Gretchen’s Green Guest:
Hi, fellow foodies! I’m Alex, blogging over at Alex Eats Green. Gretchen was kind enough to pass over the reins while she frolics in Harry Potter land (I’m so JEALOUS) for the weekend. Though not about weight loss, I’ve recently undergone a different kind of transformation: introducing myself to real food.
I live in NYC, and started the blog after being bit hard by the nutrition bug. It was only a matter of time before I found an outlet (other than lecturing my parents) for ranting about the processed food world. I’ve always been an avid Bon Appétit reader, but only recently have I started paying attention to the ingredients listed in all those beautiful recipes, and in turn, what those ingredients do to our bodies. I had become obsessed with learning about nutrition, and had an urge tell people about what I was learning. It was a whole new world that simply astonished me. I couldn’t believe how much I’d been left out of the loop on.
I stepped into the light after reading Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. I’ll never forget the moment where it all clicked for me. Summer of 2010, I was reading on a train to Martha’s Vineyard, and Pollan was discussing sugars such as fructose, glucose, and the evil spawn: high-fructose corn syrup. He spoke of the havoc that HFCS can unleash in the body.
I set the book down and thought for a moment.
Ahhhh. I get it now…
We need to eat whole (preferably mostly green) foods in order for our bodies to be happy. And by “happy,” I mean we need to eat food that our body understands, and knows how to break down. When our bodies are happy, we’re happy. Makes sense right? However, the line gets a little blurry when it comes to what constitutes these whole foods; happy foods.
I finally made the correlation as to why when I was a kid, my Mom always insisted on buying us that “gross organic stuff.” The organic whole milk, real cookies (made with milk, sugar, flour, chocolate), Breyer’s ice cream with whole ingredients. Of course when I got out of my Mom’s kitchen, I found my way into the multi-colored world of Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids, KitKats, and Cheetos. I lived in that world until I realized that our bodies don’t have the tools to process these colors (high-fructose corn syrup, processed, artificial coloring) and that it was time to turn my plate around.
I started reading (and watching) everything and anything related to my epiphany. I was passionate about making good food, and about making real food. I also became a vegetarian a little over a year ago (just had my veggieversary!), which stemmed from my newly acquired appreciation for all things green… plus the lofty environmental and ethical effects don’t hurt either. Living in New York City, it’s easy to find fellow green-eaters. I try and take in my fair share of restaurant weeks, but more often that not, I find myself wandering the Union Square farmer’s market searching for the perfect eggplant for that evening’s home cooked meal.
Sometimes I make my own 3-day juice cleanses, and sometimes I eat nothing but cheese over the weekend. Either way, I feel like for the first time in my life, I am really tasting my food, and liking it. Mother approved.
Thanks, Alex! I love how your story proves that healthy living transformations are not just about weight loss — something that I often forget as someone so fixated on my weight! If any of you are interested in learning more about Alex and following her story further, please check out her blog, Alex Eats Green!
Happy Presidents Day!