The more I learn about health and wellness, the more things I attempt to change or improve in my every day habits, but I’ve become a big believer in moderation. We live in a world with many different opposing opinions when it comes to food. Vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, plant-based, gluten free, sugar free, or paleo diets… they each prove many benefits and then will show you all the faults of each other. It’s so easy to get carried away with judgement and guilt.
There was a point where I was so engrossed in the perfection of my food; only organic, no pesticides, and preservative free. I felt so much torment thinking about animal cruelty that meat started to make me sick. I was dizzy from the lack of protein despite the other ways I felt I was shoveling it in. I was so concerned with where every piece of my food was coming from that one day I just broke down and cried in my kitchen over some chicken wings. My husband is half Tongan, he is a meat eater. All I could think of in the moment was, “This is impossible. I don’t want to be a vegetarian, I hate tofu.”
It took patience, an understanding husband, and yoga to calm my anxieties and realize that all I can do is my best. A friend put it perfectly, “Stress release hormones and chemicals that wreak havoc on your body. Try to avoid harmful chemicals in your food, but if it’s causing you to create your own harmful chemicals, step back and remember the big picture.” The stress that comes from trying to eat completely clean can by just as harmful. I try my hardest to eat healthy foods the majority of the time, while having treats in moderation. (TRY being a key word here.) As a mother, I also love convenience so I find myself constantly on the hunt for minimally processed quick snacks or sauces. I’m not perfect, but the key is to remind myself that I’m taking care of MY body and it’s okay if I don’t have the BEST options available everywhere I go. I do what I can and if I’m living in moderation, I don’t accept guilt or use exercise as a punishment for something I ate. I’ve got to tell you, the best feeling in the world is allowing myself that freedom, but only because I’ve learned to trust my body and listen to it. Sometimes I slip and eat things that I can literally feel harming my body, and if I don’t listen and make better choices, it snowballs into what feels like an addiction (mostly with sugar) and I have to reset my mind and remember what is important.
Some days I eat like a vegetarian would, because that’s what I feel like. Other days I’ll get organic grass fed burgers to feed my family for dinner, or perhaps the budget only allows for the cheapest pack of chicken available. I’ll often make a big dinner for my family but I choose to get protein from other sources than meat. Maybe I’m at a friend’s house or a party and don’t let myself fret about what processed chemicals or sugar amounts that might be in the foods they are serving. There are also times when I’ve given up on the day, give my kids fast food chicken nuggets and get myself an ice cream cone for dinner.
Be mindful and listen to your body. Take care of you, someone who is completely 100% different from everyone else in every single way. Don’t get carried away with perfection, just relax. Give yourself the freedom to choose your healthy.