My food challenge is an everyday battle between what I want and what I need: what will make me feel better over time versus what will make me feel better right now. It is one of those 'mind over matter' things: I have come to conquer the irresistible smell of freshly baked cookies by supplementing chocolate chips and cookie dough with fruit and Granola. I have found substitutes for the cravings and have taken my food goals seriously. Besides my inherent excitement for maintaining my new years resolution to ‘eat healthier’ I also genuinely feel better. I feel lighter, livelier and less bloated. I am noticing physical and mental differences and I have acquired an obsession to uphold this overall better feeling.
I first noticed the difference when I went home over break and began slipping back into my old habits: it was ultimately too hard to keep my healthy food regime in a different environment. There was one night when I had an excruciating pain in my stomach. It felt like my stomach was going to pop any minute. This was the first time my stomach felt uneasy since I began my food challenge, and at this moment I realized there was no going back to the old habits. I am convinced that avoiding processed foods, excessive carbs, and overeating has helped me to relieve my stomach from these feelings. It not only has helped me to physically feel better, but I also feel that I am more easily able to pay attention in class, and resist the urge of falling asleep right after I eat. I feel more energized and am able to do extra exercises at night and the weekend because of this new found energy. I have been doing more ab workouts, because I know that my core is my weakness. Feeling that extra energy to do a little more with my daily routine has allowed me to see progress in my strength. I have gained energy to do more with my free time like exercising to lengthen my spine and decrease my back pains. Now this is only a short and personal analysis of the progress I have seen from eating healthier, but I do believe there is some true evidence of the successes. There is a true reason for my restricted food.
Some new foods that I have found to be extremely tasty and enriching include pomegranates and açaí. I have recently been plopping a cup of pomegranates in my salads with avocado, cranberries, walnuts, spinach leaves, tomatoes, and a dash of balsamic dressing. The pomegranates have given a lively taste to the salad complimenting the avocado flavors and contrasting the texture to create a balanced salad. They not only taste amazing, but also are super foods holding antioxidants, vitamins (C, K, B5), and other nutrients (zinc, iron, magnesium, and more). They have been known to reduce stomach aches, and supposedly reduce the risk of cancer, so ultimately they are an amazing contribution to a simple salad. My second food of the week has been açaí ; a Brazilian berry used in smoothies. When I went home over spring break, I was inspired to create smoothie bowls because I visited a family friend’s new restaurant in Fairfax California called “Mana Bowls”. So, after purchasing a bit of açaí, I have whipped up smoothies throughout the week out of frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, mangos, kale, chia seeds, juice, and açaí. This has been a sort of treat in my weekly diet because it is both refreshing and extremely nutritious: containing antioxidants makes it heart healthy, and increasing the blood flow helps with concentration and energy. These two contributions to my diet have been exciting; instead of craving a cupcake or a cookie, I wake up craving an açaí smoothie, and hyped to have a dinner alongside a pomegranate salad.
This blog was really just to document the progress I have made on my food challenge: although not always successful (especially in spring break when I went home) I have already seen some great benefits to the diet. I feel a difference, and that is something that a lot of resolutions don’t have.
All that we are is a result of what we have thought ~ Buddha