After more than a year of following a Paleo diet pretty strictly, a few things happened. One, I suddenly felt so deprived I could scream. I looked at everyone else who was enjoying whatever treats they wanted and felt resentment and envy. I started keeping a short list on my phone of restaurants I wanted to try and foods I was craving. Two, I started hearing about orthorexia online. Orthorexia is an obsession with a perfect diet and the disorder is characterized by eliminating food groups entirely, worry over the relationship between food choices and health concerns, feelings of guilt when deviating from food plan, increase in amount of time spent thinking about food, thinking critical thoughts about others who do not adhere to rigorous diets, and avoiding eating food prepared by others.
I mean, what is the internet but a tool for self-diagnosis? Ha. Once I recognized some (okay most all) of those unpleasant characteristics in myself, I knew I needed to make some changes. I also knew when we went to my in-laws’ to celebrate their birthdays in March and I started to pass on birthday cake and ice cream when Chris overrode me and requested small portions of each. Eating the desserts with his parents was perhaps not nutritionally sound but it was absolutely emotionally right.
I now eat rice, corn and beans without a second thought. I also eat bread in moderation. I still generally avoid dairy and sugar but know I CAN eat them and the sky will not come falling down. I will meet my friends at whatever restaurants they choose without a peep of disagreement, and I will eat birthday cake. Lo and behold, I don’t think about food all the time anymore. I’m not unhappy. And because I was so strict for a year, the healthy habits and routines are still there for me as second nature. I’m thankful I learned to cook, learned to enjoy cooking, and tried and enjoyed new (to me) foods like beets and okra.
I appreciate everyone who put up with me when I was insufferably zealous. This blog will still be focused on health. A life of moderation and taking the path of “the middle way” is a healthy and happy life, and I’m glad to have found my way.
Thanks for listening, and be well.