Becoming a “Health-Foodist”

I was reminded a bit of my path as a “health-foodist” today by an old friend, who commented on a Zukay facebook post. It was a funny comment basically about my penchant for eating “weeds” from my lawn and garden – all very, very accurate, and taken well in the humor it was meant.  But then I realized – though a healthy, all natural, and paleo/re-wilding/back to nature diet is an every day, no big deal occurrence for me now, when this friend and I knew each other well back at Penn State, he would have NO clue I would live like that now.

So, to all those who follow me and/or my company, who have met me recently, or are one of those very special folks who have known me for a long time, here’s my dirty laundry – I was, for a very long time, a very poor eater. In college, I would always be found:

  • With a beer in my hand, generally Yuengling, and at least on weekends, usually drunk
  • With a cigarette in the other hand (if I didn’t have two beers J)
  • Eating wings, usually from the Sub Shop, and on weekends, from the grill off of Pugh Street.
  • Eating pizza, generally from Brothers (hated Canyon’s, even though it was close)
  • Eating subs with whatever in it from the Sub Shop
  • Drinking  kool-aid for hydration (affectionately referred to as Bug Juice)
  • Often eating fried chicken at Roy Rogers

That won’t come as any surprise to those who knew me when J

I was no better than most, and definitely worse than some. I was, in 3 words, your “common college student”, and honestly, I didn’t change much over next several years.

So, why am I saying this now?

One, because I’m hungry, and while I won’t get any, fried chicken sounds great right now J

Two, because anyone, anywhere, for any reason, can change the way they eat and change their relationship with food and their body. I’m pretty sure if you asked my college friends who was most likely to be a health foodist when they got older, I would have garnered few, if any, votes. It wasn’t that I was unhealthy – just, for a few years, uninterested. Little by little, eating healthy became something that got on my mind more and more, but it really wasn’t until about 10 years ago – 9 years after college – that the health benefits of my diet started to become a driving part of my life. And even then, it still has taken many bumps and bruises, hours and hours of research, setbacks, and triumphs, to get to where I am – and I am hardly perfect (though I don’t know if there is such a thing).

I’m not here to preach about what you should and shouldn’t eat. Diets are politicized today, and there are almost as many “food theories” as there are opinions. You want my opinion? No processed foods. Start there. Make that the basis of your start to a healthier food lifestyle. Like I tell my 7 year old son for wrestling, the effort to learn and improve is the heart of this. Explore and have fun with it as your path opens up in front of you. And always remember – those of us who either espouse a direction or have a company that sells health foods were sometimes heavy smoking, heavy drinking, wing eating kids who walked the same path as well. The change is out there for all of us, and no one owns a path or is holier than thou. Enjoy your own path, and to your health!