Choosing What "Diet" to Follow

Food Philosophies are Abounding 

One thing is true. Everyone eats. Yet there are so many "ways" to eat and many will have their "research" that backs it up. Amid a myriad of philosophies some main ones include the following:
  • Vegetarian: fruits, veggies, grains; no meat, and depending on where you stand no fish nor eggs
  • Vegan: fruits, veggies, grains; no meat, no animal products like eggs and dairy 
  • Paleo: meats, seafood, eggs, and fresh fruits and veggies; no grains
  • The Standard American Diet aka SAD: how to summarize this one!? Let's just say lots of foods with minimal nutritional value, full of additives, or refined and processed beyond their natural recognition. (Hello drive-thrus and honestly most foods at the grocery store! Now that's what is really sad). And minimal foods with rich nutrient content.

The Pendulum of Food Selection

So if almost every way of eating has proof and people that swear by that method, who is right? Well, possibly they all are! I am supposing that most people that have selected an extreme way of eating were possibly like me - just mindlessly consuming the SAD diet. They decided to make changes and because of one influence or another their pendulum swung from SAD to another "extreme." And some my find that their health is thriving where they have landed. And for them I say, kudos.

You have to listen to your body and your mind. So when my pendulum swung from SAD to Vegan and consuming minimal grains I knew I was eating more nutrient dense foods and my husband was shedding pounds, yet I wasn't settled there. I truly believe God provided us with animals and grains for consumption too. So I had to let the pendulum swing back to more a of middle ground.

Now I'm just trying to balance all good food and focus on consuming REAL FOOD. And honestly some days a meal we consume might be "vegan" and other days it might be considered "paleo," it just depends on what I've cooked up! And frankly I think variety is key to good health. And to be a little more bold I think:

This is what everyone should do!

 ...with one caveat! Listen to your body and mind! If you feel sick (physically or mentally) from eating meat, you probably shouldn't. If you get the runnies when you consume grains. You probably shouldn't. (Although supposedly if you heal your gut and properly prepare your grains you won't have that problem.) If you break out in hives when you eat eggs like Mr. Allergy Baby, you probably shouldn't. So let's try not to over complicate eating and start making good (or better) choices and listen to our bodies. And stop judging other people for their food choices. 

Everyone has to find what works for themselves and their family! 

My Food Pendulum Swung from One Side to the Other: A History

Consuming the "Standard America Diet" 

 I know that it's standard and that most people aren't eating fruits and veggies (and other real foods) because when I go to the grocery store I often get the comment "Wow, you're buying a lot of fruits and vegetables!" "Umm, that's weird" I think at first, "what are other people eating? What else is there to eat!" And then I remember it wasn't that long ago that I was introduced to "couponing." You know the crazy, order ten Sunday papers, get up at the crack of dawn on sale days so you're the first one to buy all the boxes of cereal because they only cost 30 cents kind of couponing? Yeah. That was me. And I had cupboards FULL of cold cereal, pop-tarts, pringles, fruit snacks, and the likes.

Wow! I've come so far!

From Couponer to Vegan . . . 

What happened to change me from a couponer to a really foodie? I started reading. I started with Dr. Fuhrman's Disease Proof Your Child and Green Smoothie Girl by Robyn Openshaw. As I read I started considering things like how much nutritional value was actually in the foods I was stock-piling my shelves with. And even if they're "iron-fortified" or whatever other thing they've put back in that food, what about all the micro-nutrients that aren't put back in? What about all the nutrients we don't know about/haven't been discovered? What about all the vitamins and minerals that are simply found in a red pepper, an apple, or a head of lettuce? Our bodies need those nutrients --to thrive, to function, to be healthy! Why are we trying to complicate things by inventing food? Doesn't food grow in ways that should sustain our bodies?

So I started throwing food away. Yep, straight-up put the pop-tarts and sugared maple syrup in the dumpster! Made the mistake of not knowing what to replace the bad stuff with and went hungry for a while (wouldn't recommend this!).

I was (mostly) convinced that processed foods and meat and dairy products were making people sick. So I started preparing vegan meals when I could and drinking green smoothies every morning.

After watching Forks Over Knives my (at the time, overweight) husband agreed we could eat vegan for a week if we "still made fun of it." Fine. By. Me. So we did it for a week. And then about 80% of the time for 3 months. Trevor lost lots of weight and I was definitely eating more fruits and veggies than I had been! All while working as a server at a Brazilian Steakhouse! :-)

. . . To Real Foodie

Thankfully, I wasn't entirely settled with this way and started reading my former dance teacher and friend's blog Thank Your Body. After being told dairy and meat were the root of all evil I was skeptical of her explanations of the benefits of butter! Robin shares info that her other "Real Food" friends publish and it has totally changed my views! (a list of life-changing articles coming soon!) As I read and re-read and listened to conferences and purchased books, I started to feel like I found a way of eating that settles well with me.

So there you have it. I have been spending a lot of my time since 2010 learning how to eat right, master new skills in the kitchen, and become more efficient at making food from scratch. I'm not gonna lie:

It takes work.

It takes time.

And it takes commitment.

I decided I cared about my health and the health of my children so it's all worth it!

You'll want to check out my list of life-changing articles (coming soon!)
And don't forget to check out Being Real about this "real food" business (coming soon!)

I'd love to hear your story too! Where are you at in your food journey? What is "healthy" for you

1 comment:

  1. I'm kinda in between SAD and real foodie. :) That said, this looks like an excellent blog, my friend. I like that you're doing your research, including CDC and WHO information. It's all about maintaining balance in your information. Also, have you heard of the 'bread geek'? Google it if you haven't. Very compelling information. I haven't been able to fully incorporate what I've learned yet, but I'm going to. :)