By Emily McLaughlin
March is National Nutrition Month®! (… Something Allie DeLay so kindly brought to my attention last week.) National Nutrition Month® is a educational and informational campaign created annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, formerly the American Dietetic Association.
This nutrition campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. In addition to promoting general healthy habits, the campaign encourages American’s to ”eat right, your way, every day.”
Personally, I struggle with eating right for MY BODY on a daily basis. Being hypoglycemic doesn’t really allow me to eat the the way that everyone else does. I would love to try the Paleo diet or to just drink a smoothie or super green juice in place of a meal, but the reality is… I will pass out or feel sick all day. I need balanced, frequent meals. I also always carry snacks whether fruit, veggies, granola bars or nuts.
Being hypoglycemic has been really hard to adjust to. It’s not something I can overcome or fix about myself — but I can make the best of it and eat right in my own way. Learn more about what some of my good friends do to eat right, their way, every day:
Cassie Brown, Group fit instructor and SHSH contributor (visit her Facebook page)
My way of eating right is to have a mental checklist of everything I need to consume to properly fuel my body every day. More specifically, I think of all the nutrients I need for my overall health and to support my lifestyle. I choose the amount of carbs I think I need depending on how active I have been/will be. I choose a variety of vegetables to give me my essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system, healthy hair and skin, and a healthy body. And I try to eat fish for the omega-3′s at least once a week. I really like taking the approach of looking for the foods my body needs instead of focusing on what I can’t have. With this mentality, food becomes merely what it is: fuel for my body. And on the occasions when I choose options that my body doesn’t really need, I just look at it as a fuel that’s less bang for my buck. Again, this mentality doesn’t make me feel guilty, but it helps me to focus my attention more so on healthier options the majority if the time.
Ali Cook, yoga instructor (visit her Facebook page)
Go to yoga. Shower. Drive to UMass. Go my class. Send emails. TA for class. Meeting. Teach Vinyasa. Call boyfriend. Homework. Sleep. Where does eating fit in to this day, let alone finding the extra time for a grocery run? As the person regularly at Big Y at 9:45 on a Tuesday night, I know that even if I purchase and intend to eat my vegetables, they sometimes wilt in my fridge and I end up munching on frozen enchiladas more often than not.
At the end of last semester, my body was clearly furious that I had fed it processed food (i.e. crap). I had no energy and looked like the “before” pictures on any makeover show with a rounder belly and dull skin. I’ve been re-evaluating my diet ever since, looking for ways to balance the demands of my body against the frantic pace of work and grad school. As someone who is gluten intolerant, it is easy to get swept away by the new array of products that are available to the wheat-free community but ultimately those foods rarely do me any favors. What I save in convenience, I pay for in terms of my daily I experience. I feel best when I care for my body and feed it good, whole foods. So, for me eating right means shopping the periphery of the store: veggies, dairy, meat and fish. But, another important aspect is also committing to preparing meals. I can save time (and get in QT with my BF) by cooking a ton of good food over the weekend to eat during the week. If I have extra, I try to freeze it. That way, instead of microwaving a burrito on those really hectic marathon days, I can enjoy a (recently) home cooked meal of balsamic tofu, broccoli and rice which will give me the energy to go through my day without putting me into food coma.
Allie DeLay, Spinning instructor and SHSH writer
In our culture food is viewed as more than just a vital necessity, eating has turned into a culinary experience, one that in our American way we like to make as grand as possible. But, that doesn’t mean we need to load up on the fettuccine Alfredo and cheesecake in order to enjoy what we are eating.
Eat Right: Eating right is an understanding that food is fuel. You wouldn’t fill up your car with gasoline that wouldn’t drive the engine right? Same thing goes for your body. You want the best source of energy that is going to make your body function at its best capacity. So that means sticking to naturally grown fruits and vegetables and avoiding heavily processed foods by reading labels. When I read labels and see ingredients that appear to have been concocted by some mad scientist in a lab, I steer clear of those foods and opt for a snack that didn’t take a ride on a conveyor belt before making its way to the grocery store shelves.
Your Way: Make sure that you are eating what you enjoy. Just because health fanatics and dietitians tell you to eat certain things, doesn’t mean you should force-feed yourself food you don’t like. Everyone is different. Personally peanut butter makes me gag. I do not enjoy it covered in chocolate, with fruit, in smoothies, on sandwiches, mixed with cookie batter, etc. No matter how amazing it is supposed to be for me, I am not going to eat it. Instead I opt for other healthy snacks that don’t make my stomach turn. Being healthy is a lifestyle choice but it’s your life, so do it your way.
Every Day: A commitment to eat right is a commitment to your self. Monitoring what you eat is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. You’re showing your body you care. You wouldn’t show a loved one affection for a month and then quit and give them the cold shoulder, right? So why do that to your body? Eating right every day allows me to feel energized day in and day out. Adding variety to the way I eat, committing to eating right, and doing it on my own terms allows me to maintain my healthy lifestyle. And no amount of fettuccine Alfredo and cheesecake can make me feel as good as Eating Right, My Way, Every Day.
Lauren Duffy, Zumba instructor and SHSH writer (visit her Facebook page)
There was a time in my life when I hated my body: I turned away from mirrors, sucked it in, hid in baggy clothes, and wished with all of my heart that I would change. The problem was, I did nothing about it.. I relied on wishing and hoping for a change but never actually tried to anything that may help me. Now as I sit here several years later having found a love for healthy living and fitness, I realize that my past is what eating right, my way, every day means to me. I eat right so I never have to feel the way that I used to about myself, I eat my way so that I can enjoy being healthy, and I do it every single day so that I can continue my happiness with my change and my new self. To be healthy is to be happy, so be healthy every day.
Eliza Rose, Kick instructor and SHSH writer (visit her Facebook page)
Eating right to me means taking in foods that not only taste good, but will benefit me. I am not overly obsessed with my diet, but I do make sure I consume smaller amounts and have at least a little bit of fruits and vegetables every day. There are so many methods on eating healthy that it can be overwhelming. I stay very selfish in that I eat what I think is right just for me, not necessarily following any strict diet or method. There was a time when I chose to make a change in my eating habits and I got rid of all sugars and most carbohydrates. Ever since then, I have been more cognizant of what really contains sugar and what contains carbs. Those few months helped me eat those kind of food less frequently and substitute them with healthier choices. As long as you are staying happy and staying healthy, then you are on the right diet!
What does eating right, YOUR WAY, every day mean to you?