On February 1st, after my month-long Raw Food Challenge in which I posted my food intake for every single day of January, I started a brand new food blog: Health Writer Eats* (Amusingly enough, the awesome Mary started a food blog on February 1st, too! And hers includes pretty photographs).
Health Writer Eats is a food diary, but it also includes the calories I’ve eaten each day, hours slept the night before, exercise that I’ve done for the day, and changes in my body composition (these weight/body fat stats are always compared to body composition from my first post on that blog; February 1st, 2010). I don’t always include stats, but I record them on a fairly regular (usually daily) basis.
There are a number of reasons (because there’s never one reason for anything!) for why I decided to start a food blog. The top three reasons are:
1. I always write down my food intake in a notebook anyways, so I figured it was easier to just do it on the computer instead. I’ve used food tracking resources such as FitDay before but, while they’re great, I don’t need them to break down my food for me. I prefer doing this as a blog. I had gotten so used to writing down my daily food intake during January because of the nutrition challenge, so I figured I’d just keep going now that the habit was ingrained in me 😉
2. I like being kept accountable by the Internet. If I know that I’ll be writing down what I ate or what my activity level was for the day, I’ll be more likely to actually do strength training as opposed to convincing myself that carrying a Christmas tree by myself is enough of a workout (by the way, never ever ever leave your Christmas tree in your apartment until February. Carrying it outside is a hassle. Cleaning up the needles, all of which will fall from the branches before the tree reaches the dumpster, is likewise frustrating).
3. I want to show anyone who is interested that you can be busy with work, have an active social life, stick to a budget, and eat healthy simultaneously!
The third reason is really the most important. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just jumping from work to university to socializing, only stopping at home long enough to crawl into bed. Even so, we can always find ways to be healthy.
The other part to this is that I’m tired of reading in magazines that when people make the switch from being a “junk food addict” to a “healthy long-distance runner” (isn’t that every success story?), they eat a steady diet of oatmeal for breakfast, a few nuts for a snack, a salad with protein for lunch, yogurt for another snack, and some fish with a baked sweet potato for dinner. Maybe a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
While in essence this is the kind of way that “healthy people” eat, it’s really not accurate at all. At least, I don’t believe that it is.
Sometimes you go out for lunch. Sometimes your roommate surprises you by making jam-filled turnovers. Or your mother dear makes whole wheat buns and you eat seven of them in one sitting. These things happen, and they happen a lot more often than most people care to admit!
I consider myself mostly-vegan. However, if you’ve been following my Health Writer Eats blog, you’ll see that I didn’t eat vegan for the first eleven days within starting the new blog. That’s because I ate out at cafes/restaurants a couple times, and then the boyfriend made me piles of chicken soup when I had a bad cold over the weekend, and then the mother dear cooked some beef stew for me. While I personally cook vegan (apart from the occasional poached egg), I don’t follow a vegan diet when others are cooking for me.
And that was okay that I ate this way. In fact, it’s more than okay, it was delicious! We have to remember that even though “eating a small handful of nuts” is excellent to incorporate into a healthy diet, it might not be a regular occurrence. Or, you might eat two or three handfuls instead (and that’s my personal major problem that I’m presently struggling with, as I discussed on Monday: portion control and compulsive overeating). Since my disordered eating has somewhat returned, I also feel that blogging my daily eats is important for me to understand my food issues and for readers to see that health writers struggle with their relationships with food, too.
Health Writer Eats is for you to see that you can eat healthy, whole foods without compromising flavour, variety, or the enjoyment of eating food in the company of others. I tend to eat a lot of vegetables, but sometimes I’ll go for an entire day with just one measly carrot and the rest of my food intake will all be in the form of grains and nut butter. I don’t think that eating grains and nut butter all day long is healthy, but it’s the reality, and it is also real food rather than processed (and yes, sometimes we health writers do have a few chicken fingers or eat at Subway… but those times should be far and few between!).
Forget the magazines that tell you that “eating healthy” means eating a sliver of fish and a pile of lettuce for dinner every single day. My food blog is the reality of living healthy.**
How about you? Do you feel that the success stories are always 100% truthful? Are you interested in reading another person’s food diary to see how to incorporate healthy foods into your hectic lifestyle?
*You might have noticed that Health Writer Eats is a wordpress.com blog, whereas this blog is self-hosted (the same as my Living Rhetorically in the Real World blog). That’s because I haven’t figured out how to add the new food blog onto this website. When I get my website design person to look at it in a couple months, that will all be fixed up 🙂
**Granted, sometimes I’ll go through phases where all I’ll eat is oatmeal for breakfast or salad for dinner. But if that’s the case, I tend to nosh on a lot of other things throughout the day. I don’t think I can comfortably say that this is what I eat on a typical day, because “typical day” is subjective. It’s constantly changing, and that is what is so wonderful about health and food.