I’m going to share this secret. Although for the last fifteen or so years, since going to acupuncture school, I’ve been reading about how good for me vegetables are, I still don’t get all enraptured by them. I eat them. They are, after all, good for me. I just don’t love them. I don’t get excited about them. In fact, I eat them first so that I can get to the good stuff after they’re gone.
Now, don’t go tell me that I should just give them a chance. I’m 50 for heaven’s sake and I’ve been working on the vegie thing for the last 15 years. I still don’t love them. I eat them. That’s as good as it gets. And I do my best to eat healthy, not that that’s always easy considering the conflicting evidence.
Sorry vegetarian friends, I eat meat. I do so because the year or so I was vegetarian and the six months of that time I was vegan were the worst months of my life. I felt worse than I had in ages and I pretty much disliked everything I ate, except of course for the fact that I allowed myself Skippy peanut butter. Yeah. I ate the bad stuff. I had to have something I actually liked. And my blood work reflected this. It was about as bad as it’s ever been.
Now I don’t just eat any meat. I work to source my meat. My husband and I eat a quarter of a cow from a local farmer who raises them sustainably and pretty happily on his land. I also look for pastured chickens. I get my eggs from said chickens as well, in the summer. However, I continue to buy eggs in the winter, because I like eggs. I still eat out and I’ve often felt guilt about that.
I avoid chemicals as much as I can. I read labels. I don’t eat a lot of things I might like because they are “bad.” And then, of course, it’s not just health. It’s political. I mean my favorite organic yogurt maker was giving money to defeat GMO labeling in California.
And I sat there and cried because it’s getting so hard to purchase food that’s good for me and is also good for the world. Even Chipotle was off limits for awhile because they weren’t supporting farm workers. Fortunately, they changed their stance so I could feel good about a salad (no wheat so no burritos) when I went there. Some days I feel like the woman who started eating only kale.
Except instead of going that route, and living on kale, I found Health At Any Size. No more would I count carbs or chose lower calorie foods. I was helped in this when I was thinking I ate plenty and normally and my naturopath looked at me and said, “You need to eat more. You aren’t even eating 1500 calories most days.” And my jaw dropped. But I was gaining weight and I felt like I was eating like a pig. No longer. I actually did have to eat.
So I ate more. I paid less attention to the bad foods. I read good blogs about internal food choices rather than external food choices. This means that I don’t avoid ice cream because the manufacturers are bad. I don’t avoid it because it’s not organic. I don’t avoid it because it’s cold, greasy and fatty and thus damp producing and creating even further spleen xi deficiency. I eat it anyway. The kind my husband likes because no matter what I tell him, he likes ice cream. And he doesn’t care about organic. Especially with ice cream because to him, what’s the point. And yes, it ups my caloric intake. And yes, if I want to eat it every night for a week, I can. Except I learned that I don’t feel as well the next morning.
After a dish of ice cream in the evening, I find that getting up in the morning is more difficult. I want to sleep. I’m not hungry for breakfast. My head isn’t as clear and my daily tasks seem harder to get to. So now, when I want ice cream, I consider how I want to feel in the morning. Some days it’s worth it. Some days it’s not. I no longer feel deprived.
Gluten too. I never tested positive for celiac so I have that choice. However, most gluten containing products (not all) give me a headache. I continue to avoid gluten whenever I can because having a headache isn’t fun. I eat the gluten containing things that I can eat. Breaded fish doesn’t bother me. Some pastas don’t bother me. Fast food inevitably gives me a headache.
You know what else I found? I don’t really like soda. Now that I don’t care, I realized I don’t like soda. When it was “bad”, it was always a treat. Now I prefer certain types of iced tea that aren’t as over flavored to soda. Or Kombucha. Those taste better to me. Even the sodas that just have sugar and no HFCS. I really don’t want soda at all. I used to love Dr. Pepper. I’m not so keen on it any more. I’m not even so keen on the good Root Beers. They’re too sweet and too fake. Just where my body is right now. I don’t drink them.
I still don’t much like vegetables, but now I have foods that I actually like. I find that I eat less and think less about the foods that might not be great for my body. I have better reasons for avoiding them than “they aren’t good for me”. I know exactly what they will do in the short term and I avoid them.
Will I die earlier because I’m eating ice cream? Who knows? My genetic history shows that all my immediate relatives on my father’s side (who I tend to take after) died suddenly and unexpectedly without any particular illness. I probably don’t have to worry too much about long suffering. So if I have some ice cream and die earlier of a heart attack, I probably won’t have time to regret it. Because when I had ice cream? I REALLY wanted it. Now I don’t have to deprive myself simply because someone else says it’s bad.