Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Food Perspective

I haven’t always eaten the way I do now, and one of my favorite parts of other blogs is reading about their food “history,” so here’s some background about me and my diet.  

As a kid I hated vegetables.  My favorite foods were chicken, bread, and mashed potatoes.  I was chubby and I loved to eat (not that I don’t still love to eat, but I REALLY loved to eat… probably a bit too much).

In high school, I restricted my diet severely.  I counted calories like crazy and lost too much weight.  I gained the weight back, but didn’t feel good about myself because I gained it so fast.

In college, my friends who ate very healthy helped introduce me to different nutritious foods, and the dining hall helped me branch out by having so many choices.  I became very interested in nutrition, health, and fitness.  Despite my interest in health and nutrition, I loved to bake treats that were not typically very healthy.  The summer after my junior year of college, I studied abroad in Greece and developed a love for fresh fruits and vegetables.  During my senior year of college, I had an apartment and was able to cook my own meals!  I cooked a lot of healthier meals with lean meats, fruits and vegetables, but still included foods like multigrain cheerios, sugar free syrup, store-bought bread, processed cheese slices, and Tyson buffalo chicken breast strips (“healthy” processed foods) in my diet.  These foods definitely aren’t at the far end of the “unhealthy” spectrum, but I’ve since come to learn that they’re not as healthy as I previously thought, so I now choose to exclude them from my diet.

Open-air Market near my apartment in Athens, Greece. (June 2007)
When I got married in 2010, I started cooking more.  My husband enjoys cooking and had been cooking for himself for several years living on his own.  We cooked a lot together, and he helped me develop more confidence in the kitchen.  For the first year or so of our marriage we made a lot of family favorites that our parents had made but also experimented with new recipes.  We always tried to make recipes as healthy as possible or put whole grain, low fat twists on them.  (I’ve since learned that “whole grain” and “low fat” do not always equate to “healthy.”)

Our wedding! (July 2010)
Our first Christmas with Mason. (December 2011)
In January, due to some digestive problems I was experiencing, I started experimenting with cutting gluten out of my diet, and then later tried an elimination diet that cut out nearly everything except chicken, fish, most fruits, and vegetables.  During this time, I did a lot of research on how foods containing gluten, dairy, and sugar affect the digestive system and overall health.  I gradually transitioned to a gluten and sugar free diet, which helped reduce my digestive issues significantly.  My husband and I also recently joined a Crossfit gym and discovered the paleo diet.  We experimented with that for a bit and incorporated some paleo principles into how we think about food, but we ultimately decided not to follow the diet in the strictest sense.

If I had to characterize our current diet, I would say that we focus on eating unprocessed, nutrient dense, whole foods.   My diet (and the food I cook) consists of mainly: meat (we are currently trying to find farms/sellers where we can buy organic and grass fed as much as possible), fish, eggs, all vegetables, all fruits, nuts, nut butters, and seeds (like ground flaxseed and chia seeds), olive and coconut oil, fresh and dried herbs and spices, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond milk, gluten free oats (soaked overnight), sweet potatoes, quinoa, beans, and sometimes brown rice.  When we can, we buy organic and local produce.  When I bake I use almond flour, coconut flour, almond milk, coconut milk, honey, unsweetened cocoa and a variety of fruits and nuts in many of my recipes.  The foods I choose to avoid (most of the time) are corn, potatoes, hard cheeses, foods with gluten, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and partially hydrogenated oils.  I largely avoid these foods for a variety of reasons, mostly related to digestion, their impact on my energy levels, and research that shows their negative impact on health.  Rem eats mostly the same diet but is a little more relaxed about it since he doesn’t have digestive issues.  For instance, he often eats regular old-fashioned oats and regular peanut butter, but we largely eat the same food.  The way I cook and eat has evolved so much in my life, and it may change more as I continue to learn and research more, but the foods I eat now fuel my workouts, help me recover, help me feel my best, and have proven health benefits.  I love cooking now more than ever and have learned that simple recipes are often the best!

I am not perfect, but I try to make strides every day toward a healthier lifestyle that helps maintain the quality of life I desire.  Eating whole, nutrient dense, healthy food makes me feel good and gives me energy to teach kids all day, do Crossfit, run, walk my dog, and be very active! 
Rem and I watching the Crossfit Central East Regionals in Columbus, Ohio. (May 2012)
Crossfit Future in Blacklick, Ohio. (May 2012)
I hope this gives you a little insight into where I’m coming from- my “food perspective,” I guess you could say. 

I hope you enjoy this site!  Please let me know if there are any recipes you’ve seen me eat or make that I should post!  I love looking at other food blogs, so many of my recipes are adaptations or recreations of recipes from other blogs, so make sure to check out the links for those recipes, because there are INCREDIBLE recipes on those blogs! 

NOTE: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, trainer, or expert in exercise or nutrition.  The information, recipes, and tips on this site are my opinions, gleaned from personal research in health and nutrition, as well as personal experiences!

For more information on the topics in this post, follow these links:
Clean eating
Our Crossfit gym
Farm Markets in Ohio


  1. Hi Megan!

    Your blog is so interesting! From what I've read here it seems like you have a really smart view of nutrition (you research as much as you can, realize that there's so much we don't know, understand that everyone has slightly different dietary needs and you do your best to eat healthy and delicious food with what you know). It's very refreshing and your recipes look good. I like to cook a lot (and Ryan likes to grill a lot) so I read a lot about food and nutrition too, so this is very fun for me!

    Ryan says hello!
    - Lara.

    1. Thanks so much Lara, I'm glad you enjoy reading it! Sounds like we have a lot in common :) Tell Ryan that Rem and I both say hello too!