Musa Heinen is currently signed to Orange Model Management, and studies music at Humber College.
At the beginning of high school I weighed 80 pounds. No, I didn’t have an eating disorder; I just hadn’t hit puberty. When it came to food, I ate whatever I was in the mood for, whenever I was hungry. My diet was as simple as that. Words like “gluten” and “carbohydrates” meant nothing to me; in fact all I knew about nutrition were some creative math equations invented by my parents:
Chocolate chip cookies + Syrupy pancakes = Bad
Vegetables + Fruit = Good
My household provided me with a balanced diet, so I got my vitamins and ate my vegetables, but I didn’t restrict or monitor what I ate in the slightest. My eating habits summarized into one word? Random. Prime example–whipped cream was my favorite food for a few months, along with ribs, and lentil soup. But this phase didn’t last forever. With puberty, along came the three symptoms of female teenage-hood:
- Constantly feeling insecure;
- Constantly taking selfies;
- Constantly gaining weight,
The last symptom shocked me. I was so used to eating whatever I wanted and letting my metabolism work its magic. Now, not only was I gaining weight, so were all of my friends! All teenage girls I knew were faced with becoming women!
I started becoming aware of my diet, my eating habits, and my calorie intake. Even though I was still small for my age, I didn’t feel small. I kept comparing my body to the body I had entering high school, fighting the fact that weight gain is healthy and natural. Known as a light, small, thin girl/gymnast was part of how people defined me, and how I defined myself.
Although I am in no way encouraging the development of an eating disorder to deal with this stage of life, I do think that there are ways to eat consciously, but be also happy with yourself and diet. This involves educating yourself, constantly. For instance, recently there has been a gluten apocalypse. Although properly prepared grains are actually very nutritious and contribute to healthy eating, this “anti-grain revolution” rages on. The whole controversy makes no sense, yet I’ve still been affected by it. There’s nothing I can do about the guilty feeling I get when I eat muffins, bread, or oatmeal, even in moderation. I figured I’m not the only one stuck in this mindset, so here are some creative alternatives to wheat/gluten filled foods, in hopes of putting our minds and stomachs at ease.
Banana Oat Pancakes
Though they are flour free, these pancakes look and taste just as delicious as typical pancakes. Smoosh up some bananas, eggs and oats, then it’s as easy as cooking a regular pancake. I normally add cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor.
Deep Dish Cookie Pie
I’ve always had a sweet tooth–recall that whipped cream was my favorite food–so I find cookies very hard to resist! This recipe uses dates as a natural sweetener. Fun fact: Adding dates to your smoothies can also work to sweeten things up!
Because the stigma about grain products has affected my mindset, I realized that no matter what I do, for now at least, I will feel guilty enjoying carbohydrates. Making deliberate changes in my diet helps me feel good about what I’m eating. Hopefully, with a satisfied sweet tooth, and a new peace of mind, we can all venture into the gluten-free arena with healthy, tasty options.