My food journey
While I was never really skinny, as a teenager I first started to gain weight. I wanted to stop that and started the first of many diets. It turned out I was actually very good at dieting, and have received many compliments about my will-power, perseverance, and weight loss. Unfortunately (and inevitably), I always gained the weight back. When I wasn’t on a diet, I loved to eat and drink “light” products. Everything that had the label light or diet on it, I considered to be healthy. Finally, it came to a point where I was eating almost nothing but also did not lose weight anymore. And when I ate normally, I gained weight! Because this wasn’t a good situation and I didn’t know what to do about it anymore, I went to a dietician. She explained to me that I had put my metabolism on halt, and put me on a normal diet again, with many (unrefined) carbs. She also explained that I would be gaining weight first, before I would lose it again. And so I did.
Although my metabolism was working again after some time, I still wasn’t skinny and I still didn’t like my body very much. A good friend that just lost a big amount of weight gave me the Abs Diet Cook Book. I promised myself to never diet again, but I figured making healthy recipes and improving my cooking skills wouldn’t hurt. It did improve my skills, and I still have the book! It has some favorite recipes I will never stop making.
In this period I got very ill. I had severe allergic reactions from my washing detergent, but it took some time to figure that out. And even when I did, it left me with many other allergies, also food related. I needed to take a lot of pills every day, just to be able to breath normally and to not rub my eyes out because of the itching. Also, this medication didn’t make me feel well. So I decided to look for help elsewhere and I ended up with having NAET therapy combined with infrared acupuncture. I didn’t really think it would help, but it did. Many of my allergies disappeared and I only need to take one pill occasionally when I have an allergic reaction. Through my NAET/acupuncture therapist, I got to know about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the 5-Elements nutrition. These theories categorize food by energy characteristic. Each element has a color, taste, and energy organ that are connected. Foods are also categorized by thermal property (which has nothing to do with the temperature of the food). The 5-elements nutrition divides 5 thermic categories: hot, warm, neutral, refreshing, and cold. So when I am cold, I tend to eat and drink more foods with warming properties and I try to avoid food with cold properties, or combine cold with warm. The 5-elements nutrition taught me to eat what is in season, and preferably local, as that is what your body needs most at that time.
A few years later, I was invited for dinner at my boss’s house. While she was making dinner, I noticed she had many books about healthy eating and I was very interested. She recommended one particular book and let me borrow it. It was a Dutch book; the translation of the title would be: 100% Toxic Free: Skinny and Healthy by a Natural Lifestyle. My boss told me it was about organic food and I was very skeptical about it, but I decided to give the book a try. And I’m so happy that I did! I finished the book in a few days and I was truly amazed by what I read. The book describes that toxins (like pesticides or some additives) are stored in your fat cells, and that makes it harder to lose weight. After this, I decided to go organic in food, and natural in body products. It felt good, it tasted great, and I actually slowly started to lose some weight. Finally, after all those years, without dieting.
Since we had a very busy life at that time, we decided to try out a food delivery box. The box we chose was organic and local, and therefore only included what was in season. Perfect! This food box contained all ingredients for dinner, so that was taken care of. For breakfast, I ate oatmeal; smoothies in the summer and porridge or homemade oat muffins in the fall and winter. Lunch was more difficult: I made myself a sandwich in the morning and I took that to work. And every day, after lunch, I got very tired. It also made me crave for cookies in the afternoon. This had to stop, so I decided to cut back on carbs. No more bread for lunch, only occasionally in the weekend. This helped a lot with the tiredness after lunch! At that time, I knew I also needed to stop eating sweet things, but I didn’t really know how to do that. When I read about a book with baking recipes without (refined) sugar, I knew I had to buy it. This book described the health disadvantages of (refined) sugar and gave better alternatives. Since then, I quit eating refined sugars and started making my own snacks and sweets with the alternatives. I really had a sweet tooth at the time, so I ended up using this book a lot. As long I could make everything myself, everything was great. However, on our next vacation, I did not have this option anymore. The hotel did not have desserts or sweet snacks without refined sugars, and I did not want to start eating them again. The only kind-of-sweet thing they did have were fresh dates. These dates helped me overcome my sweet cravings. By the time the vacation was over I no longer felt the need to eat a sweet snack or dessert every day. Once in a while, I still eat something sweet but I’m so happy not to have these cravings anymore! Since I’m off sugar, I have much more energy. I also started losing weight again. Very slowly, but I didn’t need to do anything for it. And after two years, I finally had the body I had worked so hard for when I was younger, but never could achieve.
I thought my journey was over and I was on the ideal diet. Until recently I found another book about food. This book, “Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson, opened a whole new world for me again. The book tells the story of the changes that are made to wild foods, and what we can do to reclaim these lost nutrients. The solution goes beyond local, beyond organic, and beyond heirlooms. So now I choose organic, local, and seasonal food whenever I can. I also know how to make the most nutritious choices within these foods, and how to store and prepare them to preserve most of the nutrients. My journey inspires me to make the most delicious and healthy recipes that are good for the body, and I am excited to share these recipes with you. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!