If I’ve ever cooked for you, you know I tend to create pretty fresh, nutritious meals. Some staples in my kitchen are quinoa, oats, beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, berries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, flax seeds and nut butters. I enjoy healthy eating. Since I’ve become an “adult” I have had fun cooking meals that will help nourish me and those I love.
My intent to eat healthy went overboard a few years ago, however. I became more and more interested in nutrition, and figured that the healthier I ate, the healthier I’d be, the happier I’d be, and the better I’d look. I swore off eating almost any sweet, including even just one piece of chocolate. I’d avoid any situation that would require me to eat food that I deemed unhealthy. When people would say, “You only live once!” I would say, “Yes, but I want to live a healthy, long life!” Looking back, my interest became a bad habit the minute that thinking about “unhealthy food” started to give me incredible anxiety.
I remember a few years ago my mom came to visit me at college for my birthday. She brought a red velvet cake that she had baked, and I cried, or felt like crying, I can’t remember. It made me really anxious because I did not want to eat it. Now, I am so ashamed to think about that. It is not healthy to be that upset or anxious about eating birthday cake.
In preparation for my teacher training at 502 Power Yoga, I’ve been reading through 40 Days to Personal Revolution by Baron Baptiste, the founder of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. In this book, he gives diet recommendations that are helpful for identifying your individual body’s needs. While advocating an overall nutritious diet, he does say this:
“…over-thinking gets in the way of our natural intuition. If we spend too much time thinking or worrying about what we eat, no matter how healthy, it ruins our enjoyment of food and causes problems in our heads and our bellies.”
Amen. I can attest to that. I used to be so worried about having a healthy body that I didn’t have a healthy body or mind.
Over the last couple years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, not necessarily my knowledge, when it comes to eating. I’ll intuit when my body wants protein after a hard workout, or a sweet potato instead of oatmeal in the morning to get me going; it’s pretty smart if I listen to it. Most of the time I make healthy snacks and treats, so I can enjoy flavors I love while still reaping nutritional benefits. But, I occasionally have ice cream, too, and enjoy it. My wedding cake was so delicious that I had Nick feed me two bites, and had a slice at the reception. I think it’s important to eat what makes you feel good and function well physically, but also to enjoy a cookie or piece of cake on special occasions.
If you’re interested in these healthy treats that I make, be on the lookout because there’s going to be another post coming soon!