When I created this blog in August 2012, I followed an everything in moderation philosophy with an emphasis on eating less processed foods. I believed that balance was key and restriction was unhealthy. At that time, I was focused on teaching myself homemade recipe staples, so I could save money and rely less on pre-packaged, store-bought foods. I'm still doing that now. There's always something new to learn.
Today, my food philosophy is more closely aligned with the 80/20 rule and a strong emphasis on real food, i.e. less processed foods.
For example, I now seek out:
- 100% grass-fed beef
- pastured eggs & chicken
- humanely raised pork
- full-fat dairy (or non-dairy) products
- healthy cooking fats (like butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil & real olive oil)
- local and/or organic produce
- natural sweeteners (like real maple syrup & raw honey)
- fresh baked breads
- foods without added sugar (or less sugar)
- foods that are GMO-free
- foods without a laundry list of weird ingredients (no preservatives, additives, fake sweeteners, etc.)
Check out my recipe index for more of what I like to eat!
The idea behind the 80/20 rule is this:
- 80% of the time you eat "healthy" (that term is subjective, although most of us will agree that fresh fruits and veggies apply)
- 20% of the time you eat whatever you want (junk/comfort food, etc.)
The ratio isn't solid (it can be 70/30 or 90/10), but the important part is it gives you the freedom to splurge.
Flexibility (wiggle room) in your diet is vital because restrictive eating or an obsession with healthy eating (orthorexia) can cause lots of stress, which will deter the benefits of the foods you're consuming.
Food is for nourishment, enjoyment, and community. Not just for achieving your 100% daily intake of "x" vitamins or macros. It's not about perfection.
The reason I abandoned the everything in moderation philosophy is because there are things I just don't eat anymore. And not because I'm a snobby foodie or adhering to food trends.
Certain processed foods make me feel sick, so I don't eat them. It's as simple as that.
The momentary satisfaction I felt after eating 1/4 a pint of commercial ice cream or a fast-food (even high-end chain restaurant) burger was not worth feeling gross for hours afterward.
You might be feeling the same way and not even realize it.
When you eat processed foods for so long (or grow up on them), you become accustomed to digestive issues, or general side effects. Feeling bloated or gassy throughout the day is normal when you're used to drinking several cans of soda a day or eating fast food 2-3 times a week.
How about upset stomachs, headaches, lack of energy? Sound familiar? Unfortunately, this conjures up memories of my adolescence. I ate way too much processed crap.
The good news is that over the course of the last year and a half, I've made changes in my diet and learned to listen to my body more. I'm removing foods that upset my stomach and my digestion is improving, as are my energy levels. All this while still eating comfort foods, mind you!
Books That Have Positively Influenced My Food Philosophy:
The Nourished Metabolism
Have Your Cake and Lose Weight, Too!
Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms
Here's the thing I want to emphasize to YOU, dear reader:
Discovering which food lifestyle fits you best is not a destination, but a journey.
It's not about perfection. What works for one person, may not for another.
Don't stress out over it.
And don't feel that you have to follow food rules or fit into a "category". By all means, eat whatever you want!
I encourage you to try new foods, push your taste bud boundaries, and listen to your body. Most importantly, mindfully enjoy the food you eat.
P.S. Want to join me in my real food and healthy living journey?
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Like my style? Some of My Top Posts, For Your Reading Pleasure:
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- Recipe: Balsamic Oven-Roasted Green Beans
- 50+ Homemade Gift Ideas For Happy Bellies & Bodies
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- 30+ Ways to Relax and Keep Calm When You're Feeling Stressed & Anxious