Two posts in one week?! I know.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about food. I mean, who doesn’t, right? But I’ve been thinking about my food choices, and how they are different now that I’m back in the U.S. than how they were in Spain.
This time, living in Spain, I realized I needed to start making responsible food choices and develop healthy habits. This happened around Christmas when I realized that I didn’t fit too well into one of my favorite pairs of jeans. For three and a half months (September, October, November, and December) I had been eating and drinking everything in sight. I think most of it was emotional eating, as I was feeling kind of like “What the hell did I sign up for and how did I end up in this country again?”
I began to realize it was time to develop some healthy food habits that I could stick with. And I have to say I had a lot of help from Google Reader. I’d started reading some funny running blogs that my friend Lauren recommended to me back in Boston. Google then started recommending weight-loss blogs to me because of the running blogs. Then the weight-loss blogs turned into clean/healthy eating blogs which then turned into healthy body image blogs.
I had a lot of time to read blogs.
And, with no TV and plenty of studying to procrastinate, a lot of time to think about food.
I started thinking that I should take care of myself. Not just to look hot, but to be healthy and feel great. It was a good time for me to start thinking that way because I was living in a place that had way less processed foods than here. I spent most of my days at the fruit and vegetable store and, since I didn’t have time to cook, one of my staple meals last year was poached eggs with a veggie. The more I read the blogs, the more convinced I became that processed foods, along with sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc. were bad.
I’ve also always had a desire to try to go vegan, not just for the health benefits but for the challenge. Also, when you live in a country (Spain) that eats anything that swims, crawls, or flies (and parts of those animals that you’d never consider eating) you start thinking way too much about where meat comes from and why eating one animal is any different than eating another, and it all just becomes super gross.
Remember how I mentioned that my parents think I’m weird? A lot of that was because, upon my return from Spain, I had mentioned not wanting to eat processed foods. They didn’t know what to do with that information and I had been living in a tiny blog bubble for a while in which I had actually convinced myself that Coca-cola would soon go out of business because who in their right mind would drink carbonated chemicals?
So maybe I was a tad over the top. They’d gone out and purchased me some Oreos and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, thinking I’d be overjoyed at the chance to eat some of those good old fashioned American foods I’d been missing. Imagine their surprise when I scoffed at those and wanted some black beans and quinoa instead.
But something has happened. I still try to eat responsibly, but after spending a few months back home, suddenly soda doesn’t seem like liquid death anymore. And I find myself snacking on fat-free chemically flavored microwave popcorn sometimes. And last night, even though I wasn’t that hungry, I scarfed down two plates of food from P.F. Changs. It tasted so salty and….not sure what the other word is…but it made me feel gross afterwards.
What has this country done to me?
I feel myself slipping into a “don’t think about it too much, just put it in your mouth” kind of phase. But I don’t want to be there! I want to feel good about my food choices (not only mentally, but physically.)
Then, I accidentally started reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. As it turns out, the way we get food from animals these days is absolutely horrific and disgusting. Just thought you’d like to know.
So what do I do with this information and these feelings now that I have them? Ideally, I’d love to eat a mostly clean, vegan diet with little to no gluten in it. So what does that leave me with? Spinach? How does eating that way translate into real life? Is it even possible to eat that way without offending people and/or starving to death?
I don’t know what the answers are. Maybe I should start by trying it for a month or two or six and then seeing how I feel about it.
I’ll figure it out and let you know. In the meantime, in case you’re interested, here are some of the blogs that got me here:
Twenty Six Point Two:
Runner Dude’s Blog:
Life is a Marathon:
Endurance isn’t only physical:
http://yumyucky.com/ (also clean eating…mostly)
There are actually more, but I’m on my way out to soccer. I’d love to know anyone else’s thoughts on what we should/shouldn’t put in our bodies, what is worth worrying about, and what should just be enjoyed.