Hey there. My name’s Nicole, and I am The Fit Foodist. Welcome to my site! I think the best way to kick off my blog is first to explain a bit about myself and my food experiences, all of which have led to this exact moment in time, and my decision to start a food + fitness blog. I’ve blogged off and on in my past, but without a strong focus or purpose. This time, my goal is to share fitness and food tips, recipes, stories, etc. to help inspire others to live their best life and to find happiness through food and wellness.
My boyfriend called me a “diet hacker” and the more I think about it, the more fitting it becomes. I’ve tried all of the various “fad diets” out there: vegan, raw vegan, paleo, keto, Whole30, etc. I’ve done juice cleanses, bone broth fasts, the “Master Cleanse,” and for the past four years have been practicing a type of intermittent fasting, the 16/8 method. (Dr. Jason Fung, M.D., is my go-to resource on all things IF.) Throughout all of those collective experiences, two things have stood out. The first is that regardless of whichever “diet” I am on, all of them are founded in the belief of eating natural, whole and organic foods, eliminating anything processed or with added sugars or chemicals.
The second is that none of these diets worked for me long-term, and I don’t actually like to be placed in one category or another. I eat what makes my body feel good. Sometimes it’s vegan, with lots of fruits and veggies, sometimes I want a grass-fed lamb burger, or a nice juicy piece of organic chicken (I am a fan of Mary’s air-chilled, free range organic chicken, usually sold at your local Whole Foods). All of our bodies are different and it’s crazy to think that any one of these diets would be applicable to everyone’s lifestyle or personal preferences across the board. At the end of the day, you gotta do you, and not conform to the new diet of the month that everyone is gossiping about at the water cooler or on social media.
The end result for me, is that I’ve hacked all of these various diets to find an eating lifestyle (not a diet) that works for me. Here it is: dairy free, gluten free, high-fat, low carb (similar to keto) with an emphasis on lots of organic fruits, veggies, seeds/nuts, grass-fed meats, chicken and plenty of water. For something that seems simple, it’s taken me about six years to figure it all out.
Here’s a bit of my journey. I’ve broken it up into a few different parts, starting from the beginning.
Pretty much since I could remember, I’ve always been an athletic and active person. My parents were runners and we had a fully loaded personal gym in the basement of our house when I was growing up. Naturally, I took an interest in all things sports and fitness. You name it, I probably did it at one point or another: gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, Karate, dirt bike riding, snowboarding, running (cross country & track), baton twirling….you get the picture. (Yes, that is me in my motocross gear….you’re welcome).
But while I was an active child, I wasn’t particularly a “healthy eating” child. And that’s an important piece of my story. My parents (whom I love and respect) were two busy working parents, and my brother and I were always busy, too. We hopped around from school, to afters school activities, which for me often included a few at once — going from track practice to marching band, to play practice, etc. That left very little time for home cooked meals.
Usually, we’d grab Subway, Chick-fil-a, Arby’s or pizza, or when we were younger, McDonald’s or Wendy’s after school or in between practices. My dad usually made breakfast on weekends (eggs, bacon, toast loaded with Land o’ Lakes butter and pancakes, waffles, french toast, drenched with sugary toppings like Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup and whipped cream. My mom had a few staple (and delicious) meals she prepared on weekends, like a whole roasted chicken or pot roast with potatoes and carrots, usually paired with a salad and store bought dressing (ranch or Italian). But most week days, it was frozen foods and pre-packaged meals like Stouffer’s mac and cheese, or lasagna, Tyson’s frozen breaded chicken, microwaveable crinkle fries, and Green Giant frozen veggies, usually already basted in a buttery sauce.
We had three separate cupboards full of processed snacks. One I liked to refer to as the “savory cupboard” with various Lay’s potato chips, Pringles, Dorito’s, Cheetos, microwave popcorn, Slim Jims (I once ate an entire can in one sitting), beef jerky, roasted peanuts, etc. The second was the “sweets cupboard” with various sugary treats like Sour Patch Kids, Swedish Fish, Starbursts, Pop-tarts, etc. And the third was the “chocolate cupboard” which, as you can guess, was loaded with a delicious variety of milk chocolates and treats like chocolate covered pretzels, Oreo’s, chocolate teddy grahams, and so on.
We ate out often as well, usually at chain restaurants like Applebee’s, Friday’s, Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s — need I go on?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I never had fruits and vegetables. I of course loved those things, and ate them frequently. We usually had a bounty of berries, bananas, peaches, watermelon, and veggies in the house, but the processed meats, cheeses, breads and snacks were always front and center.
And I was young — invincible — I didn’t know any better nor did I need to because I felt fine, full of energy and happy as a clam. But was I really? I was often tired, suffered from frequent headaches that I chalked up to stress and anxiety or caffeine withdrawal, and struggled with my complexion.
I had long gangly arms and legs, the perfect build for a long distance cross country runner, and could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without gaining a pound.
Let me tell you, those days are long gone, even in my mid-to-late 20s, the luxury of casually downing a pint of ice cream (below was my all time childhood favorite) and not feeling the effects of a sugar coma, is a distant memory.
Stay tuned for my next post, which will dive into my first glimpse of independence: college, and beyond. There were some serious life events that occurred between my late teens and early 20s that caused me to start taking a more active interest in my diet. I’ll (briefly) walk you through that, and then talk about my personal experience on the various diets I’ve tried during that time, as well as offer up some of my favorite “diet hack” recipes.
Thanks for reading. If you have comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you.
The Fit Foodist
Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist, nor do I hold any PhD or degree in any health or fitness-related field. My blog will focus on research from other credible sources, and my personal experiences over the years being a professional collegiate athlete and a health and nutrition enthusiast.