I am a foodie through and through. I LOVE good food. I love cooking, I love trying new restaurants, and most of all I love spending time with people I love over good food.
For a few years in college when I first started grocery shopping and cooking for myself, I fell deep into the world of calorie counting and food restriction as a means to achieve a certain appearance. I really wanted to be thin, and knew that limiting food intake could get me there. I am fortunate to be surrounded by many people who have a very normal, healthy relationship with both food and their own bodies, so my disordered eating patterns did not persist. When I look back on that time I am sad that I didn't love, respect, and trust myself enough to eat; that I had to rely on numbers and measurements to properly fill and fuel myself. I am very thankful for all the hard work and learning I've done to be in the place of healing that I am in today. Now, my choices feel healthy and intentional, and everything I eat and do is for the sake of my own wellness. My inner voice is louder than all the noise, and I am very confidently aligned with my wants and needs.
My philosophy is simple: cook food that you LOVE eating, and use ingredients that make you feel GOOD. The baseline of my decision making comes from the enjoyment of eating something + the fulfillment and energy that comes from food. (I feel very fortunate to live in a body in which I don't have to count calories or be wary of how much of what I'm eating, as I know people struggle with medical conditions and stages of life in which numbers and eating plans are not only their best option but vital to their health.)
For years I've immersed myself in the wellness community, and I've learned so much about the body and food through podcasts, interviews, and books (I will link to these below). After coming to peace with my body (I no longer eat to look a certain way) I became obsessed with learning about food culture and food systems. I read The Third Plate by Dan Barber and was blown away by how little I knew and how little I actually cared about how food is grown and raised. This book in particular really made me take a step back to consider the where, who, and how of food. I was in my early twenties, and still in college, when I signed up for my first CSA box (community sourced agriculture) from organic farms in the Madison, WI area. My experience with a weekly farm box put into perspective what eating seasonally and locally felt like -- and it certainly wasn't as abundant and convenient as shopping for every meal at the grocery store. Ever since, I' strive to be a "locavore," aka my principle diet being locally sourced. I buy meat, broth, and butter from our local butcher, I get a mini CSA delivered 2x per week, I shop at farmers markets and local farm stores, and I fill in the rest of the gaps with grocery store goods. And though I will certainly always have room to improve my environmental impact, eating locally when I can goes hand in hand with my personal efforts to love mother earth better -- actionably. Less plastic, less processing, and more connection with farms and farmers feels like a really big step in the right direction for me. I know how important organic compost is to organic growth, so for the last year I've driven Jonah absolutely crazy trying to compost from our downtown Milwaukee apartment (although he's very supportive :)). Making an effort to be better and bigger than yourself goes a long, long way. In my opinion, not trying = not caring.
My food philosophy no longer revolves around me. No longer am I controlled by serving sizes, calorie counts, meal plans, or the number of hours that my eating spans. My food philosophy revolves around supporting my favorite farms, what's best for my health and longevity, and what's best for mother earth. Shifting my focus to include so many other variables has caused me to become invested in food systems and food culture, and I learn more every day. I leave room for change and growth and adapt as I learn -- it's fun and exciting to be both intuitive and impressionable. What I've learned is that being healthy is not as complicated as we think. There are no secrets to living a healthy life or feeling good, there is just tuning in and listening to what your body and soul say back. The more we complicate things the farther we step away from our inner voice, the less we trust ourselves in the long run. My rule of thumb is bring it back to basics, the healthiest choice is often the simplest one. (For example, a banana vs a granola bar. Health claims and marketing may tell you one thing, but nature says otherwise).
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that there are exceptions to the above in my DAILY LIFE! I love Birch Benders paleo waffles for breakfast, peanut butter is another staple, and chicken sausage is also on heavy rotation; all of which are processed to a certain extend and bought in plastic packaging in a grocery store. So yes, even when I'm doing my absolute best, convenience (and healthy waffles) still has a place in my life! This is just also a reminder that life is rarely as black/white as we think it is, and people are rarely as transparent with flaws and inconsistencies as we are with our success.
If you are struggling with disordered eating patterns of any kind, my heart goes out to you. Our society has shaped bodies and food to revolve around aesthetics and arbitrary measures that are so, so harmful. But there are many paths to healing and learning was mine. Even if you haven't struggled with food or body image issues, I recommend the following resources to anyone who is interested in learning more about the who and how behind your food.
The Genius Life with Max Lugavere - especially drawn to his episodes about the brain, and using food as prevention to Alzheimer's and dementia. This episode meat with Bel Campo founder was soooo interesting.
Healthier Together: Ask the Doctor, Gut Health with Liz Moody - this is another pod with many doctor/wellness expert interviews. Episode linked was great.
The Skinny Confidential with Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and Michael Bosstick - I'm at a point where I never miss an episode of TSC, but be warned, this show makes Jonah cringe lol. They interview so many doctors and experts but in the most lighthearted and entertaining way. The episode with Beekeeper's Naturals is a must as is this episode on brain health with Dr Daniel Amen.
What's the Juice with Olivia of Organic Olivia. During the height of the pandemic her ailing parents were sick with Covid. Sooo much wisdom about the body/food in this pod.
The Blonde Files with Arielle Lorre, another wellness pod with lots of info. This episode on the phsycial AND mental benefits of a holistic approach to food is beneficial was so interesting.
Just Ingredients -- I learn something new from this account every time I tune in. Great general and digestible information!
Dr. Tyler Jean of Funtional Foods -- another page of soo much info!
Amanda Meix of Meow Meix -- basics broken down. Always provides simple meal +nutrition content.
Katie Lemons of Twist of Lemons -- family med physician assistant and integrative nutritionist. Her take on health is different than anyone else and I always appreciate her take.
I'll add to this list of resources over time ;)