I decided to move off Mackinac Island for a variety of reasons, but there is one that I would love to share because it has to do with food and nutrition:
Normally, I eat very clean on my own and am very selective about the food I purchase at home to eat. My diet usually consists of an abundant amount of fresh produce, raw vegetables, greens, low gluten and dairy, healthy fats, and all mostly organic ingredients when I can afford them. I usually feel great, don’t really get sick, maintain the same weight and have a lot of energy.
I had a birthday shortly after moving to the island.
I kept thinking to myself, ‘HOLY COW! 22 sucks! My joints ache, my back hurts in the morning, I’ve gained a little weight, I don’t feel that great and I have little energy..this must be part of the aging process!’ It was kind of a joke because I knew I wouldn’t notice such a stark difference right after having a birthday, but really, I felt a significant difference in how I felt after turning 22.
But then I reminded myself that it had nothing to do with my age or birthday at all.
The amount I paid for room and board weekly included meals in the employee dining room at work. The food was definitely not close to what I typically ate, and there were a lot of unhealthy options: tons of refined sugar-laden desserts, processed foods, lots of gluten and white bread, and non-organic meat and dairy. And I can openly admit that when there is junk food in front of me, I have a hard time saying no and usually give in, which is why I rarely buy groceries that I know aren’t good for me. I didn’t have a choice in paying for this ‘meal plan’, otherwise I would have opted out of it. And since I was paying for it and would usually be at work during meal times, I felt obligated to eat there. I definitely tried to eat away from work when I could and keep produce stocked in my fridge, but we had a silly excuse for a kitchen, very little free time, and I always seemed to be full from eating the food at work.
Overall, it just wasn’t a good fit for me. However, I really learned from it. Since my diet changed dramatically, I was able to see firsthand how much food affects the way you feel. Which makes me even more passionate to inspire people to make small diet changes that add up over time. It matters. And is oh, so worthwhile.
DAAAAARK Leafy Greeeeeeeens (picture me singing that in a luscious, low, vibrato voice). Eat them, drink them, inhale them. These are your friends, and your body wants them like it wants air.
Okay, I’m totally being dramatic. But find a way to add them to your diet. They are loaded with good vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. I’ll do a post later going into more detail and how to incorporate them into your diet, but I feel as though I have been wordy enough in this post (and I’m getting reaaally tired, hehe).
This was one of the last salads I made before moving off the island. I had some organic pasta sauce in the fridge and some organic polenta in my food bin, and I knew I wanted to put the two together to make a nice meal. So I added greens. And other vegetables. And made me a salad.
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1-2 tbsp. coconut oil
- ½ tube organic* polenta
- 2 large handfuls of greens of your choice (I used spinach and kale)
- hemp seeds, to taste
- pasta sauce, to taste
- *Because the majority of non-organic corn is genetically modified, I always buy organic corn/corn products.
- Saute the onion in coconut oil for about five minutes over medium heat stirring regularly.
- Add the garlic, and cook for a couple more minutes until onions become translucent. At the same time, slice ½ inch thick slices of polenta and cook in a frying pan with coconut oil until the edges are golden (I cooked the onions, garlic and polenta in the same pan).
- Cut the polenta into cubes before adding it to the salad.
- Add the onions, avocado, and cherry tomatoes on top of the greens.
- Add the pasta sauce, and sprinkle hemp seeds on top.