Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Relationship with Food

Let me first say that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist; I am a university student with a passion for food and exercise and an expanding knowledge of issues related to food and exercise. I teach nutrition and physical activity to public high schools as part of a larger health program that uses volunteers from universities to teach workshops. Sometimes I am amazed at how little the students have been taught previously in regards to living a healthy lifestyle, including some things that I think are very simple because I was taught by my parents from very early on in life. Then I realized that I was very lucky to have been taught all these things and have been able to live such a healthy lifestyle.

I love food. Some may call me a foodie because I love to cook and I love restaurants. I love finding that little awesome neighborhood place with that mouth-watering grilled sandwich, but I also love being pampered with high-end food at expensive restaurants. But I also have an extremely healthy relationship with food. I am a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats cheese, eggs and fish, no poultry, beef or pork, etc.) and have been for 6 years. I don't eat meat for a variety reasons which I am sure I will get into further on in this blog. I happen to love healthy foods - I could eat sweet potatoes, quinoa and kale for the rest of my life - and that is where my healthy relationship with food begins. I don't believe in the idea of 'dieting' as a verb; you should be eating what you want to eat in correct amounts and you shouldn't restrict anything completely from your 'diet' (noun). Another important aspect of my life is how I like being active, from going on walks and doing yoga to cycling, skiing and rock-climbing. I believe in finding the right balance in your life of healthy foods, indulgent foods and physical activity - this balance has made me happy and healthy.

In this blog I first want to answer some of the questions that I feel are important to address; many of these questions I have been asked by some of the students before and some are just questions that I find important regarding nutrition. Secondly I will address living active lifestyles, and this does not mean I want people to start training for marathons. I am talking about just going outside, enjoying the outdoors or enjoying what the world has to offer, ways of being active participants - in other words not sitting in front of a TV or computer all day. I may also add in some recipes that I love (including my recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, see I enjoy sweets sometimes too!) and I may profile some cool restaurants and people that are doing great things about nutrition or exercise.
I hope my advice isn't seen as me trying to force or impose my views on you. I am really just interested in educating the public on issues that I care about and think are extremely important in a day and age where 'adult onset diabetes' has had to be renamed 'type 2 diabetes' because of the increasing amount of children who have acquired it. I will add any sources that I pull information from, and they will be credible sources (no wikipedia,). Feel free to respond to me, but please don't be rude; if you don't care about any of this stuff then don't read it, but I hope that maybe you will start to care about it, because I really do. If I can leave you with any simple advice for starting to live a healthier lifestyle it is these two things: cook your own food and get outside for at least part of your day.