Believe it or not, life ain't all about kale.
I was driving back to Columbus last night in a tsunami whilst jamming to Celine Dion pandora and urgently needing to pee. Keeping both hands on the wheel was no easy task, if you know what I mean. When the wind is howling, the rain is blurring the road and Celine is belting "My Heart Will Go On," two hands on the steering wheel is a good thing and urgently needing to pee is a very bad thing.
In order to distract myself from my dire situation, I started to think about the sweet email I got from a reader this weekend. She's a college student seeking balance and she wanted my advice. How did I balance going out with friends and eating pizza at 2am with eating kale salads and lifting weights? Can healthy food and fitness remain top priorities in college without sacrificing your social life? I decided to answer that question in detail here on the blog because I think my perspective on this question says a lot about who I am as a person.
This past weekend I went home to Cleveland to visit my family. On Saturday night my friends and I went to a comedy club to hear Ally Wong, AKA the most hilarious person on the planet. My mouth is still sore from laughing so much. We then went out downtown, drank more than we probably should have, and ate tacos at 3am.
Too many drinks. Yes. Tacos at 3am. Heck yes.
Do I live my life this way regularly? No. I try my best to eat really well throughout the week. I eat a mostly plant-based diet and make sure to work out at least a few times a week. I don't drink very much on the weekends anymore like I did in undergrad. But when I'm home with my best friends from high school you better believe I'm gonna have a vodka and soda with lime or three when I go out. And I'm going to enjoy every sip. These are the glory days!
I don't want to live a life tied down to rawveganglutenfreeorganicpaleolowcarbvegetarian. I have strong beliefs about eating whole foods that nourish my body, and I do that on a regular basis. When I go to the movies, I have absolutely zero desire to get movie theatre popcorn. No part of me wants that artificially flavored crap. Same thing applies when it comes to boxed mashed potatoes and bologna. But when I go to Jeni's ice cream, you better believe I'm getting salty caramel ice cream with bitter dark chocolate sauce. I indulge here and there and that's what makes me human.
I don't want to be a superhuman lean green machine who only drinks organic kale maca green smoothies and eats healthified chocolate cake that tastes nothing like chocolate cake and everything like unsweetened cardboard.
I don't want to make everyone else feel guilty for eating chocolate chip ice cream.
I don't want to feel pressured by the health community to refuse a drink or two with my friends on the weekends because I'm scared of sabotaging my holier than God diet.
I ate my fair share of greasy pizza at 3am in college. The next day I went back to my veggieholic self, whipped up a batch of lentil soup and guess what? No one died. We are human. We're allowed to eat food simply because it tastes good. We're allowed to eat piece after piece of dark chocolate out of the bag with friends watching "P.S. I Love You."
Please don't misinterpret this post and think I'm advocating binge drinking and pizza. That's clearly not my intention. Forgive me if I sound like a raging alcoholic...but trust me--I'm far from it. This post isn't about drinks or tacos. It's about coming to terms with the fact that what you eat shouldn't rule your life.
Living a life of restrictions is no life I want to live nor encourage you to live. I'm here to give you healthy recipes that will nourish your body and taste freaking amazing. I hope to never make you feel like you can't eat pizza in the middle of the night or drink too much on a random Wednesday night. Live your life to the fullest and eat well within your scope of what's attainable and realistic.
I once dropped a piece of pizza cheese-side-down on the pavement and then proceeded to pick it up and eat it. Ew, right? Life happens...embrace it.
There'll always be kale tomorrow.