I’ve been feeling super energized about improving my diet lately, and it’s possible I’ve been obsessing a little… ’cause when I obsess, I only do it a little. HA! It’s also possible that I’ve been feeling a little evangelical about good eating. I kind of want to tell everyone I know about every good thing I’ve learned about food and what makes you feel awesome that also tastes great. And then I think about my own food journey. I don’t know about you, but I am not really interested in being evangelized about much of anything. I sort of have an instant negative reaction to the strong sell of the extremely earnest enthusiast. I remember anticipating my sister’s reactions (sorry Big Sis) if I ordered a Diet Coke or if I ate… well, whatever it was that I used to eat that disgusted her… oh right, a 7-11 hot dog (oh yeah, it was like that). Those of you who know me well also know that anticipating her reaction didn’t mean cleaning up my act or considering her point of view; it meant something more like rolling my eyes and digging in to the offensive item with gusto.
I’ve become convinced that most healthful changes that are not precipitated by an actual health crisis are best taken on incrementally. Baby steps are remarkable. It is easy, in the face of vast amounts of information and the sense that your diet is WAY off track, to become discouraged and simply shrug. It’s just too hard. But baby steps allow us to be a little kinder to ourselves – you know you want to make BIG changes, but today you’re just going to make one. You’re going to try that one on for a week, or two and see how that fits, see how you feel. And when you’re ready for more try another.
An early baby step for me was as a direct result of a conversation with the same sister. This time I was actually seeking advice and she, knowing that we are pasta fiends, suggested I try whole wheat pasta, just for a while, see how it goes. We did. It REALLY took. Honestly, I really don’t like other pasta anymore, too soft, a little slimy, no nutty goodness. No thanks. A million baby steps later, we’re toying with vegan dishes, and feeling better than we have in a long time. Each of those steps took us further away from highly processed food, farther into a world of eating what WE decide to put in our bodies, and with a greater appreciation of the amazing variety of flavors that the natural world has to offer. Do you hear the fervor building? I can barely help it – I don’t just want me to eat better – I admit it; I want you to eat better too. I think it’s worse than that; I want you to WANT to eat better. And I want to cheer you on!! So I apologize in advance for my gushing enthusiasm. Please believe me when I tell you it comes from a place of high hopes for both of us; perhaps you are more mature in the face of evangelizing than I have ever managed to be. In the meantime I will continue to attempt to stop myself before I make a bunch of pamphlets to hand out. BABY STEPS!! So for me, tomorrow’s baby step: breakfast without dairy. What’s your baby step going to be?