I had a sort of revelation at the start of my senior year of college:
Nutrition was much more important than I had thought.
I have always had a fast metabolism so I have never had to really worry about gaining weight [Well, outside of my semester in Thailand]. My problem was probably not eating enough, and what I was consuming was processed junk food.
There would be days that I would eat cupcakes for meals, you guys, nothing but cupcakes.
And do you know what I remember? Constantly having a stomach ache.
It seems obvious in retrospect but finally one day it just clicked.
I started listening to my body, I noticed what didn’t agree with me, and started eliminating those foods. I was pleasantly surprised with a lightness, energy, happiness and lack of stomach pain that I hadn’t experienced in quite some time.
I cut out the processed junk and replaced it with nutritious whole foods. This process went a little something like this:
standard american diet —> vegetarian —> vegan + gluten-free —> vegan
I went from years of unknowingly being bloated, uncomfortable, with stomach pain, headaches and a lack of energy and motivation [I just thought this was the norm for me] to my final semester of college and being able to work three jobs, an internship and managing a full class load with a certain sense of focus and determination that had replaced my somewhat laissez-faire attitude of the previous years.
More recently I have become very interested in the power of nutrition, and in functional medicine. In healing issues naturally, and preventing them all together with food.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” — Ann Wigmore
The more I dig, the more I research, and the more I learn, the more this idea of nutrition and food comes out on top.
Eating shouldn’t be about restricting calories, and starving your body of the nutrition it needs. There are countless fad diets out there, but I think we're seeing a return to a whole foods diet. This has been where I have found my success. This is where I have been able to nurture and restore my body.
I don’t look to over the counter medications to heal my ailments. No, I look within myself, to find what's imbalanced. Because your body wants to function properly, it wants you to be in the best possible health. You just have to start helping it rather than getting in your own way.
It was this journey through food that brought me to realize my birth control pills were doing awful things to my body, and my mind. Before, I never really thought about what I was putting in and on my body. Now, I am a very conscious of both.
As a vegan I get asked all the time, “What can you even eat?” and my answer is always that I eat a more diverse diet now than before going vegan. I am more adventurous with my food and my cooking. I am more nutritiously sound. And most importantly, I am happier and healthier than ever before.