Why Do We Fear Food?

Food is becoming much more than something to enjoy with friends ad family or nourish our bodies. It has become something to analyze, calculate, stress over, etc.

Fear food

We know obesity rates are climbing along with many ailments that precede them such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. On the other end, eating disorders are at an all time high as well. With all this new info and the “knowledge” we are learning to “perfect” our diets, shouldn’t people be moving away from the extreme ends of the spectrum, landing somewhere happily in the middle?

Obese anorexic

Let’s break it down, shall we?

First of all “Corporate America” (I feel like Hyde on That 70’s Show!) is making you sick. They big names like Kraft make loads of money, you get sick, and now the pharmaceutical industry is making even more off you. Certain medications are so expensive that debt is inevitable. That’s also why they love the diet industry. They are feeding you artificial ingredients, preservatives, fillers, etc. Not to mention, when you are dieting you are stressed, which is way worse for you than eating the damned cupcake. Not that eating something bad will kill you or result in immediate disease/weight gain/etc, but if it comprises most of your diet then you are nutrient void which is a whole host of other problems. Did you know Obama past a law supporting Monsanto and GMO’s while putting the spotlight on gay marriage and abortion?

Obama Monsanto

As a plant-based eater I’m telling you scientifically, meat des not kill you, dairy does not kill you, wheat does not kill you. The stress you impose on yourself will kill you much faster. If you are constantly stressed or have anxiety your body will produce cortisol, which can make you gain weight and cause many hormonal imbalances, it keeps your body in fight or flight mode meaning your enteric and parasympathetic nervous systems never get a chance to “rest and digest” and you can have a host of digestive issues, nutrient mal-absorption, cravings, etc.

Oh, but you’re a clean eating vegan, or perhaps paleo? Maybe even dairy, grain, sugar, salt, fun free? Ok, but you are still avoiding a whole host of nutrients. What is the purpose in restricting your diet? Perfect health? There is no such thing. I’m veg for ethical reasons and gave up meat when I was 8. After letting go of my food rules and letting myself have gluten, sugar, whatever, I realized I just did not want meat in my diet even as a college student. Guess what else happened to my weight? NOTHING! Blasphemy, you say? When I gave up caring and just realized that my body had much more common sense than my head, my digestion got better. I was no longer eating so much salad I got nauseous, I no longer binged, I no longer stressed, and my digestion  and my bloodwork has never been better or more stable.

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I don’t care if you read some book claiming that a raw diet cured cancer. We are all so different on a genetic level, why would someone else’s exact regime work for you when you are not that person? Unless you have a legitimate food allergy or intolerance, avoiding foods causes more harm than good. Not to mention, it all goes back to the “Big Wigs.” They have made trillions of dollars on niche diets that create new product margins. GF baked goods, raw kale chips, grain free muffin mixes, sugar free pudding, dairy free ice cream. These are new products and scaring you into thinking the other stuff is bad for you makes them money.

So try it; eat the damn cupcake. You’ll thank me, I promise.

*Disclaimer: I am NOT talking about true intolerances or allergies or ethics! Just the majority of people who feel the need to crunch numbers, micro and macronutrients, etc. 🙂

The Number 1 Best Diet Advice!

…STOP believing everyone else’s diet advice!

Seriously.

(Disclaimer: This is about to be a rant.)

Last night I was scrolling on FB, ya know because once you’re in college it’s cool again, and I saw an old acquaintance posted one of those articles that fill up 80% of my newsfeed. 44 Ways to Look Better and Get in Shape Now. I kid you not. This was written by a young girl who was a passionate vegan and health fanatic. Great. I’m genuinely happy you have an interest in health, fitness, well-being, whatever! But this article had SO may false things in it I cringed reading it. Rolled my eyes and felt two things; 1) Thank God I’m not gullible enough to believe everything I read anymore. 2) I am so angry/upset for the girls (and guys!) reading who felt they were getting genuinely good advice, such as my old acquaintance. I love that health is “In” right now and more valuable than a pair of Louboutin’s but why, why, and WHY does everyone feel the need to throw their two cents in!? If you are not a registered dietician, personal trainer, microbiologist, anatomy major (? that’s totally not a thing is it), have scientific research and studies to back up what you’re saying, THEN DON’T SAY IT!

Here is what I DO know as a dietetic major  (I’m not including anything about exercise because that’s not my specialty and I am not including certain specifics that I have not studied yet in my RD coursework. Why? Because I’m not qualified and only know what works for me!)

1. Sleep. Seriously. Robyn over at The Real Life RD will tell you, if you do not have adequate sleep so many hormones are thrown off, even if it’s one night. So why oh why would you try to eat less or exercise and stress out your body and endocrine system even more if you haven’t gotten such a basic necessity? Let’s face it, if you’re tired, you probably won’t have a great workout anyways. Also, I eat MORE when I’m tired or sick because you’re body is fighting to keep things balanced and needs approximately 7% more energy (CALORIES) to fight off anything attacking the immune system and trying to maintain homeostasis.

2. Do Not Deprive Yourself. This almost always leads to binge-like behaviors and if it doesn’t immediately, it will. I don’t care if you’re good at restricting yourself right now and for the passed four months you haven’t touched chocolate or fries or whatever you think it really “derailing your progress.” I know better than anyone (AND studies have PROVEN) that the longer you deprive yourself the harder and stronger the binge-tendencies come. It is a vicious cycle.

3. Eat Enough. It’s funny; Years ago when I was in recovery for my ED and I finally started eating ore and more I lost weight first. I finally turned on my metabolism and even eating over 3,500-5,000 calories a day (gradual build-up! talk to an RD for how to do this safely and properly) I wasn’t gaining weight and that is WITHOUT exercise! No I easily eat 2-3 times as much as my friends, have more energy, and am not overweight. When you give your body energy constantly it realizes it can use and expend the energy. If you are under-eating even a little bit constantly your metabolism will start holding on to everything and slow down to preserve homeostasis and keep your organs running.

4. Don’t Cut Out A Macro Group! Why people think this is a good idea is always beyond me. Carbs give us energy, protein replenishes muscles, fat slows down the sugar being released into the blood stream and 80% of your organs are made of fat. Your brain literally can’t function properly without it. Lipids compose 40% of the organic matter in your body! Plus it keeps your heart healthy, nails strong, and hair shiny!

5. There is no one way. I know people who are satisfied eating one dessert a week, I need at least a little bit of chocolate every day to stay sane. After 5 years of veganism I had to give it up because it just wasn’t healthy for me. Statistically very few people can maintain a strictly vegan diet long-term healthfully (which I hate as I turned for ethical reasons, so I get it, it’s hard! But you have to listen to your body, it knows best!) I could never give up grains, but if being paleo feels good to you, go for it. I personally don’t like labels, they feel restrictive and make it a part of who you are. You are NOT your diet. Stop believing what everyone else says and do what your body tells you to do, it’s really smart, I promise.

6. Focus foods. This is another one Robyn hits perfectly. I don’t tell myself I can’t have a certain food. Two days ago I ate the most insane cupcake, that’s an out of focus food. Most of the time my body craves “clean” foods like veggies and beans but when I want a cupcake, I’m getting the damn cupcake!

So? Thoughts? What do you think about the sudden influx in nutrition experts taking over the internet?

Old Habits Die Hard

And sometimes they kill you with them.

Cryptic? Yes. Harsh? Yes. I firmly believe that it is necessary at times.

So I’ve been binging lately. Every. Single. Night. I will be perfectly fine all day and then eat upwards of 3000 calories between 8–10 pm. I then feel disgusting and have to stay up until like 4 am so that my stomach feels at least half way settled and I can sleep. Now, before I get “Well, maybe it’s physiological and you aren’t giving yourself enough food during the day/ Maybe you aren’t meant to be vegan.” I see a dietician and she has even told me I’m eating over 3 times what most girls my age eat, although I have a high metabolism, 5-7,000 calories a day is way too much for me especially as I haven’t found my groove with exercise again.

Back story (I was anorexic and addicted to exercise from 9th-10th grade, anorexic/bulimic 11th and half of 12th grade, and then finally just fell into a horrible binge, purge, restrict cycle until October of this year. All four and a half years orthorexia has plagued me.

So what should I do? Should I start taking detox this, laxative that, and purging? Should I become anorexic again? No, of course not. Although I crawl in my skin and am mortified and embarrassed about these things, becoming who I used to be serves me no purpose. Even as tempting as my old “safety nets” are, I am reminded that I am strong enough not to need those, no matter how hard this current struggle may be. On that note, I have the utmost respect for anyone full-heartedly battling an ED, especially once weight is restored. Many outsiders think that you are fine and happy and “normal” again; they don’t realize that once you stop physically manifesting your self-hatred, you must deal with it at a psychological level and deal with being so uncomfortable in your skin. I am mentally having way bigger battles than when I was anorexic and addicted to exercise!

When you find yourself in these positions and you want to let ED win, I hope these things help you.

1. Look at how far you have come. Seriously, I self-reflect frequently and when I see other people struggling and having certain thoughts, I vaguely remember having those feelings, but can no longer relate. I am a completely different person, and I’ve started to become someone I actually like. I had to fight to get to where I am and I sure as hell am not throwing my hard work away, even if I have gained some extra pounds.

2. It isn’t permanent. Are you stuck in a binge cycle like me? Have you gained some extra weight you don’t really need? Love yourself anyways. You CAN lose the weight a healthy way, but don’t obsess. Getting angry with yourself only perpetuates the problem. Even when I battled bulimia, my weight would go up with those behaviors because even though I got rid of my binges, I still had to eat after to recover and restore, plus my metabolism was so screwed up from it!

3. Old habits can kill. In early October I purged again for the first time in a long time. Well, my body wasn’t used to it anymore and I ended up in the hospital with a sodium level only 2 notches away from me slipping into a coma, having a seizure, or dying. Even when I hated myself most, I never had a death wish and after mistreating my body for so long thinking I was fine, I got a reality check.

4. Think of what you’ve already had to miss out on because of your ED! I had to give up friends, my memory (no really, when you’re body isn’t getting enough fuel it damages your brain and often-times your memory), my biggest passion in life (dance), my relationship with my family was awful, my grades suffered, I will never be the athlete I was due to the lasting physical complications it has left me with, and most importantly time. I gave up most of my volunteering, I never felt well and missed school frequently, I have very few close friends, I lost dance, I lost my teenage years. I refuse to lose my college years. The root of an ED is not superficial, but the end product is and it is not worth it to me to lose the one life I was granted so that I can look a certain way.

5. Who or what motivates you? God is a huge part of my life. Maybe you don’t believe in God and that is ok, but he is my rock and savior and I could feel his presence and love whenever I cried out to him helpless and hopeless because my family just didn’t understand. I repeat to myself, “Let go and let God,” any time I am distressed because I know I can recover even further from this orthorexia and binging. I want to be my best for my family and now that I have a niece, I need to be my best for her. Her presence has given me this love and light that I couldn’t even expect and I want so many things for her, including for her to be a strong woman who loves herself and knows her worth. How can I teach her that if I do not resemble that?

6. The last thing I envision, are all the awesome things you get once you do let go. I have so much more energy, I am back to being someone who doesn’t get sick often. I have way more friends now and deeper relationships with them. I went out for lunch this week with a dear friend and it still scared me to eat the sandwich I did in all of its toasted sourdough glory. I didn’t know all the ingredients, and I lived to tell the tale. I want to do things! I have hobbies again and don’t spend all day in bed on my phone or computer. I can date now. I was so self-conscious and thought that no one would want me because he would see my flaws and hold them over my head. I still have fears that I won’t be good enough for someone but it is much more manageable.

7. Get off of social media. Seriously, I took a 1.5 year hiatus and it is the best thing you can do. All the fitspirations and thinspirations with their abs and vacations and perfect eating is ridiculous and causes insane comparison. You are spending your life watching someone elses. Not to mention everyone preaches something different whether it’s paleo, vegan, 80/10/10 (psychos in my mind), raw, sugar free, grain free, the air diet, whatever! They swear their way is the best way and you know what? It might be, for them. Or they’re a load of crap getting paid to promote something and you’re falling prey to consumerism. Who knows! Point is, take a break and figure out what works FOR YOU.

Wow that got wordier than I expected, so if you’re still with me just remember, YOU ARE HUMAN! We are perfectly imperfect and (I believe) we are made in God’s Divine Image. You are you for a reason and that’s pretty freaking cool if you ask me.

What about you guys? Any tips to help stay on the road to recovery?

An American Paradox

So if you live in the States, you might’ve noticed the insane health craze going on. It is so ironic to me that a country so obsessed with being healthy is so unhealthy. A shockingly small percentage of America is not overweight or underweight. Why are we so extreme? All you hear about today is obesity and eating disorders! Even some people who maintain a healthy weight (for THEM, bio-individuality my friends) and doesn’t have a classified ED have disordered thoughts about eating, exercising, and “health.”

Let’s look at the facts. We are in a country that demonizes certain things. Some despise fats, some love them. Other people hate carbs or bread or animal products or think too much fruit is bad. I mean there are so many diets and they all contradict. So what’s a girl to do?

KISS! Keep it simple stupid!

1. Europeans are envied in our country. How can they be so slim but eat butter and croissants and all these incredible things? They are eating intuitively. They listen to their bodies and eat real food. They go out one night and have a burger and fries and damn that milkshake was too creamy to pass up. No biggie, they eat it and next time they are hungry, they’re probably craving a salad or something lighter! Our body needs a bit of everything and cutting something out may temporarily work, but it wreaks havoc on your body and on cortisol levels. Also reference babies; they cry when they are hungry, eat/drink until they are full and get on with their day being all cute and smelly.

2. Which brings me to my next point. You stressing out about some indulgent and delicious thing you just ate is worse for you than actually eating it. Our bodies are incredibly smart but when they get stressed, cortisol levels rise and if you are already stressed about kids, work, life, school, etc., the last thing you need is to add more worry on top of that about FOOD! STOP associating food with guilt! It is something our bodies need, it is nourishment and energy!

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3. Butter and bread nourished generations before us, so why are they so demonized now? Well, because it creates a market. Those gluten free bagels you’re noshing on are making a company big bucks (this is not regarding celiacs, but realize, celiacs disease affects less than 1% of the population.) The second reason is the source these days. The USA has unfortunately been promoting GMO’s and companies like Monsanto are taking over (thanks Obama!) and infiltrating our crops. This is a whole other post, but GMO’s are bad, good nourishing whole foods are not.

4. BIO-INDI-FREAKING-VIDUALITY! We.are.all.different. You can try and look like a friend/model/figment of your imagination but there is no point. I have had friends that always ask me what I have eaten that day and when I tell them, they’re amazed. What doesn’t seem like a lot of food to me is about 2-3 times what most of them eat (and I’m the shortest one.) This used to bother me so much and I tried cutting back to what they ate. Guess where that got me? Dizzy, angry, and unproductive and it definitely wouldn’t have helped weight loss efforts if that was the goal!

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“Comparison is the thief of joy,” Theodore Roosevelt

 

link for pictures:

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthnetwork.com%2Fimages%2Farticles%2Fstressfat.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthnetwork.com%2Fadrenal-fatigue-and-stress%2Fadrenal-glands-and-stress-can-cause-weight-gain.aspx&h=200&w=560&tbnid=vnrAdyKBewEmjM%3A&zoom=1&docid=quKIgGux6huiyM&ei=K96ZVOv6B42FNp6XgOgK&tbm=isch&ved=0CCQQMygIMAg&iact=rc&uact=3&dur=1216&page=1&start=0&ndsp=40

 

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

It’s that time of the year again. Yes the Holidays but almost equally as coveted, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. This is the time of year we are indulging a little more, maybe moving a little less (I know I do! I HATE freezing my but off outside!) So what’s a girl to do? Well I’ve heard some of my friends protest that they will never eat again and start working out for at least two hours every single day. I mean you could do that, I’ll be over here on the comfy couch with my chocolate taking wagers as to how long it’ll take you to burn out. I give it a week. So realistically what can we do? How about we take a look at the cold hard facts. Shall we?

1. Those women are all at least 5’9″ and ectomorphs. They’re bodies are designed to be slim. It is even reported that Candace ate a chocolate croissant right before strutting her stuff down the catwalk. So even if you starve yourself (no buttery delicious chocolate croissants for you!) you won’t look like them. So Candace gets carbs and sugar and you get misery, sounds fun. I’m 5’2″ and a mesomorph naturally; I attempted willing my body into thinking it was an ectomorph and four years later I’m still paying the price for the mental and physical toll it took on me. Love. yourself.

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2. THEY don’t even look like that normally! Some of them have admitted to liquid fasting for days, water depleting, and exercising way more then normal for the show. Not to mention, professional tan, hair, make up, laser hair removal, beautiful outfits. Does that sound plausible to you? Even they know it is not maintainable and if you see these women on their “off-season” you’ll know that while they’re still tall and beautiful there is cellulite, a small pooch, and bedhead.

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3. It’s artwork. That’s how I look at it and why I like to watch it. It is living breathing art! Those costumes? Those wings! And oh my goodness those shoes. It’s like a fun fantasy world, nothing about it strikes me as every day life or something I would want as my every day life. So enjoy it for what it is, then move on.

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4. You are made perfectly in His divine image. I know not everyone is religious so I will not delve into this too deeply, but even if you don’t have a God or Higher Being that you believe in, it helps to think how lucky you are to be born exactly as you are. Do you have a bed, food, good health? That’s an incredible thing and not as common as we all like to believe. You are so lucky to even be. It is incredible how out of all the possibilities, you were born as you are into the family you were and at the time that you were. I don’t believe in fate per se, but certain things like being born are miracles no matter what.

So this season, I’ll be doing nothing differently because I live my life for myself and my Creator. I will curl up with my puppy and enjoy the chocolate that I eat every day as usual as I watch the show.