SUCH IS LIFE! And if we just listen to our bods all works out, right?? LOVE YOU HOLLY!!!! Thanks for the great post!

jessica September 1, 2009 at 12:07 pm

that last comment was meeeee :)

Angharad (Eating for England) September 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm

As you know, I love you and even more so for the fact that you once owned a pooh sweatshirt and posed for that picture. Friendship solidified.

Loved reading about your journey to the happy balanced place – hurray!!

Special K September 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Please please please read my post from today! We are on the same page!
http://thespecialktreatment.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/the-dr-is-in/

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes September 1, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Not to mention all the fast food you kids insisted I stop for every time I took all of yus out on a field trip. Seemed healthy enough at the time, but it’s a different world now.

Here’s a health food joke. What did the grape say when the elephant sat on it?……….. Nutt’n, it just let out a little whine.

Faith September 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I love your story, and your amazing outlook on food. Isn’t it amazing how cravings stop when you start listening to your body?

Lainie September 1, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Love your story girl!!!! Your food always looks incredible, and your outlook on health is amazing. Loving the new blog, too!!! My google reader has been updated :)

Alison September 1, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Such a great post, am I’m so glad to get to know the healthyeverythingtarian a little better. I can totally relate too – when I lost the weight I always wanted to lose last year counting calories was groovy until I started maintaining my weight – and then I started to obsess. It took me a while to find a happy place. Some days I feel like I’m still working on it! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. xoxo

Nellie September 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

de-lurking to let you know how much i love love love this post! as someone who has somewhat of an obsessive personality, i know how physically and mentally exhausting it can be to count calories, carbs, protein, fat, everything! i love the idea of focusing on 10 servings of fruits/veg per day. it’s such a healthier mindset than thinking ‘oh no, i had oatmeal for breakfast, i can’t have bread for lunch’ or something else crazy like that shiz. love your respect for your body and your health, you are so fab!

Katie September 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm

You are so cute! I love your frizz AND your pooh-bear sweatshirt.

Your story is a lot like mine… going to college and being on my own helped me learn how to prepare foods that were catered to MY needs.

Jess September 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Love this post! Thanks so much for sharing :) I enjoyed reading!!
<3 jess
xoxo

Brooke September 1, 2009 at 6:41 pm

You = AMAZING!@#$^ I am your #1 fan, well I like to think so, and LOVED THIS SHIZZZ!!! You have the most delicious and normal looking foods out thurr in the blog world and I am in love with your humor and positive energy you give off in your blog. You have a great story/life/personality/appetite and I am so haps you shared with us!! :D

Je t’adore!!!!

Uncle Tommie Timbertoes September 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Drizzle drazzle, drazzle drone, time for this one to come home.

Simone @ P:T October 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm

WOW! I just found your blog (thanks to little miss jenny pb and her shout out!!) and I love it (and your story)! I have a pretty simillar story to yours (minus the why I gained so much weight part) but I am still int he midst of trying to lose the last 10 pounds. Despite that, when I tried “dieting,” I actually gained weight because food was always on my mind and thus all I wanted to do was eat. Also, making so many foods off limits, I always wanted to gorge myself with those bad for me foods…and often did. Anyways, I recently bought the book intuitive eating and it had changed my life. Seriously, once I stopped focusing on losing weight, numbers, and how I should be eating, I naturally just started to eat healthfully and fall into natural weight loss. I am more at ease now and am no longer stressed by eating “bad” foods, but rather motivated by my ability to just follow my stomach, enjoy all foods, and be happy with the way I look. Wow, that was a ramble-and-a-half. Anyways, love the blog and everything you are about!!

grace b October 12, 2009 at 8:51 pm

Just found your blog and I love it! You have a great story and great eats. Really impressed.

jenn March 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

I’m so glad I finally found time to read your story, an inspiring one it is!!!! Love your simple outlook regarding food! Eat lots of fruit and vegetables! Who knew!!!

“The Healthy Everythingtarian” not only do you have a fantastic view of food you are clever as well. :) Love it!

Leah March 19, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Wow – am I glad I found your blog. I’m obsessed with numbers right now (calories & the scale) I recently lost 23 pounds through calorie counting & am SO TIRED of counting calories/points, Ive still got 60 more lbs to lose! I even switched to low carb for a while just to free myself from counting calories – but low carb only lasted a week (not for me)

So Im currently taking a break for a while to figure out how to approach my ongoing weight loss journey & I found your blog! Its refreshing & I applaud you for listening to yourself & not falling into the latest diet. Ive fallen for a lot of the fad diets & Im just so darn tired of it! Thanks for this post!

Your approach to food/health is just what I need to hear!

didi December 4, 2010 at 12:54 am

Loved your idea of making 10 servings of fruit and veggies a day a goal. I just started reading your blog and decided I would do that too! I feel full, yet satisfied, and actually am having less junk food cravings.

Amy July 11, 2011 at 8:55 am

Repeating what everyone else has already said, I really appreciated reading your blog. I’m a food addict myself and still struggling to figure out a routine/lifestyle that works with me. I hope that I can learn from people like you :)

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