“Um, well… I ride a lot,” has tended to be the response.
But hold on: I ride every single day.
Sure, it’s not a 50-mile training ride in the wee hours before breakfast (I run during that time) or a cyclocross race on weekends, but in all actuality, there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t jump on two wheels. And yet, somehow I don’t feel that I fit into the “cyclist” definition. Why? Because I don’t wear spandex at least three times a week? If you ride a bike you’re a cyclist. End of story.
When it comes to food, something similar happens.
I shudder when someone says something along the lines of, “so, you’re a foodie?”
Well, yes I like food. I like good food. But you’ll find me hunkered over a bowl of quickly thrown together whole grains and some leafy green just as easily as you will at a new restaurant serving cardamom-infused cocktails. To my friends, I am food-obsessed, and yet on the opposite end, I am neither a chef nor a nutritionist; my love of food is simply a personal amalgamation of experiences and plenty of trial and error in the kitchen.
Foodie? Maybe. I do have a website with the word “foodie” in it after all. Just a normal person that happens to enjoy the entire of process of food no matter what it is? Yes.
Why is it that we are so obsessed with definitions? We are either this, or that. We have either started on the path towards something, or we’re at the destination; we leave no room for the journey.
This is something that I think about a lot especially as it relates to food. Food isn’t just food. It has to be something. It has to be Healthy Food, or Clean Food, or Low Fat, or High Protein. We have to create diets that get us off of eating processed foods, simply because processed foods are so common that we couldn’t imagine being without them.
Unfortunately, nowadays, eating well isn’t just something that is part of your daily routine; it’s something specific that you do.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t have to be that way. Because part of eating well is enjoying the process.
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat a few more meals a week without meat, and you don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy a killer bowl of guacamole. Food, just like cycling, is about a holistic approach, making the good stuff not just something you do once in awhile, but a part of your every day, and not being intimidated by the definitions that come with it.
Shop at the farmers market not because you’re a self-proclaimed “locavore” but because you like talking to the farmer and knowing where your vegetables came from.
Make a cream sauce out of cashews and kale not because you’re “off dairy” for ten days, but because it makes you feel better.
Enjoy the feeling of sticking your hands into that pumpkin pulp and separating out the seeds, not just buying a can of pumpkin puree because it seems seasonal.
As Voltaire once said, “Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
Because if we don’t have a healthy relationship to what we eat, how can we expect to live a healthy lifestyle? Eat well, eat balanced, and get out for a ride whenever you can. Find the simple joys and embrace them. You’ll find yourself feeling better immediately.