Ten years ago, I thought nothing of hitting up a fast food restaurant to fill the needs of my hungering body. In fact, the only thing I truly considered when selecting an eating establishment was whether or not they served good fries and burgers. The calories and fat content within the foods I was eating was irrelevant to me because I felt like exercising as I did at that time gave me the license to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I lived that way until about 18-months ago when I saw “Food Inc.” Yes, that’s correct, the catalyst for my change was gleaned from a controversial documentary on the American food industry.
Now, before you start believing that I live my life under the influence of external factors, understand that I always do my own research (as should any intelligent individual, “Food Inc.” didn’t offer the final word on my decision to change my lifestyle dramatically, it merely offered a jumping off point.
My personal attention to the information that fell into my hands daily (i.e. nutritional labels, news reports, and focused literature addressing concerns on obesity—particularly amongst children) helped seal the deal. Once I truly started paying attention to the information on what I was eating, and what I was giving to my family, it became difficult to look away from the facts.
I knew I needed to start being more aware of food choices not only for myself, but for my children as well. That said, however, where my children would be easier to mold in the way of this life I have chosen (I am mostly vegetarian by this point), my husband is still not willing to give up his meat eating ways, and I am okay with that decision.
Quite honestly, philosophically, I am not opposed to eating meat. I just find that my body operates in a more efficient way with less meat in my diet. By no means do I enforce that rule upon either my husband or my children. What I do is offer them options that are still healthy, but that do not interfere with their desire to still eat the foods they love.
Despite what some who are strictly vegan/vegetarian will tell you, there are plenty of ways to live healthily while still eating meat.
For my part, I have lessened the occurrence of meals served using red meat or pork as I have found that ground turkey is a fine substitute for many dishes. As far as red meat goes, if I do use it, I stick to the leanest cuts I can find.
Other changes I’ve found easy to make are swapping almond milk for cows milk, vegan butter for regular butter, and whole grain flour for white. As a rule, no pastas or breads are purchased if they are not of the whole grain variety, and sodas are a no-no for either one of my children.
The changes I’ve made have been incremental, but they stick because they aren’t too intrusive. I’ve found that as long as the food tastes good, few complain.
My point here is that any decision to live healthily is as much about being aware of what your body takes in for fuel as you are about keeping that body fit. You would never put diesel fuel into a gas operated vehicle, right? Of course not. Our bodies, in my opinion, use that same principle.
Use the fuel that maximizes what you want your body to do—whether you love weight training, running or aerobics—because, at the end of the day, you only get out what you put in.