“Lose the labels. Lose the percentages. Who are you competing with? Seriously. Set your own bar. Neither a label nor a percentage ever made anyone healthy.” – Earth Mother
Wise words, Earth Mother, wise words…
Why do we feel the need to label ourselves? Even the process of overeating is labeled as “emotional eating.” So, on top of all the other labels life sends our way, we’re now “emotional eaters” as well – me included.
*insert deep sigh*
For the past few years (as I’ve mentioned numerous times before, all across the Web, and on this blog), I’ve eaten at least 75% raw. I didn’t think about labeling myself at that time (although I did eventually start calling myself a vegetarian). I was just trying to improve my health and just considered it as eating more whole foods so I’d have a healthier diet/lifestyle, overall.
I didn’t have a blog at that time so I wasn’t as aware of all the various labels raw foodies (and people in general) put on themselves, and others.
I didn’t consider myself “not a raw purist” – I was just a gal who was eating high raw (sometimes 100% raw for months at a time) with an ultimate goal of losing weight, improving my health and lifestyle habits, and basically finding a way that resulted in eating to live. – I just wanted to live and be healthier and happier.
And I was!
When I felt my best…
I was eating the following:
- a lot of raw veggies
- minimum fruit (mostly berries)
- some nuts
- some seeds
- salads topped with fish
- Greek yogurt
- a little honey
Yeah, fish and eggs. I was looking and feeling sooooooooo much better when I (without guilt) included these foods in my diet.
So, what changed?
First, I labeled myself “low carb” and then I was “vegetarian” and then “mostly vegan” and then “high raw” and then “raw foodist” and then “vegan” and somewhere in the midst of all the transition, I lost the part of myself where I was eating better, feeling better, looking better, and was actually happy.
How’d that happen, eh?
I’m not sure how I lost my (true) happiness along the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not seriously depressed or anything – I’ve just noticed a difference in how I view food and how I feel when I eat it. If I’m starving for an omelet, I usually feel guilty if I decide to eat it.
In the past, that guilt wasn’t there. Yes, I’d feel guilty about eating cake or something because I was so overweight, but I didn’t feel guilty about eating an egg or a little honey – so, imagine how crazy it is to feel guilty over eating an egg or a small portion of salmon now that I’ve lost 100+ pounds! Gasp!
What’s a gal to do? Hmmm….
I’ve decided that even though I do live mostly a vegan/vegetarian-ish lifestyle (and have for several years), I’m going to do my very best to remove myself from the labels I’ve limited myself to.
Does this mean I’m going to run out and eat meat? No. It just means that I want to simplify my life. I want to enjoy the food I eat – even if it happens to include an omelet (made from farm fresh, organic-omega eggs) or a little honey drizzled over a treat, or some fish on top of my ginormous, raw salad.
It means that by removing the labels I’ve placed on my life, I’ll be stepping into a confident, beautiful, peaceful existence.
Aaaaahhhh, now that sounds awesome!
What will I be eating?
- whole foods
- raw foods
- Greek yogurt
- and sometimes this will include eggs, maybe fish (???) and honey
I may even throw an occasional splurge in there for good measure.
There is one label I don’t mind: Healthatarian
A while back, I was chatting with my friend, Beth, about how I was getting stressed from labeling my eating habits. So, she said something like:
Michele, just quit calling yourself a vegan or vegetarian and consider yourself a “healthatarian” – genius, that girl is!
By trying to adhere to a “healthy” lifestyle, we’re merely choosing to strive to do our best. That takes a lot of the pressure off. If you miss a day of exercise or enjoy that cupcake at the office, it isn’t the end of the world. We aren’t perfect – none of us. We all have something we don’t want to give up. We all dream of chocolate or caramel or whatever. We’re human.
And I’d never tried to deceive anyone…
- I blogged about falling off the 100% raw food wagon (because of several family deaths – that emotional eating label again).
- I blogged about the side effects of falling off the 100% raw food wagon.
- I blogged about having an omelet and cake and ice cream – and even a Zero candy bar on my last birthday.
So, you can guarantee that I’m not in the deceiving business and I’ll always be upfront.
It is – and always has been – my desire to share my heart with you.
And I want you to know I’m not perfect, and that we’re on this health journey together. I may slip up and call myself a raw foodie or high-raw vegetarian from time to time but I’m going to work on just living as a healthatarian.
So… here’s my advice for food choices:
“Make the best choice most of the time, the better choice as often as possible, and enjoy the splurges when they come.” – Raw Juice Girl
I feel much better now that I’ve shared this with you. It’s over. It’s out. What a relief!
And, I’m NOT saying that you’re a bad person or anything if YOU call yourself a vegan/vegetarian/whatever – I’m just sharing that it stresses ME out to limit myself with labels.
Do you worry about what people think of your food choices? Have you recently limited your eating habits by labeling yourself? Do you wish you could rewind and remove that label?
Do you consider yourself to be a hardcore vegan, vegetarian, or whatever else? Do you label yourself? Tall, skinny, short, fat, etc.? Do you even think about how often you label yourself? Do you feel like it’s a bad thing? Good thing? Does labeling yourself help you live a more peace-filled, harmonious lifestyle, or (like me), do you find yourself stressed over trying to live up to certain labels or expectations?
And would you be upset to see photos of salad, topped with fish or boiled eggs on this blog?
Let’s glean from each other. Do share!!
Oh, and don’t forget to enter my Tropical Traditions coconut peanut butter contest – this stuff is delicious, no matter what your food choices are!
Note: I updated that contest post to include an amended rule (the one about tweets). Thanks for understanding!
Wordle (by me)
Quote (Earth Mother, In the Raw)