2012 was the year I learned how to exercise. 2013 is the year I learn how to eat. My ultimate goal is to learn how to be healthy for the rest of my life and find out what works for me. So in case you didn’t notice, the last two posts were Paleo recipes. I saw them and got so excited I just reblogged it without explaining it first. First off, I want to start out with my reasons for learning about nutrition, and that starts with my childhood.
I mentioned to my husband today about how all my life, I’ve been spoiled with good-for-me food and didn’t know it. My mom is a fantastic cook. She makes the most delicious meals with so much flavor, and she never uses frozen or canned vegetables. If the produce wasn’t available, she wouldn’t make it. Unfortunately, the only real cooking that I may have inherited from her is how to stir-fry (and I stir-fry A LOT!) [What I failed to pay attention to were the ingredients she used…the different types of veggies (outside of the carrot, celery, potato sort)…the different types of spices like lemongrass (which I was always embarrassed about eating because it was a smelly stalk and my friends would say it stinks), tamarind, tumeric, kaffir lime leaves, galangal ginger… ] But it’s never too late to learn.
Back to what I was saying about me not knowing how I was spoiled… Because my mom cooked all of our meals every day with the exception of cereal after school – we ate really good meals that were healthy, filled with vegetables (she always told me to eat more vegetables than anything, so I have a strong love for veggies!) and no weird processed stuff was used when she cooked. I was a very active kid. I played outside a lot, and I never had that “winded” feeling. I was an aspiring gymnast, so my dad put up uneven bars in my backyard that I could do flips and twirls on. I practiced tumbling, cartwheels, splits, pullups & all those other gymnast things with no trouble as a pre-teen.
It wasn’t until I got my first job at 16 and started buying food on my own (mostly fast food because it was what I saw on TV) that I started to realize I was growing a belly, and then I started growing saggy triceps, and the lean muscles that were there (which I was always a lean gal, not slender, but not chunky either) were simply soft. I began to grow self-conscious of my appearance, and not to mention teen acne didn’t help either. But I was still very active. I played tennis all 4 years of high school (2 hour practices 5 days a week!), and golf 3 years, and in between seasons I practiced both sports on my own.
Why was I getting fat? I was tired all the time. Always needed mid-day naps. Used to pass out in class. I never connected the newly found love for fast-food or the lack of mom’s food to these symptoms. Not to mention, I always had an allergy to milk and dairy products. I always had a bad reflux and gastroenteritis problem (so does my Dad). Severe acid leaks in my stomach which caused me to regurgitate greasy, fatty, and acidic foods EVERY time. It wasn’t easy living with these problems to begin with, and I ended up putting on 35lbs at my highest weight of 150lbs. (I know it’s not a lot of weight compared to others, but I’m only 5’2″, and for me, and my level of activity, it was insane.)
I was active. I shouldn’t have put on this much weight and still be as active as I was. It just didn’t equate to the weight gain. My reflux and gastroenteritis got so bad after I “THOUGHT I WAS EATING HEALTHY” that it was flaring up all the time and keeping me up every night vomiting acid and feeling like I was having a heart attack. If you’ve ever had really bad reflux you would understand how it feels. It literally feels like what a patient who had a heart attack would describe a heart attack. So the first time I had this “heart attack”, I was incredibly worried. I remember that I ate roast beef earlier that night, probably just an hour before the attack.
Right – the roast beef nearly killed me. Roast beef is supposed to be a normal food. It’s not processed. My friend made it in a crock pot. Come to find out she put half a stick of butter in the sauce/gravy, and heavily salted the veggies and beef, and she also buttered the bread we ate with it.
My point is, I thought I was eating healthy. I found out much later after a few more “attacks” later on that year that I might have experienced gall stones trying to pass and getting stuck along the way. I even went to the doc for an ultrasound of the gallbladder. Probably because I checked on it early enough and I’m still young and active enough, there’s not a “problem” with my gallbladder. I’m sure that if I continued my bad eating habits, I would have some irreversible damage by now.
After these events (I was 26 by this time), I was starting to realize that I can’t handle greasy food, because these eruptions or flares happen very quickly. Then I started to realize cheese did the same thing. I always had a sensitivity to milk and have not been able to eat cereal since sometime in high school or college. I also notice a sensitivity to breads – I don’t think I have a celiac sensitivity but I did notice that I have never like breads. I’ve always preferred other carbs instead and typically rice, but that just may be because I’m Asian. Generally breads always made me feel kinda funny, full and bloated.
So, I’m on a mission – some reasons are vain but the main reason is that I NEED to know what’s ok to eat, what my body can handle, and what it needs. The next post I’ll talk about the Paleo Diet and what it entails.