Hello all, my name is Lindsay! I’m a 22-year old recent college graduate with a passion for good food and the great outdoors. I graduated this past May with a B.A. in chemistry from Bowdoin College, a liberal arts college in Maine. I’m currently taking a few years off before embarking on my next educational adventure: medical school! At the moment, I’m working as an AmeriCorps volunteer in Hartford, CT at a congregate living facility for people with HIV/AIDS. I plan on serving another year with AmeriCorps in Boulder, CO (my homestate) and applying to medical schools during that time.
I started this blog as a forum for voicing my love of food, fitness, and the great outdoors. In addition to writing about the daily happenings in my life, I will put up recipes I’ve tried out and enjoyed, fitness tips I’ve found useful in my own life, health information I find interesting, reviews of food products I’ve bought, and hiking suggestions for whatever part of the country you’re from. Above all, I hope to adequately convey my love of life, laughter, and adventure as I navigate the daily challenges and struggles of life.
Here’s my story….
My Journey to Self-Discovery
Throughout my adolescence, I had always been one of those girls who was plagued with self-doubt and lack of confidence, yet few would have guessed it. I was a straight-A student who participated in music and sports in high school. I was surrounded by a loving family and was passionate about schoolwork, volunteering, and piano. Yet, somehow I was never truly satisfied with myself as I was. No matter how I highly I achieved, I never felt that I was good enough. In spite of my family’s love and support, I battled angst and sadness that resided deep within me. I never really felt that I fit the mold that most other “normal” people seemed to slip into so easily. I was constantly at war with myself, and while the intensity of the war would ebb and flow over the years, it was always there in the back of my mind. In times when I felt particularly vulnerable, that little, nagging voice in the back of my head would rise up once again and tell me: “You’re not pretty enough”, “You’re not thin enough”, “You’re not good enough”.
College: Ups and Downs
When I arrived at Bowdoin, for the first time in my life, I was surrounded by a passionate, intelligent, and eager group of peers who made me feel at ease. I met people who were interested in strange and quirky things, people who exhibited extreme passion for nerdy subjects, people who were curious and open to the world around them. It was in this environment that I began to thrive.
I discovered that it was OKAY that I loved listening to oldies instead of the latest hits on the radio. It was OKAY that I loved reading the weather report in the morning and quizzing myself about geography trivia at night. It was OKAY that I sometimes preferred to stay in on a Friday night and read a good book instead of going to a party. It was OKAY that my hair wasn’t always perfectly frizz-free, and my dormroom was always a disaster-area. All of this was more than okay. It was great; it was superb; it was beautiful. These things are what make me who I am, and I found an amazing group of friends who supported and embraced even my strangest quirks. It was between the summer of my freshman and sophomore years that I discovered my love for hiking and the great outdoors. I began to revel in what my body could do instead of lamenting its imperfections. I stopped hating my knock knees and large thighs, and started appreciating my legs for their strength. If they could take me all the way up and down a 14,000 ft mountain in the Colorado, how could I really hate them?
Yet throughout college, there still existed a disconnect between my newfound love of self and the foods I chose to put into my body. While I came to admire the capabilities of my body, I never truly respected my body, especially when I wasn’t able to escape from the constant grind of schoolwork and take the time to hike. While hiking during the summers, I focused more on food as a fuel. I ate food on the hike not for emotional reasons, but to provide fuel for my muscles on the ascent and descent. Yet, this rational, healthy eating mentality did not follow me from the mountains to school. During the schoolyear, I fell into the classic traps of college living. I overate due to stress; I ate out of boredom; I ate because others were eating. I never really stopped to think about what my body actually needed during this time. I grew to resent my body because I didn’t recognize the connection between what I put into my body and how I felt. I would eat late-night pizza and cookies with my friends on the weekends, and then become resentful that my skin was never blemish-free and that I always seemed to be carrying a few extra pounds. I chose to ignore the consequences of my choices, and I never thought to change my eating habits. Food was both a comfort and a bane for me during my college years.
Only once I graduated from college did I begin to change my habits for the better and assume responsibility for my health. I began cooking for myself and paying attention to the ingredients I chose to put into my body. I simultaneously started reading healthy living blogs and was so inspired by the amazing women in the food blogging community. Here were women who were active, strong, and healthy! They chose nutritious foods to fuel their active lifestyles, and I felt inspired to do the same….I have never looked back since.
I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight since college (nor did I need to)…I wear the same size of clothes, but I feel as though I fit them better. I wear them less self-consciously and more proudly. I have begun to embrace exercise as a celebration of my body’s ability to move, and I no longer see cardio as the only valid type of exercise. I now alternate between running, walking, yoga, hiking, skiing, and rock climbing. I feel stronger and more confident than I ever have before. My skin is the clearest it’s ever been, and I really feel that it glows from my newfound awareness about the connection between the foods I chose to put into my body and my overall happiness and well-being.
My Food Philosophy
I now believe in trying to find a balance between fueling my body with nutritious, whole foods and indulging in those foods that make me happy. Life is just too short to fully subscribe to the “Food is Fuel” philosophy. Sometimes, food is more than fuel, especially when dark chocolate is involved. In general, I try to eat cleanly 80% of the time and allow myself indulgences the other 20%. Truly committing myself to this philosophy is something I’m still working on, however. A stereotypical perfectionist, I have had a hard time letting go of my “All or Nothing” mentality, but I believe that I can accomplish this in time. As I’ve discovered over my journey to self-acceptance, I possess the capacity for growth and change as long as I believe in myself.
Overall, I try to avoid processed junk with artificial ingredients, instead opting for real foods that provide my body with the nourishment it craves. I believe in eating a diet based primarily on plants and whole grains, but I also enjoy having organic dairy products, wild fish, grass-fed meat in reasonable quantities. I try to buy local foods as often as possible (and as often as my measly AmeriCorps salary allows). I like to eat a varied diet full of colors and spice…give me flavor or take away the plate please! No bland food wasted on this girl. I like to try new foods and explore all kinds of culinary traditions. From Nepalese dal baht to Scottish pigeon to French escargot…I am willing to try any food at least once!