How I Started Eating Healthy and The Stigma on Healthy Eaters
Does anyone know what the Number 2 Special at McDonalds is? My 12-year-old self sure did. Two cheeseburgers, with a side of “Medium” (haha can’t get over that an XXL can be labelled Medium) fries and a sugar-filled Coke. Oh and I’d get two of them. Yes I’d double the double order.
Growing up as a kid, I was the junk food queen. From breakfasts of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (“the taste/sugar you can see!”) to lunches of two slices of Domino’s Pepporoni Pizza with a side of two double chocolate chip cookies (gotta have a cookie for each slice, right?) cooled down with a refreshing high-fructose corn syrup beverage of Gatorade since eating all that junk was such an intense workout and I was really needing some Potassium from my run between vending machines.
Oh and don’t forget the light afternoon snack of a burrito (chicken, rice, beans, guac, cheese, the works..) followed by a dinner of Kabobs and white rice (well I am Persian), finished with a bedtime dessert of Oreo ice cream topped with a brownie.
God was I fat. (miracles do happen people!)
Maybe reading this description of food makes your stomach grumble and you’re thinking “God, I wish I could eat all of that!” Trust me you don’t. Thinking about it honestly just makes me want to hurl. To be honest, I don’t even remember eating the foods once. Can’t remember the pleasure food is supposed to bring you or the tastes in my mouth. But what I do remember is that full, disgusting feeling in your stomach after you ate way too much/ something processed/ hard to digest/ heavy/ unhealthy. Since I did all of the above on a daily basis.
Welcome to the United States of America. Leave your pants size at the door, you’ll be needing another one of those!
You know that feeling when you just look at your stomach and want to shout “Get out of me!!” to all the nasty stuff you just put in there? When you’re Google searching things like “How to feel less full” and “One Week Detox” and you’re swearing to yourself you’ll never eat that much again? When you’re trying to drink some digestive tea as if that’ll miraculously take you back in time and make up for the thousands of calories you just shoved into your mouth? Yeah that’s what you end up remembering.
What a waste of calories, right?
By the time I was 15, I had enough. I was sick of regretting everything I ate and the guilty feeling I had after a meal wasn’t even worth the supposed pleasure I had while eating it. I swore off anything that was packaged or processed, all meat, sugar, excess salt and all carbs except fruit.
I transformed my body, health and perspective from this approach, which some may consider extreme, but is actually how humans ate for thousands of years. Just because you’re not eating junk food doesn’t mean your “obsessive” or “calorie-counting.” It means you’re eating the way a normal person should.
In society, we have gotten so used to eating massive amounts of unhealthy food, that the second someone says “No I don’t want fries” everyone labels them as “a dieter” or even “anorexic.” People need to become educated before making such claims.
Not eating junk food every day does not mean you are on a “diet.”
A diet is a temporary period of time where follows an extremely strict regimen of specific food and calorie counting. Eating healthy is lifelong and an extremely broad way of eating, offering you a widest range of foods possible because you can eat any food created naturally on the planet. There are tons of crazy fruits, vegetables, superfoods, nuts, seeds and sprouts out there that you’re average Joe eating his burger has never dreamed of. The true dieters are the ones stuck on the repetitive American diet of carbs, refined sugar and sodium, with portion control of doubling what you should be eating, as if you’re trying to expand your stomach at every meal. God that must be exhausting! Eating healthy is pretty simple.
If you’re Great-Grandmother knew what it was, chances are it’s relatively healthy. If it’s wrapped in plastic, then it probably ain’t.
And to call someone anorexic for eating healthy is just disrespectful and shows jealousy towards that person’s self control. Anorexia nervosa is a serious and often fatal disease that should not be taken lightly; it is not synonymous with putting natural foods into your body and is actually the polar opposite. For people who may be confused, an anorexic is not someone who is extremely thin; in fact I know many anorexic people who have a much bigger frame and you would never guess that they deprive themselves from food to achieve an “ideal” body.
- An anorexic person sees their body as larger than it really is and obsesses about calorie counting and exercise to achieve non-health-related goals such as smaller thighs or number on the scale.
- Anorexics do not eat healthy, but instead starve themselves for long periods of time (the opposite of a healthy person who eats every 2-3 hours) plus they often curb their appetites with coffee, cigarettes and other extremely unhealthy habits.
- Anorexics avoid eating and social gathering that involve food, such as going to a restaurant with friends, because they do not want to be tempted or questioned when they aren’t touching anything. A healthy person will probably be the one always planning food outing with friends, always munching on something in their bag and always wanting to talk about their latest recipes.
- An anorexic has ritual or repetitive behaviors like constantly checking in the mirror or measuring their body. A healthy person could not care less about the mirror or a scale, but rather listens to how their body feels.
- An anorexic will talk to you for an hour about how her arms, legs and stomach are too fat, while a healthy foodie will talk to you about this kick-ass dinner she made last night or this new cool yogurt she found at Whole Foods.
- An anorexic is concerned with appearance and is only monitoring what she eats to look thinner. She will also use methods such as binge diets, wearing loose clothing to appear thinner, taking laxatives and eating in front of people then purging at home. The only appearance a healthy foodie is concerned with is her the Instagram shot she just took of her breakfast.
I feel there has been a backlash in society where people are afraid to say they’re healthy eaters because they don’t want to seem “anorexic.”
They don’t want to be that buzz-kill at the restaurant to order the salad or have their friends taunt them when they don’t take a slice of pizza at 3am. Eating healthy is not something you should be ashamed of and just do at home. It’s not a weird habit and it doesn’t make you any less fun. When I started this blog I tried to make it a more general food blog, since I’d see all the other delicious Pins on my right and left with cupcakes and Nutella. But how many Triple Chocolate Cheesecakes can you really make?
I started to add more healthy recipes but wasn’t sure how receptive people would be. I felt like clean-eating was something only I did and people kept quiet about. People only take pictures of their decadent desserts but never their Tubberware packed salad they took on-the-go.
But that’s exactly what intrigued me. Healthy food made easy.
I began researching and experimenting everyday in my kitchen, putting foods together (like balsamic and yogurt) that would never match. And I started finding delicious and healthy combinations that honestly tasted better than anything I had at a restaurant. I used to eat out about five nights a week but now only do for social purposes, Japanese food (since I can’t make sashimi) or for a Chef’s really special dish. Now that I can make my own meals that cater exactly to my taste, I don’t even want to eat out.
I love knowing every ingredient that goes into my dish and being able to tweak flavors and try out new healthy variations of foods I’ve always enjoyed.
You don’t realize how much sodium and other unhealthy flavorings chefs use to make their food tastebetter because they don’t have your health in mind, they only care about profit and better taste= more clients. And you don’t need MSG, preservatives and a pound of salt to make your food taste food. For example, I’m obsessed with Sweet Potato so instead of going every week for Sweet Potato Ravioli, I just boil a Sweet Potato myself then mash it, and add Tahini and some avocado. Now Sweet Potato Ravioli is bland, buttery and boring for me.
At the risk of looking like a “health freak”, I started posting recipes I would actually eat, rather ones I’d gauk at. I wanted to share food that I make with my minimal supplies, busy schedule but love for healthy food, because that’s what was for dinner, no matter how delicious that 10-step French dish a thousand people RePinned looked.
And I was shocked to find so much support from other healthy eaters who felt the exact same way I did. People who looked forward to roaming the aisles of Whole Foods, who browsed health and nutrition blogs and RePinned photos of amazing healthy concoctions like Cauliflower crust Pizza or Kombucha Peach Smoothies. I learned I was not alone in this quest to stay healthy and normal, to go out with friends without bringing a bag of almonds and to rather snack of Kale Chips than Potato Chips.
I wanted that balance of eating clean and staying sane.
This blog is dedicated to all the “Freshies” out their who want to share their experience, recipes and love for eating clean. Freshies are healthy eating ambassadors who aren’t afraid of reading the nutrition label before eating something, despite being judged for it.
I want more people to share their thoughts, struggles and advice for eating healthy in a world where the smell of Cinnamon Rolls swirl in the Mall and Starbucks Muffins stare at us everyday, begging us to eat them.
Anyone who wants to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to write a guest post.
Years ago, ordering a salad was considered social suicide. Now, restaurants have salad menus just as expansive as their entree sections. The pendulum is turning and healthy eating is becoming the norm, as it already has in LA and New York. So all my healthy eaters out there, you can come out of the closet. And anyone who’s made a change, I bet a million other people would love to read about it.
I hope this blog can inspire many people to make the transformation I did. Food is the love of my life and I would never recommend depriving yourself even for a minute. Anyone who knows me knows I am always munching on something or trying something new out in the kitchen. I go to bed planning breakfast, and finish one meal thinking about the next. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat dessert, go out to restaurants and if I’m really craving a brownie or a piece of pizza, I’ll eat one. I don’t believe in diets or swearing off a certain food. If it’s my birthday I’m gonna eat my cake. Or if there’s just a really good looking cake, I’ll eat that too. I just don’t do it every single day anymore. When I was 15, cutting off desserts, sodium, wheat and meat was the only way I could get off my unhealthy eating habits, which is why I recommend my One Week Detox Cleanse to kickstart your healthy eating. But now that this has become a lifestyle for me, a weekend of brunches, dinners and drinks doesn’t stress me out because I know I’ll always go back to my healthy habits and my recipes, which I share here.
From changing my outlook on food and my philosophy of Mindful Eating, which I explain here, I now eat more than ever and weigh less, have more energy, am healthier, happier and more radiant than ever before. I have become healthier by simply falling in love with my food, meaning caring about every detail of it. And I have tons of advice for people who want to get started.
People pay more attention to their cars and shoes than they do what they put into their mouths!
Wanna look good? Then eat well!
And remember: You’re only as fresh as what you eat.
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