Today I made salsa. Not just any salsa, but the homemade salsa recipe that my mom has perfected over the years. However, I did add a few unique touches: i.e. jalapenos and spicy taco sauce! It was and/is some of the best salsa I have had in a long time and greatly surpasses Applebees’ recipe. (Which means that I get to save some money this week by not going to get half off apps after nine.). Salsa is surprisingly healthy- my recipe is straight up just tomatoes, peppers, onion, and cilantro. Veggies and more veggies. Unfortunately I don’t have a food processor so it’s usually quite chunky, until today when I realized I could throw it all in my blender. Which was quite successful, might I add.
This is a good reminder to me about what I eat and why I eat. Obviously one eats to give the body sustenance and to enjoy the flavor. But I’ve recently been thinking more about how what I eat makes me feel. Ever since I was a small child I have been plagued with migraines, and from a very young age I was told to be very careful and aware of what I was eating. Because for me my migraines are triggered by food—too much dairy, too much candy, too much protein, too much happiness. It seemed to me that everything I ate was a “trigger” and that there was no way I could give it all up, so instead I simply continued to eat what I wanted to eat, when I wanted to eat it. Flash forward a few years and you will see that my migraines never got any better, although I got a bit better at functioning when they struck (minus the vomiting part, you can never really get good at that).
Recently though I have realized something. Something I probably should have realized a long time ago, but alas…I’m a slow learner. When I eat a healthy amount of food and am very careful about what I put inside of my body, I can splurge on candy and treats—all the things I’ve always eaten, but now can eat without succumbing to the migraines of doom. If I haven’t eaten breakfast and I have a pop tart for lunch (something that happens at school sometimes), I can expect a full blown migraine by the end of the day. Even if I eat some healthy food after the treat, my body will just shut down on me.
So lets flash-forward to today. I have been lifting weights and working out three days a week and I have been focusing on what I eat. Not because of some new years resolution, not because I hate my body, and not because I am trying to look like what society expects a woman to look like. Instead I have been eating healthy because, shocker, doing so makes my body feel better. I have been lifting weights because I want to be strong, confident, and I want to feel good about my body. Sure my body has been changing, and I’m not going to lie, I think it has been changing for the better, but that doesn’t mean I will reach some sort of goal down the road and quit lifting. I lift three times a week because that gives me three times to add more weight to the bar, to pull myself up higher, and to squat a little bit lower. My self-esteem has shot through the roof and I’m noticing changes in my body that I never would have noticed had I resigned myself to mindless cardio for the rest of my life. (Not that cardio is a bad form of exercise, in fact I can’t wait to start running outside again, but rather cardio was never effective for me to make me feel good about my body and myself).
If only I had realized sooner that in order to feel better about myself I simply needed to alter the way I treated myself. It seems like such an obvious solution but it has evaded me from twenty-two years. Luckily I have a full life ahead of me, one that I will fully enjoy after finally realizing how to reach my full potential.