Part of my plan for this season is to increase my physical wellness and fitness, and part of that process is figuring out what healthy eating means for me right now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually in very good health. I rarely get sick, and don’t have chronic pain or anything like that. Yet as I may have mentioned, I gained a bunch of weight over the past couple of years. What changed during that time? Well, I think a big part of it was stress (mostly financial) and the comfort food eating that accompanied it.
Leaving aside physical exercise, which I’m increasing during this time period too, what was I eating when I felt so fit prior to that? I’ve been vegetarian for two decades now, yet during the time when I felt best, my diet was mostly vegan, and almost no refined sugar. Sounds simple, right?
I’m in the process of adopting that type of diet once again. It seems that this “mostly vegan” eating suits my own particular body type. I don’t presume to speak for anyone else, but when I look back to that time, I looked and felt great.
I wasn’t eating a lot of meat and dairy substitutes at the time, either. When I started adding those (vegan margarine, tofu sour cream, and the like) was I think when I started feeling off balance. I dabbled in raw foods, but a high-raw diet was hard on my digestive system (I still love my breakfast smoothies and enjoy other raw dishes, but not as a majority of the food I eat). When that didn’t work, and influenced by several friends who moved away from a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, I went back to dairy. I personally have no desire to eat meat again, and in fact it doesn’t appeal to me at all when I see or smell it. And as for dairy and eggs, I do have some trouble digesting them, and perhaps my body has been reacting to that. I’ve recently done some reading on macrobiotics, and their theory on meat, eggs, and dairy (and sugar as well) makes good sense to me both logically and on an intuitive level.
The trouble with food choices is that there is so much contradictory information out there! And many folks adhere to a “my way is the only healthy way” attitude. Some of the reading I’ve done just blows my mind, with oponents of certain foods directly contradicting the adherents of those same foods, and both backing it up with research and logical-sounding reasons. What to do? My belief is that each person’s body is unique, and the best way to find what works for you is to experiment and feel what happens in your own body and energy system. And to adjust for the changes that will happen as you move through life.
Right now, I’m tending towards whole grains, legumes, veggies and fruits, no refined sugar, occasional soy, minimal dairy and eggs, and breads and pastas in moderation. I’m also avoiding fried or processed snacky foods like chips, french fries, and crackers. What will I eat? Homemade meals: soups, smoothies, fresh juices, salads, beans and rice, tempeh, casseroles, and the like. Luckily I enjoy cooking. And when I’m out at a restaurant, or at someone else’s home, I’ll eat as healthily as possible while still being flexible with what’s available. I want to make it easy and natural, and thus sustainable.
I’ll see how this all feels, and adjust as needed. I’m on day three now, and feeling quite well.