Nutrition has been an interest of mine for about three years now, but it’s only in the past year that I’ve really taken the reigns on my own nutrition and committed to healthy, whole, unprocessed, nutritious, plant-based (I still eat meat occasionally) foods.
My relationship with food has been one hell of an experience. If you know me, and you ask me, it’s something I can talk for hours about. Seriously. Ask at your own risk. 😛
At first, watching what I ate came hand-in-hand with “growing up”. Preparing my own breakfast, snacks, and sometimes lunches was a symbol of independence and being mature.
Then, when I had my blood taken and was told I had (slightly) high cholesterol, I became watchful that there were things I shouldn’t be eating. Cookies, sugary foods, and desserts have always been my weak spot. Although I’m lucky to have a wonderful family that always taught me to eat healthy, often organic, and unprocessed foods, and made sure I grew up around sports, there were still some things that I was not being careful about. For one, I never thought much about the specifics of what I was eating, nor was I ever too concerned about indulging in what I wanted to eat and taste.
Thus came the research. I spent days and days learning all about the proteins, carbs, how sugar is used by the body, what gluten is, how cutting out dairy could prevent breakouts, calcium, and how much of each food group to eat. I started my earliest form of food tracking in my bullet journal. I tried writing down everything I ate each day.
When that didn’t work, I downloaded numerous food tracker apps on my iPhone. They were great, but I never really cared for tracking calories, and most of them had limited foods in their databases. Then, I stopped tracking food and tried tracking macros. I made my own kind of tracker printable (I’ll share it soon!) with columns for each food group. I’d put a check mark for each serving I ate in each food group. This was extremely effective, as I realized I was eating too many grains and not enough fruits and vegetables. I finally started seeing results in my energy levels and even my appearance.
Which brings us, quite conveniently, to the lowest point in my relationship to food. My appearance. I mentioned already that I’ve always been athletic. As such, I am so proud of where my body has taken me, and I am so thankful to be whole and healthy. My self-esteem/mental health/whatevertermyouwanttouse is by no means in a healthy stage yet, but it’s come a long way. I’ve gone through stages where I’d avoid wearing something because I felt I had a belly (everyone does!), to hating myself after eating because said belly had expanded (it’s got a function, duh!), to compulsively obsessing (I don’t much care for labels but I’m 100% convinced I’ve bordered on OCD before) over what I ate and whether it was too much, too little, too sugary, bad for me, etc. etc.
And to the teenage girl reading this right now with a lump in her throat because she’s been through the same (or is currently going through this), know that you are not alone. Heck, every single person has insecurities. Dumb insecurities, too, that do not merit even a second of your beautiful, gorgeous body’s time.
And so this is yet another thing I can talk for hours about. Suffice it to say, we’ve been through a lot, food and I, as everyone who’s had a relationship with food (which I hope IS everyone) would understand.
Today, though I’ve grown so much in my knowledge of food and what works for my body, I still keep track of what I eat. After trying many systems (including food-tracking apps!), what I currently do is take photos of everything I eat. It might seem obsessive, but I know it’s not, and it serves so many purposes for me, so to heck with those who judge.
Taking photos helps me:
- Know what caused sickness or bloating
- Track whether I eat enough of each food group
- Track how much food I eat throughout the day to avoid excessive snacking (which I’m prone to)
- Get recipe ideas
Did someone say recipe ideas?
I feel like I’m always at a loss when it comes time to actually prepare something to eat, and being a picky eater too doesn’t help. So, while on my flight back from Scotland three days ago, I compiled this Bullet Journal spread of tons and tons of fantastic recipe ideas!
I’ve divided it up into several categories. First is “Yummy Ingredients”. I write down any awesome, hearty ingredients I’ve been digging lately. It also functions as a shopping list of my favourite raw foods!
Next I’ve got “Snacks” – both raw and prepped! These are healthy ideas of what I can munch on if I’m ever hungry! I always listen to my body if it’s craving something, but I choose nutritious, healthy options.
The next page is a list of full-on meal ideas. Breakfast (my favourite!), sandwiches, salads, soups, and dinner meal ideas.
As for actual recipes, I usually just Google what I want and pick out the recipes with ingredients I like and with a lot of high reviews. However, there are a couple of blogs that I absolutely love and sometimes I go directly to them! I’ll update this list as I remember more!
Cookie and Kate – wholesome vegetarian recipes
Joy the Baker – yummy comfort recipes
100 Days of Real Food – healthy food for picky eaters
Hope you enjoyed, and feel free to add some of these ideas to your personal recipe idea box, whatever form it may take!