My Food Philosophy
Oh Food… how I love thee. and loathe thee. and love thee again. It’s a pretty vicious circle. Really. If only it just weren’t so satisfying. and yummy. Man I love food. I love eating. Which makes this whole nutrition thing pretty rough for me. But before I explain to you my “philosophy”, let me give you a little background on me and food.
We go way back. I mean, I can’t remember a time where I was a picky eater. I would eat anything as a kid. And I loved eating. Plus, all the best things revolved around food; holidays, birthdays, celebrations of any sort. Food is the equalizer of society. Everybody eats. It brings people together and creates bonds. I loved how you make a pile of pancakes and the whole family comes running. Plus, there’s my mom. She’s my food buddy. When I was in grade school she started working part time at a deli. I loved seeing her after school, sitting in the back trying out fancy chicken salad, or a new cookie recipe. My mom soon realized that I was a bit of a foodie, and so we bonded over it. We like to cook new recipes together or try creative dishes at restaurants. And bake. Did I mention that yet? My mom is a FIERCE baker and I love baking with her. I grew up knowing that if you can make a mean batch of brownies, or roll out a pie crust; everyone is your friend. And it’s true. But over the years it became apparent that somethings amiss. If I had a bad day- I gorged. If I had a good day- I celebrated. My connection to food had warped so poorly that I never really knew why I was eating, just that I HAD to. I can’t say I blame my mom, I don’t blame anyone; what I put in my own body is my business. But food is a bonding agent in our society, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s a great thing. But we as a society need to reconnect with the idea that food is foremost fuel for our bodies and as such we should be eating the highest quality that we can; releasing food from that which shackles it to our greatest desires, and sorrows, and joys.
As my journey with healthy living has grown from an interest in middle school to a passion today, I have had to really dig into some deep seeded associations that I have with food, and work to become aware of why I want to eat, and why I want to eat certain foods. And it’s been a huge struggle; to put it lightly. And I still struggle with it. And I think I always will. But the greatest tool I’ve found to help with my overeating and cravings is knowledge; of myself and of what food really does to my body. When I take the time to notice how I feel after eating clean for 2 weeks and then eat pizza (and feel like crap) it really motivates me; that clean eating has a real and changing affect on my body.
And to that affect, here is my food philosophy, my “diet” you might call it.
Eat real whole food.
That’s it. That’s my philosophy.
And let me tell you. I’ve tried every diet out there. I’ve done everything from vegan to vegetarian to paleo. I’ve done no grains, gluten free, dairy free, no eggs, only whole dairy… I guess the only one I haven’t fully tried is raw. But the conclusion that I’ve come to is every body is different. And every body responds to different types of foods differently. And the only way you are going to know how something affects you is if you take it out of your diet for a while and then put it back in and notice the changes (another post coming soon about detoxing). See, it’s that whole knowledge of self thing again. You can’t know what’s best for your body if you don’t actually discover how your body responds to certain foods.
But the one thing that stays the same is that our bodies are meant to eat real whole foods. Not artificial sweeteners, dyes, or preservatives. Not empty calories, but real food from the ground. If you stick with that, you’re always safe. Now some bodies can’t process dairy, and that’s fine. Some don’t do well with meat, or gluten. But what remains central is the idea that anything that goes into your body should be as close to the source as humanly possible. Food, not food products. Here’s my go-to “food” list.
Nuts and Seeds
Whole fat dairy (none of that lowfat crap… really, just don’t do it)
Herbs and spices
That’s it. It’s not a hard rule of thumb to follow. In fact, that’s the point. It’s extremely simple. As long as you stick to real whole food, all other choices (vegan, paleo, etc) are just that, choices. They aren’t something to argue or fight over, they are just individual choices dependent on how your body responds to certain foods. But if you want to really fuel your body properly the only choice is to eat fresh food (preferably prepared by you) as close to the source as possible. Plain and simple.
Want some great nutritional resources? Check these out.
anything by Michael Pollan (Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, etc)
Eat Naked by Margaret Floyd
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck
The Happiness Diet by Tyler Graham and Drew Ramsey
What’s your food journey? Thoughts? Questions? Let me know what you think.
Love and Joy,
PS: Sugar is the devil. Really. Don’t touch it. Ever. Or if you do. Make it very very very rare. If you need a sweetener use honey or maple syrup, but leave it at that. NO SUGAR. Fat does not make you fat, sugar does. Ok, off my soap box. 🙂