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Monday, March 31, 2014

Real Talk, Real Food

Like most women, I have had a complicated relationship with food my entire adult life. Don't get me wrong: I love food. I love everything about it. I love making it. I love reading about it. I love collecting recipes I'll never make. I love smelling it. I love serving people something I've made with my own two hands. I love eating. I love it all.

But somewhere after college and before 30, things started to go a little sideways.

So, let's get honest.

I was never body conscious growing up. I was a ballerina for most of my childhood and adolescent years; about 20 years as a practiced, tried and true dancer. Most, if not all of my confidence came with my skill and ability. I was (am?) a naturally good dancer. And because of that confidence, and hours of time spent at the dance studio, I never once flinched in the mirror at myself.

It wasn't until somewhere in my late teens/early twenties that I started to worry about my weight. I worried, but didn't really act on any of those thoughts. I don't think that I'm alone in that I had plenty of comments thrown my way about what I look like... Either by family, friends, acquaintances. Hell, even strangers. Women's bodies have long been up for public forum. Which is an entirely different topic, and I'm sure fodder for another post.

Nonetheless, slowly but surely, my confidence started to take a hit. Somewhere in my mid-to-late twenties, my waning confidence became pressure to improve myself. Some of this was due to a not-so-fantastic relationship I was in, but it was mostly due to the not-so-fantastic relationship I was having with myself. So this pressure, coupled with my intense perfectionism and Type-A personality manifested into a very structured and disordered way of eating.

In short: I starved myself.

*deep breath*

I starved myself and whatever I DID eat was quickly washed away (or so I thought) with laxatives and copious amounts of water and coffee.

This went on for roughly 3 years.

Coming out of that lifestyle and mindset is quite difficult. It takes therapy, patience, great friends, supportive family and re-learning the role that food plays in your life. I still struggle. But, it's bearable.

Fast forward to today, and what this post is truly about: food = health. About 5 months ago, I started experiencing this horrible, sharp yet dull, achy feeling under my left ribcage. It made it hard to take a deep breath. It definitely made it hard to eat a full meal. And it made me damn uncomfortable ALL. THE. TIME. After a dozen doctor's appointments, X-Rays and CAT scans, a brief (benign) tumor scare, and a few visits to a specialist, the culprit behind all this pain was one pissed off stomach. The entire organ was blood-red (it should be pink), swollen (it should NOT be swollen) and really, really mad. So mad that it couldn't get un-mad. There was no 'medical' reason why. No ulcers. No cancer (thank goodness). No celiac disease.

Just...you know, mad.

So after a month of 'prescribed' Prilosec with zero result, I took matters into my own hands. I had a chat with my super-awesome doctor friend and she suggested (as I thought), that my issues might be due to some food allergies, coupled with the damage I had inflicted upon my own digestive system years prior (this was my guess...she confirmed the possibility in a very gentle and caring manner). I did some research on 'allergy elimination diets' and jumped into it.

Two weeks in of no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no soy, no nightshades and some various other 'no's,' and I'm feeling better than I've felt in... Well. A long time. I'm eating good, pure, REAL food and my body is happy. My stomach, for the most part, is happy. And you know what? Unplanned and unbeknownst to me, I've lost a surprising amount of weight. I add this in for one point only: what is it about what we eat that makes your body hold onto excess weight? Certainly, there has to be something hiding in the overly-processed convenience foods we all know and love so much (seriously: cheeseburgers ALL DAY).

It's a mystery I plan on diving into as I learn more and more about what my body does and does not like.

All this writing for the simple point of loving yourself. It's hard out there for a pimp woman. If there is one thing you take from my ramblings... take this: be good to your body. Now.

And if you want to know more about what I'm eating (because, let's face it: you have to get creative when all you can eat is lean protein, veggies, fruit and brown rice), holler at your girl.


  1. I'd love to know what you're eating! I am not a huge fan of food myself, allergic to yeast, and hate to cook. I live on strange things. Corn chips and pico de Gallo mostly. Love. Hate. Food.

    1. Fo sho!

      Shoot me an email: am.writesstuff@gmail.com

      I'll send you a few recipes that aren't so snooze-worthy.