This month I am participating in my local gym’s “Mindful Eating In May” food challenge. The goal is to track what you eat for a month and observe the choices we make, our eating patterns and the way that makes us feel (physically or emotionally). If you have been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I feel very strongly about making mindful food choices – eating healthy, and knowing where your meat comes from. Because this is something that I am very passionate about, I felt compelled to share my story.
Several years ago I had some minor health issues. I had terrible anxiety, I ate lots of processed food and I felt nauseous all day every day. Food was not my friend, it had become my enemy. I never felt good and I lost a lot of weight (not in a good way). After getting married I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook. I wasn’t very good at it to start but luckily I had a lot of help. I fell in love with cooking, and more importantly I fell in love with food!
In an effort to figure out what was going on with me, I spent a lot of time researching nutrition (I could tell you more about the digestive system than you ever want to know!) I started a 30 day elimination diet and a food journal. I eliminated processed food, sugar, dairy and gluten. I swapped out all my skin care and house cleaning products for natural versions. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but I discovered so much about myself and began to feel amazing!
What I learned was that food isn’t just calories, its information. We are either helping our body or we are hurting our body. I began to discover how to eat best for me personally, and not what the newest diet trend told me. I figured out which foods made me feel energized and which made me feel sluggish. I understood that it was okay to indulge every now and then, I will never have a “perfect” diet. I also realized that wellness wasn’t just about how we feel physically, but also our mental and spiritual well-being. I started practicing yoga, getting outside, and hunting.
Since I began practicing yoga and hunting, my idea of “mindful eating” has transformed and continues to evolve. I strive to eat with intention, gratitude and full consciousness. It’s important to me to know where my meat comes from and what it was eating. After all, you are what you eat, eats. Most factory farmed meat is fed on a diet of corn, synthetic vitamins and then pumped with hormones and antibiotics.
I am really, really blessed to be able to hunt all of my own meat. I certainly have so much more appreciation for meat after spending the time hunting and cleaning it! I can count on one hand how many times I have bought meat from a grocery store in the last year, and each time left me with guilt. In no way am I trying to promote the idea that everyone needs to go out and hunt if they want to eat clean meat, that’s totally unrealistic. But, I do want to inspire others to reach out to your local CSA, choose organic grass-fed when possible, include more vegetarian meals in your diet, or just take a moment and show gratitude before your next meal.
It has been a while since I have written in a food journal. I just came off my birthday month in which I overindulged in sweets and alcohol so by no means is my diet anywhere close to perfect. I am excited to track what I eat and challenge the way I feel, mentally and physically. Starting a food journal is also a great way to get inspired in the kitchen and start cooking more! Feel free to join me this month and let me know how your experience goes!