The day before my daughter was born five years ago, I was pigging out on Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think my husband and I finished an entire bucket in one sitting. Or something like that.
Shortly after my daughter was born, I embarked on my real food journey. And let me tell you, it’s been quite a crazy ride.
Because here is the thing.
Perhaps like so many of you dear readers, I have not followed the narrow and perfect way en route to my real food destination. I was so sure back then that there was this a final stage to reach – you know, when I finally go sugar-free 100% or when I finally NEVER EVER reach for a store-bought bag of potato chips like EVER.
And that by golly I was gonna get there, no matter what.
quickly slowly learned that the no matter what part of my journey would be my undoing.
The no matter what part – this attachment to how the journey would unfold, this belief that the goal was more important than the process – was exactly what kept tripping me up. (Imagine me making crazy annoying comments to my husband when he ate anything outside The List, or when I would sneakily hide an Undesirable from my family so I could eat it all up and wallow in secret guilt later.)
My Real Food Journey kept turning into a Real Food Trap wherein I just wasn’t experiencing the freedom that got me motivated in the first place. The freedom to eat the nourishment my body really wanted and craved.
(Can you relate at all?)
Fast forward five years later, I can tell you that I feel a little bit more at peace with where I am in relationship with food. No I am by no means a perfect adherent of whatever diet philosophy that I have tried in the past (GAPS, Paleo, Gluten-free/Sugar-free, Candida-free, etc). Nor do I have a label for how we eat as a family. But I am a bit more aware of when I eat out of comfort, when I eat for pleasure, when I eat to please others, when I eat to reconnect to my Filipino-roots and so on.
And I’m finally at a place where I can give myself a bit more compassion when I eat for any one of these reasons.
It’s ok. Really. The more important thing is that I’m growing and I’m learning and that with each choice that I make, I get to know myself better. And I can make a more honest decision that is good for me next time around.
I also can tell you that I now know what foods I best operate optimally on by listening through my body (and not just by what I’ve read from books and blogs and too much literature on nutrition that can make your head explode): enough water, lots of veggies, just the right amount of fruit, enough good fats, some beans and legumes, a bit of grain and a bit of beef and fish. Gluten makes me sick, too much rice makes me bloated, nightshades make my head itch and sugar? Well, sugar makes me a real bitch. Dark chocolate and some vino on the other hand gives me enough pleasure, if I stop at one bite.
So with that (and after being inspired with two friends who have gone vegan or are also in the process of going vegan), I want to be more mindful of how I can eat more of the foods that my body truly wants. This coming June, my husband and I decided to try going (Almost) Vegan – with him eating going by a 60-40 rule (meaning 40% of the time, he can eat outside the Vegan Diet) and that I am going to adopt a 80/20 rule for myself (I intend to eat 2-3 beef/fish meals and 1 egg dish out of the 21 meals we eat every week + 1 dessert), which feels like something I can happily do.
No weird tofurkeys or anything like that.
And should I make a choice to eat something that is clearly not going to make my body happy – I won’t call it cheating or any other dirty little word. But I will apologize to my body for not finding another way to meet my own needs without harming it.
Perhaps THIS is really what this Real Food Journey is all about. It’s about coming back home to our Body and returning into Harmonious Relationship with Her. Maybe it’s when we really listen through HER that we can truly save and heal our planet.
For those who have yet to try a hearty green smoothie because most green smoothie recipes involve having to shop for things you can’t find at your local Trader Joe’s (like Maca Powder). Or because you are just starting out in the eating more greens department and the thought of drinking your vegetables feel really weird and scary, this is for you.
With just 3 ingredients that you can find at any grocery store, I leave you no excuse to try it.
- Water (and a handful of ice!)
- Handful of Organic Kale
Blend ingredients. Drink up.