For a while, I’ve been asked about my healthy lifestyle and eating habits. I haven’t been super health conscious my whole life but, thanks to a restauranteur mother who loves to cook delicious healthy meals, I have always grown up with a healthy food presence around me. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started making more conscious decisions to make better food choices. I started with new years proclamations of daily salads, gym visits, and sugar cuts, but was never very resolute about my decisions to lead a healthier lifestyle until my freshman year of college.
Living on campus, especially in the dorms, is hard. You are forced to make healthy decisions in cafeterias where you have no say or no knowledge of the origins of your meals. And, you don’t know how they’re made and with what ingredients. Eating cafeteria style is very much a battle of wills. You could live at the salad bar, but try doing that when you are surrounded by pasta, pizza, burgers, burritos and so many yummy, but much less healthy alternatives. And that freshman fifteen thing people talk about, well it’s real, so that was definitely my first shock that launched my healthy eating initiative. Although I tried my best, I wasn’t truly able to make a huge impact on my diet until moving into an apartment.
Once I began living on my own, I felt an incredible amount of freedom, which for me has included a freedom of diet. Thanks to this freedom, I decided to become a vegetarian about two months ago (September 2015). Vegetarianism has definitely not been easy, but very rewarding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to beat a juicy burger or perfectly cooked filet but, somehow, I have managed to survive without. Now, I focus more on what I put into my body and which foods make me feel good. I’ve replaced animal proteins with quinoa, beans, chickpeas, nuts, chia seeds, and more. I’ve finally been able to shed those few extra pounds that I had been carrying (I blame you dorm food) and, additionally, I’ve been forced to lead an overall heathier eating lifestyle. Two months later, my skin looks more clear, even, and glowy. I have more energy and even sleep better. Overall, this original decision which first seemed like a sacrifice, now feels like a blessing. Maybe soon I’ll share with you some of my favorite recipes.
A lot of people associate healthiness with fitness, which I do agree with. I think exercise is very important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle but I’ve never been very good at getting motivated to do it myself. I did do a lot of sports in high school that I loved but it wasn’t the exercise that made me enjoy them, it was the team relationships. I’m not a gym person, I don’t know why, the big crowded gym is just not quite my cup of tea. I try it every once in a while, the whole treadmill thing, and, sure, I feel proud when I’ve worked really hard but I just don’t crave working out like many of my peers. I much prefer walking through campus and taking the stairs, than crunching it out on the elliptical. I guess, for now, I should enjoy being young with a high metabolism but I am making a bigger effort to have healthy exercise habits for the future; so I’ll keep you posted. For now, I’ve noticed that I can make more of a difference in my health through my diet than through the gym.