"relationship with food"
My family is from Puerto Rico so rice, beans and pork were a big part of our dinners growing up. I loved my mom's cooking growing up but even she will admit there was a serious lack of fruits and vegetables in our house. My mom had her rotation of meals but she did not experiment much. When she did experiment with new foods or new brands, I could tell right away and let's just say I revolted!
I was rarely in the kitchen growing up unless it involved a microwave or toaster oven. It wasn’t until I moved to go to law school that I had to start cooking. I had my mom write down all her recipes. I followed everything to a T. Fruits and vegetables remained limited. After a few years I started to enjoy cooking for others and I begin experimenting with cooking. Through my late 20s and 30s, I developed a love of cooking and baking.
The early years of my legal career were stressful. There were a lot of late nights which included ordering takeout food at the office and eating out of a vending machine. I gained quite a bit of weight those first few years. While I took measures to eat “healthier” during this time, I fell trap to many of the marketing ploys that many companies use to convince you that their products are “healthy” such as “reduced fat,” “low fat,” “fat free” and “diet” products.
In 2006 I quit diet coke cold turkey, up until this time I was easily drinking six cans a day. I consider this time the beginning of my food journey but as I mentioned above the journey was slow. In 2007 I had my first child and once he started eating solid foods, I realized that I wanted him to eat as well as possible but that I also needed to lead by example.
Through 2007 to 2015, I worked on incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our meals. I like so many people thought that incorporating more fruits and vegetables was “enough,” however, there were still lots of convenience foods in our pantry. In addition, although we would make use of our leftovers, I still did not understand the value and benefits to meal prepping. On busy weeknights, we still ordered lots of Chinese food and pizzas. Admittedly, I also went through a period of time of minimal eating, where I would skip meals or barely at more than an apple. While I lost weight, this was not a healthy period in my life.
In 2016, I did my first Whole 30, this was a life changing experience. The book taught me how to read labels, what different foods can do to your body, and the health benefits of certain foods. SUGAR is in so many products! This blew my mind. Now I am not here to say that everyone needs to do a Whole 30 but the book is amazing and worth a read even if you do not want to do the program.
Since 2016 I have always gone through periods of time where I used an app on my phone to track food and my macros, which I will discuss more later on. The first time I started tracking my food was an eye opening experience. I thought I was good about my portion control, however, I served myself much more food than I realized. I also ate much more carbs than protein and healthy fats. By tracking my food, I was able to learn what portions were supposed to look like and I trained myself to take a mental catalog of my macros so I knew when I had not had enough protein in a day. I recommend that anyone trying to move to more clean eating track their food for a few weeks to a month so that you can see how quickly calories add up. Everyone’s calorie intake and macros are different depending on their fitness goals and their workout regime.
Today my family and I eat “cleanish” and I meal prep once or twice a week so that there is always food for the family and I to grab for our busy lifestyle.