Allow yourself to do what you can, with what you have, where you are – Theodore Roosevelt.
Today I’m going to talk about why I love applying this statement to embracing a real food lifestyle.
I follow some amazing bloggers in the real-food “blogosphere”. They inspire me every day to continue my healing journey. It has gotten to the point that my Facebook feed rarely has updates from friends but instead is flooded with updates from my favorite blogs. I read new recipes and information daily on how to get healthier and live cleaner. Life truly has changed. But sometimes, even I’ll admit, it can get a bit overwhelming. Articles daily are being released about why this flour is suddenly not good for you, and how if you aren’t eating only grass fed meat or butter you are not doing good enough! Sometimes I look at how far ahead these people are from me and sometimes it even makes me feel that what I’m doing is still not good enough….
But hold on a second. Let’s take a look back at where my life was just a short couple years ago! I was living with hives, unwilling to take medication to heal them because I didn’t think it would do anything, and I had NO concept of real food or real nutrition. So how dare I let myself feel bad that I am not doing a “perfect” job all the time? How many other 26 year olds are having to eat the way I do because there is no other option? Last time I checked, not many.
This is where the statement I mentioned is so profound. The reality is life gets in the way sometimes and that is OKAY. I’ll be the first to admit, I do not eat 100% grass fed 100% of the time. Financially, I’m just there yet to be able to afford it. So I do what I can with what is accessible to me, and that is OK. I buy organic sunworks meat from Blush Lane when I can, and grass fed beef from the market when I’m able to, and I’m lucky that my mom sometimes buys too much and gives me her leftovers. But guess what? I shop at Safeway the rest of the time. No, I don’t buy nasty ham full of preservatives or lunch meats loaded with junk, or sausages full of sugar, nitrates and gluten — but I’ll buy their other meat. Yes I’ll cringe each time I put it in my basket. But that’s OK – why? Because I’m allowing myself to do what I can with what I have. I don’t have access to grass fed butter – afterall this is Canada- but was I even eating butter 5 years ago? Probably not. I buy lunch A LOT at Sunterra (this little food market in my office building) because they have a great salad bar, and ready to serve roasted vegetables and pieces of meat. Is it the best quality meat? No, but I’m horrible at remembering to pack a lunch – and I like eating there because it gets me out of the office to take a walk.
So I do what I can – I live mostly grain free & refined sugar free.
I do it with what I have – I embrace my real food lifestyle with the ingredients I can afford and have access to.
And I do it where I am - Yes, sometimes I’m limited to being able to access high quality meats and dairy because of where I live or the time it would take to go and get them, but I do my best at consuming high quality ingredients when I can, and I’m currently looking into organic meat boxes from farmers around the province.
It’s okay to take baby steps when embracing a healthy lifestyle. And its even better to not do it all at once. After all if you did – it would be way too overwhelming, and its always good to have a new goal to accomplish, and a new milestone to reach. For instance, I only just starting fermenting vegetables and beverages — that is not something I would have been able to do at the beginning, it would have been too overwhelming.
I don’t even think I can remember how many times people have said to me “I feel so sorry for you gluten free people, it’s so expensive! A loaf of bread is like $5!” or ” I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t give up my bread”. The reality is living this way does have an added expense and definite compromises, but I do what I can with what I have and at the pace I am able – and so should you. I don’t buy a lot of GF baking because it is expensive and often the added ingredients aren’t very healthy – I bake from home instead. My meals are mainly vegetables, meat, some fruit and healthy fats. I laugh when people feel sorry for me, because it feels so damn good to live this way! And if you can’t give up something completely because you just can’t part with it, take baby steps! I downloaded a free “paleo” ebook the other day and I was shocked when the author (I don’t remember the book or the author) was saying how the only way to do paleo properly was to do it cold turkey – while there is some value to this statement this is obviously NOT true for a lot of people. I didn’t clean out my pantry for about a month after giving up grains. I allowed myself to cheat a lot more at the beginning, and now I just don’t have the cravings to do it as much. It takes time for your body to learn to love a real food diet — and to crave real food — allow it time to transition.
So what I’m really wanting to get out of this rant is just to remember that it is OK to be embracing a real food lifestyle at your own pace and at your own capabilities. If you aren’t doing it 100%, 100% of the time, don’t worry about it – the real foodie police IS NOT going to come knocking at your door. How “hard core” you are is often a matter of your health, and your accessibility to quality food. I’m 100% GF because I HAVE to be, but that is not the case for most people. Just remember, when all the bloggers are telling you not to eat this or suddenly now this is bad for you when you thought it was suppose to be good for you – always look at things in moderation and perspective. Do what works for you and your family, and all the health tips out there are merely guidelines to help you embrace a real food lifestyle. At what pace you take it is up to you.
So please —- Join me in giving yourself permission to do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
~~~ End Rant ~~~~