May 27, 2013

Dropping Food Rules with Deep Fried Spring Rolls

I’ve pretty much always been a stickler for what we label “healthy” foods. Preferably going for a salad over chips, veggies steamed not fried, and drinking water over anything else, both for nutritional value and taste. As a Nutritionist-to-be, these are all recommendations I would be making to clients that are needing to clean up their diet as well. There is much benefit in all these choices, and we’ve all read books, blog posts, magazine articles, you name it, on why certain foods are better than others, and how we can make choices that will benefit our health.
But what if these choices, once healthy changes we felt good about, became a way of life that was so rigid, so inflexible, and potentially a little disordered to be so bold, that they ended up boxing us in, having us decline dinner dates, and feel guilty about a slice of pizza? Would you still consider them “healthy”?
This is what the past 2 months have been like for me. Challenging my own food rules whilst on holiday in Thailand.

Now Thailand, like anywhere gorgeously sunny, conjures up thoughts of detoxing, retreats, raw foods, delicious juices and more in my little head. And to a degree this is all true. This is everything I had in mind for my 6 weeks anyway – I was going to “clean up my diet” and get all my energy and enthusiasm back as this was only big college break all year (let it be known that my diet didn’t need “cleaning up”, but yes I was in need of some more energy; read more here). But like most plans of mine, they don’t actually go to plan (one of my big lessons this lifetime; to let go of control).

There was very little detox - and everything that possibly goes with that. There were fresh juices and a couple of colonic sessions, plenty of fresh fruit, and delicious nutritious meals. But on top of that, there was a process going on underneath it all and led me to fried spring rolls with sweet dipping sauces, chocolate bars whenever we walked past a 7/11 (sad to see), and deep fried bananas served piping hot (o-m-g) on a sheet of wax paper from the street vans in the evenings. I drank soy milk sweetened with sugar, munched on sliced white bread and white rice, sometimes with white mayonnaise, and polished off Jelly Belly’s I had in my bag from a visit to mums.
My favourite shot of all - Bangkok's Koh San Road street food
I could try to justify it all with another list of all the amazing “healthier” options I also ate, but I’d only be doing just that – justifying it, and there’s no need – until I’ve edited all the colourful, mouth-watering, delectable photos of our meals, and then of course I’ll be sharing!
And you know what happened to me? Absolutely nothing! Well, that’s a little white lie now isn’t it? By nothing I mean, I didn’t gain 10kg, I didn’t have skin eruptions left, right, and centre (the one’s I had just didn’t budge), and I didn’t get sick and nearly die (in fact I was violently ill for 3 days from what might have been a tuna salad). I was dropping all my rules around what I should be eating and just rolling with. If I felt like a spring roll, I’d buy one (omg do yourselves a favour and head to Pai in Thailand’s north for pumpkin spring rolls at the walking street markets)! If I wanted French toast for brekkie (yes, in Thailand - head thinking bread; don’t do it, fried; not great… body going Yes Yes Yes) instead of eggs and salad (head reasoning with; Protein is great! Satiety is awesome! Nutrients and colour equals yum! But my body really just wanted fried freakin’ bread that day!), I got it (and girl was it unreal).
And even then, I learnt that one spring roll was delicious, but two didn’t feel so good. So I was always listening to my body and trying to not let my head interfere too much – coz of course shitty food isn’t ideally what we should always be eating. But if we drop all food rules and listen to our bodies more, than shitty foods are no longer labelled shitty foods. They simply are just another food.
Banana + chocolate roti (pancake/crepe)

This stuff can be hard to teach and I believe that as a Nutritionist-to-be I am here to help navigate paths of nourishing eating for everyone I see and work with, and this can at times include a deep fried spring roll, or two. It’s about tailoring our eating to us. But at the same time, I think most females could do with dropping a food rule, or all!
Do you have rules around food that that you notice more in certain situations? Are they your rules or someone else’s?
Leave a comment below if you have a food rule and please share what it is.

Christie xx

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