When I was a kid, I loved ice cream, I loved cake, cookies, chocolates, gorging myself on Christmas Day treats and Easter eggs. I would eat almost anything I came across. It’s quite the insatiable habit, even now, I find that I can continuously eat without ever feeling full. Going to an all you can eat sushi bar with me is quite the sight to behold.
I’ve always loved food.
Yet back when I was a kid, I still ate healthy. It wasn’t chocolate cake and cookies all the time. Those were a desert food and for dinners, lunches and even breakfasts, they were pretty healthy as far as our traditional western diet goes.
My mom is a huge proponent of healthy food, so she almost always took over control of dinner whenever we ate. My childhood was full of chicken stir fry, soup, homemade hamburgers, homemade shepherds pie…just to name a few.
I never went hungry. We always had food in our house, no matter what.
Yet as I grew older and the amount of food that I was capable of eating increased, I quickly noticed that something was changing. My love for food hadn’t gone away, but what the food was doing to me was different than when I was a kid.
Food was affecting me in ways I didn’t know it could.
I had bad acne in my high school days, due in part to genetics but also to the food that I was putting in my body. Likewise, my hair was never healthy in high school, also due in part to the food that I was eating. I didn’t even think that the food that I ate could affect my life so directly. I thought that food was fuel for your body, just to keep you from going hungry. I didn’t grasp how food could impact my life for the better.
The acne combined with extreme eczema in the scalp made me very self conscious. That of course resulted in stress eating, which only made those problems worse.
When I finished high school, looking towards college in September, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t become a part of the classic ‘Freshman Fifteen’ group. For those who don’t know, the Freshman Fifteen is the expected weight gain of most students who move away and start living on their own. Over the course of the school year, most kids see themselves gaining weight, typically around 15 pounds.
I was never over weight in any way, but I still didn’t want to become a part of that. I liked the way I looked, but I could do better.
I started to learn about food.
The things that I’ve learned since starting college, surviving off of poorly made residence café food for eight months, made me realize just how impactful food was on our lives. I ate like shit for three weeks, burgers, poutine, crappy sandwiches and chips, only to find myself getting extremely sick. As soon as I stopped eating the crap, the sickness went away.
Food has a HUGE impact on our lives.*
Not only is it the fuel for our day to day actions, but it also impacts our mental state and our overall wellbeing. Slowly I began to understand that, as fuel, we would ideally want the best food possible to fuel our bodies. At the end of the day, we only have one body and once it’s fucked, it’s fucked. It’s not like we can regrow limbs or completely eliminate the damaging effects of years of alcohol abuse. And this is pretty common knowledge, that better food is better for our body, right? I mean, grocery stores advertise healthy eating all the time, we see it on TV, on the radio and all-over social media.
So why do so many of us still eat ‘unhealthy?’
We are lazy as f*ck!
It’s so much easier to simply go to the grocery store and pick up microwavable Samosa’s. The ones that are loaded with sodium, fats and oils, not to mention countless other additives and preservatives that make your Samosa more of a chemistry experiment than food. We get lazy. We get caught up in the convenience of being able to microwave something and have it ready in five minutes than slave over the oven for an hour.
But you want to know the difference? The microwavable shit might taste good, but your feeding your body low quality fuel. You might as well pour water and apple juice in your car instead of gas and expect it to run well.
If you try making things yourself, with ingredients you can actually pronounce, you’d be surprised at the difference you feel. I’m not trying to shame microwavable dinners or those who eat them, I simply realized that I, myself could make more informed decisions about what I put in my body. Maybe you can to?
Convenience can be healthy to!
Still, easy food can be healthy to. And understanding what that is can help you make more conscious and intentional decisions about your diet. Take a look at apples, any kind of fresh fruit for that matter, veggies, pasta’s, sandwiches, they’re all quick, easy, simple solutions to hunger. You can even take the idea of a sandwich and make it healthier than what it is. Ditch the white bread and try out some whole wheat, whole grain slices with your toppings. It’s a small difference on the outside but on the inside, the difference is huge.
Of course, if you’re the type whose pressed for time, meal prep might be beneficial, but I’ll go into that in another post.
I made the switch from chocolate cake, cookies and piles of ice cream for a diet where I can still enjoy those foods, but with the proper moderation and intentionality that lets me keep my life in check. I suggest you try the same. You never know what could happen.