I am about to try to encourage you via horrifying you with my own personal history.
I was talking to my dear diva friend, Julie D, on Friday evening and the comment came up from another friend that where I am now on my trail of foodie-ing has been a long path, a.k.a. I didn’t get to my current food beliefs overnight nor have I always viewed food in the manner that I do now.
Some people read my blog or speak with me about food and they want to change what they’re doing, but they see that there are so many things you can do out there and then give up from being totally overwhelmed at the vastness of it all. Let me say to you with an arm swung triumphantly across my body, “Do not give up!”
Let me tell you my horrifying little secrets.
While it is true that now I eat things that I make at home, organic things, made from scratch-y things, kombucha-y things, this was not even on the radar in my late youth and early adulthood.
Do you know what I was known for in high school?
This is rather embarrassing.
I was known for…drinking…Mountain Dew. Yeah, you know - the stuff that has no food ingredient and is made mostly of butane and other drastic chemicals?
In fact, since I was on the swim team, we were banned from eating sugar during the season. Unfortunately for me, the swim season spanned across Halloween – or as I now call it, Crackoween – the time of the year where kind neighbors distribute sugar narcotics to small children…and older ones, too. Since I usually do follow the rules, I would go Trick-or-Treating, save my gigantic pillowcase of cracky candy in my bedroom closet and leave it there until the last swim meet of the year had ended. At this point, I would run to my room, throw open the closet, snatch out the pillowcase of preservative-laden sugar, sit on my bed and eat at least half of the bag. I looked like a homeless vagrant – surrounded in a leaf pile of candy wrappers, fingers sticky with the saccharine-sweet candy, my smiling expression covered in brown gooey chocolate as I neared a joyful coma-like state.
Also, I’ve always loved tea. Nice, proper, strong black tea. I take it with milk, of course (like any civilized person ought). When I was in high school, I also took it with about five lumps of sugar. FIVE. This is not a joke.
This was until my uncle encouraged me to try it for two weeks without sugar. He told me if I did, I’d begin to like it that way and never go back (it was how he took his tea – and my grandmother, too.). I did it to humor him, thinking that I could accept the challenge and then proudly say that I would love to go back and actually add about ten more lumps of sugar after being put through intense suffering such as that. But…well. I was wrong. I liked it just fine. And now I won’t take it any other way. Thanks, Uncle Gary! You probably gave me about ten more years on to my life span.
Not only did I (beyond) indulge myself in straight up sugar (and low-quality chocolates), I also did many other unthinkable things, like EAT AT MCDONALD’S. And Taco Bell. And Frosted Flakes! And Pop Tarts, Twinkies, the ever-lovely orange processed American cheese, Pepsi, “Fruit” Roll-Ups, Franco-American Spaghetti-O’s, Stove Top, King’s Hawaiian rolls, ramen noodles, Nutty Butters, Pop Rocks, Miracle Whip and many more horrors that would knock my current self over just by speaking their very names.
This is what I was.
(Now that I think about it, I’m kind of surprised I’m still alive, actually.)
I mean, I actually ate at McDonald’s. I guess a lot of people have a problem admitting this, but I did it. I ate their cheeseburgers and even the fries! Those things that don’t even change after like being left out for eleven years – they don’t even MOLD! Have you seen that lady who collects Happy Meals? She has a few and they vary in age from something like a few years to a very lot of years old and they all look the same! I ate this stuff!
Oh, my poor husband. When we got married I didn’t know how to cook. I could pretty much make cereal, sandwiches and boiled chicken. BOILED chicken. That was a meal.
As you can see, you look like a granola covered, Birkenstock-and-sock wearing, tie-dyed, dreadlocked hippie from Berkley right now compared to the audacity of what I once was.
All it takes is you getting an itch for one thing. My first step was getting rid of high fructose corn syrup. Do you think you can do that? After I got a handle on that, I got rid of partially hydrogenated oils. It was step by step. I did not omit HFCS, PHO, GMO’s, unfermented soy, nitrates, nitrites, beet sugar, polysorbate 80, bPA, TBHQ, BHT, other preservatives, chemically manufactured vitamins, conventional pesticide veg and fruit, feed lot corn-fed beef, eggs from caged hens, chicken meat from scary dark tin houses, store-bought/manufactured sweets, treats and breads, canola oil, parabens, sodium laurel/laureth sulfates, citric acid + sodium benzoate, artificial flavors and colors all at the same time in the same day. That would be enough to make anyone lose their mind completely.
I guess the removal of high fructose corn syrup from my diet was my gateway onto the highway of clean eating.
You can’t do everything today. Just pick one thing. Read up on it. Research how it is affecting you and your chil-drey-nos. The education you receive will benefit you and yours.
Then c’mon back and tell me what you did!
Peace, love and just try it,