Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Step in The Right Direction

By Student Blogger Stephanie Kirkland…
      
 Sometimes I wonder when my desire to follow a healthy lifestyle began. I do remember asking my mom in late middle school if she could pick up either whole wheat or whole grain bread at the store, though. However, I don’t know how that began. Maybe it was from being a little envious of the other lunches my friends were eating at school or maybe it was from watching the Food Network religiously. Or I might have perceived my own body image as something far from the truth as most young girls, sadly, do. Regardless, I believe I have always been aware of what I was eating, how much I was eating, and if what I was eating was truly the best option for me.
    
  I have to confess. I am always and always have been game for a movie night filled with junk food. And I have to add that mayonnaise and ranch dressing are among my preferred condiments. So there you have it. With so many products like these and beyond what store shelves can possibly carry, I am constantly tempted by packaging and impulse buys that seem to put me one step back on this road to complete health and vitality. I justify it like I do everything else, whether it’s a shopping spree or that last drink that I shouldn’t have had at the bar: live a little, reward yourself. I couldn’t possibly still be on this same path if I didn’t indulge in a couple of potato chips every day now and then.

      I also have a high willingness to try basically anything and everything. And I really do enjoy tabbouleh salad, avocados, and whole grains, and spinach and kale, even. The texture and the taste that I get from these types of things and dark greens as compared to what I grew up on (iceberg lettuce) is unparalleled. The most my family will step out of their box is by ordering Americanized Chinese food from our nearest strip mall. And while I am a sucker for General Tso, I have also had Filipino, Indian, Mexican, French, Greek, and foods from other cuisines that I had no idea could pack as much flavor into the dishes they do. And the best part is, usually, dishes of these cuisines are packed with fresh vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
     
 Today, I try to abide by a diet that consists of a majority of organic, plant based, whole-foods. The connotation the word diet has is one of restriction and disappointment and struggle. What many people are unaware of though is that the actual definition of a diet is the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. That includes any food patterns one decides they should pursue or not pursue. That definition can automatically liberate anyone who has struggled with the word diet in particular, or what they have experienced in the past with diets. When you begin to realize that your overall health can be factually improved upon by starting with what you put into your body in the form of food and drink, you probably won’t grab the last doughnut in the box. When you do put the right foods in, you get the results you’ve always wanted. When you reap the results (clear skin, energetic, truly awake, clear headed, and many more symptoms), you naturally want not only those qualities to stay with you, but crave more results.
  
    A part of me questions whether or not this warpath, it seems, to overall health and wellness in body and spirit is because I am so aware of the types of foods that the better part of the population is exposed to and eating on a daily basis. Along with the kinds of growing practices associated with those same foods, it’s no wonder why I am hesitant to pick up any pack of discount chicken at the grocery store. Being exposed to and educating myself on these things has no doubt influenced my food and lifestyle choices hence-forth. But I do know I would rather be aware and thriving because of my actions as compared to suffering from them.

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