I’m going to spend the next few posts focusing on the Munching part of life. I’ve been reflecting lately on how much progress I’ve made in the food department, and I hope to share some reflections in the next few posts that might get you thinking about your relationship to food, and might add value to your lifestyle.
Look, we’re all on a quest to be happy and healthy, so no matter what our current weight or what our relationship is to food, I can safely say that we have all had good intentions in our actions. When I used to eat gummy bears, I thought I was making good choices by eating low fat snacks. When I used to drink Diet Coke, I thought I was making good choices by avoiding sugar. When I used to diet and restrict my food intake, I thought I was making good choices by limiting calories. When I switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet, I thought I was making good choices by eating nutritious food in abundance. But was I making good choices for myself in doing this?
I think I can fast forward through processed food and fad diets, and assume that most of us have finally come to the conclusion that those no longer serve us, and we are ready for positive change. So we dive down the nutrition rabbit hole, and learn about gluten-free, and dairy-free, non-GMO, organic, superfoods, etc. We spend and spend and read and read and get smarter and smarter, while we layer more and more standards into our acceptable foods, diving deeper into next level products, like supplements, fermented foods, medicinal mushrooms, etc. At least I did. I can tell you that I thought I was making good choices by dropping some serious cash at the health food store, and dropping some major hours in the kitchen.
In fact, if you opened up my pantry and fridge during this phase of life, it would have closely resembled the aisles of Whole Foods, minus the mood lighting and cool hip display shelves. The health halo was shining bright, as I gazed upon food products only enlightened people would be savvy enough to buy. I isolated myself from friends with my dietary restrictions, refusing to join them for restaurant meals. I stressed out my family with the food rules in place at home. And yet, I couldn’t understand why my health wasn’t vibrant, nor was my happiness abundant. In fact, it sucked.
Maybe you are at this point in your life, when you are stressed out and tired over food. Maybe you need to take it down a notch. Here’s one thing you can start to do today: Run Out Of Something.
You heard it. Use up what you have, and don’t rush out to replace it. Get down to one flavor of tea bag. Run out of supplements. Watch the world continue to turn, and life to carry on. Understand that you don’t have to be a self-sufficient island of health, and that if you run out of something, you can actually depend on yourself for resourcefulness and your relationship with others for support. Meet a friend for coffee if you have none left at home. Brush your teeth with baking soda if you run out of toothpaste. Be imperfect.
It’s so empowering to know you can succeed with less, without all of the health crutches and superfoods, and to know that your body is strong and healthy on its own, without the high end lifestyle products companies are pushing on you. If you eat a less than perfect restaurant meal, your body will carry on. Health is not strictly food, and it’s more important to be a whole person than a broken person eating whole food.
It wasn’t until I realized this that I was able to let go of perfection and for the first time build some gradual consistency in my relationship to food. No longer did I consider a minor infraction to my usual food routine as a complete failure, leading me to fall off the health wagon into a slump of despair. No longer did the pendulum swing so wildly between health food, and face in a tub of ice cream when no one was looking. Finally, I started to chill, and feel good most days, and for me, that was a huge win.