I always feel a little sad for people who tell me they are on a diet, showing me evidence in their big salad with no interesting flavors. I don’t think salads are sad, you can hook up a salad (without excessive cheese, croutons or sugary dressing), but typically this flavorless salad toting individual is going to give up on this new “diet” as soon as they remember how awesome it is to eat food that tastes good.
You can totally have both. But first let’s please stop going on diets.
I haven’t gone on a diet in six years. And I don’t like all that I associate with that “concept.” The notion of being on a diet, in my head (per my personal choices and experience), is all bad. Whenever I was “on a diet” in my life I was headed for failure. And it was always extremely unhealthy. A diet for me was an act of self-loathing, a last attempt to fix what was wrong with me.
Obviously this is not everyone’s experience with dieting or that word but it is mine.
Changing my perspective on food means that I actually enjoy it now. I eat things I never liked before. Correction; I eat things I hated before. Ridding myself of the constant over-processed food junk has allowed me to appreciate simple whole foods. And giving up on the notion of food as good or evil, taking away all the negative emotion attached to it, has allowed me to make the act of eating all about pleasure.
But not just the pleasure of eating, the pleasure of being good to my body. That is not to say that I don’t sometimes sit down to a completely unhealthy meal and dig in. I do. And for the record without all the guilt attached to it, I enjoy those times more as well. But on a regular basis I enjoy the taste of food and the energy it gives me. I love experimenting with different combinations of food to see how well and for how long it keeps me feeling energetic and full. I don’t remember the last time I sat still on the couch not wanting to move because I over-ate. And I sure as hell don’t miss it.
So how did I go from Doritos to spinach? Well first I had to retry spinach. Turns out, our taste buds actually change over time. Which means even if you’ve never liked something you may like it now. For me that list is long and includes all kinds of mustard, fish and most green vegetables.
had to got to try a lot of new things. Every time I read an article about a healthy food I’ve not tried or find an interesting recipe with ingredients I’m not used to cooking I get excited to try something new. Some of my favorite “discoveries” are butternut squash, quinoa, kale and nutritional yeast. In this way healthy eating has not been limiting but expansive. My food choices are much more vast now than when I ate mostly velveeta and party pizzas. And I enjoy it much more.
I know, you’re still stuck a few sentences up on what the hell is nutritional yeast? I know, that’s what I said. Pick some up at your natural food store in the bulk section (usually under a dollar) and toss it on some popcorn. Tastes like cheese. It’s awesome and a perfect example of what happens when you open your mind up and try some new things. Maybe even some weird sounding “hippie food”. It might just be your new favorite.
Still don’t believe me? I just finished my menu planning for this month which includes thai green chili chicken curry, wild mushroom and steak stroganoff, spicy enchiladas, glazed salmon with pesto fettuccine and chicken parmesan. I think that all sounds pretty dank.
The other piece to this healthy eating business is that it literally feels good. And while I know you momentarily feel good when you sit down to some nachos (as I did this weekend, Ooh, Shmigos!) not only do you run the risk of overeating and feeling bloated and heavy but definitely won’t receive a surge of energy to get you through your day.
Also the more “processed” your food the more likely it’s full of all kinds of unnecessary things that lead to not nourishing your body and leaving you hungry again about 20 minutes later. Sound familiar? Unhealthy foods not only lead to an unhealthy you, but they make you hungry again faster.
So try something new. Try something old in a new way. Keep trying healthy foods (the produce section is the perfect place to begin!) and you will naturally begin to replace your current staples with healthy and delicious alternatives. When you literally get stoked to eat your lunch (which I do everyday!) it makes sticking to this healthy stuff much, much easier and more enjoyable.