Defining Your Diet

Good morning and a happy Monday to you! I am back in my morning workout routine (at least weights, it’s dark now in the mornings, getting out there for a run might take some extra motivation). I always feel so accomplished when I get in a workout first thing 🙂

Check out my cute new mug! I was eying them at Target for a while, and yesterday they were on SALE!! Love it when that happens. I also got two matching bowls. (I took the picture on my computer because I didn’t want to get up, hence the quality.)

Let’s talk about a little four letter word that we all use way too much. Diet. While by definition a diet is just what you eat on a daily basis, it’s become known as a special way to eat to achieve a goal like to lose weight or to build muscle or for medical purposes. By creating a label for your diet, we are defining what we put in your body.

But here is my issue with the labels. They are restrictive which can be unnecessary. I realize that some labels are based on fundamental beliefs, but in general I don’t think it’s always a good idea to completely cut out any food group (allergies and fundamental beliefs aside).

Maybe I have commitment issues (hope not, don’t tell the husband…haha) or I don’t like being restricted or whatever, but I don’t think that it’s realistic to think you will never eat something again. I also think that with labels come judgement.

Let me back up a little bit. In 2008 I read the book Skinny Bitch. I still kind of feel to this day that I was tricked into reading it. At the time I was feeling lost with my food choices and I was looking for some inspiration. The book’s back cover promised to help me slim down and revolutionize other aspects of my life.

Next thing I knew I was reading about the horrors of the meat and dairy industry. I was ill from it. After reading that I could not imagine eating meat ever again. I just stopped. I proclaimed to my friends and family I was vegan. My husband (then boyfriend) was not thrilled. I didn’t think it through but I knew I couldn’t continue eating how I had been. I got a lot of grief from a lot of people, including being told I wasn’t a real vegan because of my other lifestyle choices (beauty products, etc.).

I eventually backed down to vegetarian for a lot of reasons (I really don’t feel the need to justify it, but it included getting my wisdom teeth out, extreme nausea/vomiting on a train, jello, and a milkshake) but really I didn’t care what other people thought. We don’t have a lot of control in our lives, but one thing is for sure, I control what I put in my mouth, and it’s my decision. I don’t need to define it or justify it for anyone.

I choose to eat how I will, and you are welcome to do the same, it’s such a deeply personal decision, who am I to judge what you put in you body. I find it so odd that people are so quick to comment and judge on what I eat.

I don’t define or label my diet in any way, but Michael Pollan has a lot of great ideas about food. The key, I believe, is to eat “responsibly.” I am not a huge Oprah watcher, but the last episode I watched was the one with Kathy Freston and Michael Pollan both talking about their choices about how they eat. Kathy is a vegan, FYI.

Basically Kathy talked about her decision to become vegan, and Michael talked about making informed, responsible decisions about what you eat. There was even a segment at a slaughter house. Which I watched, and I am glad I did. I totally agree with Michael when he said that you shouldn’t eat meat if you aren’t willing to see the process it goes through to make it’s way to your dinner table.

I couldn’t agree more, which is why I now focus on basing my diet decisions on “responsible” food choices. If I buy meat it’s from mostly organic, natural sources. I try to buy local dairy products if possible. But most of all I recognize that putting labels and restrictions on my diet just isn’t realistic for me.

I just want to take a minute to interject that I’m not trying to judge anyone’s decisions and I have a huge respect and admiration for people who make any informed decision on what they put in their body. I can’t stress enough how personal I think this is, and I there are so many factors that go into what you do or don’t eat, that it’s up to you.

How do you (or don’t) define your diet? Do you get frustrated by diet labels? What about food judgement you get from others?

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6 thoughts on “Defining Your Diet

  1. I try to eat as clean as possible – local foods, with the least amount of ingredients and clean ingredients. I am also picky about my meat. Sometimes I do slip up, but I live in a city where everything is fried (New Orleans), so I do what I can 😉
    People give me a hard time all of the time, but I did research and made my choice off of that, those people did no research at all.
    I agree that it’s up to you, your opinion, from what you’ve seen and read. We are all supposed to be different, right? Let us be 🙂

  2. I agree with you completely on this….it drives me crazy when people judge other people according to what they eat. Just like you said, we are each individually responsible for what food goes into our bodies and every person makes their own decisions about what food that ends up being….I often eat/cook/bake vegan and vegetarian meals, but I occasionally choose otherwise, too. We have to be more proactive about learning where our foods come from and exactly what’s in them/how they’re made.
    I get quite a few negative comments from relatives when we eat together and I make a healthier choice for the food I personally eat, even though I’ve never once asked them to eat the way I do. I could talk about this subject for hours!
    great post : )

    • Thanks Danica! Isn’t it funny how people are more willing to ask questions when you choose a healthy option? It cracks me up! I would NEVER be like, WHY are you eating those mashed potatoes AND gravy?!! Maybe I should hahaha.

  3. I found your blog thru Janetha’s post, and I have to say, I couldn’t agree with your post more! I’ve tried to inflict so many different labels on myself – vegan and vegetarian among them. It is ironic how people openly judge you on your food choices like making a healthier choice is offensive in some way. I would never judge what someone else chooses to put in their body and would hope they would give me the same respect. Now I just call myself a “flexitarian,” 😉 and I eat whatever suits me at the moment, but I do my best to eat responsibly – locally and organic. I have to admit, it’s been 7 months since I’ve had any chicken or beef (since reading Skinny Bitch), and I have every intention of eating them both again at some point, but I haven’t been able to as yet.

  4. Shannon, I’ve also been trying to find a label to fit myself for years. It’s really difficult though when I know I’m not happy on the “Diet Plan” and I never follow it to a letter anyway. I go through phases – vegetarian, only chicken, vegetarian, only dairy, vegan, I’ll eat anything, back to vegetarian again…

    Most of my diet is focused on eating responsibly (therefore seasonally and cheaply). For me it is something that is important and I think food choices are a fascinating topic because I learn more from others. I feel like our food choices are something little that influence everything and I want to do what I can to support the local food production, economy, politics – all that trickle down stuff. Unfortunately, unless one shares similar beliefs and an open mind the comments can come across as condescending and holier-than-thou.

    I don’t feel the need to justify what I eat but if you honestly want to have a dialogue – I’m all for it.

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