By: Elizabeth Katsion, Student Nutritionist
Gluten-Free. Vegan. Paleo. Sugar-Free. Low-Carb. Raw.
When did our eating habits become equivalent to squeezing into a dress two sizes two small?
I began labeling myself in 2012, after reading way too many books that honestly scared me into becoming a vegetarian. For four years I proudly proclaimed myself to the world as a "lacto-ovo-pescatarian", which translates to i-eat-eggs-and-drink-milk-and-fish-but-no-other-animal-products. After maintaining this label, I decided to push myself further and don the infamous title of "vegan". I tried to avoid being a stereotype and would tell people I was eating a "plant-based diet", but that was just adding another label to my resume. This lasted a year, and I enjoyed the challenge of pushing myself, until it stopped being fun and became living up to a name.
So I started listening to what my body was craving, what pictures I was looking at on my favorite food Instagrams, what foods would fuel my heart and not just my stomach. And I had an epiphany after reading this blog post of a Registered Dietitian journey from restriction to freedom.
I didn't want to stop eating plants, or suddenly eat steak and cake for every meal...I just wanted to stop making my diet my main label. "Elizabeth the Vegan" was just becoming too constrictive. I want to be able to eat without staying within boundaries, and stop controlling an aspect of my life that isn't necessary. I want to be able to eliminate the word "cheat" from my vocabulary in regards to what I eat.
At the end of the day, I eat for myself and for what will help me be healthy and happy. And sometimes that means getting a vegan alternative to cream cheese for my everything bagel addiction or a side of fries with my veggie burger instead of a side salad .
(haha who am I kidding I never refuse french fries)
So maybe now's the time to reevaluate your food decisions, to listen to yourself and be more conscious of what your body needs, allowing yourself to indulge in moderation, and to eliminate the word "cheat" from your food vocabulary.
yeah I also drink a lot of coffee, I'm not ashamed.
Terps With Taste is run by the Student Nutritionist Team with University of Maryland Dining Services. We write content for students, by students. Enjoy!