Food. It’s something very simple. We need it to nourish our bodies. We need it to survive. We always have and always will. Nothing new or groundbreaking there. However, the way we view food can change drastically throughout our lives. I would say I eat pretty healthy at the moment and in a way that I can easily sustain, without binging out. This hasn’t always been the way though.
I have always been on the slim side and in school, used to get called ‘stalk legs’ which I hated (yeah, you know who you are) and yet I used to eat like an American frat boy. Pizza, chocolate and all of the cheese. Then came beer and burgers. I never really thought about what I ate, if I fancied it, I would have it. I used to eat a lot as well, it seemed like me and my brother were constantly in a pointless ‘who can eat the most’ competition. Everyone used to say “It’s all gonna catch up with you one day”. And it did. I didn’t get obese over night, like everyone seems to be suggesting, but I developed a pretty severe wheat allergy and my dairy intolerance got much worse. I seemed to have lost all of my energy, was so sluggish and would easily spend all but about 3 hours of each day in bed. Both myself and the people around me noticed that something was wrong, but what was sapping my energy? On top of that, I would regularly vomit in my mouth (gross I know, damn you wheat). Obviously I had some pretty strong motivation to change my diet.
I completely stopped eating wheat and dairy in January of ’14 and have never felt better in my life. At first it was difficult, but no less difficult than the alternative. I still get incredulous comments from people “Oh poor you, I couldn’t live without cheese” and all I can say is “Yes, you could”. I used to love wheat-y, cheesy foods, pizza was my favourite, but when I saw how they were harming my body, cutting them out was very simple.
A year on, thinking back, would I still eat these foods if I could? Wheat, yes, but in moderation, dairy, no. The reason I wouldn’t go back to eating dairy is when you think about it, it’s bloody weird and it’s only because it is culturally ingrained in us that we even consider eating dairy products. It’s a very exploitative industry that makes no sense to me. Pick a random person off the street. Suggest to them that they drank a glass of human breast milk. You can predict their answer. “Eww, gross, no”. But they are happy to guzzle down cow breast milk. I don’t get it and probably never will (just for the record, I don’t fancy either of these, give me the almond milk any day).
So what do I eat now? A huge variety of things. I don’t actually find my diet very restrictive at all. Another question people ask me all the time is “You must eat really healthy then”. I do, at the moment and plan to continue, but I don’t have to. Whatever your diet, gluten free, vegan etc, you can find junk food, it is out there. I try to eat very clean, fruits, veggies, fish and meat, as closest to their natural form as possible. I try and avoid over processed foods (I could go on a marathon rant about all the bad some areas of the food industry are doing in order to produce the largest amounts of food in the cheapest way, but will save that for another time).
Basically, I try to eat in moderation and to eat when I’m hungry but not to over eat. I probably average about 4/5 small meals a day, but it does vary massively depending on if I’ve been at a desk all day or out on my bike etc. I eat clean food that I know will nourish my body. Before I eat something, I think about what it is in it. Does it contain proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals? I eat it. Is it full of refined sugars and chemicals that I can’t pronounce, let alone know what they are going to do to my body? No thanks. Currently, I haven’t eaten refined sugar for… I don’t know how many days, I’m not counting as I’m hoping it’s pretty much going to be a for life change, but over 2 weeks for sure. Since cutting that out, I really appreciate the natural sweetness of fruits, feel I can really taste my food properly and haven’t had any of those dreaded mid afternoon crashes. Trust me, this has all been a very gradual process of learning what works for me. I tried ditching the refined sugar last year and all I could think about were marshmallows to the point of distraction. Considered going totally, whole food, plant based (no animal protein) and found it didn’t feel so good. Find what works for you and what makes you happy. Exercise helps, as the more active you are, the more you feel the need to fuel your body with the good stuff. It’s food, not rocket science. Eat right and enjoy taking care of yourself.
A few things I have eaten recently: