I was out yesterday at my meditation class – it was the first one of this year and I met a lovely bunch of new ladies. It’s a great class teaching about stilling the mind and learning to trust our own inner wisdoms to keep us moving forward. We are mindful about training ourselves to bring in techniques that allow us to make positive decisions for our lives that will ultimately fulfil us. It’s also a very ‘personal’ class as we share hopes, fears and the negativity that blocks us and stands in our way.
Aftewards a few of us went for coffee and I realised that as we chatted, every single one of us had some sort of food ‘guilt’. I was talking about having IBS and the food phobias I often have when entering a restaurant – at the same time I was feeling guilty because I had over indulged the night before on wine. One of us felt bad for ordering a scone because she was trying not to eat gluten and had been ‘good’ all week. One of us felt she couldn’t order anything because she was attending weight-watchers and was saving her ‘sins’ for that evening so she could ‘treat’ herself to some wine. None of us were able to be ‘food positive’!!
We ordered a couple of white chocolate and raspberry scones. I asked how big they were – worrying about wether or not I would be able to eat it all. Everyone laughed as the one given to me turned out to be the biggest! I had a slight inner panic as I hate leaving food and I was already feeling guilty about tucking in whilst my friend on weight-watchers had to look. Now in terms of IBS – my tum can normally cope with a scone and I don’t have to worry about it containing garlic! However this one contained chocolate and berries and then adding butter and jam will put the sugar content sky high and so this could be an IBS trigger meal. I had ordered peppermint tea to go with it to soothe my gut. Thankfully my other friend, who is trying to avoid gluten, wrapped half of hers up to take home and I did the same. This really calmed me down as the portion size for my tum was way too large and could’ve been a disaster. We also noted that actually we should have shared!
This whole episode made me really think about how food is viewed by society. We’re all different shapes and sizes, all different backgrounds with our own baggage and problems – yet we all shared similar food ‘issues’ – and this was not positive. My weight-watchers friend had commented that she thought I had a lovely figure and I didn’t need to worry about what I ate. Yet my worries about food are equal to hers, she thinks about her weight and I think about wether it will affect my gut and wether I’m eating ‘heart’ healthy. None of this worry is positive.
We are constantly being bombarded by messages about going on this diet or that one and seeing images of super skinny women who always eat healthy and go to the gym everyday – but is this real life and will this make you happy? Even my kids have negative food associations already. I’ve been trying to reduced their sugar and chocolate intake – my 4 year old asked me today were we still ‘on the diet’ – I told her we weren’t on any diet we were looking for ways to choose healthier options. For me it’s all about balance, we have to be able to live life and be happy. We should all be able to eat nutritional healthy ‘balanced’ meals that suit our health and body needs without feeling we are missing out. For me this includes ditching sugar laden processed foods for more fresh ‘whole’ home-cooked foods whilst still allowing ourselves a ‘treat’ every now and then.
Wouldn’t it have been lovely if all 5 of us could have sat down and been given a meal that we all enjoyed and thought ‘yum’ that was fab, it made me feel great and now I can go on with my day without feeling guilty! So maybe that’s my challenge – coming up with IBS-friendly, gluten free if required, low sugar, weight friendly recipes for treats and meals that the whole family can enjoy and make us feel positive and full of vitality…no pressure then!!!