Why do you eat what you eat? What shaped your food choices?
These were questions that I recently asked myself, and I figured that I could bring you on a trip down memory lane with me.
I was raised to eat conveniently, as healthy as fast food could be. About once every two weeks, I remember going to McDonalds with my parents, and they would always order a 6 piece Chicken McNuggets for me, with chocolate milk and apple slices.
On school nights, a typical “Chinese” dinner would include bone broth (made by my dad every Sunday for the rest of the week), white rice, meat (steamed fish or baked chicken) and sautéed veggies. Alternatively, we might have an “Italian” dinner with spaghetti with meat sauce, carrots, and peas. On weekends, my dad would cook an “American” meal, starting with the daily bone broth, and complete with mashed potatoes, ribs, and corn. We would always end meals with dessert–fresh fruit. My parents, both working, raised me on food that they felt was balanced and healthy, and that took half an hour to prepare.
However, I would always crave “healthy” snacks like sweet potato chips, string cheese, purple corn tortilla chips with guacamole, or greek yogurt. After school, I would gorge myself with these snacks, sometimes eating half a bag of veggie chips, or five cheese sticks. It was an unhealthy obsessions that would occur Monday through Friday as my self “reward” for a tiring day at school.
My mom, discovering that the family size chip bags she bought were finished in a couple days, realized that my excessive snacking was unhealthy. She encouraged me to control my portions, but I did little to change this.
Meanwhile, I was always the “healthy girl” among my friends at school, because of my sandwiches and salads for lunch, and my obsession with organics. Looking back, I realize that I was a hypocrite! While I seemed to be a healthy eater, I covered up the fact that I was binge-eating snacks, and my portion control was atrocious. My excuse was that-at least the snacks were “healthy”-they weren’t fried potato chips or brownies.
During the summer between middle school and high school, I became a full-fledged pescetarian, due to the horrors of animal slaughter that I had learned about through documentaries, Youtube videos, and research on PETA.
Admittedly, I did not change my obsessive snack habit until high school, when I would eat all my meals at school, and not have access to the bounty of snacks I had at home. Instead, after school, I would eat one KIND bar, and/or a handful or crackers. Only when the snacks were out of sight did I put them out of my mind.
At the beginning of high school, I also met my now-best friend (and other half of this blog!) Stephanie. She was “the healthy girl”, instead of me, and I could not compete with her. I couldn’t understand how she found salads -without avocados-appealing. Later, her influence rubbed off on me, and I began eating more and more salads. Now, I have noticed that I don’t binge eat on snacks as often, and I am used to eating more raw foods in meals.
What I have learned from my health journey is this:
- Out of sight, out of mind–if the unhealthy food is inconvenient to obtain, you will be less likely to consume them
- Just because other people are eating it, doesn’t mean that you have to–learn to resist!
- Find someone/something to motivate you–support from a friend helps a lot!
Hopefully, my journey is inspirational or relatable to you. Share your thoughts in the comments!