I spent last week in Southern Italy, breathing in the incredible scents of nature, taking in the views and enjoying the sunshine. And, of course, I ate.
This time I went with an open head about my diet. Yes, I generally avoid dairy, don’t eat meat and keep away from gluten. Not that long ago I would have stressed and tried to pre-plan and control everything. This time I just took a bag of nuts with me for the “emergencies” and pledged to mainly live on ice cream. Because eating Italian ice cream makes me happy and I thought that was what I really wanted.
I’ve always said that I don’t want my diet to define me, to control me, to restrict me. I don’t want to be labeled by what I eat, or don’t eat. I noticed that recently I have started becoming quite rigid, would not go to certain restaurants with my friends, because the menus were not clean enough, I would fuss about going to dinner parties, you get the idea. I thought to myself – this is not the way to eat my way through life. Yes, I still want to eat clean and healthy, but maybe letting it go just a little won’t cause too much harm? Yes, you can argue that this was my greed talking and I just wanted an excuse to inhale gelato. Maybe.
I decided that at this trip I would experiment, enjoy and see where the mood and menus take me. I pledged to have ice cream every day – my 6 years old, who felt so deprived all those years, was beside herself, even if little dubious: “Like what do you mean I can eat all the ice cream I want??? Breakfasts, lunch and dinner??? Oh yes, I decided to let me inner child run my diet for a week. I figured I owned it to her.
So I ate ice cream. In 3 days I had 4 portions of gelato. Yes, one day I had it twice and I didn’t even feel guilty about it.
But when I ate the forth portion, single scope of strawberry flavour, at a beautiful promenade overlooking the sea, the inner child in me said “thank you, I am done”. And even though I stayed in Italy for another 4 days I didn’t look at the ice cream parlor. Well, actually I did, every time I walked by one, I checked out all the flavours, and to my utter surprise, I really didn’t want any.
I learnt that my inner child might actually be more sensible when it comes to food choices, it knows when enough is enough, it knows that food is to be enjoyed, but it always finds a healthy balance, if I listen to it.
There is no such thing as “bad” or “good” food. Food is always natural, but the effects it has on us might be more or less desirable. If we label food as bad or forbidden, we think about it more, we crave it more and often we feel guilty when eating it, which in turns creates a stress response in the body, so the food cannot be digested properly and the effects it has on us, are far from desirable.
Here is challenge for you: make a list of what you consider “bad” foods; what made you label it that way?
I would like you to share your lists – share in the comments or come over to my Facebook page and let’s see what comes up for you guys.
Then for a week eat as much of the bad foods as you like. Just feed your 6 year old, and pay attention to what happens. How does it effect your mood, your mind? Your energy levels? Are you enjoying these foods? What has surprised you? And again – please share, I’d love to hear from you.