I’m not a Vegetarian!! But…

Let’s get something straight here: I love red meat. It would be fair to say that until now, I would even say that I couldn’t live without red meat (not LITERALLY, because obviously I could SURVIVE without red meat; I just wouldn’t WANT to). God gave us dominion over all the other living creatures on the earth – and commanded us to subdue the earth (Genesis 1:28). Based on that, my opinion is that we are supposed to eat the animals. 🙂

Moving on… The past few months – what with holidays and January being our busiest birthday month – I have not been making healthy choices when it comes to eating. Rather, just grabbing what’s on hand, what the kids don’t eat, or what’s easiest and fastest to make. Especially lacking was my intake of vegetables, which I normally don’t have an issue with.

Yesterday I tried an experiment. I wanted to eat mostly fruits and veggies yesterday just to see if I could – and to see how I felt. (I work in a restaurant, you see, and I am used to accommodating pretty much every allergy, preference, or desire when it comes to food. Let’s just say it has made me very aware of current health food ‘trends’.) I am a HUGE believer in ‘everything in moderation’. Extremists in any form are not healthy.

As an aside, here are some quick examples of the things I’m referencing:
*Juicing: Like, ONLY drinking homemade juice from fruits and veggies.
*Vegetarians: You know this one.
*Vegans: Hopefully you know this too – no animal by-products.
*Organics: If it isn’t natural or certified organic, don’t eat it.
*Organic Vegetarians: No meats, and produce has to be local and organic only.
*Celiac’s or Gluten-Intolerant (yes, they’re different): No gluten whatsoever. This is also separate from…
*Low Carb: exactly what it sounds like.
*Low-fat or Fat-free: Again… self-explanatory.
*No preservatives or food coloring: this isn’t so much a diet as it is just being particular about ingredients, how foods are made, etc.
*The SuperFood diet: focusing on eating only those foods that are SUPER high in nutrients. (Of course the biggest trend right now is… you guessed it… Kale.)

Okay, so looking at all of these, you can see why anyone can be overwhelmed trying to figure out what is “healthy” and what’s the best to eat. If you took the extreme version of each of the above ‘diets’ or trends, your options would basically be… A BIG FAT NOTHING.

Here’s my take: None of these are necessarily BAD, or necessarily BETTER than another. Everyone’s genetics and body type and possibly allergies are different. You have to choose what works best for YOU (and in some cases, what’s best for your family). I know plenty of people who’ve said they do not have Celiac’s, and they aren’t necessarily gluten-intolerant, but they feel like they have much more energy and sometimes a reduction in rashes or other weird symptoms now that they’ve cut out gluten than before they did so. SO – we should stop judging each other’s choices, and just start choosing what works for us – and not feel guilty about it.

The only problem with that is… I was saying “everything in moderation”, but since I didn’t have any clearly defined limits, I wasn’t eating very balanced meals. Part of this was time constraints, but part of it was just lack of planning and laziness.

So on to the experiment. After yesterday I felt EXCELLENT. I mean I had high energy, I was in a great mood, and I felt confident and happy about my food choices. I also feel like I gave the best service I’m capable of at work.

What did I eat, you ask?
Breakfast: Eggs Florentine: sautéed spinach and tomatoes with over-easy eggs and 2 pieces of wheat toast. Water.
Snack: Banana with chocolate chips (I guess I’m still a chocoholic).
Lunch: Grapes and cherry tomatoes, half an apple.
Dinner: Some reheated lean chicken breast.
At work: I felt so good about my choices that I splurged and had 2 potato skins (cheddar, bacon, green onion, and lots of tomatoes. Gosh, I ate a lot of tomatoes yesterday. ha.)
Late-night snack: glass of white wine and a couple cubes of cheddar cheese.

I don’t know if it was a placebo effect, or if it was actually the increased intake of veggies and fruit, but either way I did feel better.

So… we’re going to continue the trend. I’m not being an extremist – I have a beef roast planned for Thursday’s dinner – but I am going to try to focus on eating more fruits and vegetables in the beginning portion of the day, so by the time I get to dinner I don’t feel so guilty and weighed down. I’m also going to try a new categorical system for the foods we eat. (You’ll hear more about this in the next Honest Mom feature!) It helps that the hubs is ready to go back to eating healthier too. And it can only mean good things for our kids!

What’s been your nutrition journey?

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