Food for Thought: TOL #13

Hello, how has everyone’s week been so far? Ready for a long weekend?? I am! I have a lot to try and get ahead on since I will be working all next weekend at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC! Woooo. It should be fun and nice to be home!
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So today my thoughts for this Thinking Out Loud (thanks Amanda) are a little different than usual… focused on food/diet/health. Last night we had presentations in my nutrition and behavior class that got me thinking. We had about 15 presentations all on different topics. I did my own on “The Gluten Free Craze” addressing what it is, reasons behind going gluten free, who really needs to, and why I believe if you do not NEED to for medical reasons (with seeing a doctor/specialist) I do not believe it is good for one’s health and can actually be harmful.

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Some other topics were: paleo, non athlete diets, vegetarian athlete diets, insulin, vegalife, anorexia nervosa, and “clean” eating vs macro counting, and more.

I was surprised to find no one in my class fell under the paleo diet and we all believe that cutting out entire food groups is not beneficial long term. The focus on whole foods- veggies and lean meats/protein is good but cutting out grains and dairy for no reason but to “eat like cavemen?” Well if that’s the reason most cavemen didn’t have eggs either… I’m not trying to criticize what many people have found to boost their health and help them loose weight BUT what I can’t wrap my head around is why so many people feel the need to LABEL their diet (or just food intake) and restrict so much. I often hear things like I’m vegan I can’t eat that or I eat paleo and can’t eat that; but what they really mean is I choose not to eat that and why not just say no. Say I do not want to eat that and personally I don’t think you should be questioned, but when you say can’t it opens up others wanting to know why exactly you cannot physically consume something (unless you really can’t for example celiac or other people with allergies that can be life threatening).

I have my own food intolerances, I understand the can’t, and I do not eat meat (if we need to get specific like so many people need to contradict me on… I am specifically pescatarian and do not eat red meat or poultry) but I have stopped going around saying I can’t eat this or that, instead I focus on what I love to eat, what I want to eat, and what makes me feel good.

I do not like meat, never have been a big fan, so I choose not to eat it. I also have strong environmental beliefs so I feel bad when I did eat it for sustainability reasons and there are plenty of other sources of protein that I do consume.

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When I was first diagnosed with a fructose intolerance, about a year ago, I felt so confused and lost. Everyone around me was like wow you can’t eat anything. You’ll be living off leaves… etc, etc. Well, that’s not true. It is not the end of the world and yes I still make mistakes here and there but I have learned so much about my body through the process. It was only 4-6 weeks ago that I FINALLY stopped focusing on what I couldn’t eat and since then have felt so much better and enjoyed things so much more.

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Before that I kept focusing on the things I couldn’t have, one serving of bread/gluten a day, only low sugar fruit, limit cruciferous veggies, no honey, no agave, no sucrose, no sorbitol… the list goes on and on. Well you know what, those pieces of paper don’t know my own body. We each have our own limit, no I cannot eat HFCS but I didn’t have much of that anyways but being “diagnosed” I become focused on not eating any of the things on that list that it was stressing me out. I would eat my breakfast and be like shoot no more gluten today… well, what did I crave all day? Bread, pretzels, pita chips, crackers, etc.

I am not going out of my way to eat things that I shouldn’t but I have found that since I am not focusing on what I cannot have I don’t want those things as much or at all… shocker right? (not) I am finally starting to feel normal again, sure I occasionally eat something I shouldn’t and sure enough my stomach lets me know as it balloons and rumbles in discomfort, but that is life. I don’t spend every day feeling this way and I eat what I want.

In conclusion, you could label my diet as so many things but what I want to focus on is enjoyment and just eating what I want. I don’t eat meat because I don’t want to. I still eat eggs not because I’m NOT vegan but because I eat them when I want them. I eat fat free dairy because I love yogurt/cereal/frozen yogurt because fat containing dairy makes me feel really sick and I find this stuff good (I don’t remember what the full fat variety tastes like). I eat big salads and lots of cruciferous veggies because I like them, red peppers do not bother me even though they are on the fructose no list. I also eat a lot of fruit because I like fruit/sugar 🙂 and its better than just face planting into desserts all day. Lastly, I eat dessert daily- I work hard running and in school and love dark chocolate (health benefits=bonus) and love frozen yogurt so I’m gonna let myself eat it every day while I’m young and active… it is so sad how young these restriction diets/disorders are starting and will mess up his/her metabolism for life.

We need to eat what we enjoy and eat enough to fuel life and happiness!
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7 thoughts on “Food for Thought: TOL #13

  1. Love this and ditto to pretty much everything you said. I feel like people are getting a little too crazy when it comes to analyzing their diets and subjecting themselves to so many self-imposed rules. They think they’re doing themselves a favour by paying so much attention to what they eat, when in reality the stress and constant worrying is probably doing them more harm than good. Eating is simple… it really doesn’t require so much analysis.

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    1. Yess! The stress is awful and it bothers me so much when there are people out there that actually cannot consume certain things and those people choose not to but say they cannot. I don’t mind if you don’t like something but just say that and enjoy what you do like, it should be simple!

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  2. This is such a great post! I am constantly trying to tell my family I just don’t like certain foods I did as a child haha and as hard as it is for them to process I think they are finally accepting that no I do not think I am not allowed to have certain things like milk chocolate, I just don’t like the taste of it! (I love dark chocolate now haha).

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    1. It really shouldn’t have to be justified if you don’t like something and people so often revert to I can’t… dark chocolate is awesome 🙂 I really like a couple dark chocolate espresso beans in the morning!

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  3. That nutrition class sounds awesome! Especially because everyone is on the same page about eating whole foods versus cutting out food groups! I didn’t know you were allergic to fructose!! I don’t know what I’d do without fruit!! What exactly happens if you eat fructose?

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    1. It really is a cool class; doesn’t count towards my major or minor but I had plenty of room for electives and I really enjoy it! I’m fructose intolerant so it doesn’t digest normally. It is a trigger for my UC by causing digestive distress as well as symptoms like bloating (my stomach balloons when I consume too much of it or products with high concentrations… the test involved a 20 oz can of coke and it was AWFUL), I feel really lethargic, gassy, general discomfort, and my stomach will make weird gurgling sounds and when I put my hand on my stomach I can feel things moving like not digesting correcting. The components irritate the lining of the part of the digestive track and break through the walls… it’s not fun! I can have low sugar fruits (berries are okay) and other fruits in small amounts. Cherries and papaya are on the no go list but I have found for myself if I have a few pieces of either at a time I am okay.

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  4. I couldn’t agree more.

    I’ve never liked meat and stopped eating it when I was 8 or 9 but can’t stand when people force their food preferences on one another. We’re all different and we all deserve to eat what we crave and enjoy– labeling our diets and setting strict “rules” only leads to disordered thoughts (at least that’s what I experienced).

    xox

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