I became interested in nutrition when I was 16. At the time, my diet consisted mostly of Pop Tarts, Doritos, hot dogs, and several cans of Mountain Dew a day. There’s nothing wrong with those foods, and I still eat them, but my point is I didn’t have too much variety in my eating. At the same time, I was suffering from chronic migraines. My migraines would last for days, even weeks. I went through 3 series of about 20 injections to my head to alleviate my pain. My doctor explained that this was one piece of the puzzle, but that I also needed to take care of myself mentally and physically. He explained that adding more fruits and vegetables to my diet and cutting back on the soda may help lessen my exposure to things that triggered my headaches.
I can’t say what it was in particular, but I finally got better and was able to come off medication for migraines. I became very interested in nutrition and eating ALL the healthy things. I was like “Wow! How cool that we can eat healthy foods and feel better. I should eat all the healthy food!”
I vividly remember trying to make black bean brownies one summer at home and they straight up tasted like dirt. My dad suggested that perhaps beans don’t have a place in brownies, and I think he was right. We threw the whole batch away and concluded that you sometimes you just need to eat a dang brownie.
My thoughts on health have changed a lot over the years. There were times, especially during college, when I carefully tracked what I ate and tried to micromanage my body size. I’m thankful to have that in my rear view mirror. I’ve learned about and embraced Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and body acceptance. I’ll get to all those things in later posts, I’m sure. I believe that pleasure and variety are absolutely essential for a positive relationship with food-and good nutrition overall!
I’ll also acknowledge that health looks different for everyone-the best way to eat and live for me may not be the best way for someone else. But for me, no foods are off limits. Sometimes I crave beans, rice, and fish for dinner, and sometimes I crave a bowl of mac and cheese. Neither one is better than the other. ALL foods are nourishing and it’s important for me to not pathologize any of them.
Yesterday, I enjoyed all my favorite Thanksgiving foods. I had my grandmother’s wonderful homemade sourdough bread for breakfast today. It all tasted so much better without guilt. I believe that it’s important to honor your body and your cravings. When you do that, food becomes less of an obsession and more of a way to nourish yourself and enjoy life fully.
If you’re still reading, thanks for hanging in with my rambling. I hope that yesterday you enjoyed all that Thanksgiving has to offer and spent the day with ones you love. I hope you made wonderful memories, enjoyed delicious food, and felt thankful-not guilty.