Maybe this is just the nutrition weirdo in me, but I consider a person’s relationship with food to be extremely important. Not just for health reasons, but also because it defines how you perceive the innate human activity of eating, which is something we spend a lot of time doing. If we’re being honest, our relationship with food dictates our moods and essentially, our overall happiness. Now maybe I’m being a little over dramatic here. Obviously there are other parts of our lives that contribute to our happiness. But you get what I’m saying.
Today I’m doing a mini post on how my relationship with food has evolved since I started college, when my nutrition education began. I have a pretty busy week ahead, so I don’t have time to do a heavily-researched, science-based post. But I was thinking about this subject today and I think it’s cool to share because there really has been a major shift in my mindset over the past 4 years. My hope is that you who are reading this may be encouraged to educate yourself even more about nutrition, and see how it changes your life. It really will lead to a happier, healthier you.
To say I had an unhealthy relationship with food in high school would be a huge understatement. I saw food as a necessary evil. A temptation that I was always worrying about succumbing to. I felt like no matter what I did, I could never eat healthily. It was just too difficult. I also really valued foods that were “shortcuts” to health. I would try the fad diets or the latest products and hope that it would make me look and feel better. I always needed my meals to be convenient, and I rarely cooked. I usually focused on 2 things when looking at a nutrition label: calories and protein. (The more protein the better, right?…) (Foods that had lower calories were automatically way better than the foods that were more calorie-dense.) Because of these feelings I had towards food, I was not only unhealthy, but I was seriously unhappy. I was setting myself up for failure every day by seeing food as something negative and emotion-dependent, rather than the wonderful, biologically-necessary thing that it is! Food felt like something I had no control over, despite my efforts. Fortunately, this negative mindset eventually led me down a winding road to my nutrition career!
Ok, now for the happy part of this story. Throughout the past four years, I have learned so much about nutrition, especially the science behind it. Because of this, I began to look at food in a more scientific way, rather than an emotional way. It became something that my body needed to perform daily functions and to live a long and healthy life, not something that was always holding me back. I learned the logic behind why we’re supposed to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and all of the other things we’re constantly told to do but don’t really know why. Being educated about these things made me want to put healthy food in my body every day. It was no longer a burden to choose what I ate. Instead, it was an exciting opportunity.
While I used to “measure” my meals’ health by calories, I now look to see how many nutrient-dense foods I’m getting in each meal. Am I getting my 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day? Am I getting the proper proportions of macronutrients? How are the foods on my plate helping my body? I also have a new appreciation for where food is coming from and how it’s being prepared. After working in a garden and taking a class solely about sustainable food systems, I really consider sustainability when it comes to food. I also have a new appreciation for the time, effort, love, and care that goes into making a meal. I’ve learned that food isn’t something that should always be quick and convenient, and time spent preparing food is an investment in yourself and time well spent.
If you feel like you can relate to the pre-college me, please reach out! I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, and provide you with some guidance and encouragement to get you where you want to be! The goal of My Food Farmacy is to spread the truth about nutrition and help others to become the healthiest and happiest versions of themselves. Educating yourself about nutrition is crucial in order to have a healthy relationship with food. So keep reading this blog and other credible nutrition sources!