Don’t worry, this isn’t another recipe post. Yes, there is actually a time in my life when I’m not thinking about or making food, and today is one of those times. Actually, that might be a lie.
This morning I woke up with my mouth tasting like sugar (yuck, not okay at 6am), and I immediately thought “god I need some vegetables”. You know you’ve reached a sugary rock-bottom when your first thought of the day is about boiled carrots.
My veggie craving made it glaringly obviously that most of the things I’ve whipped up in the past few weeks are super high in refined sugar, and seriously lacking in any nutritional value. “But it’s December” you say, “it’s a time for goodies and treats. Work it off in the new year!”. It’s not the calories that are bothering me though, it’s the lack of nutrition that I’m getting. For a generally healthy person, I’ve barely been getting two servings of fruit and veggies per day–girl, that ain’t right.
Here’s the thing. Back in 2006, I was a textbook junk-food addict. I ate peanut butter and nutella sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, and frozen pizza for dinner. I’d get only lettuce on my (very meaty) burgers, and leave any other trace of plant-life off. Isn’t it healthy if it’s got lettuce on it? Errmm…
When I finally realized that my diet was hurting me (and I mean seriously hurting me. I’ve got food sensitivities that can knock me out of commission for days at a time), I figured it was time to wisen up. Truth be told, I was suffering from nutritional ignorance.
At first it was tough to figure out the world of nutrition, especially since I was starting from zero-knowledge, but in the long run I greatly benefited from my trials and errors. First of all, I became vegetarian, due to my sensitivity to meat. Second, I learned to incorporate foreign vegetables and fruit into my diet that I had otherwise never even heard of. No, really, I’d never even heard of an avocado until I was 20 years old.
Nearly 5 years later, I’ve learned to feel the physical effects of different foods on my body. When I was training for a 10k and eating tonnes of vegetables and stir-frys, I had no problem pushing myself week-to-week to increase my pace. And when I was going through rough times and neglecting my diet, I was perpetually fatigued and sluggish.
So what doe s this tell me (or you, for that matter)? It tells me that although it’s fun to indulge in a little bit (okay a lot) more sugar than usual around the holidays, it’s no time to be ignoring my health. Morning sugar-mouth aside, I’ll be strengthening my immune system during cold and flu season, and I’ll look and feel so much better. What’s not to love about that? Finally, sweet treats will taste even sweeter when I do indulge, because they’re actually treats; ‘treat’ means ‘not every day’!
To help me (and you!) remember to stay healthy and well-fed this month, here are a few links to some recipes that are not only delicious, but full of good stuff that’ll help me get through my hours of holiday engagements. And if you’ve got any to add, I’d love for you to share them!
- Kabocha squash gnocchi–a must make, I promise.
- Roasted butternut squash & goat cheese? Yes please.
- Black bean Yamburgers, because I love a good burger.
- Vegan enchiladas (with that foreign avocado). Mexican? Irresistable.
- Grilled fish tacos for the pescatarian in me. Protein!
- Vegan mac ‘n cheese, a huge favourite in my house.
- Crockpot quinoa chili, a vegetarian protein powerhouse.
To summarize, here’s what I like to think about when it comes to eating right. Going to work, or any engagement for that matter, with a hangover is an obvious faux-pas; you feel like crap and you make a poor impression. The same can be said for a sugar hangover and the inevitable energy crash; you’re tired, you’ve got a stomach ache, and you’re not in the mood to be social. Therefore, indulge wisely, and impress your peers accordingly!