Life, Nutrition

Nutrition Nonsense: Part I – My Story

Alright y’all… here we go… a blog series that I know needs to be written, but I hesitate because of the flack it will most likely get online due to it’s vast controversial topic… but I guess that’s what this is all about. Voicing my thoughts and hoping to get people thinking and discussing. So here we go… this series is going to be about… wait for it…. nutrition! But it’s not just another post preaching to eat grass fed everything and organic everything else. It’s a post REALLY ABOUT FOOD!

Let me give you a brief history of my food intake. I grew up in a family that hunted so we usually had wild game to eat. We had veggies everyday (not every meal). My parents were and are health conscious people and have always been aware of what they eat for the most part… but not neurotic about it. They instilled good eating habits in me for the most part. I ate cereal most mornings for breakfast until I was 28. I ate a sandwich or left overs from dinner for lunch. I ate meat with salad and potatoes for dinner. I also ate Pop-Tarts and Digiornos pizza and Doritos and Little Debbies and a ton of Skittles… I love me some Skittles!

As long as I can remember I would often have terrible stomach aches after I ate. It wasn’t until college that my mom suggested I eliminate dairy, thinking I was lactose intolerant. So, I did and had a bit of relief. Then when I was 28 (7 years ago) I was introduced to The Paleo Diet and eliminated all grains, dairy, legumes, sugar and other non-paleo stuff and 2 weeks in my stomach aches were gone! My performance was going through the roof. My body was strong and lean. I felt comfortable and confident. So… it was an obvious decision to stay Paleo… it worked. Until it didn’t.

I didn’t stop eating Paleo because it wasn’t working in the physical sense for me anymore. I stopped because it wasn’t working for me in the mental and social sense anymore. I was sick of always saying no to people when they offered me rice with a meal or picking around a soup because there were beans in it. I felt like every time I ordered at a restaurant I was the problem child that created my own menu. I wanted to go to the movies with Marcus and have Milk Duds and not feel guilty. I wanted to eat tacos with corn tortillas and cheese and not feel like I had to go run an extra 5 miles the next day to burn it off. I wanted to enjoy food because it was food.

I had developed an unhealthy relationship with food for the first time in my life (and I am still battling off and on). I was obsessed with eating “Paleo” and sadly admit that I was silently judged others who weren’t. I put food in these boxes of things I could eat and things I couldn’t eat because some “diet” said so. I put my clients in that same box and as a result felt even more compelled to stay strict. In the last couple of years I was removed from the environment that led me into that box and it was freeing to see the light.

I didn’t dive back into Pop-Tarts and Doritos, but I started reintroducing things slowly to see how I felt. Turns out dairy doesn’t bother me (hallelujah for heavy whipping cream and Kerrygold cheese!), I didn’t get fat when I ate rice, I didn’t develop diabetes when I ate sugar and the occasional beans don’t make me gas out a room. However, gluten is still out as the culprit for the stomach aches (minus an occasional sip of Marcus’ beer).

What did happen though, I enjoy my food again. I don’t eat because it’s what I’m “supposed” to eat. I eat because it’s what I want to eat it. I eat because it’s healthy, nourishing and its yummy. I eat because someone I love made it for me. I eat because the social fun from it all.

Let me say that I don’t think eating Paleo is bad. It worked for me and served it’s purpose. It was a great place for me to get a slap in the face as to what real food was and eliminate the non-food. It was a great place for me to start learning a bit more about how certain foods make me feel, perform and look. But that’s just it, it was (and is) a great place to start, but not a great place to stay in my opinion (unless goals and health require it).

You may be asking, so, what do you eat? I eat food. I eat real food. I try to buy from local sources as much as possible. I eat from my own garden. I eat food that makes me feel good. I occasionally eat dairy (it makes me break out if I eat too much). I occasionally eat sugar (it’s still not good for us, but it’s okay). I eat potatoes and rice and other starches. I also eat salt and vinegar potato chips on occasion and have Swiss Miss dark hot chocolate when I’m camping (and actually right now as I’m typing this at home). Basically I eat real food and let some junk in once in awhile and I love both!

So, why so much on my food history? Because I think it’s important to know where you were and where you are so you can find where you’re going. This is a constant evolution and chances are in 2 years I will look back at this blog post with a different perspective than I have today. At least I hope so, because that means I’m growing! Bottom line, I don’t “eat clean” and I don’t “eat Paleo” and I don’t “eat Keto”… I eat real food and I feel good!

Favorite Quote:

“I walk around like everything is okay, but in my shoe, my sock is sliding off.”

Exercise of the Week

Getting that posterior chain moving!! This is a big one for endurance athletes and power athletes and people that sit all day and people that run around with their heads cut off all day… basically this is good for everyone!

Favorite Recipe

Made this one this week out of whatever I had in the house

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag cauliflower rice or 1 head of cauliflower cut into “rice”
  • 1 large carrot sliced into thick pieces
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger (or dried ginger)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp grass fed butter

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 Tbsps butter over medium heat in dutch oven
  2. Add chicken and coat with butter
  3. Squeeze juice of lemon on top and add rinds
  4. Add ginger, sea salt and black pepper
  5. Cover and let cook for 30-40 minutes, move chicken around occasionally not to burn
  6. Heat 1 Tbsp butter to skillet over medium heat
  7. Add in cauliflower and carrots
  8. Season with salt and pepper
  9. Stir regularly and cook until carrots are soft (about 8 minutes)
  10. Serve chicken over “rice” and have with a side of greens and Jenny’s Dressing

32 thoughts on “Nutrition Nonsense: Part I – My Story

  1. Nutrition is my biggest issue I think. I’m a comfort and stress eater. How do we disconnect that wire in our brain?

    1. Molly, comfort and stress eating is a real thing and I have more coming on that in the weeks to come. Please keep following along. 1st step is recognizing the habit of emotional eating and then strategies follow. I encourage you to take some time in the next couple of weeks to journal when you find yourself “comfort or stress eating” and note what the emotions/events that led up to that were. Maybe even write down other activities you can do to help besides eating (go for a walk, read a book, do a puzzle, dance to music, journal, etc).

  2. I am pleased to hear that you have rationalized your nutrition. My issue with nutrition and diet is that I am addicted to food. The pleasure it brings has me hooked. When I first met you I started eating paleo and lost 90 pounds in a year and a half. But now I have gain 30 back and need to loose 80 pounds in order to have surgery on my cancer. I have really struggled to loose any more weight even though I exercise regularly. I am diabetic and do not want to take insulin so I eat a very reduced carbohydrate diet and it works, no more insulin. My problem is with portion control. I don’t have a bad diet but do eat way too much. My mindful eating is more like mindless eating. I find it ironic that even when an addiction is killing you you still feed it.

    1. Roy thanks for sharing and first of all be very proud of the lifestyle changes you have made. I know food addiction has been a real thing for you and it is for many people. The first step is recognizing it, which you do. The second step is taking action. Find a substitute for mindless eating. Identify the times/environments in which you just snack away and replace it with something else. For example, if you know sitting on the couch watching TV = snacking, then don’t sit on your couch and watch TV. Instead pull out your foam roller and take care of your tissues while watching TV. Or if you know that when you get sleepy or board in the afternoon that mindless eating takes over, then go for walk or read a book. Other tricks… use a small plate instead of a large dinner plate. Meal prep and plan portion sizes ahead of time. It’s a real battle and I respect that, but you CAN do this!

  3. Oh halefrickin leujah! Love the honesty and vulnerability. Yes, nutrition is such an individual
    journey. Within healthy individuals, I think the try it and observe how it makes you feel method is great.

  4. I love to read this, I could not agree with you more. I have been in the same situations you talked about. Finding balance has made a big difference. Eating to feel well and enjoy life is what is important. Good for you!

  5. This is so true! Eat real, organic food! We have gone Paleo and then Keto for Ava…that’s where we all hit a wall and started to not enjoying eating…it became a chore. Love this advice!!

    1. Yes… food shouldn’t be a chore. It should just be… well, food. A thing enjoyed with family and friends, a way to enjoy our amazing sense of taste. Yes, also fuel for our body, but fuel comes in all forms!

  6. Wow! Great read and well written. So many similarities to my food journey and where I am now. I feel like I had to go from one extreme to another to finally arrive at what I would consider a sensible middle ground.

  7. Great post. I did Paleo for a cpl years on and off and felt the exact same way. Find the things that don’t quite work for you – but still enjoy ice cream on those hot days! Eat real food and enjoy it!!!

    Love your blog.

    Thank you!!

  8. I’m so glad you decided to take the plunge and write about nutrition! So many people make this a passionate, black and white subject and it’s hard to wrap your head around what is “right,” but this is exactly what needs to be written! I too have struggled with orthorexia and just generally been a miserable person because of it, and I’m certain that’s not how our relationship with food was meant to be. Thank you for this approach!

    1. Thank you for sharing Kelley and thank you for taking time to read my story and comment. This is a discussion that needs to happen and I find that too many people have been or are in the same boat you and I found ourselves in. It helps to have people to relate to… to feel like you’re not alone… and to see that this crazy, dangerous relationship with food doesn’t have to be that way.

  9. Love the personal story and your healthy approach to food and eating. I think many of us have real emotional ties to eating. Understanding yourself, how and why you eat, is important to living well.

    1. Yes ma’am!!! Emotional ties are a great thing… food is definitely fuel but it is also tradition and love and joy and culture!

  10. Hey Jenny! Thanks for the great post!! You introduced me to paleo…umm…how many years ago? I still prefer to eat quasi-paleo I’ll call it, just no beans/legumes, and gluten (except for my beer 😋). We have a challenge at our gym right now that I’m really struggling with. The Zone. I feel hostage to food right now and find myself unable to eat out at all. Sooo much food. On top of it, trying to maintain my “paleo” guideline. It seems impossible to maintain. Any suggestions?
    So looking forward to future posts my friend!
    BTW…LOVE your quote!!! That would ruin my day. Lol.

    Xo

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Jill! The Zone Diet is for some and it’s not for others. My post this next week will dive more into this. There is a lot of measuring that has to be done. For me, that just doesn’t work. Is it good to do for a few weeks to actually see your portion sizes, yes… it can be. If it’s adding more stress to your life than goodness, I would argue that it’s not good. But you have to be the one to decide that. I personally, don’t condone Zone as a life-long way of eating, but some do. Remember, this is your journey and you have to do what feels right to you. If this doesn’t feel right, find what does. P.S. I MISS YOU!!!

  11. Dear Jenny,
    Thank you for sharing this post. I have recently been reestablishing a healthy and guilt free relationship with food and also walk along similiar lines. Even though I do believe in eating what you feel good about and what makes your body feel good, it’s refreshing and sobering to read this post from a great athelete and personality as yourself! Keep on the wonderful vibes you spread with being! (Even across the web ;-))

  12. I love what you wrote about Nutrition!! I can empathize with this so much. I was a division 1 athlete in college and during that time and years following my career I can now identify it as not having a healthy relationship with food. Some of my identity was tied into what I looked like, and my outward appearance. I was an extreme paleo eater and that can become socially isolating….. To keep tabs on it, I became obsessed with the health and wellness field…. so much so I chose to make a career out of it. Became a pilates instructor, Crossfit coach, got my master’s degree in Nutrition. I’m going off on a tangent, but It has only been in the last 2-3 years on my early thirties that I have truly understood the importance of balance. Some day my body will give and I won’t have that part of me like I once did, I am now beginning to understand more and more that it has to be more about enjoying life and the people around you. We know sugar isn’t great for us, I try not to eat it as much as possible, or I try not to overdo it on alcohol but there is a balance to be achieved… I think that alcohol and sugar imply a social gathering where you are with friends and/or family celebrating a birthday or a special event and it’s important to be in the present moment enjoying things together even if that means pizza, a birthday cake or a glass of wine or a beer.

    Thank you for your post. It felt so human 🙂 and genuine. I loved hearing you as a guest on GGW Podcast. I still remember it was episode #121 one of my favorites. Then I found you and your blog 🙂 Thank you for being you and just sharing that with the world (social media peeps)! 😉

    1. Oh my goodness… Cassidy, thank you for your genuine comment and vulnerability in sharing a bit of your story. Means the world! And thank you for following my blog/website and for listening into GGW Podcast #121… those women are doing amazing things with their message and outreach! I was so honored to have been on one of their episode. Anywho, it sounds like you’re in a good place, or getting in a good place with food and for that I am so happy for you! XOXO

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