Happy food. What is that anyway? There is plenty of discussion going on. Vegans are a hot topic. Junk food, sugar, gluten… Food which we label right or wrong is also news of the day. For me there is no right or wrong food. There is food that makes me feel really good and food that makes me feel really bad, and everything in between. 

What I choose within that range is up to me. 

I’ve been quite obsessed with food since I was 16. At that age obviously I focused mainly on what not to eat in order to obtain the body of my dreams. Later, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, my obsession became more about what I should eat to feel as little pain as possible. In the years in between and after, I researched and tried many directions and diets. 

All that to come to the conclusion now, after 20 plus years of research (yes it took a while), there is no right or wrong. Not in food, not in anything. Good and bad are thoughts. A thought that is influenced by how you were raised, where you live, what you have been through and what you dream of. My good is your bad and vice versa. 

With this conclusion the word “happy food” resonated with me. Food that makes me feel happy.         I choose food that makes me happy and feel good. And that’s different for everyone. 

I have left a lot behind to get to this point. It started with alcohol, cigarettes. I know those are not part of any food group but in the quantities that I consumed it at that time they may have been considered for one. Gluten was also a tricky one, as my greatest love was (is) bread. But after years of self-examination and exploring how my body reacts to different grains, there is only a handful left and none of them contains gluten. Then there is dairy, my intestines don’t like this ingredient either. And after years of staying firmly put in the toxic love-hate relationship, I finally broke up with sugar, all kinds. Only fruit and its natural sugars make me happy nowadays.

And then the most recent; caffeine. This one hit hard. First, I had convinced myself that caffeine didn´t have an effect on me; after all, I could go without. When I realized that that was merely a nice sales pitch to convince myself, I stopped coffee altogether. I switched to chai and tea. But something was missing, and you quickly turn to decaf. I had a lot of preconceptions about decaf. Decaf is not real coffee. Just like gluten-free bread. Bread without gluten is not bread, and coffee without caffeine is not coffee. 

Now that I’ve made peace with my prejudice, I embrace my decaf cappuccino with oat milk, I accept that I am the “decaf, cappuccino, oat milk, no cookie”. (Even writing this down hurts a little in my heart ; ) 

Believe me these steps have not always been easy. The battle I faced between my head and my body was intense. Now that I realize the power of the good and bad label, it’s a lot easier. It no longer feels like certain food groups are off limits. Now I’ve changed the mindset. I choose and I choose my health. Healthy in mind and body. 

And no, this does not mean that I will never eat a pizza, beef curry or bag of chips again. For me that means that I let myself be guided by my intuition. And that I am aware of the choices 

I make and why I make them. Sometimes I am angry, sad or bored and choose to handle those emotions with chips. And I realize and accept that that is what I need in the moment. But I also realize that that choice has nothing to do with hunger, convenience, or “deserving” it. To sum it up, 95 percent of the time I choose what’s healthy for body and mind. And for the leftover 5 percent my hormones control my choices. This is how it works for me.The most important thing is, you choose something that suits you. There is no right or wrong. 

There is something to choose. Always.

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