It has been a moment since I have talked about my eating habits. This is mostly because I have wanted to move the focus away from appearance and diet, and focus more on a life free from dieting rules and restrictions. But it has also had to do my general health and how that has affected my ways of eating. I did not want to identify myself with any specific way of eating. What works for me may not work for you. There is no one way to eat, just as there is no one way to live. Having said that, I do want to share with you guys how my eating habits have progressed over the past year or so. I feel that it is important to highlight fluidity within your food intake, and the power that letting go of clearly defined eating rules brings.
Last year I began to have some serious health problems related to how my body reacts to normal fluctuating hormone levels (PMDD), along with endometriosis. Suddenly my body went from being stable with hassle free cycles, to a war zone. For two weeks I would be fighting against deep, painful depression, anxiety so bad I would have panic attacks over nothing, and an inability to get out of bed and cope with life. I would also then be joined by abdominal pain so bad I would throw up. It was rough. Once I was diagnosed, I began the process of figuring out how to treat my conditions. As always, I began with diet.
I decided to follow my doctors advice, and begin to introduce fish and goats cheese into my diet. I tried seed cycling. I tried low fat, high fat. I tried everything that was suggested online. Nothing really worked - I began to have breakouts along with the “normal” anxiety and sluggishness. So then I tried alternating diets with each cycle, to see what made me feel best. I was so shaken by this diagnosis (and complete lifestyle change it needed from me) that I was willing to try anything that was suggested. But after a particularly rough cycle November last year, I decided to be 100% plant based again. And so far, so good.
I resisted writing this post for quite a while. I didn’t want to invoke the rage that a vegan inevitably gets when they choose to disclose a change in their dietary pattern (even if there is legitimate medical reasoning behind it). It makes me sad to see how quick people online are to jump into attack mode over anything less than “perfection” (not a thing) in someone’s eating habits. I had to try out a different way of eating to see if it made my health better. And this is totally ok. Personally, I feel that sugar, refined food and alcohol make my cycles worse. And being plant based leaves my skin clear and my mood calmer. So that is where I have landed. If I need to change it in the future, I will. My health will always come first.
A general outline of my day on a plate is very different to the old diet of steamed vegetables and protein shakes. It is actually extremely hard to pin it down – every day is so different. However, there are a few themes that I can outline for you guys.
Green smoothie with Vega protein powder.
Massive salad. Usually has tempeh, lots of vegetables, hummus, olives, avocado and a lot of vegetables. And I mean massive. Mixing bowl size.
This one varies. I love cooking and usually rotate between pasta sauce with bean pasta, green curry, stir fry, soups, etc. If we are eating out I love Mexican (guacamole and veggie tacos) or Japanese (brown rice avocado sushi) or Thai (papaya salad and green curry).
Then throughout the day I snack on dark chocolate (fine and raw’s sugar free dark chocolate is my absolute favorite), hummus, popcorn, nuts, Mary’s gone crackers etc. I also eat ice cream/dessert when I feel like it (usually a couple times a week, and I find pressed juicery’s freeze to hit the spot, sans sugar) and am completely free to eat whatever I feel like in the moment. I don’t actively avoid gluten, but have noticed that when I eat it regularly, I am more anxious. So I pick my moments with that one 😀 I do make a conscious effort to avoid refined food, sugars and alcohol on the regular. Once in a while I do enjoy some wine or a delicious dessert, but it is fully in the knowledge that I may pay for it later on with a rough cycle.
This way of eating has come about very naturally for me. I went from undereating, to overeating, to just eating. I don’t obsess over food, but I truly enjoy everything I eat. No more choking down sad salads I do not like. Green juice truly bums me out. It took a long time and a lot of faith and patience in intuitive eating. I was hugely anxious about letting go of a lot of my fears around food, but once I did, it was the best thing I ever managed to do for my health.
I hope that you can all feel the same way about food. If something is not working for you, do yourself a favor and experiment to find what works better. At the end of the day, we can all agree that we should be eating more vegetables, and less sugar and refined food. So start there. And mindfully build your health – not obsess over losing weight and diminishing your life.
I guarantee that is an amazing gift you can give yourself.
Peace and love!