Food & Fitness

Health Writer Eats

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 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.


  1. Candice

    You are completely of the same thinking as me. I try to avoid shamelessly advertising my blog, Clean Eating and Me, on other blogs, but my blog is all about my clean eating lifestyle and it, of course, includes the moments that life just doesn’t allow the “perfect” diet. I cannot wait to check out your food blog. I’m heading there now!

  2. asithi

    The rumor has it that my boss lost over 100 pounds in the last few years. From what I can see, he has a salad with a can of tuna for lunch EVERYDAY. I don’t eat like that. But neither was I ever heavy as he was. So who knows. Maybe after losing all that weight, there is fear that he might gain it all back. So the health magazines could be featuring people like my boss. But what I do know is that at some point there was probably some struggle to go from his normal eating habits to a daily salad.

  3. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    What you describe is *precisely* the problem I had with trying to follow “other people’s diets.” I can and do eat the same foods regularly, partially because I love them, but also so that when life offers a chance for a dietary side trip, I can veer off course without concern. (Well, I’m still working on the “without concern” part. I’m at “without losing a night’s sleep” stage now.) When I read or see interviews with folks who alwaysalwaysalways eat ONLY {insert their food program here}, I usually tune them out as I’ve lost any semblance of kinship with them.

  4. Dr. J

    LOL! You stole my “mostly vegan” line. The hard core vegans look at it like slightly pregnant, but that’s their problem 🙂 I find it an easier way to describe my eating style in a few words.

    The only success story that I think is 100% truthful is mine and yours, and I’m not sure of yours! OK I’m just kidding. The successful people I know find a way to eat healthy, not feel deprived, adapt to variations such as jam turnovers by adjusting their diet to account for it. Food is not the center of their lives, but an accessory. I’m probably old school, but I worry about people that always use the term love with food. I never remember saying I love food. Like it, need it, enjoy it. LOVE it, no way. Just some random thoughts.

  5. Sagan Morrow

    Candice- Life ISN’T about eating perfect 100% of the time, is it? And I think it’s important to spread awareness about that.

    Asithi- True, there probably are people who religiously eat salad without fail. But I think that they’re the exception to the rule. And I also think that things vary as time goes on… yes, sometimes I DO eat oatmeal for breakfast 5 days of the week, and I’ll do that for a couple months on end… but then I’m ready to start a new “routine”. We can do so much with something such as vegetables, for example, that it isn’t necessary to eat salad ALL the time. We can turn vegetables into a smoothie or a casserole or a burger; we can steam them or bake them or grill them or add them to sauces or pile them on top of pasta. We can do a lot with a few seemingly simple ingredients, methinks 🙂

    Cammy- Me too. I say that I’m “mostly vegan”, but that means that I can go for a week or two without eating any animal products, and then I’ll go vegetarian (or omnivore) for a couple weeks. I say that I “don’t really do dairy”, but I’m not one to ever turn down cheesecake, and I just bought a block of cheese a few days ago. So… I think it’s good to have rough “guidelines” of what we like to do, but also to recognize that we’re not going to follow those guidelines to a T. Things change, and if we’re happy with that and our lifestyles reflect the healthiness, then I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

    Dr. J- Ahahaha “slightly pregnant”, yes, to the hardcores I’m sure I just look like a wimp 🙂 Success is what works for each of us as individuals. I like your thoughts on the food as an accessory. That’s something I’m working on right now.

    Yum Yucky- Hehe. Sometimes (frequently ;)) even WITH the Internet accountability my food intake isn’t nearly as healthy as I’d like it to be. Ah well. Might as well let everyone see “how it is”!

  6. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    I like seeing what people really eat. And I like good, healthy food. But you are so right, a healthy diet isn’t “perfect.” I think when things get too perfect there are problems (at least for me)… I’m going to check out Health Writer Eats now… 🙂

  7. vered - blogger for hire

    “you can be busy with work, have an active social life, stick to a budget, and eat healthy simultaneously” – so true. I uses to make excuses in the past – there were times in my life when I heavily relied on processed foods. I am doing much better now, although there’s still room for improvement!

  8. bhealthier

    how ever do you keep up with all the writing while in school!?! I would love to start a gazillion blogs if I could but I think I would go insane.

    i will have to visit your health writer eats site after I post this comment, im interested!

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