just a drop of simple sunshine

No labels; just Real Food.


So, here’s the thing: I’m no longer “primal.” Or “paleo.” Or any other label that’s been thought up of late.

Why? Because I just want to eat food.

Well, okay, that’s not the only reason. Truth is, I’ve been obsessing about food lately, & by lately, I mean the last eight months or so. I know a lot of people have found freedom from this through primal/paleo, but I’ve realized that I’m headed down the dark path of orthexia. Food has just been constantly on my mind; what I should eat, what I shouldn’t eat, should I up my fats? My carbs? My proteins? I shouldn’t eat the cheese; I should eat more of this, more of that, less of this… not to mention the fact that it feels like every time I turn around there’s another food I should be avoiding. Another chemical; another preservative, another type of sugar. & I just cannot do it any more. I need to be honest with myself, & with everyone around me.

I feel best when I eat a diet of mostly veggies & fruits, with some protein. I shouldn’t feel like I’m failing at something if I want to eat a salad instead of a big hunk of meat. I shouldn’t feel like I’m doing something wrong if I find myself craving yogurt & fruit with a sprinkle of granola. I ate this very thing for breakfast this morning, & my god it was fulfilling.

So – what prompted the “aha!” moment? A few things, really.
» The essay Weight Less in the June 2011 edition of Whole Living It really struck a chord with me, & I encourage everyone to give it a read.
» The Carrot Train to Crazytown, from Whole9.
» Batty’s continuing posts about unhealthy body images, especially the mantra “strong is the new skinny.”

There were more signs, but it wasn’t until I said it out loud to my husband, “I really just want to give it all up & eat food I know is healthy” that I realized how bad it had become. We’ve talked some, & it turns out he’s been worried about me for awhile now. The list of “forbidden” foods just kept getting longer, & just… yeah.

I want to make it clear, though, that I’m not going back to a CW ideal of healthy eating – I’ve learned FAR too much in the past two years to do that. I’ll always be gluten-free – the migraines, stomach issues, skin problems, & other things I’m probably forgetting that are now a thing of the past will stop me from ever thinking I can go back to eating wheat. I don’t fear healthy fats, & my skin & hair thank me for it. & I have nothing against anyone who strictly adheres to the primal lifestyle. I personally have learned so, so much from the entire community about nutrition & general health – how to supplement correctly, the dangers of hormonal birth control, the grossness of vegetable oils, the awesomeness that is the coconut. I owe Mark Sisson a huge amount for helping me attain the health I currently have, & for exposing that the path of CW nutrition is a deadly one. Grains will never form a large part of my diet, & Real Food will continue to be my focus.

But I bought gluten-free granola, & it was delicious. We’ve been eating Udi’s gluten-free pizza crust for several months now, & it by far is the best gluten-free crust we’ve tried so far – but I haven’t wanted to say anything, for fear of being judged. NO LONGER! I’m going to occasionally eat Cinnamon Rice Chex, simply because I can. I’m going to eat all the delicious fruit of the summer, & not give a damn how many carbs I’m downing. I’m going to eat real french fries & rejoice when I do so. I’ll still eat mostly unprocessed food, & my diet will probably resemble a primal diet more than anything else. But if I feel like having french toast made from gluten-free bread, I’m going to enjoy it without a shred of guilt.

I feel like I can breathe again. Thanks for listening, & I hope you’ll stick around. I’ll continue to create & share recipes, & talk about simplicity & everything else I love.


Author: Sarah

I'm Sarah Amazing: 32. Teen librarian. Feminist. Fangirl. Nerdfighter. Ohioan. Happily entwined.

3 thoughts on “No labels; just Real Food.

  1. I think that’s smart. I’m a newcomer to this nutrition thing, but the reading I’ve been doing has caused me to switch to a “real food” philosophy. It’s easy to see it becoming orthorexia, though. Are you familiar with the Perfect Health Diet? I don’t think it has all the answers, but it makes a lot of sense to me. Plus, as Sisson says, perfect is the enemy of good enough. Or something like that. If you eat real food, you’ll improve your health tremendously, but worrying about it if you want something ‘forbidden’ occasionally is really counterproductive.

  2. Oh yes, yes, yes!!! Sarah, get out of my head! ;-)

    You’ve summarised so perfectly just where I’m at. And isn’t it a relief – as you say, you can breathe again.

    I find I can easily spiral into a vortex of perfectionism and food obsessiveness – orthorexia, if you will. I have to remind myself regularly that all food is morally neutral. By knowing everything is allowed if I really want it, I have the opportunity to choose whole and healthy foods because I want to (not because I “should”), without feeling deprived.

    I really like your blog, and will definitely stick around. Keep up the good work. :-)

  3. Pingback: In which I seem to have discovered my passion. « peace love nature

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