I’ve always been interested in nutrition and health. And yet I’ve always struggled to eat a healthy diet. I’m not overweight (I must have a zippy metabolism because to be honest I eat crap 90% of the time), but my health is frankly dreadful.
So why don’t I just eat better? It’s so simple in theory:
Buy healthy food. Eat healthy food. Look and feel amazing.
But real life is nothing like that. And I honestly cannot fathom why this is.
I’m doing some serious soul-searching right now, trying to find the root causes for exactly why eating food that makes me feel amazing is such a struggle. Here are the six reasons I’ve come up with:
1 – A crappy kitchen
We bought the house 10 years ago and in that time we have updated every room except the kitchen. This is partly cost – kitchens cost a bloody fortune – but that can’t be the whole reason because we have spent money on other parts of the house. It’s partly because ripping out the kitchen means TOTAL chaos at home while your food area is basically unusable (with three kids in the house). However, given how much I loathe cooking and how many takeaways we currently eat, that’s hardly an excuse either.
However, it is what it is. We have a crappy kitchen (the ancient and decrepit floor covering doesn’t come all the way to the cupboards, so we have a concrete edge around the room, the grout has cracked and separated from the surface behind the sink and is mouldy, the lighting is awful, and the work surface is some kind of beige marbled thing that looks identical whether covered in three weeks worth of crumbs or pristine clean – I hate it).
It’s the top reason though. The best kitchen we ever had was in a rented house and I cooked more there than I have done anywhere else.
2 – A dirty kitchen
This is shameful to admit, but since this my super-secret blog I can just let it all spill out. I hate cleaning, and the kitchen is no exception. Even when I blitz the whole thing, within a couple of days the dirt starts to build back up. I hate it. I hate the maintenance of it, the endlessness of it, the dirtiness of it. I’m quite OCD about dirt and mess, so you’d think it would be spotless, but I just get all the anxiety of the problem and I can’t bear to do anything about it.
And worst of all? It’s such a crappy kitchen that when I clean it, it doesn’t really look much better anyway 😦
3 – Not knowing what to cook
This is partly a planning problem and partly a skills problem. I just don’t know what to make half the time. I am always hunting around trying to work out what the hell to feed everyone, and with everything else I have to do this tends to take last place on the list, which means we end up eating junk/processed food/takeaways. Willpower is used up in little decisions all day long and by the time the end of the day comes around, I will pay anyone to sort dinner out for me because I am finished and have nothing left.
Planning is the obvious solution, but the thing is, I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO PLAN, so it just moves the whole agony forward in the day/week and I still don’t have any answers.
4 – Not enjoying my own cooking
I am not a great cook (most probably because I really don’t like doing it, and we’re never very good at things we don’t like doing), so I find that I don’t really enjoy eating a lot of what I make.
It sucks to spend forty minutes in a kitchen you don’t like, doing something you don’t like, just so you can eat something you don’t really like.
5 – Faffing
Healthy food is more of a faff. People say that a piece of fruit is just as easy as a chocolate bar, but it clearly isn’t. An apple for example – eating an apple sprays apple around your face and makes your hand sticky. Cutting up an apple makes a mess. Don’t get me started on an orange. Or a pineapple. Berries have to be washed (mess, mess), and then they’re all watery unless you dry them with a tea towel or something.
Do I sound like a middle-aged moron yet? Well, the thing is I have three children who demand ‘Mummy’ ALL DAY LONG. There is barely a 30 second break between each instance of being required for something, whether it’s a cuddle, a bum-wipe, help with scissors, a drink, questions about boa constrictors, or examination of a teensy graze that is making someone cry. Not to mention the fighting and snatching and hitting that I have to referee, or the watching to make sure they aren’t jumping on the furniture (again), or playing tag on the stairs.
If you think that cutting up an apple is just as easy as eating a chocolate bar, come and babysit my three for a day, and I’ll leave both options in the fridge for you. See which one you choose, huh?
6 – Deprivation
This one is probably less than the others, but it’s still a factor, especially when I have a bad day. Generally I like healthy food – I really enjoy eating it. I like all vegetables and there isn’t much that I won’t eat. But I do so love treats. And sometimes I honestly feel as though the only sweetness I get in my day is from chocolate. Sad, eh?
So there we have it. I think this list pretty much encompasses all the reasons why I choose crap food over good food.
The next question of course, is what am I going to do about it?