So, lately I’ve had a few people say things along the lines of “I have no idea what you guys eat/don’t eat”. As we strolled through the market this morning, I realized Tim and I have sort of evolved into a “real food” family that is low maintenance and flexible, which are musts if you’re feeding more than one person, in my book.
Over the years I have done carniverous low carb, vegan, vegetarian, high fiber/low fat, and other food lifestyle choices in the name of losing weight. The only one that was in the name of true health and figuring out what foods my body liked/didn’t like was veganism, which was HARD but really revealing as far as feeling amazing, having energy, having glowy skin and eliminating aches and pains I didn’t even know I had.
As we all know, diets work while you stay on them. But they aren’t forever, inevitably, and not only are the rebounding pounds hard on the body, they are also hard on the mind in this world in which we live. As a very disciplined, absolutist sort of gal, I am impeccable with dieting. This isn’t a pretty trait because pretty soon you end up spending all mental energy that could be used for progress and good on things like calories, grams and scale numbers. I can get downright obsessive. And I have in the past.
The system we use these days is based on eating whole, real foods as often as possible. We still occasionally order dessert, go to Steak and Shake if it sounds good, or splurge on a pretty coffee with sugar in it instead of maple syrup or honey like we’d have at home… but when we grocery shop, we follow a few rules and know that our long term health is in good shape without having to deliberate over every bite that goes into our mouths. For a girl like me, that frees up an enormous amount of mental energy to spend in other places.
Here are the basic rules:
Pinterest is full of cool information diagrams like this one. Bottom line: if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t buy it. Aside from organic sandwich bread, we stick pretty closely to the five ingredient rule, or at least to recognizable ingredients. It is much easier than you think once you spend a few shopping trips reading labels. It ends up that we eat a lot more healthy food, but we also have regular splurges and don’t feel guilty about them (like Turkey Hill ice cream which has four or five ingredients if you get chocolate or vanilla). Moderation for the win!
Designer Adam Wirdak created this flyer to send to Michelle Obama in the name of reforming the food stamp approach to health. I know we aren’t the only ones who have a hard time with the amount of things that are “food stamp approved” and have no nutritional value whatsoever. I’m all for providing resources for people who need them in civilized societies, but I’m also for ethical and nutritive food choices. It’s really simple to eat better.
If you want more information or more in depth reading on the food approach we have, there are a few choices. Michael Pollan’s book is short, simple, and really approachable for making small or sweeping changes. The blog www.100daysofrealfood.com is a wonderful resource that even has a series of mini pledges for changing diet. Sometimes small changes are all we can handle, but don’t underestimate a series of small changes and the impact it has on long term health. Be proud of small changes!