Why do I want to work as a healer? Why do I see food as preventative medicine? Why do I feel so passionately about spreading health and knowledge?
This is my story.
I never had a poor body image growing up. I was a child and lived like a child, care-free. I didn’t compare myself to other people and celebrity news and media scrutiny wasn’t what it is today. I played in my backyard all the time. Played with friends after school, and participated in sports. My parents only let me have soda from time to time, and we never kept it in the house. No candy or products with artifical colorings were allowed in the house either, unless it was a special occasion like a birthday.
Any chance I got to break those rules I did. Why? Because my friends got to eat all those foods, like Fruity Pebbles, Fruit Loops, candy bars, Dunkaroos, and that yogurt that changed colors! I so wanted in on that..I mean “food” that changes colors when you mix it, what kid wouldn’t want that!?
I never associated food with health. I didn’t see food as nourishment either really, I just ate it. Why? Because it tasted good, and if it tasted really good, I ate as much as I could. I was lucky that my scrawny body wasn’t affected by the amount of sugar and calories I consumed.
I rememeber in middle school I would have $2.50 to spend on lunch. You know what I would get? Two bags of chips, and a zebra cake, which is a sugary processed pastry. I would switch it up sometimes, and would eat “real food” like a bagel and cream cheese, or chicken nuggets and french fries. Do any of these options sound nourishing? Or like they have any nutritional value whatsoever? No. This is the reason for the lack of health in this country, its because we aren’t taught properly or fed properly during our most formative years.
My mom and family cooked nourishing home-cooked meals, and would make sure there was always a vegetable on the table. Not like I enjoyed the three pieces of brocolli I was forced to eat before leaving the table, but I ate them.
Whenever I got home from school my best friend Rachel and I would head to the kitchen. We would make microwavable mac and cheese or Ragu, Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup (I have no idea if that was actually chicken!) and gorge ourselves with sweets like cookies and brownies. We didn’t gain weight from this, but I’m sure it had some kind of affect on my health, and I’m almost positive it contributed to my acne.
Looking back on my eating habits, I was eating was purely to enjoy food and overeat, not to nourish my body. But I also didn’t know any better. The food pyrimid we were shown in school, displayed carbs, like cereal, pasta, and bread as being the food group you should eat the most of during the day. Now, we are seeing the reprocussions of this. Diabetes, weight gain, inflammatory diseases, gluten-intolerances and allergies, and so much more. Because we created these habits, and we were told for so long “eating carbs is good for you.” Not knowing it was moreso just great for the companies selling these processed foods.
We are constantly bombared with new food recommendations, new diets, and “right” way of eating cliams. It becomes overwhelming, and the easiet thing for people to do is stick to their current way of eating. Why? Because it has become a habit, a daily routine, a security blanket, and people feel comfortable with what is familiar to them.
I shook up my world, and ended my unhealthy habits, because I just got to the point where I was feeling so unhealthy. I was in college, overeating, stress eating, and feeling tired all the time. When I look back now, It amazes me how 21 year old me felt so unhealthy. Even though I thought I was eating a balanced diet, and I would go to the gym, my health wasn’t balanced. I wasn’t eating many vegatables, I was eating way too big of portions, I wasn’t sleeping enough at night, and when finals came around stress eating took over. It wasn’t healthy or helping me feel better. That’s when I realized I wanted to feel good, and damn it, I deserved to feel good!
I firstly began to research different diets and ways of eating. I noticed that many diets gave people perimiters and guidelines to follow, that’s why they worked so well. Not because of how many calories you ate, but the quality of the food you ate nourished your body. I ate greek yogurt in the morning with blueberries and granola, I would go to the gym or for a run, and then have sweet potato, eggs, veggies, and avocado for lunch. At night I would have a big salad and maybe some pasta, or chicken and potatoes. In the beginning of my journey I still ate meat, and dairy.
Then as I began to workout more often and eat differently I noticed that I felt the best eating a plant-based diet, rich in whole foods. I didn’t eat animal foods for a while and felt great. I noticed that I had more energy throughout the day, I lost weight, I could see definition in my body from working out, and I felt happier.
During my studies to become a health coach I learned a lot about the dairy industry, and how animals were treated and quality of the food compromised for profit. That’s when I gave up animal products for a while. My skin also benefitted from not eating dairy, and I still avoid it.
My health journey and self discovery will never end. I will keep learning and changing, and that’s a beautiful thing. I think when we can accept ourselves and listen to our bodies and really understand what they need to function and what our bodies crave that’s when we can achieve health.
I feel like a health warrior, fighting for people to open their eyes. Fighting to give other people stregnth, and fighting against corporations that poison our food and people. This is my truth. My story. I hope this inspires yours.