I am a firm believer that eating is an intensely personal act. What we eat may suggest to others our beliefs, cultural backgrounds and experiences. It can be evidence in how we think about our own selves, and others. How often have we buried ourselves in fashionable dietary claims, where we temporarily graze within set boundaries before moving onto greener pastures? Who hasn’t practiced at some point vegetarianism, veganism, the Paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean, or “clean eating” diets?
The plethora of interest-inducing regimes to choose from can be dizzying and I believe we’ve reached a tipping point. Let’s be honest, though with good intent, these diets can be prohibitive and time-consuming. This uncompromising approach to nutrition will yield unconquered appetites and take even the best of us down…That is my consensus.
Think how lucky we are to be living in a world that offers such an array of ideas, ingredients, and cultural heritages to draw on. This is what gets me excited – a vast collection of ingredients cooked and processed by so many people, with so many variations and so many different purposes.
I have been told on occasion that my eyes are bigger than my stomach…
Whether it be a beautifully simple green salad with copious amounts of fresh vegetables, an insanely rich slice of red velvet cheesecake, a wholesome bowl of go-getter, steel cut oats with ripe fruit and a splash of almond milk, or deep fried anything, really. But my body needs balance just as my life needs balance. The trick, for me, was finding the right kind of balance. Not allowing those trends to sway my appetite, recognizing that each individual has different nutritional needs, knowing that what works for me, may not work for someone else. There is a kind of peace that comes from this realization.
Michael Pollan makes waves in his book In Defense of Food where his manifesto for healthy eating is “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants”
Whether we approach his concept with the 80/20 idea in mind, join the “healthy-ish” movement and discover a balance between good and good for you, or be one of those that hold their knife and fork high and embrace something that captures the curiosity and fuels an interest to get things right when it comes to food, make sure it’s in a way that will work for you.
I love that these ideas promote a lifestyle rather than a diet.
Here are 3 tips in making it work for you:
I know it’s cliché, but knowledge really is power
People tend to shy away from cooking at home what they don’t know about.
There is an opportunity for a more understanding and open relationship with food. Food should feed, fuel, comfort and nourish you.
Louise O Fresco said, “Our food is safer and our diets are more diverse than ever before; production methods are becoming increasingly sustainable, clean and efficient; and we are constantly becoming better at protecting biodiversity.”
We live in a world where technology can provide us information almost instantly. It is becoming easier to familiarize ourselves with new foods, recent cooking trends and baking techniques, that span the entirety of all our nutritional needs. There are videos on gluten free artisan breads, fermenting, how to make your own cheese and pastas, or almost anything else that you could dream up. We have the opportunity to explore online markets and specialty shops which offer culinary expertise. We have television programs that inform and feed.
Utilize these sources.
Yes, this means you are going to have to COOK MORE OFTEN! Being a maker from scratch allows you to control what matters most, such as the types of sugars and fats you determine to use, or how much you consume (which by the way can be a real eye opener), but it can be fun too! Not only will you know exactly what is going onto your plate, but taking the time to create, will leave you with the satisfaction that your palate didn’t even know it craved. Make sure to plan your meals around foods that you enjoy eating. However, I do invite you to step out of your comfort zone a bit and try something new. One of the best ways to refine those taste buds is by constantly challenging them with new foods and flavor profiles. But if you just can’t get over kale, don’t force yourself to eat it.
The biggest problem with diet trends and eating habits today is that they focus too much on what you can, or more so, what you can’t eat. This can result in a journey to perfection, which can do more damage than that of a voracious appetite. Both however, are emotionally, physically and mentally draining. The push for perfection is precisely the problem; IT’S PROGRESS WE WANT.
After a time, weigh your feelings. How are things going? If you can do better, consider what to add and what to remove from your diet. If you have work to do, don’t be hard on yourself. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Do the best you can in your current situation whatever that may be.
As I encourage this lifestyle within my own family, nothing brings me more satisfaction than creating in the kitchen, and introducing my family to unique flavor profiles and new foods. I love when I can go to a grocery store and my boys point out beautiful fruits and veggies, just as often as they point to the sugar lined aisles. I consider that progress.
My husband and I currently reside in AB, Canada. We have been blessed with 2 amazing little men, ages 8 and 9. The 3 constants in my life are family, faith and food. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than creating and introducing my children to unique flavor profiles and new foods. I am happiest here, home, in the kitchen with my boys. Finding joy in the simple things. Savoring the sweet, the wholesome, and the good.