Finding My Way To REAL Food
Keto, Atkins, Whole 30, Weight Watchers, Slim for Life. I see these types of diets advertised or on the lips of friends almost daily. Why do we need these diets to have a healthy relationship with food? Why can’t we all go to the store, shop, filling our buggies with real food? Everyone either has a book, article, tv show, or commercial. All are stating they know what is best for me (and everyone else, for that matter). Where do I begin to heal my relationship with food? What am I supposed to eat at this point? My mind is so tangled up from trying all of these fad diets. Where do I even begin? Where has all the real food gone?
Being a fat child of the ’90s, my dieting career began with the low fat, all sugar, high carb style of eating. As long as you stayed away from evil butter, cheeses, and red meat-the pounds should fall off. I had no clue that fats in food can be healthy, that our bodies actually need it to thrive. The very thought of putting fat (healthy or not) into my body would put me into a tailspin. Skittles are healthy. Avocadoes are not. My parents offered little to no education in this area of my life. My mother’s idea of healthy eating began with the word diet. Accompanied by either steaming pots of cabbage soup or cottage cheese on iceberg lettuce. There was little room for healthy food choices in my childhood.
Growing up in a suburb of Dallas, my parents spoke only two food languages: fast food or BBQ. Along with my mother’s occasional “weight loss journey” of starvation by cabbage and dairy products. By 15, starvation was my diet, the main staple being diet soda. Finally, at 16, I started working out, following a chicken/broccoli/rice diet, which I ate daily for the next 14 years—followed by all of the fad diet programs listed above. Each came to a lesson, failure followed with more confusion as to the definition of real food. As a result, food, weight, and a negative body image have haunted me most of my life.
After my pregnancy (aka, eat WHATEVER YOU WANT), I had no clue what to eat. Nourishing my body became overwhelming. Food became daunting. Starvation was easier at times. I had to find my relationship with real food. This began with the simple question, “what is real food.”
While we know that all food is real; you can pick it up, smell it, taste it, chew it until you find satisfaction. However, that doesn’t mean that it is real or recognizable to our bodies or offers any health benefits. A healthy, balanced diet consists of whole grains, beans, lean cuts of meat, nuts, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Real food isn’t heavily processed, coming from the earth. Not from a bag or box. It comes from the earth, living or grazing. Unfortunately, food in our society has been turned into a science experiment. We are introducing our bodies to chemicals that were never intended to be ingested. Packaged and processed foods lead to obesity. They are a culprit for many illnesses, including leaky gut syndrome. Bags and boxes filled with fake foods are depriving our health of the nutrients needed to thrive.
In our current climate, the news keeps telling us there is a shortage of food. Is there? Let’s be clear, is there a shortage of real food? Or Processed Foods? Work your way around the outer perimeters of the store. Visit the aisles for foods such as beans or oats- take a look around. Is there a shortage of REAL food? Or our mainly are you seeing a shortage of fruit snacks, chips, and pasta? None of these listed items is a staple. They don’t fall into the category of real, nutrient-dense food. They are foods that will get you full for a moment—offering very little but empty calories that will only sustain you for a short while. Fake and fun foods are no crime as a treat but shouldn’t be considered a staple. Next time your brain has you confused, find your relationship with eating strained.
Remember. REAL food, the importance that it is to your body functioning properly.
Photo by Oleg Magni Via Pexels.