Becoming an MVP (More Vegetable-ly Person)
My quest to eat more vegetables did not begin out of healthful enlightenment and power of self-control — at least, not at first.
Last year, after weeks of GI issues, three doctors and many sleepless, painful nights, it was concluded that I just had a virus, a really bad one. During the process I was first required to fast, then have only liquids for days, then fast again for tests upon tests. Back to liquids only (sigh), then on to soft foods, and finally, small vegan meals. By the time I graduated to small vegan portions, it had been about two months since the first symptoms, and things were finally getting back to normal — but my body had changed. I had changed.
Weathering the sickness turned my eating habits upside down, and changed my relationship with food. I had to find non-food sources of comfort when I was stressed or sad, and I had to face social events without the uniting element of food (during the holidays, no less). I learned the importance of having a plan, packing my own snacks or enjoying food cooked at home. And the relationship between food and energy became extremely clear to me after such restriction, not to mention the value of eating mindfully. (When the only solid food you’ve had in days is a banana, believe me, you’ll be pretty mindful about savoring it!)
The truth is, if the best solution for the issues I was having was to eat vegan for a few months and take a probiotic regularly, then I was extremely fortunate. No diagnosed allergies, disorders or diseases, and after another month, I transitioned to vegetarian foods with a little bit of fish. I was so grateful to be getting well, and so very grateful to be eating at all, that I decided to go with it — this would be my new lifestyle: Enjoying mindful eating for nourishment and energy, listening to my body and graciously practicing self-care by following its cues.
I wish I could have arrived at these decisions out of the “healthful enlightenment and power of self-control” I mentioned earlier, but I guess I just wasn’t ready. These were lifestyle choices I admired on blogs and social media. They were forgotten New Year’s resolutions looked on as deprivation and, quite simply, no fun. But my body decided it was time for a change, and I agreed. So the choice to eat more vegetables was a simple one: The more vegetables I ate, the better I felt. And I was ready to be well.
This change has been a true gift in my life. I’m finally making choices based on wellness, as defined by MY body, instead of a dieting mindset. I’m breaking down fears of being sick, being thought boring because of my food choices or missing out on “fun” foods. I certainly don’t miss the way I felt after eating too much of those “fun” foods, so I’m finding joy in my improving health and energy instead — and I’m having a blast!
So if you decide to check out my posts or test one of my recipes, do so knowing that each is the product of a changed (and changing) woman. It’s food that’s made to savor, tips meant to serve and thoughts shared with the hope of uplifting the reader (that’s you!) Take some, leave some, and do what’s best for your journey<3