It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in the Posh Nosh category. I must confess that my eating habits have not been up to public scrutiny. As you know, for more than a year I was vegan, and my diet was about as squeaky clean as you can get. Then I started to feel ill, weak, strange. I decided I needed to reintroduce dairy, fish, meat into my diet. And, as the all-or-nothing person that I am, I swung the opposite way to my squeaky clean diet, and ate almost nothing but meat, cheese, potatos, pasta, even *shock!horror!* some junk food. It’s taken me a few months of that to get it out of my system. I think I’m ready for a more balanced diet now.
I think I might have muttered something about not being a vegan any more, but I didn’t proclaim it loudly. I was a little embarrassed. It doesn’t feel like the kind of thing you should change your mind about. Being vegan felt so right, so good, so how things should be. Until it stopped feeling so. But I didn’t want you to be disappointed in me. Because I was pretty disappointed in myself.
I found it very difficult to change my eating habits again, almost as difficult as giving things up in the first place. I felt so guilty every time I ate a piece of cheese, or a rasher of bacon, like I was defiling my body. I think I had become a little too obsessed with my ‘clean’ diet, and was identifying virtue and vice a little too thoroughly with certain foods. This seems to be a trend, and it’s something I’ve seen happen to other people (but didn’t think would happen to me). I would have been extremely indignant if someone had accused me of ‘righteous eating’ while I was doing so, but looking back, yes, there was the beginning of a problem. There were too many self imposed rules, too much inflexibility, too much reliance on the perfect diet to prevent all ills and woes.
Please don’t misunderstand me – a good diet is invaluable, and eating sensibly is something we should all aim for. And not everyone who is vegan, or who follows any other restricted way of eating, has a problem. Far from it! But if food becomes an area of control for you, whether that’s in quantity or quality, then perhaps it’s something you need to pay more attention to. I know I did.
So, it’s taken me a few months, but I’ve managed to swing back from one extreme of eating to another. I can eat a bite of chocolate now without breaking out into a sweat of guilty shame. I can eat a salad because I want to, not because I have to. I’m ready to start mixing up my carnivorous meals with some extra vegetables. I might even have some avocado on toast for lunch, instead of my daily cheese on toast.
I think what I’m trying to say is this: I’ve got my love of food back. Good food, bad food, any food.
(Thankfully, I’ve got my love of running back too. Otherwise I’d be in some serious trouble.)
Now what’s for dinner tonight……