New year. New you.
That's what I was thinking a few years ago when I wasn't feeling well. Due to some complications after a major surgery, it turned out I'd need yet another, which took care of one problem, but also left me feeling really sick on a daily basis. My lifelong stomach irritation was worse than ever. After watching the Forks Over Knives documentary one evening, I was inspired to start eating differently - a plant based dietary approach. I was feeling excited but also sort of terrified.
One of my biggest joys in life has always been being in the kitchen and baking delicious things. I collected cookbooks as a child and read them daily. My identity was that of a little baker girl. And that stayed with me as I became a wife and mom. I knew this new way of eating was going to be tough for me because baked goods laden with butter and sugar would no longer be something I'd be having. I also decided this was something I was doing, not Colin and not our boys, and I'd continue to cook for them as I always had. (I didn't think it'd be fair to suddenly and radically change the diet of my children that they'd known all their lives).
A plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.
The first month was extremely difficult for me. All those years of baking had given me one of the world's biggest sweet tooths and I missed sweets most of all. I missed them BAD. But I stayed strong and one month led to two, then to a year, then another, and another. It was good for my health, but took away my creativity. It was so hard to keep cooking one way for my family, while teaching myself a whole new repertoire of meals for myself.
But one thing wasn't changing. My stomach was still a mess and after seeking answers, I found out that gluten was my problem.
I want to tell you I'm not a person who sits around talking about what I eat or how I eat and through it all, my new way of eating wasn't something I wanted to talk about. (It's taken me more than three years to write this post). I think we've all been around a person who has dietary restrictions who was sort of obnoxious about it, or even kind of snooty. I never wanted to seem that way, so I kept it a secret and learned ways to blend in at a barbecue (just take the hamburger bun, load it with veggies, and it looks like you're eating a burger along with everyone else). A handful of times, as a guest in someone's home, I'd simply eat what they were serving, because I didn't want to be any trouble. And it worked out alright. Until the whole gluten thing. Now, it's no longer choosing to eat a certain way because it's healthier for me. Now it's something I have to do, so I'm not violently sick any more.
Now I'm learning the ropes again, without gluten this time, and it's getting easier every day. I've learned how to make meals that are healthy for my family, while incorporating meat for them a few days a week, and occasional treats they love. Why am I talking about this now, after explaining I've been avoiding the topic for these last few years? I'm ready to start writing actively here again and this is who I am. So occasionally, you're going to see some healthy recipes from me. But mostly, you're just going to be seeing more of me here again.
This week, I'll be sharing a favorite go-to meal, new year beauty finds, and some easy ways to freshen up your home.
Happy new year!