Remember when you were a kid and someone grabbed a handful of spaghetti and threw it across the table yelling, “Food fight!”
I had another kind of fight with food.
We all experience at some point in our lives either a sense of self-love or self-hate that goes along with how much or little food we are eating, and of course what we are eating. In addition, from a purely physical standpoint, the more we know about what foods we are ingesting or not ingesting, impacts how we feel throughout the day. Lastly, understanding the ethical responsibilities, (eating where your values are), requires first knowing what your values are; how can we know what our food values are if we have been brainwashed culturally not to even question them? What steps can we take to help us move to a higher thought process in the three above instances?
Recently I’ve been “owning” the things I am. As one of the fitness instructors on my fitness app says, (and it always makes me giggle), “hey Baby, own your sexy!”. Well, I say, own your “healthy” and your “positive energy”, and own “the things you stand or stand up for”. Being willing to be there for yourself is part of owning your sexy.
The second part of owning up to things for me is learning how to advocate for myself. That means, knowing it is OK to say “no” to situations that, for whatever reason, aren’t a “100% YES” decision at that time. And that goes for food too. Say, “NO, I’m not eating that", if it isn’t a clear “YES” for you in that moment.
One interesting first step is to look at your life through the foods you ate vs. the foods you eat today. Which ones stood out and what stands out now? Which ones did you hate, which ones did you love? Which ones were important to you? Which ones are important to you now?
Can you see any patterns on how your life got better as your food choices got better?
As an example, below is a list of the foods I ate over the years, favorites, or just foods that jump out at me as something that was a big part of my life:
Mom’s homemade bread with margarine (remember when margarine was considered healthy?)
Milk that the milkman delivered in glass jars (yep, I dropped one of those once. The glass shattered over every square over our kitchen floor)
Orange juice and orange juice slushies (remember the cups you’d freeze with your juice in it, then you scrape each bite off with a spoon?)
Mom’s tuna casserole (first time I tried making this on my own I didn’t realize you had to boil the noodles first. Oops!)
Ice cream – heaping bowl of it nightly (my brother and I would swirl that ice cream around and around until it was soft and creamy)
Donuts from the donut shop, especially the twisted glazed ones
Big Sticks from the Ice Cream Truck
Fizzies (these were like gold in elementary school; we used to trade for them)
Summer squash and green beans (couldn’t stand either of these and still don’t like them!)
Marathon Bars, (milk chocolate, vertical pretzel shaped bars with caramel inside. My fav! https://youtu.be/Evp187KImq4)
Plain yogurt and bananas with puffed rice and bran
Hard boiled eggs
Popcorn and Diet Coke
Sourdough bread as a treat
Healthy protein bars
Nuts and dried fruit
Organic corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas
Age 55 to Present
Plant-based foods (I still eat fish occasionally, and eggs from cage-free chickens that our neighbor takes good care of.) I’ve come to love vegan cheese, vegan yogurt, and the wonderful assortment of dips and spreads
Water, and lots of it
Better - A Butter Alternative
Apple cider vinegar
Nuts without skins
Boiled and pureed vegetables
Looking at this list, I can see 6 clear breaks that also signified major transitions in my life.
I’m still not perfect, but the more I decide be present for myself and the more I decide to research and learn, the cleaner my food choices throughout the day are, and the closer I am to being my true self.
It’s fun to look at your food history and get a new perspective on your life through food. You can see how far you’ve come or you can see where you still need to go. No judgement, just observe. Try it! I’d love to hear your history of food and how your values and self-care are becoming stronger and more loving with each choice you make. What choices will you make today?