[WARNING: I definitely get super real in this post!]
You guys, I'm SO tired of people showing me pity because of my dietary restrictions.
As a background, over the past 5 years I've been slowly restricting my diet more and more. I am currently vegan (which also means dairy-free), gluten-free, don't drink alcohol or caffeine, don't eat anything with sugar or sugar additives (Stevia, honey, coconut sugar, dates, etc.), avoid processed/packaged foods as much as possible, and am raw as much as possible.
And you know what? I LOVE IT. I am the healthiest and slimmest I've ever felt. I don't get acne, I don't have to deal with hangovers or energy crashes, I haven't caught a cold or flu in 4+ years, I'm strong as hell, I get less bloat and no indigestion, I have endless energy and optimism and am generally a happier, healthier, and better version of myself.
The food you put into your body DIRECTLY affects everything inside of you. It affects how you feel mentally, physically and emotionally. It affects your health and your weight and your ability to fight off disease. Food can be the fountain of life, or it can be poison. Food is more powerful for health (preventive health, which is the good kind) than any medication or medical treatment will ever be, and it doesn't have a laundry list of horrifying side effects.
The food industry is AN INDUSTRY. It's not about health, it's about money. Same with the health INDUSTRY. Mainstream media and advertising spout lies to hook you into spending money on things that don't belong in your body, on quick fixes that hurt rather than heal. All those "healthy" bars and drinks? All you have to do is look at the sugar content to easily see they are no where near healthy (most average around 15g of sugar PER SERVING).
I feel so good when I nourish my body with natural food that is unprocessed and created by our planet. And yet, every day, someone says something to the effect of "Aww, I'm so sorry you have to deal with all these food restrictions."
It honestly makes me want to go off.
I'M SORRY that you're killing yourself from the inside out.
I'M SORRY That you have that "stubborn" fat that society tells you comes with age and genetics.
I'M SORRY that your hormones are out of wack and your muscles hurt and your stomach is cramping and you get headaches and you can't recover like you used to and you get 5 colds a season and that the farming and food industries are poisoning our water and soil so we all pay the price via bad health and that animals are going extinct and that our planet is dying ... all because of our over-indulgence and need for instant gratification.
I can go on.
So please, save your pity and don't assume what my diet means to me. Don't judge my choices because they aren't the same as yours.
I'd rather eat fresh fruits and vegetables and homemade meals over carbs and dairy and gluten and meat and endless amounts of sugar and fast food that has the same chemicals as yoga mats.
I'm good, brah.
But, all of this aside, please consider what you're putting in your body. Educate yourself. Become a smart consumer, don't let brands push you around with false advertising. Because I care about you and the planet and I want us all to be healthy for the long haul.
Julia O Test is a lifestyle blogger and photographer based in San Francisco.