Oh the world of nutrition can be a confusing place. Not only is nutrition difficult to research, food is an intensely personal choice fueled by multiple variables such as our culture, life experiences, beliefs, taste preferences and economic situations.
As I've been reading more blogs and news articles to see what people are saying, I find the conviction and sometimes aggressiveness of certain people a little intimidating. They are convinced that their particular diet pattern is the one and only to follow. I find the extreme statements such as avoid all legumes because they are toxic for your gut or avoid all saturated fats one-sided and usually after a little digging these opinions come from cherry picking the research to suit their particular theory or belief.
So rather than taking the time to deconstruct all the latest dietary trends out there I'm going to write out my own personal evolving food philosophy.
1. Eat Real Food. Food that comes from a source you can identify as close to the original source as is realistic. Such as honey rather than table sugar or brown rice rather than white flour.
2. Enjoy your rainbow of colours of vegetables and fruit everyday, with an emphasis on vegetables and low glycemic-index fruit (apples, berries, cherries, plums, grapefruits, peaches)
3. Eat fish at least 1-2 times a week, chose sustainable fish sources.
4. Enjoy nuts and seeds, they make for great snacks eaten mindfully. In other words pour out a portion rather than munching in front of the TV from a giant bag. Those covered in sugar etc. don't count.
5. Chose whole grains 90% of the time over refined (refined grains could fall under #10.)
6. Incorporate beans and legumes often
7. Enjoy small portions of red meat (beef. lamb, bison, pork), just not every day. Don't eat the charred part of BBQ'd meat. If possible preferentially chose pasture-fed meat options.
8. Limit or avoid the processed meats (these don't really fall under my real food motto as it is hard to identify what part of the animal the hotdog comes from).
9. Listen to your body, eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty. Stop eating before you feel full, wait 20 minutes before taking more. Know your own personal weaknesses and devise a strategy to find balance. Don't bring the cookies on sale home, but enjoy one while at a celebration on the weekend.
10. Limit the processed nutrient-poor foods (chips, cola, crackers, sugary drinks, bakery items) to special occasions. As for my daughters, I just plan on not making it available to them everyday. I won't interfere if they are at a social event and these foods are available. My plan is to lead by example. Sally at Real Mom Nutrition wrote an excellent couple of posts about a healthy snack policy for her preschooler's soccer group and the importance of not setting our children up for failure
11. Avoid extremes within real foods (cut out all grains, avoid all fat). Don't be afraid of fat. Better to eat an egg than a bag of "100 calorie portion control cookies".
12. Water is the best liquid to drink.
13. Take advantage of delicious fresh and dried herbs and spices
14. Enjoy fermented foods (yogurt, sourdough whole grain bread..... the occasional beer)
15. Relax and enjoy eating.
In Summary: Take pleasure in mindfully eating simply prepared real food with loved ones.
My philosophy is evolving over time and there are a few areas I am still developing my own opinion on. How about you? Do you have a food philosophy/manifesto/guide? We all want to live our lives in a fulfilling healthy manner and the path to get there can be very different