What foods should I eat?
This is one of the questions I get asked the most as a practitioner, and although the question seems simple, it has no one definite answer at any given time. Why? Because you are different from me, and your needs will vary and change all the time.
As human beings, we like to have a plan of action. We want to know everything so we can make a hundred lists and spreadsheets of every detail about our lives. We need everything categorized into neat and tidy little boxes so we feel more comfortable knowing we have everything "under control".
While that may work with some aspects of our lives, it won't work longterm with the food we eat. Our diets are ever changing and ever evolving. It changes through seasons, through age, through, health, and will continue to ebb and flow throughout your entire life, just the way it was intended to.
We can get so caught up in having a plan or a list to follow when it comes to the food we eat that we forget about variety and change. What works for your diet now probably won't work in 6 months and what works for you in 6 months probably won't in 12 months.
Just look at how your diet as undergone extreme evolution already. You started by drinking your mothers breast milk only, then you switched to pureed baby food, and then to solid food. Look at the transformation you had to make to evolve! Your dietary needs are constantly evolving and changing through life circumstance. We need to be able to flow with change.
With all that being said, there is a difference between what you would benefit from eating in general if you want to be healthy and maintain a healthy diet vs. what you think you should eat when viewing foods as being "good" or "bad" for you, particularly when you follow a diet.
THERE ARE NO GOOD AND BAD FOODS. Food has no moral compass, food is not plotting against you or waiting to hug you when you get home, food is just food. What we do with food and how we eat it are relative to it either helping our bodies or hindering them.
Here is a guideline to help you choose healthier foods while incorporating a balance of each macronutrient:
- Local, seasonal, organic whenever possible
- No herbicides and pesticides
- Focus on fruit with lower amounts of sugar for regular consumption like berries or citrus fruits if weight loss is a goal
- Local, seasonal, organic, no herbicides/pesticides
- Aim to eat more non-starchy vegetables compared to starchy ones throughout each day
- Choose lean cuts of meat majority of the time
- Free range, grass fed, no hormones or antibiotics
- Avoid eating red meat everyday
- Choose full fat options
- Choose products containing live cultures like kefir or yogurts that haven't been sweetened
- Buy organic or raw whenever possible
- Sprouted grains are the best option
- Choose whole grain products with the least amount of ingredients possible
-Choose non GMO
- Maintain a healthy balance of carbohydrate rich foods that are smaller in portion compared to the rest of the food on your plate at each meal (Ie: one scooped hand is an appropriate portion size)
- Choose high quality oils like olive, avocado, coconut or macadamia
- Organic butter, ghee, duck fat are all healthy options
- Dark chocolate, raw nuts, wild fish like salmon and trout are examples of foods that contain healthy fats
- Aim to eat a portion of healthy fats at each meal. About the size of your index and middle finger put together.
Don't be fooled into thinking there is one only one right way to eat. We are all individualistic in our likes, dislikes, needs, and desires. The word diet should be used as a noun and not a verb. Shift your thinking from "dieting" to "following a healthy diet".
Your diet will change with the ebbs and flows of life and it's important to let it. By following the guidelines above, eating healthy is not hard to achieve, nor is it daunting like another diet.
It's very simple, eat foods with minimal ingredients in them, remove additives, preservatives, excess sugar, cook at home for majority of your meals, eat out at quality establishments when you do go out, and slow down and start to enjoy food for what it is.
Food is meant to bring life, joy, pleasure, and connectivity to our lives, not hurt us. It's how we use food and the types of food we choose that will either build our bodies up or tear them down.