Defining Your New Normal

Hello friends. Did you know that one of the most common foods eaten in Cambodia are crispy tarantulas? Yep, that’s right, SPIDERS. THEY EAT SPIDERS. Apparently, they taste like crab and are one of the most popular snacks sold there. And how about in Japan, where delicacies include things like tuna eyeballs and the sperm sacs of cod? Normal? Hardly… or wait.

One of my least favorite words in the English language is “normal.” This word might seem like it’s innocent, harmless, just sitting there like any old adjective waiting to be used to describe something… but I’ve got news for you - IT’S NOT! The word normal is anything but harmless. It carries weight with it. It carries judgment. It carries comparison, and pressure, and doubt, and all the things that have no place in the healthy balance needed to thrive in life. When we use the word normal to describe things like food, eating habits, weight, it inevitably brings with it the sense that what we are doing is NOT ok. Why? Well of course, because no one else is doing it. Or so we are led to believe. Let me tell you something. No matter how strange you think what you are doing actually is, there is a very good chance that someone else, somewhere, in some small corner of the planet, is doing it too. Think you’re the only one who likes smothering pesto on your pancakes instead of syrup? Or that no one else in your city is currently dipping their cobs of corn in mustard right at the very same moment as you? Wrong. They’re out there.

When you first start changing your eating habits, most of you will receive a fair amount of flack from the people in your life. Whether it’s a spouse who grumbles every time he or she sees a new vegetable being introduced onto the dinner plate, or a hostile sibling mocking your efforts when they see you swapping out the beef burger for a veggie one and having berries for dessert instead of your usual go-to ice cream sundae, people are going to talk. Because that’s just what people do. When it comes from the ones closest to you, it can hurt and make you doubt yourself and wonder if you’re doing the right thing, if this whole bloody attempt is even worth it. Well, here’s some more news - one of the most important things to remember when modifying your diet is that you will need to get comfortable being the weirdo in the room more often than not. I remember being teased relentlessly when I first started carrying food with me wherever I went. Being gluten-free was a challenge back then, and I couldn’t trust that there would be anything for me to eat when going out to a restaurant or especially at social events. It took a certain amount of shamelessness for me to stick to my guns and truly commit to what I was trying to do in those early days. So guys, commit. Make a decision and stick with it. Learn to ignore those negative voices calling you crazy, and find your TRIBE. The ones who will support you, remind you that you’ve got the right idea and who will make you feel normal. And if that takes time, well just remember, there’s someone in Cambodia right now happily munching on a crunchy tarantula and feeling just about as normal as anything.

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