A Fresh Dille

tired of defending my choices

Posted in FAMILY, FITNESS, FOOD, VEGAN by clairedille on May 11, 2010

Here is the thing. I am completely satisfied with my daily “diet.” I never feel deprived or lacking in something by eating all plant-based foods. However, last night I had to defend the way I eat. Sometimes I am more than willing to talk about why I choose to eat the way I do. I can give facts about how the world is negatively impacted by the livestock industry. I can talk about how “cage free” can mean that chickens are allowed to leave their usual coop for only one hour a day. I can talk about these things or I can just suggest some good books, films, or articles. I just don’t always want to. Sometimes I just want to be quiet and not have to justify myself. Sometimes people are in the mood to criticize my beliefs and say thing like “Claire, you know all little fish are eaten by big fish.” Really, I had no idea. This may seem like a rant but I am just a little tired of it. I work hard to make sure I am educated about receiving enough nutrients I may be lacking in. I KNOW that I am not deficient in protein and vitamin B12. Should I have to defend myself to everyone? When I suggest trying to read a book to see my view or watch a movie, why should you refuse? I am fine with people who don’t share my views. My boyfriend is a meat eater, but is well aware of the industries that are cruel and tries his best to choose better, more humane choices. It just upsets me when someone refuses to educate themselves in order to see both sides. I am not suggesting someone change their ways, but purely to look at it from both sides and accept it. I remember Averie talking about why she doesn’t feel like she needs to explain herself and her choices. I don’t always feel that I need to either, but then there are times where I just feel attacked. This is what I am tired of.

I am sorry to sound so defensive, but when someone you care about so much and is supposed to care about you refuses to see your side, than why should you try to see theirs? If they are unwilling to make even the smallest change in their life for their health and the world, it upsets me. I hope you can see where I am coming from at least in a small little way.

I woke up this morning feeling like I “had” to change things up, as though I had to prove that my eats aren’t boring. I had a bowl of So Delicious Coconut milk yogurt topped with Puffins, a handful of Smart Bran (not gluten-free, uh oh!), raspberries, and ground flaxseed.

This did not hold me over like my usual oatmeal concoctions do. I think that I was still upset about the night before and was trying to overcompensate by changing things up. Why should I change it if it is something I love? Not quite sure, obviously I am still working out some thoughts…

I decided lunch time was prime time to try out Angela’s Nut Butter Crusted Parsnip Fries via Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. I didn’t want to use my fancy Naturally Nutty vanilla almond butter so whipped up a combo of peanuts, almonds, and coconut oil in the food processor to coat my root veggies. I only had one parsnip left from my mother’s day meal, so I used two carrots to bulk it up. More nut butter should have been used, but these were delicious.

I was running behind and didn’t want to overfill my belly before a fitness evaluation at my gym so I headed out the door with an apple and kombucha like the day before. Halfway through the car ride I realized that this was not a smart choice. I was wishing that I ate a big salad or wrap with the fries, but munched on the apple in hopes of some pre workout fuel.

The fitness evaluation was really great. I haven’t worked with a trainer since college and am not that great at keeping all areas of fitness in check by myself. I must admit that I was spoiled during my high school and college cross-country days with coaches and other team members. Healthworks in Boston also really kept me motivated with the help of a great trainer and classes like Running into Yoga (= total bliss). In the past year, my running has slipped and I haven’t taken care of myself in the same way. Of course, I know I eat well and work out moderately, but I thought I was no where near my old days of activity heading into this appointment. Wow, I was wrong. I have talked about my current career choice recently, and how it often keeps me running around all day but I had no idea it has also kept my endurance and other areas in check. Weight is something I don’t care to discuss on this blog because I have never thought it was a good measurement of fitness. I honestly don’t own a scale or use one. However, I was seriously shocked by the low number of my body fat percentage. It was only 1% higher than my peak racing days and apparently off the charts low. The trainer was kind of floored, as was I. At the same time, I became worried. A low body fat for women equals loss of menstruation, iron deficiencies, etc. I will be reading a lot more about this tomorrow and the next day to evaluate this more clearly. In the next few months I plan on significantly upping my workouts for half marathon training and then full marathon training for a race in the fall. There is no way I will let myself get unhealthy while training and hope to also stay injury free. I want to be significantly fueled and have enough energy for a fast paced job and great runs. I had all sorts of tests done other than body fat. If you are all more interested, I can go into more detail about the tests and results tomorrow. Honestly, a lot of it seems to go over my head. I am better at pace, time, and distance than I am with heart rate and the other logistics. It shall be interesting to see how these next few months shape up. Goals will start with distances covered and pace will be more focused on later.

Afterwards, I came home to re-carb with a sprouted cinnamon raisin bagel topped with better than cream cheese, and crofters on one side and grated carrots on the other. My day was looking low in greens. In the blender went almond milk, a frozen banana, and a few cups of spinach. Yes, I finished the bag of spinach in two days.

It had been way too long since I had a bagel and I realize that I totally slipped from the gluten-free eats today. I couldn’t help it, but hope to do better tomorrow. Maybe all the wheat will fuel a nice cross training session planned in the morning. Dinner looked strikingly similar to our Mother’s Day feast. The chickpea and sweet potato tagine has really stretched for days and I don’t mind. The Mousse Pie was a nice close to the day.

Other things:

Do you feel the need to justify your diet, even if it isn’t vegetarian or vegan? Do people criticize you for your healthy choices? Are you ever tired of explaining yourself?

Have you ever had your body fat tested? Did you feel like it was beneficial to your training or important to know? Part of me feels as though I didn’t need this information. Will my body fat really affect the way I train and race?…maybe, but sometimes I feel like trainers are so quick to spew out facts based on what they feel works and not what is universal to everyone. At the same time, I am more interested in the body fat percentage than weight. After an injury years ago, I had my body fat tested and it was higher although I weighed less. Just some thoughts.



27 Responses

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  1. kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com said, on May 12, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I can sing halleluia to this post. I love it- heres why…

    K when i was vegan i got so much crap from the people i love mainly cuz i guess they were worried. but i was always looked at dif. i felt that because i was vegan ppl thought i was self righteous or higher than them.. but then i also felt some ppl wanted to be my friend just cuz i was vegan. when i ended up making a personal choice to meat.. that when i really noticed an attacking. i was made to feel like a sell out…some ppl didnt want to talk to me anymore. .and i always felt like i couldnt say “oh i LOVE chicken” without offending someone. having been on both sides and having to argue my views for each.. i can totally understand how frustrating it is. both sides need to be open. to be honest, i was more close minded as a vegan but it wasent cuz i was lacking or not eating healthy…it was only cuz it wasent what i really wanted.. i wasnted meat but was afraid ppl would think im a murderer.

    i think ppl are ignorant when they personalize someone elses decision on health. who cares what someone else eats right!? but when someone DOES they do the whole “im not listening na na nana nan na” immature! u have every reason to feel annoyed btw!

    still i feel criticized for eating a purer more whole food diet. i like my food plain.. and i dont add oil to my meals… its not cuz i dont want the calories or whatever! its only cuz i love the taste of simple food and im not a gourmet chef in the kitchen..tho i wish i was sometimes huh.

    btw no need to defend gluten.. i say if u want the wheat do whats best. its all you girl and im gonna support whatever u do. never feel guilty or responsible for someone elses food insecurities or food ignorances. its ur life and its always gonna be your life- your rules – your game- your control xoxo ❤ HUGE HUG!

  2. Eliza said, on May 12, 2010 at 6:20 am

    hey lovie,
    I am so sorry you had to defend the way you eat, that is the worst and just so annoying when someone attacks one for their choices..i do struggle with my parents thinking my vegetarianism is alll due to my Anorexia, and criticizing choices but i guess for me, maybe a lot of my choices can be ED driven :/ but the vegetarian thing is not at all for me, and that is just plain annoying to have to defend yourself. as long as you are adequately eating the way you want to then that is all that matters, and you eat such healthful and nourishing foods…+ our eats are never boring by the way 😉 and that cream cheese and jam/carrot bagel and the green smoothie looks so, so delicious!
    good luck with the running!
    And thanks for the loveliest comment on my last post. xx


  3. healthyexposures said, on May 12, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Gosh, girl, I so hear you. I used to get this ALL the time, though lately it hasn’t been so bad. Luckily I don’t get it so much at home anymore (my mom was always supportive, her bf not so much) and work’s been a lot better – but I used to just feel so attacked at work. Questions would be asked, and sometimes they’d be honest questions from curiosity. In which case, I was more than happy to answer and show what I know and why I eat the way I do, ya know? But other times, they’d be questions to poke fun at me, not “real” questions, if that makes sense. That and, they’re always the same ones over and over! Like, why ask if you’re not going to listen? I know what you mean when you say sometimes it’s NICE to be able to share your thoughts with people, but sometimes you just want to be able to sit & eat without having to questioned and poked at. I’ve sort of learned now, when they ask me what I’ve got, to just give the simple answer. If I brought a sandwich to panini with tempeh & stuff, I’ll just say “a panini.” I’ve explained what tempeh is twenty times, I don’t need to again. It’s actually made me sort of self-conscious at work somedays, and I don’t like that feeling at all. I like being proud of my food & choices.
    Phew, sorry for the novel! But – what’s most important is that we know what works for us, and enjoy the way we live our lives 🙂 Your eats look GREAT – and I agree, don’t change just because you want to prove you’re not boring – eat what your body wants!

  4. Brandi said, on May 12, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Food is such a passionate subject for people – I guess everyone has to justify their choices at some point, you know?

    When I first started changing my eating habits, I got some comments from people but it’s slowly gone away as people have gotten used to what I eat and what I don’t.

  5. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine said, on May 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

    This is an awesome reflection, and came at such a good time for me. Last night, my best friend’s mom made several comments to me about how I “dont eat real food,” and asked me if I’d stopped eating at college. I told her the truth, that I’ve actually gained weight at college (I don’t weigh myself often, but I can tell by the way my clothes fit that I’ve probably gained a solid 4-5 lbs), and she rolled her eyes at me. Excuse me? I’m so tired ot defending my fruits, veggies and whole grain as “real food”, especially when people are sitting around eating sour cream and onion chips while I do it. I won’t criticize what you eat or your weight if you don’t criticize mine, ok?

    Sorry I got a little heated there, haha, it just really bothered me!! I’d like to get my body fat tested, I just need to find a time to do it!

    Hope you have a great day love!!

    • clairedille said, on May 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

      I am so happy you got to talk about something you needed to vent about here. It is great to know that other bloggers can really identify with your feelings and even through reading their posts, you can feel a sense of release too. There were days where I didn’t eat as wholesome “real food” but purchased more diet food like fiber bars, etc. and don’t you feel so good now knowing you are eating so many nourishing foods everyday (chocolate too!). It is hard when others don’t realize that their comments hurt you or affect you more than they imagined. I read your blog and know, your food is as REAL as it gets.

  6. Jillian (back to the nest) said, on May 12, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Great post (loving your blog too, by the way…). I’m not vegan, but I do try to limit my dairy intake as much as possible. People give me a hard time a lot for being a vegetarian…I had a boss a few years ago that tried to convince me that if the worl would become overrun with chickens if no one ate them. Seriously? The worst is if a meat-eater catches you eating soy buffalo wings or something and then proceeds to tell you that that’s “disgusting.” How is something plant-based more disgusting than animal body parts??

    Whoops, sorry for my own little rant there. I think a lot of the time people who give crap to vegan/vegetarians actually wish they had the self-control to be just as healthy when it comes to food, so they try to bring you down. Not. Cool.

    Again, love your blog! Good stuff!

    • clairedille said, on May 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you, thank you! It is hard for me to eat “mock meat” but at the same time I tend to like the flavor. I just wish they wouldn’t pretend to be something they are not. Why not just called all veggie burgers, veggie patties? You know what I mean?…because I have had a lot of people comment as well that I was “wishing it was real meat” when it was quite the contrary. The self control part is something I also think can be true. Of course it is not the case with everyone but yesterday my boyfriend suggested that one reason the person may have been “attacking” my choices was because they wish they could be a little healthier or have more self control. I am definitely not saying that is the case with every non-veg but it is something I need to remind myself and consider.

  7. Jillian (back to the nest) said, on May 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

    PS Why do I not check my comments for typos before I post them??

  8. elk said, on May 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Ugh….having to defend….that drives me insane! I’m not pushy with my food choices or beliefs at all – I don’t even point out what I eat, people will just pick up on it sometimes(well, other than my family who have to eat veggie when I’m living with them, but only because I do the cooking. They’re actually really open minded and don’t eat much meat anyway. I turned veggie at 8 or 9, so it’s pretty normal to them). What I want to know is if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you apparently have to ‘defend’ your ways to others, but people who eat different to you (i.e. meat eaters etc) never feel like they have to justify their ways to vegetarians? Can’t it work both ways? Sometimes I turn it round and ask someone who asks me about my ways, why they eat the way they do.
    My all time favourite question is “but what do you eat??” Erm, yeah…cos the only food available is chunks of flesh… It gets really really reaaaaally boring being asked that. I have nothing against meat eaters (though I do believe an awareness of how that animal was treated/killed is, well, respectful to that animal), I just never could, even as a child, and as I grew older my awareness of the ethical side developed. People can argue that it’s ‘natural’ for people to eat meat, but how is battery farming and meddling with genetics to increase quantities of meat natural?
    I think I’ll pop back tomorrow – I’d be interested to see what you have to say about body fat, particularly in relation to menstruation. It’s something I’m struggling with a bit just now, so I’m being an absorbant information sponge 🙂 I like how you write, sort of…relaxed yet informative and, well, well written, if that makes sense?
    I haven’t seen those recipes, but I do that all the time with baking parsnip and butternut coated in almond butter. Peanut butter mixed with a little water, tsp of brown sugar, chili flakes (or sambal olek) and touch of soy sauce makes a good crust too. Nom nom..
    Cheer for this post.

  9. elk said, on May 12, 2010 at 10:33 am

    *Cheers for this post ^^ doh!

  10. Lauren @ Health on the Run said, on May 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I totally hear ya on this one! It’s so hard not to get frustrated in this situation. The reality is that you should NOT have to defend how/what you eat. Especially when you’ve taken so much time to think about and research your food choices. It makes me so frustrated when people who do not really even give a second thought to what they’re eating just automatically criticize my eating decisions simply because they’re not completely “mainstream” I’ve been a vegetarian for a good long time now and so I’m at the point where I usually just turn to sarcasm or laughing about it to shrug it off. Maybe not the best response, but like you…I’ve just gotten tired of it.

    And I’ve never had my body fat tested (or actually..maybe I did once, way back in high school gym…), but I think it would be really interesting. It’s definitely a better indicator of health than weight. So was this fitness evaluation a one time thing or will you be working with a trainer from now on?

  11. Katherine: What About Summer? said, on May 12, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    um I’ve just stopped justifying it. I really just say what I do and leave it at that… everyone needs to get over it.

  12. caronae said, on May 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    Great post! Your bagel and smoothie lunch looks amazing. I love all the colors! I am an “ethical everythingtarian” with a focus on plant-based foods. Many of my friends do not choose the healthiest diets and seemt o constantly scrutinize me for eating multiple serving of veggies a day or choosing organic, local meats. One of them even thought that because I eat mostly healthy foods, I wasn’t getting enough fat! Um, two words my friends: nut butter. I try not to defend, but to non-judgmentally promote healthy choices among those I’m with, if that makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I am really glad that you wrote this post, because I feel like I am always defending my food choices. It really gets irritating because I dont feel like others should play any role in my food decision making. For example, if I dont want to eat desserts because I am not in the mood for a lot of sugary junk. Please dont tell me I want it and I am saying I dont want it because of the calories, because if I wanted to eat the dessert and needed sugar I would eat it, but I dont need someone telling me that I need to eat it!!
    Also, I would love to hear about the results you got from have the fitness testing done. It does seem a little concerning to hear that you have such a low body fat testing!! 😦

  14. Ricki said, on May 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks so much for the link–and glad you liked the fries! (And more nut butter is always a good thing as far as I can tell) 😉

    Re: your diet, good for you–you shouldn’t feel you have to justify yourself to others! Oddly, I nevr really feel as if I have to justify my vegan diet, even when I sometimes get ribbed by friends. The part of my diet I feel a bit self-conscious about is the anti-candida part–gluten free, sugar free, fermented-free. For some reason, those restrictions really seem to get people!

  15. Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries said, on May 12, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    I think it is ridiculous that people have to “explain” their healthy lifestyle. It should be the opposite! I don’t grill people about why they eat junk food all the time! So ridiculous. Healthy decisions should be encouraged, not criticized.

  16. Amanda @ . seek . said, on May 12, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Claire, I just wanted to start by saying thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment; it’s how I found yours and I’ll definitely be following 🙂

    I’m sorry that you felt as though you needed to defend your diet. I follow a vegetarian diet, and I oftentimes get told that it would speed up my recovery if I started eating meat. Whether that’s true or not doesn’t matter to me… I don’t eat meat because I can’t stomach the thought of eating a dead animal and I’m doing fine in my recovery without it. Another favorite of mine is when people tell me to gain weight eating nothing but ice cream and cookies. Okay, because that’s healthy.

    I oftentimes feel as though people judge my healthy food choices as a symptom of my ED, when they’re truly not. I enjoy the food I eat, don’t feel deprived for the most part, and I feel good. What’s wrong with that? Why should I have to explain myself? Because everyone seems to think they know what’s best for me better than I do…

  17. Katharina said, on May 13, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Do you feel the need to justify your diet, even if it isn’t vegetarian or vegan? Do people criticize you for your healthy choices? Are you ever tired of explaining yourself?
    Sometimes people will ask me but I generally don’t take it as an attack. Usually they’re just curious. If anyone does make fun of my choices I just let it slide. I don’t judge what other people do, and I’m happy with the choices I make.. especially because I’m not imposing my views on others. Most people don’t know I’m a vegetarian until they see my cookbook album on Facebook or if they go out to eat with me then they may ask. It’s not that I’m ashamed or anything, I just don’t feel a need to claim that I am and announce it to the world. “The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.” I always find myself repeating that Dr. Suess quote to myself and others 🙂

    I’ve had my body-fat tested. It was something that was done on a whim so I didn’t really take it seriously, so I guess no it didn’t affect me lol.



  18. Katie said, on May 13, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Whenever you do something that’s a little different- particularly food-wise, which people get veeeeeery defensive about- you’re bound to get backlash. It’s irritating, but probably won’t go away, unfortunately. But you know you’re doing what’s right for you! (And, not to be self-righteous, but what’s better for the planet than a conventional diet.)

  19. Teri [a foodie stays fit] said, on May 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I’m sorry you have to defend your diet. I haven’t had it happen much but I’m sure it will come with time. i agree that it’s hard to understand other’s point of view when they won’t try to understand yours. Know that you’ve got LOADS of people who are behind your views, eveni f you don’t know them in person! ❤

    I haven't had my body fat tested in years but really want to!

  20. […] you to everyone for understanding or trying to see where I was coming from when I wrote “tired of defending my choices.” Before posting, I was worried others would feel it was just a good whining session, but so […]

  21. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said, on May 14, 2010 at 2:21 am

    GReat post, Claire. thanks for the linkback and yes, i get sick of defending, so i dont. And re being attacked, i just try to get out of and diffuse those situations as quickly as possible and never encounter that person again!

    Body fat. Never had it tested til i started doing my fitness comps training. I had no idea what it was. And really, i find it as just one (very small) marker of health. There are so many other variables that go into health…i could go on and on but it’s late.

    Linking back Ricki via Angela. Thank you for doing that. I am very turned off when i see certain bloggers get credit for a recipe when really, it wasnt their recipe in the first place 🙂 Thank you for giving true credit!

  22. Nicole said, on May 15, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    I do end up defending my food choices at times. I do get sick of defending, but veganism is something that I’m so passionate about that I’ll gladly do it. It gets super frustrating!

  23. wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas said, on May 16, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    I just posted on this very topic a few days ago! This is why I love blogging…it’s where I’ve found my community. I SO hate explaining my lunch every day, and being told that my veggies look disgusting. I’m always so puzzled by people who criticize the food of others.

    LOVE So Delicious coconut milk yogurt! It’s a great alternative when you don’t want soy all the time.

  24. wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas said, on May 16, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Just wanted to add a P.S….

    When I was pregnant, I had gestational diabetes and had to cut out sugar. I had no problem, but I did find that people constantly pushed me to “just have a little” or use artificial sweeteners. Can you believe that? Why do they even care?

    I also had a lot of people push me to drink alcohol while pregnant. It was horribly frustrating.

    Please know that you are not alone in your frustration.

  25. real food. « A Fresh Dille said, on November 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    […] attacked, but more upset by her non-understanding. In the past I have felt attacked and I’ve talked about it before. It is hardest when it is from those we love and other times, it isn’t worth […]

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