This is a post I wrote on my old blog, revived here because it still applies. And, truth be told, I have struggled at times to stay away from junk food. Because sugar is a drug. So I write from a place of humility, knowing how hard it is to eat this way, at times, especially when not making your own food. But I have returned to this way of eating, and I am determined for it to stick, this time around.
There are a lot of studies on food out there. And they contradict each other. It’s enough to drive a person mad!
As I looked into all of the recommended diets a few years back, I had to take a step back and ponder everything I’d read. And this is what I believe we should be doing.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
This one is easy. Unless you don’t like your vegetables. But you can learn to like them! And who doesn’t like fruit? Did you know that nutritious food will turn off our hunger signals sooner than empty calories?
2. Eat less sugar! And whatever you do, don’t eat fake sugar!
Fruit is nature’s candy! And dried fruit even more so. And there are other, more natural sugars that you can still eat in moderation. Honey is my favorite of all of them, but there is also maple sugar, date sugar, coconut syrup.
3. Don’t eat processed foods or foods with ingredients you don’t recognize
Guar gum, carageenan, high fructose corn syrup—and those are the ones we can pronounce. There are also all of the chemical-sounding ingredients. Think about it. Why would you put anything like that in your mouth? Food coloring, too. It’s all fake. Ditch it. You’ll never miss it. And please don’t be duped by the word “natural” on food labels. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s meant to trick people into buying something they think is good for them.
4. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible
I should have put this one first. This is the place I came to after all my research. This eschews the whole meat/vegetarian/vegan/raw/paleo/Mediterranean/low-fat/low-glycemic/yadda/yadda/yadda arguments. Whatever you eat, eat good quality, pure food. Which brings us to the next point….
5. Eat organic
Organic food has to meet certain standards. Unfortunately there is some controversy about what is allowed for those standards, but it’s still healthier than the chemical pesticides on conventional produce. Another important reason to eat organic is that organic food is not genetically modified. So you can have peace of mind that you aren’t ingesting GMOs. Yes, organic food costs more. But not too much more at Trader Joe’s, if you have one nearby, and you can focus on The Dirty Dozen. As I always say, you can pay now (the higher food prices), or you can pay later (the health care system).
6. Eat local
Local food may or may not be organic, but you can ask. It also reduces our carbon footprint by not having to be shipped into town. You get local food at a farm stand, at a farmer’s market, from a neighbor, from a CSA. You can ask the grower directly if they use pesticides. And if you eat meat, find locally raised, grass-fed, free range animals. Besides being healthier because of the food they ingest, they live a happy, stress free life before they become your food.
7. Grow your own
This is my favorite. If you want to be totally sure of the purity of the food you are eating, grow your own! I really miss the warm weather, when I can walk outside and pick what I’m going to have for dinner. Growing your own food connects you to nature and makes you realize the miracle of food which makes it much easier to put down that box of unrecognizable ingredients the next time you are in the grocery store. And I can say that from experience.
8. Listen to your body
Our bodies tell us how to eat, if we listen. How did we feel after that meal? Do we have enough energy to get through the day? Are we craving a particular food (I said food, not salt or sugar!). If we are in tune with our bodies, we will give them what they need.
That’s it. My theory on food and diet. But we are all individuals and we all get to choose our own way. May your way nourish you and give you abundant health!