I know I promised that I (Evin) wouldn’t make another super long post…but I did (sorry not sorry). But this time I am writing my first, of many, blog posts about food. The is my first attempt at my witty food blog, so it will get better!!! Or it will plummit and increasingly become worse. So sit back, grab a head of lettuce, bag of salt and vinegar chips, or your own snack of choice and settle in for my first novel about food.
I was standing in the hostel kitchen cooking my dehydrated pasta carbonara (because cheap and nomz) and just as I thought I was done writing this blog post I decided this post would never be done. This topic is way too large for me and constantly becoming more complex at the same time as it becomes less complex (what? Did I just type that… Yes I did). I was listening to some of my fellow hostel-mates talking about vegans and and all that vegan jazz. I found myself annoyed without a real reason. Maybe cause I was having separation anxiety from my vegan days?….ha. I sat in the bathroom for a second (I find the bathroom a sacred space) and reached this conclusion.
I love eating like a vegan and doing crossfit. I also love eating bread, cheese, donuts, cheese, Nutella, and absurd amounts of strange things. I like them both. And I want them both to be a part of my life. This past year I thought it was one or the other. But it’s not, because neither one all the time is healthy. So I guess where I’m at or where I am trying to get, is my personal balance. Which I will have to figure out on my own. I have also had to come to terms that it’s not going to happen all of the sudden or be super easy all the time.
Since traveling, this has been on my mind a lot because sometimes we have to buy what’s cheaper and not always the most healthy option. Or I simply want to enjoy the experience of food and so I say fuck it, let’s eat gelato every day in Hvar because damn, it’s amazing. Hmmmm and then maybe eat a head of lettuce here and there.
I’ve been thinking about how to go about writing this for awhile. I have been thinking of clever ways of starting, instead of just starting. So here it is. Word vomit of my experience and struggle with being the always “slightly curvier” friend and my love hate relationship I have with food. Everyone who knows me only really knows the love side, the side that could almost out-eat any guy. And don’t get me wrong, I’m proud when I do. I am wanting to experience all the food and not worry that my body may change as a result.
Some people know that I recently added meat back into my diet. I did this because while traveling, I wanted to be able to experience all that a place had to offer. And I am thrilled with that choice! Food is such a large part of culture, and I felt if I was constantly saying “is there meat in that” or asking for the meat dish without the meat (because I have done that) I would not only be that annoying American, but I would also be missing out on a key part of a culture.
This is my view towards a lot of things: try everything, and experience it all. From the ham and cheese paninis, from the small take out bakeries to the traditional black pudding (pigs blood) in the Scottish breakfast. I am happy that I am trying everything! So there is the positive side, but something many people don’t see is the struggle I have experienced since puberty – being the curvier of the friends. But always wanting to “keep up” with all the junk food sleep overs and experiencing delicious food. After I started becoming increasingly self conscious as well as becoming interested in crossfit I decided to try something I had never committed to. Loosing weight. So last summer I went to one extreme which was good in some ways but bad in others. I learned I could control how I look but only if I became obsessive about the foods I was eating and the work outs I was doing. I ate the same thing for almost three months (delicious at times and bland at others), had dessert once every two weeks, did cross fit 4 days a week, ran for an hour two days a week, walked for an hour one day a week, and had one light rest day. Sound exhausting? It was. As happy as I was with my body transforming closer and closer to my , and other peoples “ideal,” I also was loosing a relationship that I have had since I was young. The one with food! And some of the positivity towards my views about my body. And I was loosing some of the ones that are created and flourish when food is a part of them.
Hmmmm isn’t this the opposite of what should happen? I became obsessive. That obsession then drove me to the other end of the spectrum. The “fuck it” attitude. I should eat want I want and not worry about what will happen to my body and then lead to the way society will view me.
Currently I find my self back and forth between the two as I travel abroad. Part of me is very confident in the person I am and stands by my love for enjoying all that life has to give, especially with all that comes from trying and indulging in food! I love food! Can you tell I enjoy to eat food? I am not ashamed of that! But this is where I tell who ever is reading, for the first time in a public setting about the negative side. There have been days that I said I just won’t eat anything all day so that I can eat some thing wonderful at dinner with Izze and Amelia. Then for sure I will be eating less calories and with all the walking I won’t gain any weight. Sure I could sustain this…. Of course not! For one, my love of food. And second, thinking “Evin, this is not mentally healthy.” And yet I come to the same place as usual. What am I doing and why am I doing it. I wish I could end this with “I feel great about my relationship with food and how it affects the one with my body.” But I can’t because it changes every day.
This is NOT a cry for help. This is my way of trying to process while I am traveling abroad while also trying to enjoy and process all the amazing things I am experiencing here. I am taking life day by day, I have come to terms with the fact that I can feel something one moment and it can change the next. One thing I am certain of and that I do not question is this: I have a love for food, our relationship is a special one 😉 (no one will understand us), I love experiencing a culture through food, and creating relationships when sharing meals. And lastly I appreciate my body. Like with any relationships there are ups and downs, good days and bad days. Yes, I am comparing my relationship with food to those I share with humans. I know I am not the only woman who struggles with the fear of gaining weight while traveling or just in general! And this is a fear I want to tell myself is a silly one, but if it truly were so silly, I could dismiss it easily. But I cannot.
There will be days that I will eat meat, bread and cheese and feel absolutely wonderful about it. And there will be days that I eat nothing but vegetables all day. But as I think more and more and go further with my travels, I have also realized that I should be present here in my travels and that gaining some weight is inevitable! I would rather be trying street food and cultural dishes than worrying excessively about eating this or that and how it will make me look. Here are some tips that I have been incorporating into my life to try and find my balance:
1. Stop constantly looking in the mirror (easier said than done…classic. But the more you do it the easier it gets)
2. Not comparing my body to that of my travel companions and other women (be original Evin… But it’s true. And, again, easier said than done. Trust me, I know. But catching myself while I do it and just saying “I don’t need to do this” truly makes it a practice.
3. Smiling at myself in the mirror. Do it!
4. Doing squats when I have spare time, literally at random moments. Great squat times: while brushing your teeth, while waiting for water to boil, in the shower (carefully)… You get it. Also we try and do 50 squats a day! Fun group activity… Kinda.
5. Yoga!!! Stretching!!! And meditation!!! And this isn’t to try and build up physical strength (well, part of it is) but I find myself building up my mental strength with each practice. Doing yoga for ten minutes with a quick meditation after leaves me feeling blissful.
5. Incorporating veggies and fruits when I can. Sometimes it’s not buying a bunch of both, cause that expensive. But buying a bag of apples or chowing down on a head of lettuce, or your veggies and fruits of choice, is more cost effective and yummy.
6. Not completely restricting! Don’t not eat all day just for that one meal at the end of the day!
7. Eat when I’m hungry, (unless of course there is gelato involved).
8. And the easiest of all is walking! We walk pretty much everywhere! It feels great to be able to get pretty much anywhere with my two feet! And it burns calories!
9. Talk to the parts of my body I feel least comfortable about. Yes just sit down and have a nice convo with my tummy.
10. Laugh!! Laugh so hard you almost pee! Laugh so hard it hurts. Relish in the moments with (insert your friendly humans here)
I hope that this is as helpful to others to read as it was for me to write it.
Much love and appreciation.