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what are we supposed to eat?

by practicewithdanielle

I’ve got this guilty pleasure.

Sometimes when I’m home alone and I’ve got a couple hours to myself…I’ll watch food documentaries.

Vegan, paleo, keto, vegetarian, juice cleanse, low calorie – you name it I’ll watch it. Probably more than once too.

Let me back-up. 

I’ve tried nearly every diet – and if you’re a woman I’m guessing you have too. Even if you’re thin/fit/naturally perfect, society wants you to join in on the latest fad to keep you off of carbs, fat or sugar (pick your decade). Because women are supposed to show restraint and work on their “assets”.

(are you picking up my tone?)

For competitive people like me, the diet-of-the-day quickly turns into an obsession that can lead to worse things that I won’t discuss in this particular email.

I remember when that started to change.

I took a social ethics class in college where our required reading included The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I learned where our food comes from, who has to suffer for us to eat our chicken nuggets and that eating real food isn’t really so bad for you at all.

Let me be dramatic and say that this book changed my life. 

For starters, I became a hardcore vegetarian that year. Full on vegetarian NOT EVEN BACON. Pretty sure a late night drunken pepperoni pizza broke the year for me.

Most importantly this book set me on a path of respecting food, rather than treating it as the enemy.

At first, it was hard not to pick up packaging that said “LOW CALORIE” because I had no idea what the ingredients meant.

It was hard not to buy the cheapest cheese/meat/eggs because I didn’t know where the products came from.

It was hard to sit down and enjoy food to because I’d been conditioned that food wasn’t fun to eat.

These documentaries are annoying in a lot of ways because they preach their specific diets like it’s gospel. You’re telling me I have to eat only liquid for 60 days? Or never eat bread? Or give up cheese? Hard pass.

But the common thread amongst all (most) of them is:


The more I started asking questions, reading books and shamelessly watching hours of documentaries, the more these kinds of choices just became second nature.

The best part is that I started to enjoy the process of cooking and eating. Learning where my food comes from and understanding how it’s processed made the experience more fun and delightful.

Fresh whole grain bread, local burrata, vine-picked tomatoes, and garden-grown herbs – I mean GTFO. That’s a “diet” I want to be on.

I’m not really sure how to end this email, so in the words of Michael Pollan (GO BUY THIS BOOK):

Eat food.
Not too much.
Mostly plants.

(and sometimes cake)


PS. Obviously that last bit’s from me. I’m making an insane cake this weekend for a friend’s birthday. I’m not giving any hints because she’s on this email list. But, if it’s worthy, I’ll post the recipe in a few days.

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