When it comes to food, I’ve had a lifelong love-hate relationship. However, I’ve found the love, and it’s here to stay. Here’s my food philosophy:
- Eat to nourish your body. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Once your stomach is satisfied, stop. Learning to listen to your body and know what it needs takes time, so practice and it will become a habit.
- Eat nutritiously. This goes hand-in-hand with eating to nourish. Eat foods that are nutrient-dense and unprocessed, which brings me to #3.
- Eat whole foods. This means fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. No, Enriched, White, and anything you can’t pronounce should not be on your food labels nor on your ingredient list. Don’t know what it is? Wouldn’t sprinkle it on your popcorn? Don’t buy it.
- Have a balance. Too much of anything, good or bad, is not good for you. Yes, vegetables are amazing for you, but a diet of all veggies is not going to be good. Think of lunch and dinner like this: half veggies, one-quarter whole grains, and one-quarter legumes. For breakfast, be sure to have a whole grain, fruits and/or vegetables, a healthy fat, and a protein (nuts, nut butters, nut or bean or rice milks, tofu, and tempeh).
- Eliminate all processed sugars. That means you, Granulated White Sugar, and yes, you too, High Fructose Corn Syrup. These are just straight up bad for you and are converted immediately to fat by your body. There’s a world of natural, guilt-free sweeteners out there that will make your head explode. Stevia, agave nectar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and barley malt syrup are all great alternatives.
- Minimize salt intake. Sea Salt is a much healthier alternative to its iodized table-salt counterpart, but remember that a little goes a long way. Salt increases cravings and makes you bloat, and a pinch is usually enough. Learn to enjoy the taste of your food – not the taste of salt!
- Choose cruelty-free. This means organic and sans animal products. Why would you want something that got to your plate by way of an animal being poorly treated? And why would you ever want pesticides, growth hormones, or chemicals in your food (as well as in the environment, for that matter)? Exactly – you wouldn’t. So choose organic, whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Your body, the animals, and the environment will thank you.
- Enjoy your food. Yes, enjoy it! Enjoy the aroma, the texture, the taste, and the nourishment to your body. Take time to sit down and just eat. Have the experience of your food sans distractions and you’ll enjoy your food that much more. Also, many believe in chewing more (about 30-50 times per bite, but I often totally flunk the chewing thing), which aids in digestion and keeps the taste in your mouth longer. Try it out!
- Learn to cook. Put some time and effort into it, and you’ll reap the benefits. Not only is cooking one of the best ways to de-stress, you’ll be proud and have a big ol’ smile on your face when everyone gives you the thumbs up!
- Make your food beautiful. If it ain’t pretty, it usually tastes good anyway, but wouldn’t you love to eat something pretty? Put the effort into making your food beautiful, and you’ll enjoy it even more. Putting love into the food equals getting love out of the food. Pretty nice, huh?
So eat well, live well, and love well, children. My philosophy in a nutshell – embrace it.