There is something I have been wanting to discuss with all of you for quite some time now, but I haven’t quite had the right words to say it…so I just started writing to see what would come out.
Recently, I read some really great and inspiring posts about how different people DON’T put a label on how they eat or how their eating habits have changed over time(Calorie Counting, Fat Fears, and Trusting Yourself, My Diet Doesn’t Need a Label). I have finally decided that it’s time for me to speak up about this too.
Being in the health and wellness industry means that people are always asking me: “What are your favorite workouts?” “What will give me the quickest results?” What do you recommend eating for…” “What do YOU eat?” “Are you a vegetarian?” “What would you label yourself when it comes to the food you eat?”
Honestly, it’s hard for me to put a label or give a name to the way I eat, and I think the answer that I give most of the time is probably frustrating to the person asking. Many times I say “I’m really in an experimental phase of my life, but I eat a lot of vegetables and fish as lean protein.”
To be COMPLETELY honest, it’s confusing and I don’t know that there IS a label for the way I eat.
A little back story: Growing up, my family ate chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs as our “meat” protein options. We were not red meat eaters, and while I have tried ribs and steak it just doesn’t do it for me so I still do not incorporate those foods into my diet. Sometime around October 2011 I stopped eating chicken and turkey and focused on organic soy protein, legumes, eggs, fish, and lowfat dairy to get adequate protein into my diet. At the time, I was learning more and more about the processes that meat and poultry go through and I was not comfortable putting those foods into my body.
Since then, I have eaten pretty much the same type of diet (whatever you want to call it!)…until recently.
Recently, I have been educating myself on the benefits of a balanced diet (which means varying sources of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and fats in the diet), and the harmful chemicals that could be in fish sources of protein. Because of this self-education, I have decided to incorporate free-range, organic chicken (local if possible!) into my diet and I have limited my intake of lowfat dairy, legumes, and organic soy protein (but I haven’t cut them out completely).
One of the hardest things about changing my diet is having to answer questions from friends and family about the way I eat. “Are you a vegetarian?” “Do you eat meat now?” When I first considered incorporating chicken back into my diet, one of the first things I thought to myself is “What kind of label should my diet have now? Eating meat doesn’t fit the pescatarian lifestyle I was living. People are going to question what I am eating.” Technically? I’m not a vegetarian or a pescatarian, and I am incorporating meat into my diet, but I still like to consider myself someone who eats a plant-based diet. I eat greens and veggies at every meal and lots of them!
I can understand why friends and family want to know what to “label” me, but at the same time I don’t think it’s necessary to have a label for the way I (or anyone else) eats. I eat the foods that make me feel good, and I want to focus on making healthy choices for my body NOT on fitting into the perfect mold of whatever food label I THINK I may fall under. This should be the same for you too!
Friends, here are some good take-aways…
You may be wondering how this will effect the blog and the recipes I share. I don’t think much will change. I will still share delicious recipes with you, share any food experiments or new way of eating that I am trying out, some recipes may have meat some may not, I will still continue to LOVE my veggies and fruits, and I will still incorporate some treats in moderation (it’s all about balance!).
Boy, does it feel good to get all of that out in the open!
Now, if you ARE comfortable labeling the way you eat…more power to ya! Like I said before, I truly believe EVERY SINGLE PERSON is different and unique in every possible way, this includes the way we eat. Right now, I don’t fall into a perfect food “label,” but I understand some of you might and I am 100% MORE than ok with that 🙂