IMG_3514
If you asked me five years ago if I ate a healthy diet, I would’ve said yes without hesitation. The interesting thing is, the way I eat today is a lot different than how I ate five years ago. Why? My definition of ‘healthy eating’ has evolved with new information and experiences.  Whenever I’m having a conversation with someone about wellness and they say, “yeah, I eat healthy…” I have to ask… what does ‘eating healthy’ mean to you? Everyone has their own definition. For some people its choosing low fat dairy products or buying unsalted or baked chips, for some it’s having fruit for breakfast, for others it means they eat Paleo, vegetarian or vegan. Do you ever find yourself wondering what you should be eating and who to believe out of all the hype and fad diets? Yeah. You and 17 million other people.

 

Like most people in the world of wellness, I have my own beliefs about what ‘healthy eating’ means. The simple version of my food philosophy is 

eating healthy means listening to your body and being honest about your results.

If you look, feel, and perform really well in life, then you’re probably eating the right things, for you! If you are struggling with any aspect of your health, it might be worth exploring some changes you could make. I don’t believe that every person should be eating exactly the same things. I’ve arrived at a place in my journey with food where I understand the fundamentals of what makes me feel good, and I believe some of the things I’ve learned might be helpful for you. I’m also a huge advocate of taking a proactive or preventative view on health. What does that mean? It means

I take products and make food choices that will provide me with long term benefits, BEFORE any health problems arise.

Read on to understand more about what I mean.

 

My goal with this three-part blog post is to share the evolution of my food choices, with an emphasis on the journey; it’s very difficult to make drastic dietary changes overnight, but making gradual improvements is manageable and if you stay committed, you’ll find yourself looking back in 5 years, impressed with the progress you’ve made and the information you’ve learned along the way.

{Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, nutritionist, or dietary expert. I can only speak with certainty about my own experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from experts along the way}

The Early Years

When I think back on my life, I can see a few major events that influence my food choices today. My parents moved West to the Rockies in their 20s. My mom was an early adopter of the health food trend. I have childhood memories of granola, kamut cereal, spelt pancakes, brown rice, tofu, nutritional yeast, braggs, greens, rice/soy milk and other ‘weird’ foods which I wasn’t overly thrilled about at the time. Despite these healthy food influences, my parents will tell you that as a kid, the ONLY thing I wanted to eat was ‘noonies’ (noodles) with butter and cheese. I didn’t like tomato sauce, AT ALL, in fact when we had pizza I had mine without sauce!

Around this time my mom found a company called Sunrider and a product called NuPlus. If my memory is correct, it was a powder containing berry concentrates and other herbal ingredients. She would mix it into my yogurt so at least I was getting some vitamins and anti-oxidants (before anti-oxidants were even a ‘thing’) which eased her mind when I ate nothing but pasta the rest of the time.

LESSON #1: if your diet is lacking in key nutrients, find a supplement to fill in the gaps

Besides my moberriesm trying to find creative ways to get me to eat foods with nutritional value, the other major memory from my childhood is the impact of my dad becoming insulin-dependent diabetic in his late 30s. I would’ve been about 8 years old and this experience was traumatic to say the least. I became hyper aware of sugar and understanding which foods were high in sugar. Dad would make oatmeal and put yogurt and nuts on it (no brown sugar), pancakes were topped with plain yogurt and fresh fruit, not maple syrup. You get the idea.

LESSON #2: Sugar is dangerous and should be avoided or minimized

Needless to say, we didn’t eat a lot of dessert in my home during the early years. There was no pop in the fridge, and even fruit juice was a treat. I went through a short rebellion phase in my early teens (when I started having my own money from babysitting and other business ventures) and bought myself pop and candy, but I soon realized I didn’t even like it that much.

The good part about this whole experience is that I don’t crave sugar in my adult life. I enjoy a yummy treat now and then (dark chocolate is my fav), but I can easily walk into the grocery store and walk right by the cookies, tarts, scones, and chocolate bars without even thinking about grabbing any of them. When we host friends or family for dinner, I often forget to prepare dessert, it’s not even on my radar. This might be due to another factor that I learned more recently…

stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of this blog to hear the rest of the story!