As most of you know by now, food and I used to have a love/hate relationship. A vicious cycle that I think a few of you can relate to. Times where I loved food and found comfort and solace in it. And times where I despised it, not wanting to even eat because of the power struggle I felt it had over me.
Thank the heavens it isn't like that anymore.
Ever since committing to veganism, I've found a much more healthy relationship with food. I stopped seeing it as something that hurt me and began seeing it as something that could heal me. I put down the dairy and other animal products and instead picked up whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. I started eating the rainbow and actually started eating enough of the rainbow to allow me to do the active things I want to do in life (i.e. ninja training, hiking, climbing, flipping, boxing, etc).
Last year around June, I took a step away from vegan eating. I say vegan eating because I was (and still am) purchasing cruelty free clothing, beauty products, and other goods (though I'm not perfect and I'm still continually working on this aspect of my life). I added eggs back into my diet as I found myself pretty drained and exhausted and believed I had a B12 deficiency. Short science lesson real quick, B12 is naturally found in dirt and soil. One way humans used to get B12 was through actually eating some of the residue dirt on vegetables (think of fungi and root veggies) and some fruits. Unfortunately, we humans have done a rather great job of stripping the soil of those nutrients and minerals. And with all the pesticides and who-knows-what-else that's being sprayed on our crops, we thoroughly clean our food and rid it of any natural dirt sources of B12. We then have to rely on animal products for B12 absorption. For vegans, that's a bit of an issue, and you hear cases of B12 deficiency all over the place. Case in point, me.
So as I said, only added eggs back into my diet. And honestly it wasn't super often. I'd make Greg and I egg scrambles full of fresh veggies and herbs on random Saturdays when I wasn't teaching danec. I dabbled in a little bit of baking and combined regular eggs and vegan "eggs" as binding agents. It made going to restaurants easier, especially non-vegan brunches (because who doesn't love a good brunch?). I felt a little spur of energy back, but I was also allowing myself to actually rest and was continually working on de-stressing practices, so it may have been a bit of a placebo effect.
Long story short, with the new year, I'm embracing veganism 100% again. I'm testing out vegan B12 supplements in hopes of finding one my body will fully absorb. Along with embracing veganism, I'm also diving headfirst into holistic ingredient healing. I know my body is still recovering from the reckless abuse I put it through all those years. I stripped my body of minerals and nutrients and while I've done a good job replenishing so far, I still want to do more. I've been experimenting with the ever trending "good gut bacteria cultivation" to help resolve digestive issues. I'm researching and looking into my family medical history, and I've found that my body is pre-disposed for high amounts of inflammation (diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol and blood pressure, certain cancers, etc...fun times).
I know I can't cure myself fully with just food and the ingredient choices I'm making. If God forbid I get diagnosed with cancer or some other terrible disease, I know I will need the help of western medicine practices. (Side but related note, I just had to have a root canal done, due to the damage I did from purging all those years. I upped anti-inflammatory ingredients in my diet and regularly started oil pulling but the damage was done and I needed professional help, which I gladly took - and it turns out the holistic work I was doing, actually made my procedure that much easier and painless...crazy huh?) But in the meantime, I want to give my body the best chance it can to pre-fight these diseases. Our bodies are really freaking smart. I spent most of my entire life fighting mine, so now I just want to work with it and give it everything I can. I'm actually really starting to genuinely enjoy my life and I want to live it the best I freaking can.
With that said, drumroll please....
I'm excited to announce that I'm collaborating with one of my best friends/college roommates, Nina (who just passed her RD exam to become a registered dietician!!!), to bring you wonderful people recipes and hack-less health tips in regards to holistic healing. Once a month (ish) we're going to break down a specific ingredient/mineral/macronutrient/micronutrient/food and discuss the science behind it. We'll talk about why our bodies need it and what the benefits of consuming it are and (the best part) share our favorite recipes so you too can more easily add them into your life!
Cooking in general has been so therapeutic in my recovery from my eating disorders. By allowing myself to just be around food in a non-restrictive manner (veganism is all about abundance and thriving yo!), I've begun to thoroughly enjoy the process of both creating and eating it. And I've been learning to dis-associate my feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness attached to food/eating as well! It has seriously changed my life for the better, and I can only hope others suffering from disordered eating can find this freedom as well.
I know veganism isn't for everyone and I promise I'm not trying to force my vegan agenda upon you (though if you want to discuss it, please feel free to reach out!) Essentially this is about healing and no longer letting food be in control. I want to help anyone willing to give this a shot with me, and if you want to add eggs or chicken or steak or real cheese or whatever animal product to these recipes, feel free to go ahead! This is a judgement free zone and I want you to find a way of eating that allows you to live your best life. I've said this before, but I'll say it again, I live with Greg, who is a carnivore. We have meats and cheeses in our house. Sometimes I even help him marinate those meats. I'm honestly just grateful he's always open to eating the way I eat, and when he wants to add chicken or fish to our dinner, I never stop him (because it's his body, not mine!).
I'm finding in my journey that you should live life the way YOU want to, not because someone else told you to live that way or because you want to make someone else happy. The only person you need to make happy in this life is yourself! So you keep doing you. If you're already thriving, I am beyond happy for you, and if you feel you aren't, keep trying alternatives. The lightbulb will go off eventually, sometimes it just takes a bit of trail and error to get there. And I should know, I'm like the freaking queen of trail and error.
So yea, that's the gist of this. I've been wanting to do this for a really long time (I actually wanted to be a food blogger but never thought I could do it) but never knew how to actually go about doing it as a series within this blog. I'm just grateful to have this platform in general and I hope you enjoy this collab as much as Nina and I already are!