I’ve always loved food. However, I haven’t always loved ALL food. I was a very picky eater growing up, sticking to all things white and yellow. Fake mashed potatoes, Mac & Cheese, pizza, pancakes, pasta; I loved it all and unfortunately it didn’t all love me back. Looking back on it now, I realize that my terrible moodiness wasn’t just because I was a teenager, but also because of the crazy amounts of wheat I was taking in.
I loved baked goods, such as cookies and bread. Seriously, I could have lived off of bread and butter! My eating habits worsened in college because I wasn’t willing to try new things. I never ate salad, but instead went for the hot dogs and fries with cheese sauce in the dining hall. It kind of makes me sick to think about it now!!
Once I met my honey in grad school, things began to change. He really opened my eyes to how unhealthy I was eating. I was feeling slow and sluggish, but never would have attributed it to my eating habits if he hadn’t pointed it out. He and I started making some meals together and I was finally brave enough to try chicken! I know, I know. Who makes it into their 20’s without trying chicken?!
I was still eating a lot of processed foods and definitely lots of bread, but I added in some healthier things, such as small salads and chicken breast. I also ate more fruit. I was slowly making changes and I saw results on the scale. I never really thought about losing weight; it wasn’t ever my intention to get to a certain number on the scale, but it sort of just happened as I changed my ways.
When my honey and I got married two years ago, I was at a good weight, but still a little pudgy and always bloated. I noticed a difference in my body once we were on our honeymoon. I was less bloated and happier than ever! I know, I know…I was on my honeymoon! Who wouldn’t be happy to be laying around by the pool all day and adventuring out in the evenings?
However, looking back on it, I realized that I rarely had any bread or other wheat products that week. We ate lots of corn chips and salsa and other fresh foods. I came back from Cabo a little lighter and with more energy. I also had to start cooking for the two of us once we got back, so I set about making healthier foods from healthy ingredients. I started out slow and continued to bake lots of cookies, but I kept reading more and more about healthy eating.
In May 2010, I picked up a copy of Oxygen Magazine’s special issue: Abs! This magazine changed my life. I’ve talked about how it changed my workouts in another post, so for now I’m going to focus on how it changed my eating. Looking through the magazine, there were many mentions of Eating Clean and the Eat Clean Diet from Tosca Reno. Being the curious gal that I am, I looked into this a little bit more and bought the book “The Eat Clean Diet: Recharged!”
Reading this was a huge turning point for my eating habits. It finally clicked that what I put in my body affected how my body looked and felt. I immediately started cutting back on my sugar intake and vowed to make more salads.
At some point, I found spinach. I started making very boring salads with it, but I was just glad I was eating something that was truly healthy. Then, at a friend’s house, I had a salad with carrots and strawberries…what an interesting combo I thought. Now, I absolutely LOVE putting fruit in my spinach salads! I consistently put apples, strawberries or blueberries in there, along with carrots, cucumbers and walnuts. For some reason, spinach makes me happier! I notice that I have more energy and am in a better mood on days that I include spinach in my meals. Salads can get a little boring to eat, so that’s why I try to have a green smoothie on days when I don’t feel like eating a salad.
Although I was feeling much better by eating healthier, I was still often bloated and moody. After talking with my chiropractor and my honey’s aunt about wheat and grains (neither one of them eats much of either), I was inspired to cut back on my wheat consumption in February. I started out very slowly- not having a loaf of bread with a pasta dish, eating salads instead of sandwiches for lunch, and cutting back on my toast and cereal intake.
I started to notice that I was more alert throughout the day without wheat products. It took me awhile to realize that I was also a little less uptight and not as moody. One night I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to have some toast and jelly. I ate two slices of toast and a few hours later I got into a huge fight with my honey about something stupid. I was crying and so upset (and no it wasn’t around my period!). I almost felt like my emotions were out of control. I hadn’t felt like that in a few weeks (since I cut back on wheat!). Once I made the connection, I vowed to stop eating wheat.
Since that day, I have not had any wheat products. I am a whole new person. Truly. Like another gluten-free blogger has said, I feel like I have finally met the real me.
I am so glad I found healthy eating and am so thankful for everyone in my life who has inspired me to eat healthier! I continue finding new healthy things to try and have been inspired by bloggers out there who are also living healthy lifestyles and sharing their recipes and experiences with all of us!
Have you given up a food and found that you feel better?