we’re all just the hungry, hungry caterpillar

Have you read the children’s book, the hungry, hungry caterpillar? It goes like this: the little caterpillar is born, and days 1-5 he eats all his fruits and veggies.  Day 6 he binges. The little caterpillar eats all the cake, all the sausage (who wrote this book?), pie, ice cream…you name it. But then day 7 rolls around and he eats a nice, big, green leaf.

And this, my friends, is us all. Well, until the end of day 6 anyways. What happens on day 7 is where the story changes from person to person; do you proceed in your ice cream and pie eating, or do you pick up and continue with your nice, big, green leaf?

We live in a constant state of cycles, our bodies are continuously detoxing and retoxing, the earth spins, the seasons change. Many people, myself included, find so do their eating habits. While this might appear to be ‘wrong’ or make us uncomfortable to admit, I want to throw it out there and just say nope! It’s healthy, it’s normal, you’re perfectly okay.

Food is meant to nourish us, support our bodies so we can achieve all our kickass, world domination goals. But we are also emotional eaters. We eat to celebrate, we eat when we are happy or when we are feeling down. Sometimes our emotional eating is a big old’ salad after a kickass workout, and sometimes it’s a bowl bucket of lime sorbet after a terrible day.  We’ve been taught that this is somehow wrong, that we have no willpower or self-control; that all it takes is some internal strength.

But when we look at our choices and our decisions as a temporary thing, with temporary consequences when the following choice or decision can change the course… it no longer becomes anything other than day 6. Creating a healthy relationship with food means allowing for those day sixes; and allowing for the unhealthy food that serves no purpose but to emotionally make us feel better in that moment.

Moving on past day 6, to the nice, big, green leaf is the kicker though, and not letting ourselves toss in the towel. When we see our unhealthy choice as one of many and not as the choice that ended all choices we let go of that little nagging voice telling us we need to get it together; that we need to regain control. It simple becomes another day in our food cycle.

A quick google search will pull up literally thousands of suggestions and ‘best’ diets to achieve your health or physical appearance goals, but what I have learned through trial and error and the many conversations I’ve had with people is that it’s not that simple. We have been taught we are eating good or eating bad, that this food is ‘good’ and that food is ‘bad’. To make matters worse the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods are continuously changing!

In comes my hungry, hungry caterpillar food philosophy. It’s not new, and it’s not even original, but any way you look at it, it makes the most sense. I believe it was Michael Pollan that originally said something similar, but I follow the simple rule to eat whole foods, mostly plants. 

After scouring through literally hundreds of books and websites reading about different diets and food philosophies out there, one day I thought “holy bananas. No wonder everyone is confused.” So, then I switched gears to read about the healthiest people in the world and the diets they consume. I realized in all my reading one thing remained consistent, plants.  No one could argue the benefits of plant based foods. Every diet, every group of people, every health advocate across the world emphasized the same thing: plants.

Then it dawned on me, I don’t have to have a list of foods I can eat, or not eat. Or a list of foods I tell people they can eat or not eat (unless allergies come in to play!). Let’s just act like the not so little caterpillar and focus on all the earth grown, plants the world has to offer and concern ourselves less with all the other foods. When we do that, we naturally eat less of the unhealthy stuff and in the process, can keep our sanity.

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