Foodie and Nutrition Educator: A Dichotomy
For as long as I remember, I’ve loved food. I grew up eating a plethora of delicious homemade Southern foods from my maternal side. My paternal grandmother always cooked, plus she baked delicious pies and cookies. I was always pretty thin, however in my late teens and early 20’s I did become pretty overweight. In my mid-twenties I experimented with vegetarianism, but it did not work for me. I booked an appointment with a fitness instructor friend, learned how to count calories and looked at the nutritional value of foods, and combined my way to great health again.
In my late 30’s I discovered I had a gluten allergy, which changed my world. I made a drastic shift and eliminated ALL gluten from my life, foods, hair, and skin care products. The results were astounding. I studied and became a Holistic Nutrition Educator and in my early 40’s I experienced my ideal body and mind. After I dealt with a few more challenges, I experienced a shift.
I can’t honestly tell you that this was some major moment where perfection came to me in a perfect eating and fitness plan. It was more gradual than that. In a nutshell, I let go of perfection and decided to be me.
I became a Holistic Nutrition Educator in January of 2010. I ate a very strict gluten-free, free-range meat-eating, ALL organic fruit and veggie, plus herbal tea-drinking person was in optimal health. All my labs stayed normal, I lived free from depression and all mood issues. I had great energy and felt like I was living my best life. I continued to indulge however, in one of my weaknesses, cheese.
Let me explain. Cheese in one of my indulgences. I’d go to networking events and since I could not eat the breads and crackers, I loaded up on cheese and veggies. Then the inevitable question came: “What do you do?” I’d laugh, cover my plate and say I’m a “Nutrition Educator.” I’d get one of two responses. Either a person says they want to become vegetarian but “it’s too hard,” or the person looks at my plate and says nothing. I never quite understood why people automatically thought that being a vegetarian was the model for perfect eating, it’s not. Then there’s this issue of perfection.
People in the nutrition industry are not perfect, and if they profess to be they are likely lying. Even the professionals I follow eat some indulgences, like beer or chocolate covered bacon, etc. Whether they do or not really makes no difference. I make choices based on what’s best for me, my body, and what keeps me balanced.
Guess what! I’m 48-years-young, all my labs are normal, I’m hormonally balanced, I’ve been experiencing peri-menopause for 2 years, have one had 1 hot flash, and I have stable moods. I am active and have plenty of energy on most days. Some days I am tired, but if I listed everything I did in one day, you’d see that’s understandable.
Over the last couple years I’ve questioned whether or not to continue being a Nutrition Educator. I eat meat (Which depending on how much and what type can be healthy), I indulge in cheat meals and at least once a week I have a sweet treat (Dark chocolate, chocolate chip cookie or ice cream). There are some things I know for sure. My body does not process dairy well, which is why I’m 90% dairy-free. Gluten is a neurotoxin, and though I’m largely gluten-free due to my past allergy (I’ve experienced a lot of healing), I do eat a small amount in a weekly indulgence. I eat a largely plant-based way, with mostly organic free-range meats and eggs, plus an occasional sweet treat. I also LOVE drinking a dark, high quality red wine a couple of times a week. I follow the self-imposed rule that “Balance is Better,” and it truly is in my case.
What I eat and drink adds value to my overall health and well-being. I eat and drink in moderation, plus I get enough exercise to stay healthy. I could probably do more, but that’s a different story. What’s most important is, I’m healthy and I love it.
I’m a total Foodie, which for me means I love eating good food. I have for most of my life. I live in the Bay Area which has a diversity of great ethnic restaurants and I enjoy them. I eat Thai food, Mexican food, Ethiopian food, and East Indian foods. I’m excited to try more diverse Latin American Foods in the near future. I love BBQ, but I tend to cook my own traditional Southern foods because I do make them gluten-free and only cook with coconut sugar and/or maple syrup. I also drink plenty of organic, loose leaf teas from my own tea line Tara’s Teas.
I’ve honestly grown tired of all the stares and the expectations that I have to lead a “perfect” nutritional life in order to be in the field of nutrition. I don’t. My results are in my lab tests. I AM healthy and unapologetically going to live my life to the fullest while enjoying every moment I can.
I am quite capable of guiding someone to live their most optimal life. I can guide clients on a healthier living that’s for them, not some cookie cutter approach that someone else created to make money. I know balanced food combinations and tailor that to people’s life. I’m real for me.
What I’m saying is that I am a total Foodie, I love eating a variety of foods and as long as I’m healthy, I’ll continue to do so. I’ll also continue to eat plenty of raw fruits, veggies, and drink plenty of teas. As long as there is breath in my body I’ll hike and work my own personal fitness routine. I’m also an active Mom to an amazing Tween Son, which keeps my plenty busy. I love how I live my life and I especially love food. I’ll continue to live life as a Foodie and be honest with the people who come to me for guidance. I’m not perfect but I’m real and I’ll make sure anyone who follows me and/or hires me for guidance will get the best possible plan for them.
I cannot give up being a Nutrition Educator, it’s too important to me. I definitely continue to drink plenty of organic, loose leaf teas. I also have a love affair with food that is too important for my overall health and well-being. So with that, I introduce myself as the Healthy-Living Foodie that I AM. Thank you for reading!
Originally published on April 7, 2019 at 1TaraChristina.Wordpress.com
Some of my favorites, homemade turkey chili with a dollop of sour cream plus chives and a side of homemade gluten-free cornbread; chocolate truffles with Tara’s Teas “Spiced-Orange Hibiscus;” and my all time favorite cheat breakfast, gluten-free french toast with sliced organic bananas, real maple syrup and a side of yummy Tara’s Teas“Simplicity.” YUP!!!