But I am Eating Healthy, Right?!?Aug 31, 2019
I grew up on a farm in Iowa where we considered corn to be a vegetable. I never ate an avocado until I was well into my 20’s. Brussels sprouts?? I probably didn’t try until closer to the age of 30. And I was a victim of the whole low-fat, low-calorie craze.
My mom is an excellent cook, but looking back I realize that we never really had balanced healthy meals. Sweet salads are a thing in the midwest - Snicker Salad, Cookie Salad, Mandarin Orange Salad were all a staple at every potluck and family gathering. These resemble more of a dessert than a salad! Our snacks as kids consisted of Little Debbie Snack Cakes and a pop every afternoon. The ’80s and ’90s were all about fat-free, artificial sugars, counting calories, microwave convenience, and following the food pyramid for food guidelines and recommendations. It was when I went off to college in 2000 that these bad habits and miseducation about nutrition started to catch up with me.
The Freshman 15...
I was always lean in high school. My family is a smaller build and I was active in a few extra-curricular activities. I even worked at the local Pizza Ranch where we got to eat for free when we worked. I ate soooo much pizza, dessert pizza, breadsticks, cheese balls, chicken strips, broasted chicken those couple of years. And, of course, everything was drenched in ranch dressing! Thankfully I had that quick, teenager metabolism. And then I went off to college…….
Food Quality vs Calories
Like I mentioned earlier, my mom is an excellent cook! She taught me to cook from a very early age. In the summer she would pair each of the kids up and we would be responsible for cooking a meal for the family 1 day a week. We could pick whatever we wanted to cook from the cookbook, she would buy the groceries, and then leave us in the kitchen to figure out how to read the recipe and prepare the meal. It was a great learning experience! However, the college dorm life leaves little opportunity for cooking. And the food in the cafeteria was not great. Often my roommate and I would go to late-night dining - build your own pizza and breadsticks (my pizza-making skills from the Pizza Ranch came in handy :P ). I used to think that a bag of microwave popcorn and peanut M&M’s were a “healthy” meal option (WHAT?!?!).
Once I moved off campus, I can’t say my food selections improved much. I remember many times pizza rolls or hamburger helper were my go-to meals. 100 calorie packs and fat-free were all the rage around this time. I assumed that if I just fueled my body with these items, then I wouldn’t gain weight, right? WRONG! Friends, 100 calories of cookies and 100 calories of spinach offer completely different nutritional benefits! And have you looked at the back of that low-fat ranch dressing? It most likely has way more carbs, more sodium, and some questionable ingredients in it than the full fat ranch!
After college, I moved to Denver, Colorado. I was still focused on low calories. Lean Pockets, Lean Cuisines, Baked Lays, and 100 calorie yogurt were my lunch staples while working at the hospital. I was cooking better meals for supper. But still not fueling my body properly. My friends and I would pass around the bottle of Tums whenever we were at social events. (FYI this is not normal! Especially for 20-something-year olds). I was able to drop those college pounds but that was through exercise, not diet. However, I was experiencing a lot of negative GI symptoms with my exercise. I started to correlate different foods that were impacting my system negatively (more to come on that in another post).
Inflammation and Gut Health
Fast forward to 2015 and being introduced to Arbonne’s nutrition products. Having been a skincare product user for a decade, I didn’t know a nutrition line even existed! I was hesitant to try the protein powder as the ones I had tried in the past were gritty and gross. I was pleasantly surprised at this one! I eventually decided that I could commit to a 7 day cleanse and elimination diet with Arbonne (but no more than7!). In 7 days, I noticed a huge change! I felt great by day 4, had less bloating, and had more energy! Oh, and sleep was amazing! I was having very vivid dreams and woke up feeling well-rested. I did the 7 day cleanse a few more times over the course of the year and finally decided to commit to a full 30 day reset. What a treat to give your body!!! I was really seeing and feeling the positive impact of eliminating foods that were addictive, acidic, and allergenic. Inflammation greatly decreased and I wasn’t experiencing as many GI symptoms with exercise.
Learning how my body positively responded by eliminating foods that can cause inflammation inspired me to help others understand and build a positive relationship with food. I meet my clients where they are in their journey and provide support. Discovering what fuels you and what can cause a negative response is a big step towards living your best, healthiest life!
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