Friends, my apologies for my unexplained and prolonged absence!
It is with much pride and relief that I announce that I have successfully survived the first term of university :) I can’t lie though; it was a very rocky semester. It began with much anger, loneliness, and frustration but eventually evolved into a positive, life-changing experience. So much has changed in such little time and I feel like I have grown internally and externally as well. There is still a long long way to go but for now I am enjoying the Christmas holidays with my family.
So what’s changed lately? It’s a very touchy topic for some people and an area of extreme fixation for pretty much the rest of the free world. It’s called:
FOOD and SPECIAL DIETS
I probably haven’t mentioned it here before, but once upon a time, I suffered from an eating disorder. I won’t get into the nitty gritty but essentially I caused my body a lot of distress during that time. To this day (I consider myself recovered) I still experience many of the negative side effects of many years of simply not eating enough.
Most significantly, I suffer from a great deal of digestive discomfort due to low stomach acid. For a long time I thought it was related to diet so I cut out wheat, dairy, grains, you know the drill. For a while it seemed to work, but eventually my digestive troubles came back with a boom.
So what’s a girl to do? Seek medical help. We’re in the age of self-diagnosis and people are now self-medicating more than ever. People trust books, bloggers, webinars, and other general resources to solve their medical issues. For many years that’s what I did. But I’ve been forced to realize that medical advice is far more important and beneficial than simply making assumptions.
I met with a wonderful Naturopath yesterday and I left her office convinced that it was what I should have done all along. One sentence that she spoke has resounded in my head again and again, “It’s not what you eat. It’s how you eat it. It’s called food hygiene.”
Many people, including myself, strive to follow the perfect diet. We cut out this and we cut out that, why? not because it truly bothers us, but because we’ve been led to think that we are in some way inferior if we don’t. What if I told you it doesn’t matter what you choose to eat? Would you believe me? I don’t blame you if you don’t. I wouldn’t have believed myself a short while ago either. But searching for the perfect diet has made me go bonkers. And I am 100% sure that all my fussing over my meals and the stress about whether I was eating the “perfect diet” has actually done a heck of a lot more harm than good. If you eat every meal with a side of guilt and stress, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
I am sick and tired of going to extremes. Fruit only diet? Tried that. Food combining diet? Check. Paleo? Check. Vegan? Check. I am sick of all these labels. Why should we be lumped into categories based on what we eat? And most importantly, when the heck did food get so complicated? Our ancestors ate food. They ate it because it tasted good. They ate when they were hungry and stopped when they were full. In their days, there was no candida, no grain-free, no special meals, no low-fat, no dieting, no calorie counting, no extremes. There was food and that was it.
After 5 years of going on and off the diet train. Today I declare myself diet-free. I follow Maria’s Diet (i.e. I eat whatever the hell I want). Your on Your Diet. My dog is on Rocky’s diet. And just like that, we learn to eat again. We learn to enjoy food. We control food and food does not control us.
I call for a new diet dogma. It’s called the anti-diet dogma. It’s a diet where you eat whatever the hell you like and whatever makes you feel totally awesome and that supports your physical activity. It’s where you can go to a party and have some gluten-filled pizza and ice cream with birthday cake because, well, why the hell not? You drink when your thirsty and eat when you’re hungry and you can go to a restaurant with your family and not bring your special food everywhere. It’s where you don’t rely on calories to tell you how much you should eat, but rather your hunger signals. For all you notorious dieters out there (myself included) it’s called learning to be normal and learning to love life, and learning to not to not lose your f-ing mind because your food might be cross-contaminated with dairy or gluten or whatever.
There are people starving in the world. Children who go to bed hungry, not because they want to, but because their families simply cannot afford to feed them. Please do not do them and yourself a disservice by taking for granted the food that we so abundantly have. Eat to live and please stop living to eat.
Someday I want all the anti-dieters out there to be able to say, “I have learned to love myself and food again.”