The Headspace Diet Foodie Type 3: The Eco-Geek
In the spirit of moving from South to North London a few years ago, I donned a pair of over-sized glasses, got myself a vintage looking bike, and definitely started eating eco. For fear of being ostracized from the houmous and tofu lined streets of Newington Green, out went the cheeky bag of dorritos, in came the ethically shiny vegetable and spelt alternatives. In an act of sheer traitor-ship to my motherland of Cumbria, I have even started eating rosemary and sage quorn ‘sausages’ instead of the fat'n'juicy, meaty, glorious Cumberland stalwarts.
What has happened to me? Well, weirdly, I’ve got a bit healthier. Like most girls, I’ve gone through ‘fads’ of trying to lose weight, whether it’s from calorie counting, eating bowls of cabbage soup until I began to smell like one, or just going on frantic exercise campaigns to try and absolve my guilt of inhaling too many hobnobs during periods of high drama on X-factor. Yet since moving to a place where shopping at high street supermarkets is virtually akin to admitting you like standing on snails just to hear them crunch, I have actually starting to enjoy knowing where my food has come from- and as a result my usual go to ‘treats’ just don’t seem that appealing to me.
Most of the time. So, yeah. Here’s the rub. For 80% of the time I find ‘eating well’ mentally and physically satisfying, but for the remaining 20% I just.crave.monosodiumglutamaterefinedsugarsdirtytakeawayschickenonastick- hell even stringy cheese sometimes haunts my dreams as I endeavour, day by day, to banish these dirty habits and remain on the self imposed pedestal of ‘eco eating’. When I fall off this pedestal and succumb to the allure of the local takeaway (yes, there it stands, proud and greasy amongst all the houmous), I feel a bit like a fraudulent passenger on the tube, smuggling the latest copy of a 99p celeb magazine to read behind a broadsheet.
My challenge now is to get a truly healthy balance between the two. I’m beginning to bore myself, let alone my friends, by my endless pledge to place everything I eat on the moral and ethical weighing scales before actually just getting on with the process of enjoying it. Mindful eating is what is says on the tin I guess- be mindful of what you are eating, whether it’s tofu or toffee. If you want a toffee- have one, but taste it, enjoy it, be aware of how it makes you feel- and chances are you’ll only fancy one or two. Eating piles of tofu in a mindless way, or with a blind belief that ‘yah but it’s really good for you my yoga teacher swears by it and she’s like really awesome', is no more ‘good for you’ than the occasional burger and chips is ‘bad for you’. My meditation practice is definitely helping me become more aware about my thought patterns towards food and everything else in my day to day life, and I’m surprised (even delighted!) to discover that perhaps my food choices have been determined by a ‘script’ I have set myself, rather than from a mindful, day to day awareness of what I, and my body, actually wants that day. I am not going to deny it- I do genuinely love a bit of curly kale and more often than not I choose food is fresh and not stuffed with preservatives because I actually want it. HOWEVER there are times when nothing but a bucket of chicken and fries will do- and when that call comes a knockin, instead of hiding under the duvet chanting ‘must.choose.spelt.must.choose.spelt’, I’m going to open the door, raise a metaphorical high five, and just let it in. The spelt can wait til tomorrow.