Healthy Eating 101: Go With Your Gut

Being healthy is easy.  Any simple Google search will tell you that.  Get Fit Quick!  Eat this to lose that in two days!  This Secret Food is making you Fat!  Sound familiar?  As a society we have been through countless fitness and diet fads and we just love the idea of a quick “fix.”  I have been suckered into almost every trend imaginable and if I have learned anything, it is that knowledge is key.  Not just knowing what foods are ‘Good’ and ‘Bad,’ but knowing how my body feels and what works for me– physically and mentally. Disclaimer:  Just to clarify, I am not on a diet, but my diet is very mindfully crafted. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it is the conscious decision to stop using the word Diet as a verb.  Let’s stop dieting together!  

Growing up, I was like any other body-conscious teenager (and by body-conscious teenager, of course I mean that I had an insanely warped idea of what bodies should look like…).  I was active and aware of the necessity of healthy eating, but I was all about that calorie counting game.  “Diet” and “Low Fat” and “100-Calorie” portions of processed, sugary foods were my go-to and after taking painstaking care to consume 1200 or less calories per day, I just could not comprehend why I wasn’t the pencil thin version of myself that I wanted so badly.  A lot has changed since then, especially the image that comes to mind when I say “healthy”… but that is a subject for another post.  For me, the most important health tip is that it all starts in your gut; You’ve got to fuel the machine with goodness!

With all of the health trends out there it can be difficult to even know what ‘good for you’ is.  Eat this, not that….avoid that and do this every day.  It is exhausting to try to keep up with the never ending stream of information.  My approach has always been experimental, and the biggest take away has been that I need to listen to my body.  In the last year I have tried a few extremes, including a rigorous Atkins-style plan, multiple variations of the Paleo Diet, Vegetarianism…even a brief period of strict Veganism…and I finally landed on a full-fat, meat-filled regimen that works for me.  I loved a lot of aspects of each food philosophy, but ultimately it comes down to understanding how I react to different foods.  For example, I really loved my stint as a Vegan, but it wasn’t practical with my lifestyle- I didn’t have time to cook every meal and the lazier I got, the more carbs came out and I stopped feeling so energetic.  The lesson learned?  Simple: I can be full without eating a huge slab of meat for every meal.  Fast forward to my current eating habits: a high-fat philosophy that would make my 14-year-old self want to jump off a cliff.  I start each day with a steamy cup of coffee…complete with a chunk of grass-fed butter and a scoonch of coconut oil to really rev the engine.  Lunch is usually (reluctantly) a rushed part of my commute so it has to be accessible and efficient;  I like to chop up an avocado with a few hard-boiled eggs and whatever veggies are available (spinach and tomato?  Ohh yeahhh), and of course, a healthy dose of a good oil.  Dinner is always different, and I like that!  I like to include as much variation as possible whilst following a few simple guidelines:  include lots of color, get a clean protein source, eat as close to the sources as possible and knock out as many carbs and sugars as you can stand to lose.

As someone who is cursed to live in constant fear of being hungry, I always keep some sort of easy, healthy snack on hand.  However, I noticed that since I’ve upped my intake in the good fats department (and cleansed my cabinets of sugars and carbs) I rarely reach for the snack.  I eat as much as I want until I feel satisfied, and it keeps me full longer.  This may not be the ideal regimen for everyone, but it works for me.  Even though I was petrified to try it and had to defend my choices the whole way (repeat it with me:  I am NOT a Fad Dieter!), ultimately experimenting with foods has helped me find my easy ‘fix.’  I get to eat delicious food, I have fun experimenting in the kitchen, and I feel amazing.  If that isn’t a success story, I don’t know what is!  Stay tuned for some specific recipes!

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