My Food Philosophy
There is so much noise and confusion when it comes to healthy eating. Everyone has a different opinion, and wants to share it. If something has worked for one person, they automatically think that this is the secret that everyone else has been missing, and it is up to them to spread the word and make sure that we all know.
Here's the thing though, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating, and there is no one diet or way of eating that will be right for everyone. What works for me and my lifestyle, may not be the best for you, and I understand this, and as such, like to keep an open mind. In saying that, there are a few things that I think are important, and are beneficial for most people, these are variety, balance and moderation.
I believe that what we eat is important. Food fuels every cell in our body, and can play a massive role in how we feel, how much energy we have, and can contribute to how physically healthy we are. We need a variety of different foods everyday, as no one food contains all of the nutrition we require for good health. But here's the thing, our overall health is not just determined by what we eat, or our physical health. Our social health and mental health are also big contributing factors. And guess what? food plays an important role with social connections. Think about going on a date with a partner, or to the movies with friends where popcorn and choc tops are inevitable, or sharing thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with your family - food plays a big and important role in all of these occasions. Allowing yourself to enjoy food and to be part of these occasions is vital for your social wellbeing, and ultimately your overall health and wellbeing as well. Life is to be enjoyed, and what is the point at spending all your time striving for health, when you're not able to enjoy yourself?
And that leads me into mental health. When we stress about food choices, obsessively count calories or speak negatively to ourselves about what we've eaten, this is not a healthy headspace to be in, and it doesn't lead to 'healthier' decisions or you being in a better place. We should eat the core food groups most of the time, yes, but also be flexible and allow ourselves to enjoy social connections and the food that comes with it. We benefit from having balance in all areas of our life, and that is also true with the food we eat. Having a healthy mindset around food and being relaxed about your food choices is a freeing place to be, and ironically being relaxed about food choices, and allowing yourself permission to eat anything actually leads to making more appropriate food that will leave you feeling better after eating. When there are no foods that are off limits (with the exception of allergies, intolerances, and certain medical conditions) and we can choose to eat all foods in moderation, then all food is morally neutral, and our choices can be based on what makes our bodies feel good rather than what is the 'good' or 'naughty' option.
My main purpose with eating, is to eat foods that make my body feel good, I aim to feel better after eating than before. So while I allow all foods in my diet, I will choose foods, or combinations that help me reach this goal. I will often include extra veggies into my meals or opt for a high fibre version, not to lower the calories but because I know that when foods contain more vegetables and fibre they will keep me satisfied, keep my mood and energy stable and make my body feel good after eating. I also enjoy pizza, burgers, cake and chocolate (to name a few) and I allow myself to eat these things when the occasion calls for it and I feel like eating them. I eat enough until I am satisfied, and then if there's food left I can leave it because I know the next time I want it I will be able to enjoy it again, and most of the time I leave the meal feeling better than when I started. I also find that balancing my meals and snacks, is a helpful way to eat my feel good foods along with other delicious foods that I feel like eating. For example, when I have cheese and crackers I might cut up some veggies to have with it, or make a salad to go with pizza. Sometimes meals are balanced, other times days or weeks are balanced. So variety, balance, moderation and eating in a way that is nourishing and also pleasurable are all part of my food philosophy.
I'd love to hear, do you have a food philosophy? what is it?
If you are confused by what to eat, or feel you would benefit from some guidance to help find your balance, get in touch! I'd love to hear from you.
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