Over the last 4 years I have been on a food journey of sorts. It began when I wanted to lose my baby weight from Noah. When he was about 7 months old I began counting calories with a good friend of mine. I was also training hard and looking forward to getting back in shape for tri season since I had taken the summer before off (Noah was born in July 2006). I had always been a pretty healthy eater, but I really buckled down and got the job done this time. One of the things that happened was that my friend really turned me on to making as much of my food as I could, and I mean everything, from bread to granola. I tried pretty hard to stay true to a more natural way of eating and cooking and I lost all of the baby weight in about 5 months.
Since then, I have pretty much been at the same weight for the last 3 and half years, give or take a few pounds. It has always been my desire to get a bit leaner and more healthy, and during that time I have done a lot of reading and exploring of different thoughts on food. Some of the books I've read which have definitely made an impression on me are:
I have also watched many documentaries that have certainly shaped my thoughts towards food, most notably Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives a close second.
And, of course, as a blogger I read almost every day about different ways of life in terms of eating including raw, vegan, vegetarian, paleo and many more. I have probably experimented in one way or another with all of these styles of eating, and I usually do so by trying recipes here and there. There have been a few times over the last few years that I have tried to stay true to a particular style for several weeks. A couple years ago I went 12 weeks with no sugar - twice! I gave myself my own nutrition challenge with points and everything! I spend several months talking with Holistic Guru, Christine Lynch, about my food attitudes and hang-up. I attempted a month of paleo/primal earlier this year.
So, the real question is where has this brought me?
Well, the answer is interesting and surprising. Here are the things I know for sure:
- It is important to me to eat locally grown foods as much as possible.
- Most of the meat I purchase is organic and/or local from farms where I can see how they treat their animals.
- Most of the produce I buy is organic and/or local when I can get it locally. Here in the north, our local produce becomes quite limited during the winter months.
- I try to avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners and processed foods as much as I can. I know, by experience, they do my body no good at all. Does that mean I never eat these things? Absolutely not. I have treats probably too often, but my overarching philosophy is to avoid these things as much as possible.
- I try to eat with my training in mind. I am not always successful, but this is my goal.
However, I still have questions and most of those stem from the fact that many of these eating "paths", if you will, are so wildly contradicting. I love the basic premise of Paleo/Primal eating, but then I watch Forks Over Knives and feel like eating vegan is the best for my body. The Paleo crowd can prove The China Study wrong and vice versa.
My main concern with most of these paths is that they rarely allow for any sort of meeting in the middle. I have a hard time believing that grains like quinoa and oatmeal are bad for me a la paleo living, but then I also think that, for me, not eating any meat would be very difficult. I really dislike the idea of having forbidden foods, especially when those foods are whole foods that are processed very little. I hate thinking of good foods like oatmeal as being "bad" but I have to admit I do that.
My point in all of this, is that despite my intense efforts to find the "best" way, I have ended feeling more conflicted about food and eating than when I began. Part of me just wants to go back and start again.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on food and eating, especially many of these "paths" that I have mentioned like vegan, paleo, etc.