I have no new recipes to report (I’m still happily chomping down the baked tofu and carnival squash I made this week) but fear not! I have a sugar pumpkin and several varieties of squash (butternut, delicata, buttercup, acorn…) I bought from a local farm stand that I have big plans for – stay tuned 🙂
Instead, I’d like to take a minute to share a few thoughts on why I started this blog/a little about me. You all know I’m a vegetarian, and I’ve always been one that lives without fear of vegetables, and love to try new things. However, it wasn’t until I began running more often and leading a more active life that my way of thinking about food became completely revolutionized. We all know that eating healthy has a positive impact on your health (there are plenty of scientific studies and papers pointing to this conclusion) but until I became active I didn’t really think about it. I was eating pretty healthy before, and I always went above and beyond to “strive for five” (if this Wegmans reference is lost on you: strive for five fruits and veggies everyday. Side note: if it is, you can go to Wegmans.com and learn about the best grocery store on the planet. And yes, it’s WAY better than Whole Foods).
As so many women experience, even though I was eating healthy the majority of the time, I still had some unhealthy views on food. I would eat to feed my feelings: chocolate when I was bummin’, potato chips when I was stressed, or I’d just really go for it with snacking to make myself feel better about life, or because I felt a deserved a treat. This all changed when I convinced my bff B to do a sprint triathlon with me in the summer of 2013. I wanted to do something challenging. I was going to the gym regularly and knocking it out of the park with boot camp, spin class, body pump, etc., but I wanted to ACHIEVE something. As my dad (whom I love, despite him being a pain in the butt ) jokingly reminds me almost every time I see him, I was not that athletic in high school (um, sorry that I was much more concerned with boys/looking cute/being a badass). He’s right though – I didn’t really care about being athletic. Until I started training: it was harder than I thought! I was completely shattered at the end of each day. My fantastic sister (and endless wealth of useful nutritional information, as she is wicked smaaaaht and has a PhD in the nutrition field) then informed me that I was not getting enough protein. And I was off my target by about 50%, I was only consuming about half of what my body needed for that level of activity. That was a wake-up call for sure! I started paying attention to what I was putting into my body, and my energy level completely did a 180. Okay, I didn’t feel like I could run a marathon after training for two hours a day, but I didn’t feel like I got hit by a truck either – I think that’s pretty normal. Then I started getting curious – what did that bowl of cereal give me, nutritionally? What do pumpkin seeds and broccoli and tofu and blackberries give me? (Do you know that one cup of broccoli has 244% of your daily value of Vitamin K and 135% of your daily value of Vitamin C? Yep, me neither until recently). It is fascinating what fruits, veggies, seeds, nuts and legumes provide in nutritional value. It blows my mind, and just goes to show that we don’t need any of that highly processed crap – nature provides us with pretty much everything we need (obvious exceptions: wine and chocolate – and those are very necessary for survival).
To go just one step further, once I started running, it really pushed me over the edge on how I saw food. When I had the realization that what I was putting into my mouth at every meal would then eventually power my legs up and down those hills in the greater Boston area, it clicked. Food = fuel. Not Food = feelings, or Food = because I’m bored, etc. Food = fuel. What you eat fuels your body and keeps it happy and working properly. I’m not perfect, and I still treat myself. Living a life of balance is key (isn’t that the truth for most things?). There is dark chocolate in my pantry and Malbec in my fridge, and yesterday my friend baked an amazing olive loaf and fresh baguette and brought some over to share, and I ate at least half of a loaf of bread, and drank wine and laughed and loved every minute of it. The point is not to be crazy about it, but conscious: we are all human. Sometimes our spirit needs a little treat. Just not all the time.
So: what I think is, eat to fuel your body. And cultivate your spirit. Look around and be amazed of what is contained in the fresh, beautiful earth-created nourishment. There are so many amazing things to do with it. And here is where I will share my food journey with you, dear friend. Stay tuned for a lot more delicious stuff coming your way. 🙂