Welcome back. As the title of this post suggests, I recently started eating a food that I cut out of my life for the past four years. There is no reason that I started eating it again other than the fact that I craved it. The food is yogurt.
Once upon a time a broke and lazy college girl lived off of easy to eat foods and snacks. I was still fresh to the nutrition scene. I started to become conscious about what I was eating in high school, but still had no idea what was truly healthy or how to treat my body. In college, my attempt at eating healthy foods included eating processed snacks marketed as “healthy” (enter Special K protein bars and weight watchers ice pops). I also ate enough peanut butter (the shit brands) to turn me into a peanut as well as lots and lots and lots of yogurt. My favorite thing to do was to stir PB2 into flavored chobani yogurts. PB2 is powdered peanut butter. Why I decided this was healthier than just using real peanut butter, I don’t know. OH because it “didn’t have fat” *eye roll* I had so much to learn. But that’s okay, we all start somewhere.
I would sometimes eat three flavored chobanis a day. They were “healthy”, easy to bring to class, and delicious. After college, I started becoming interested in eating more whole foods, thank god, and experimented with different diets. For a while I liked eating vegan 80% of the time, and just lost the taste for yogurt. I didn’t shun it on purpose really, I just didn’t enjoy eating it anymore. I also wasn’t comfortable with the amount of sugar in the flavored ones (up to 20 grams: this is NOT ok!) and thought the plain ones tasted like crap. Because of this, yogurt and I parted ways.
When I enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2016 to become a certified holistic health coach, I was exposed to SO many different dietary theories and learned there is no perfect diet. There is no one size fits all. I was taught to instead focus on eating whole foods and listen to my body. I liked this way of being and it resonated with me. I can thank IIN for helping me loosen the reigns on what I eat and becoming less obsessive over following a strict diet. Now, I just eat what I feel like eating. What is most important to me is the quality of what I am eating. If it were up to me (and I guess it is) I would be eating 100% organic, locally sourced food. I would keep processed foods to a minimum and follow a whole food plant based diet. I’ve done a version of this before and I felt amazing. This year I felt like eating whatever I wanted though. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this – as long as there is awareness of what you’re doing to your body. I know if I follow the pattern I’ve been following for the past 6 months I would not feel or look like myself, so it’s my responsibility to take control of it.
I started craving yogurt because my stomach felt like it wanted probiotics. I take a daily probiotic supplement and drink Kombucha regularly, but my body just wanted yogurt. So I listened. Instead of forcing the plain tasting yogurt upon myself, I just opted for flavors with less sugar. My favorite brand is Siggi’s and the vanilla and berry ones have 8 grams of sugar each. For a flavored yogurt, this isn’t so bad. I definitely wouldn’t want anything higher than this, but the point is eating healthy shouldn’t be a task. It shouldn’t be too difficult or miserable. Don’t force too many things on yourself that you hate. Our mental well-being is more important than anything else, and if eating a certain way makes you miserable, you’re not doing your body any good. Sometimes you have to say F the plain and go for the flavored yogurt.
The way you eat doesn’t always have to be perfect. The most important thing to do is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you feel sick and tired, do something about being sick and tired. Take an inventory of what you’ve been eating and how you treat your body. Check the labels of what you eat. Anything processed or with too many mystery ingredients isn’t nourishing you. If you enjoy the way yogurt makes you feel, eat it. If dairy fucks with your stomach or skin, choose something else. (This goes for all foods) We are all unique and it’s crazy to think there is a perfect one diet fits all. Health is holistic and health is circumstantial. One man’s apple is another man’s cheeto. Stop putting pressure on yourself and just take some responsibility. Being healthy doesn’t have to be that hard.
So an ode to yogurt: thank you for being the probiotic my body needs. I will continue eating you when I crave you, and stop when I don’t. I won’t be scared if you have a little sugar, and will avoid you if you have too much. You have taught me it is okay to experiment with eating different ways and to listen to my body. Thanks for being delicious!
Am I weird for speaking to yogurt? Prob. Actually, yes for sure.