My Food Journey

I’m taking you from McDonald’s double cheeseburger lover to {nearly} whole food, vegetarian. All within about 5 years.

You might want to put your seat belts on for this one.

Like many people born in my generation, I was raised during the time of the convenience meals: Hamburger Helper, The Schwan’s Man, drive-thrus. Both of my parents worked full-time and we needed food that was quick, easy, and affordable. My parents did the absolute best they could, and nobody can blame them for that.

Outside the house, I ate like most kids my age. Two double cheeseburgers and a large fry from McDonald’s. Or my favorite, the 6-piece chicken strip basket with extra toast from Dairy Queen. Top that off with a medium chocolate chip cookie dough Blizzard.

Growing up I thought I was healthy because I had a 6-pack and could play 32 minutes of basketball without dying.

It was in college that my eating habits slowly began to change. I was not training year-round for sports anymore. While I was lucky enough to remain at the same weight, my body just didn’t feel good anymore. I was sluggish, tired, and I didn’t want work out. I knew I had to change my eating habits drastically.

Changes to my diet actually started when I was 13. My basketball coach forced us to quit drinking soda during the season. Of course at the time I was one very displeased 13 year old girl. Looking back now, I can see that living without that one thing for 4 months made a huge difference. I have only had a few sodas in the past 10 years because of this experience.

The changes were small at first. I started by slowly cutting out “junk” food. Then, junk food consisted of store bought cookies, cakes, other sweets. Oh and uh, not having 3 bowls of fruit loops for supper. I stopped eating out as much, especially at fast food chains. I didn’t get the chips and cookie at Subway, little things.

Instinctively, I knew that fruits and veggies were good for me. I started pumping those into my diet even more. Always a fruit with breakfast, a salad accompanied or made up my supper.

I gave up fried foods. I went vegetarian for a week. I cut red meat out of my diet. Slowly, ever so slowly these changes were occurring.

Chicken, turkey, and occasionally fish were the meats in my life. Over the course of about 8 months, I completely lost interest in these. They didn’t taste good anymore, they didn’t make me feel good anymore. I gave up meat altogether for 40 days. I loved the vegetarian recipes I was cooking.

Since November of 2011 I have been meat-free. My body feels great. I am happy. I have a husband who eats meatless about 2 times a week. I do still eat fish, so I guess technically I’m a “pescatarian”.

It was about the same time, maybe a little sooner, that I knew I wanted to start my “whole food journey”. It’s definitely a journey, a process, but we love it. Do we miss Chips Ahoy cookies? My brain thinks I want them, but I know I really don’t. They don’t taste nearly as good as I remember.

If you have any questions about my diet, how I got here, how I make it work for me and my omnivore husband please don’t hesitate to ask. I am here to help you understand the life of the whole foodie and how it can work for anyone, the college student, the stay-at-home parent of 3, the single gal/guy, the full-time employee, anyone. Trust me, you can do it if you put your mind to it.

What does your food journey look like?

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4 responses to “My Food Journey

  1. Great post! Do I miss Chips Ahoy and McDonalds and DQ blizzards? Well…sorta…but honestly not really! I never felt good after eating those things, and now, I feel GREAT eating w whole foods diet. Better than I even knew I could feel! Plus, on the rare occasions that I have “junk” (i.e. hubs and I went to Red Robin with friends a couple of nights ago) not only do I feel awful afterwards, but the food (that I used to love) just doesn't taste good. At all. Because it isn't food! I missed the junk in the beginning…but now, honestly, I'd rather just cook quality food at home!

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  2. Thanks Jill! Totally understand what you mean about thinking you miss those foods, there's the part of me that wants those things because I ate them for 21+ years, ya know? After I have them though my belly is unsettled. I was cooking bacon for Kevin the other morning, remembered how I LOVED bacon, I had half a slice and was sick the rest of the day. Oh well. 🙂

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  3. Great post Jerri Ann. Is this going on the MAK site? It should. You have taken a very sensible route to a healthy diet. What worries me are the teenage girls who decide to go vegetarian but just cut out meat not thinking about what they do eat. The body cannot thrive on junk food and soft drinks.

    While you are leagues ahead of me on the healthy food road and always will be, my aha moment came 20 plus years ago when I was preparing my body for pregnancy. I cut out caffeine and artificial sweeteners and have never looked back. (caffeine gives me a headache now) I craved a Diet Coke the whole time I was pregnant and nursing, but when I finally had one it tasted terrible.

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  4. Thanks Christina. This post won't go on MAK, no. I might share it with Modern Alternative Mama though, she does a weekly highlight of posts of ours.
    I didn't know teenage girls were really doing that. Unfortunately, most diets go through a “trend phase” and people do it because it's “cool”. It can be very damaging to our health if we don't know how to keep things balanced, you're so right.
    I appreciate your support. Thanks for sharing your “aha” moment as well. We all have choices and the ones I decide to make aren't for everyone, just like the ones you decide to aren't for everyone. I'm proud of your for cutting caffeine and art. sweeteners, that's great!! 🙂 Love you

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