Thanks to my parents, I really like good food. Growing up, my mom always had a great meal on the table at dinnertime, and on frequent occasions my Italian father whipped up things like homemade spaghetti sauce, garlic bread, chicken cacciatore, and calamari. In college, I took a literature of food class, and loved every minute. Books upon books about food, and a plethora of papers on the topic. In my adulthood, I find myself more and more intrigued with food, as well as the topic of nutrition.
Recently I have been coming to terms with the fact that an appreciation for gourmet food is quite different than an appreciation for wholesome food. Lately, I’ve been trying to find the balance between foodie and healthy eater. About three or four months ago, I read Ultimate Metabolism, and really started to change the way that I eat. I began to focus on good foods–healthy, whole, real, clean foods that can be found in nature (nothing made in a science lab). Over the past few months, I’ve read even more books and articles and guides on nutrition. All of this reading and educating has caused me to make a fairly drastic shift in the way that I view food. I’ve cut sugar, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, processed foods, carbs, grains and most dairy. Yeah, I know, you’re probably wondering what is left to eat. I focus mostly on vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats. I use coconut milk in smoothies, and add fresh grated cheese to salads. I make farm fresh eggs for breakfast a couple times a week. Lunches are often salads, or avocado with some smoked fish and a hard boiled egg. For dinner, I add meat to a big veggie stir fry, or grill a small steak and serve it with steamed broccoli and a fresh salad. Snacks are made up of raw nuts mixed with raisins, or a piece of fruit.
Part of the reason I made this drastic shift was because I had been having some major issues with my skin. I went from fairly clear, to really broken out over the course of this winter, and I wanted to see what I could do to clear it up as naturally as possible (no thank you, accutane). I’ll write more on that topic another time. For now, let me just say that all these changes have left me feeling great. My skin is improving, I have more energy, I never feel hungry because the things I am eating leave me feeling satisfied, and I’m slimming down. The more I learn, and the more I eat this way, the more I am convinced that our bodies were not made to handle the garbage that we so often put in them. So much of the American diet is loaded with sugar, products of corn, chemicals, pesticides, genetically modified plants and hormone-loaded products of animals. It’s no wonder that we have health issues. Our bodies don’t have a clue what to do with all this stuff, because we weren’t made to process it.
I could go on and on about this topic, and perhaps I will in another post, but for today, I just want to leave you with a few of my main “philosophies of food” that I try to stick to. Maybe they will help in your own quest to become a healthy eater!
- eat close to nature (if God made it, it’s probably good for you)
- avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, caffeine, alcohol, most grains and dairy with added hormones
- bulk up on veggies, fruits, and lean meats!
- if you can find it locally and organically, do so
- if you can grow it, even better
- try to eat in season. shop farmer’s markets!
- vitamins, taken them
- water, drink it
- eat only when you are hungry, and stop when you are full
- snack often
- figure out what works for you. i’ve found that i don’t tolerate grains or dairy well, so it was easy to cut them from my diet.
- remember how horrible you feel when you eat junk next time you are tempted to reach for it.
- splurge!! when you cheat, do it thoroughly (think homemade ice cream). don’t feel guilty when you do.
- move your body, frequently
- get plenty of rest
- enjoy mealtime! eat with friends and family. savor your food. eat slowly. don’t become a prisoner to a diet. instead eat all in moderation, with your main focus on clean, whole, fresh foods!